Can you pass on some of that step 1 advice?
this is my study plan. Its a little different from what you usually hear from other people, so take it with a grain of salt:
i didnt take a course, bought the kaplan books and used those along with BRS path and BRS micro. I read every book that I had except for the kaplan pathology book and the kaplan anatomy book (which i just browsed). I took notes out of the kaplan and BRS books into First Aid, giving me an awesomely annotated first aid. I then read through that full first aid book with all the notes. The overall process took 6 weeks. I took 5 days off during those weeks
Throughout the process I did questions every day. I think the key to my study strategy was qbank and the way I used it. Basically I did 50 or 100 questions every day, and went over their explanations. I did NOT only do questions on the subject I was currently studying. I just did random blocks of questions. The only subject I excluded was anatomy which i really sucked at to the point where there was no point doing questions till I studied it. The fact that the questions covered a range of topics kept me sharp on a wide variety of things while I focused my studying on individual subjects. It also helped point out deficiencies and the Qbank explanations themselves were a great learning resource.
Finally, I did two of the online exams that the NBME offers for money. They suck, and incorrectly predicted my score (overshot it once, significantly underestimated it the other time). I also did the free one that they publish and it was quite similar to the real deal.