How To Study For USMLE Step 1

Today, in this article we will try to cover the study guidelines on ” How To Study For USMLE Step 1 ” and how you can ace Usmle Step 1 by using these guidelines. This article has been written by Eric Brown, a standardized patient (SP) who lives in New York and advises NYCSPREP with their Clinical Skills course.

The USMLE Step 1board exam is arguably the most important exam that you will take. It consists of 7 blocks, each lasting 60 minutes, and consists of up to 40 questions each. This 8-hour marathon is high stakes. But fear not, with the right plan and approach you will be prepared to crush it. The take-home message is that you need to create a schedule and do your best to stick with it.

How To Study For USMLE Step 1?

Here are important tips to ace USMLE:

When Should I Take USMLE?

Step 1 is by far is the toughest of all the USMLE steps and thus requires the most preparation. The best time to take Step 1 is at the end of your second year medical school. This is when students finish their science course that forms the foundation of the exam.

Preparation Resource

Students can benefit from a wide range of different resources to prepare for USMLE Step 1.

  • Prep Courses

Classroom lectures and study material make up test-prep courses.

Medical School

As a part of the curriculum, medical schools offer preparation courses. Avail yourself to the opportunity and take up the courses if they are available.

Private Courses

Step 1 preparation courses are offered by well-reputed private universities like Kaplan as well as regional ones. There are also lesser known courses such as Doctors in Training, USMLE Success Academy, and Becker Reviews that receive better reviews.

  • Question Bank

Question banks are an integral part of your study plan for USMLE Step 1. Question banks give you a feel of what the actual exam will be like.

 ** You may also need to study the following article **

USMLE [A General Study Guide To All USMLE Steps]

USMLE Step-1 [A Comprehensive Guideline]

USMLE STEP-2 CK [Study Guideline]


Step 1 Preparation Tips

“how to study for Usmle step 1″ is a phrase which needs a lot of patience and hard work to ace Step 1 exam. In this section, you will be able to get an overview of a few tips which might be helpful for you regarding your preparation.

  • Set a Goal

Before you begin your Step 1 preparation, make a judgment of how much you have prepared and your score and set a target for your score. To determine where you stand, take practice tests. And online prediction scores will use your scores on question banks and USMLE practice test to predict how you would perform on an actual day.

  • Develop a Study Schedule

Creating a plan of attack is the key. You can create a study schedule on an Excel sheet. It is fine if you use it as a base template, but it is important for you to personalize it with your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if your cardiology is weak, make sure you spend more time on cards. If you struggle with finishing tests on time, then make sure you spend plenty of time to practice blocks to improve your pacing.

  • Use Review Resources Early

The way you choose your resources partially depends on your learning style. And it’s important to prepare for USMLE Step 1 as early as medical school starts. This practice will help you retain information better and will familiarize you with the reviewed resource when you start preparing for USMLE Step 1.

  • Practice Makes Perfect

Apply for a USMLE Step 1 Practice Permit if you have ample time before your test. This will help you mentally prepare for the actual test at the location itself.

  • Test Day Due Diligence

To prevent last-minute trouble, check your Step 1 permit to make sure your name matches your ID perfectly. Also, double check your registration on Prometric. If you’re traveling a long distance to take your test, make sure you double check your flight and accommodation details.

  • Take Care of Yourself

While your schedule requires you to study round the clock, make sure you do not neglect sleep and exercise as well as the occasional socializing with friends and family. Incorporating these habits into your schedule will ensure you perform better.

Step 1 Exam Day Tips

  • Know how to get to the site, and do a practice run

To make sure you’re on track and are practicing, get on the USMLE website and spend some time on the questions to ensure you absolutely prepared for the actual exam.

  • Bring lunch, snack, and ear plugs

You will be sitting hours at a stretch for your exams, make sure you pack your lunch and an additional snack with you. To keep you calm and active, carry your earplugs with you.

  • Bring a cooler with ice, water, Gatorade or juice

You may need to re-energize yourself with water or juice throughout the 8 hours.

  • Focus solely on the block you are in, complete it, clear your mind, and move to the next block

Do not get yourself distracted and make sure you attempt each exam and move on to the next block.

  • Gain extra break time by skipping the optional 15-minute tutorial

If you’re ready to start your exam, you can skip the 15-minute tutorial that instructs you for each exam. That way you gain extra time for your exam.

  • Expect 5-10 questions you have never seen before

Make sure you prepare yourself to attempt a few questions that you may never have seen or solved before.

Author Bio

Eric Brown is a standardized patient (SP) who lives in New York and advises NYCSPREP with their Clinical Skills course. He has a BA from a liberal arts college in the northeast, where he majored in the theatrical arts and business (he credits the first for his ability to simulate real patients). He’s amassed years of experience as an SP and keeps up to date with CS exam expectations, trends, and developments. When the Phillies are in town, Eric considers it his duty to support his home team. He won’t be seen without his trusty catcher’s mitt on these occasions and prides himself on having caught more than one foul ball with it. If you have any questions about standardized CS exams or courses at NYCSPREP, email Eric at or visit

Note From Editor

I hope that this information was useful regarding ” Hot to Study For USMLE Step 1 “. I am very thankful to Eric Brown for contributing for our blog and helping those who are in grave need of this knowledge and information.


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