How To Prepare For The USMLE Step 1 Examination?

Medical schools in the United States are highly competitive, and therefore, to get accepted, one needs to have strong grades in science courses and obtain a good score on the MCAT entrance exam. Once an individual has been accepted into a good medical school, they also need to start looking for USMLE Step 1 tutorials. Due to the increasing competition and rising costs of education, it is essential to keep in mind that the journey can be extremely challenging. However, starting early is crucial, as it gives you enough time for revisions and puts you in a better position to succeed.

Even after receiving pep talks and motivational videos, you will be perplexed, and anxiety will build. Becoming a doctor requires a significant amount of time and effort, and failing an exam can be a source of great anxiety. However, it’s important to remember that being prepared increases the likelihood of success. Chance often favors those who have put in the necessary work. Here are some tips to help you along your journey:

Familiarize With Format

The USMLE Step 1 is a one-day, eight-hour exam for aspiring doctors in the US. It assesses scientific and medical knowledge through multiple-choice questions. You’ll face around 280 questions in seven 60-minute blocks. The entire exam is delivered through multiple-choice questions. You will not encounter essay questions or fill-in-the-blank formats. It is an all-day exam spread over eight hours with time for breaks and optional revision time. If you finish any block earlier, you can use that time for taking a break and revising. 

Preparation Time 

It is advisable to start studying early on so that you can have enough time for revision. Step 1 is based on basic science and most students take it in their second year as the related topics are still fresh in their memory. Though there is an option to take step 2 before step 1, it is recommended to stick to the chronological order to clear the exams. One requires 5-6 months of preparation time so that they can cover all the subjects. 

Join A Study Group

The confidence that an aspirant develops once they join a study group is differential and positive. Discussions with each other and explanations of topics that others don’t understand will help in clarifying and getting a better grip on the subject. It helps the groups stay motivated and energized looking at others studying and performing. 

Practice Exams

When you take practice exams, you will understand the exam day scenario to an extent. It also helps in understanding your weak areas which need more attention. Take NBME self-assessment practice exams to track your knowledge retention and identify areas needing improvement.


The USMLE Step 1 is the first level of the exam and there are two more levels to go. If there is a delay at the start, it will have a domino effect on the other two levels and the overall result. This is the reason why it is imperative to be serious about both the med school program and USMLE from the day of your college.

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