At Cram Fighter, our stats show that June is the most popular month for our customers to take the USMLE Step 1 exam. With that in mind, now is a great time to revisit some of the tips we’ve shared in a few other blog posts in the past, as you start putting together your Step 1 study schedule.
If you need a basic USMLE Step 1 study plan template to use as a starting point, you can download one of our sample 8-week study plans here.
1. Know yourself so you can plan how to attack your studying
Despite the advice you may get from other people, one of the most important things to keep in mind is to know yourself! Do you study well with other people or are you better on your own? What are your weakest organ systems? Do you have family, work, or other personal time commitments that you will need to work your schedule around? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you formulate a strategy and make the best decisions for yourself out of all the suggestions you’re probably getting from other people.
2. Have your resources chosen
With only 8 weeks before your Step 1 exam, you should already have your resources selected. At this point, you really should not spend precious time agonizing over which resources to include in your study plan. Don’t waste time with low-yield resources. We keep track of the Step 1 resources that our customers use, and find that most of our customers stick to the “UFAP” resources as the building block for their study plans. Start with these, and supplement your resources with the resources your school provides. With all your resources chosen, you can head into your 8-week study period knowing exactly what you need to get through.
3. Take at least 3 practice tests during your study period
When creating your 8-week Step 1 study schedule, it’s important to know where you are starting from to have a benchmark. Plus, you’ll build confidence over time as you can watch your own improvement through the practice tests. Take your first practice test at the beginning of your 8-week study period to identify your weak areas; this way, you can organize your studying around those weak areas. Take another practice exam at about the 4-week mark to measure improvements against your first practice test. Finally, take your third practice exam 2 weeks before the USMLE Step 1. Then, use the results from your practice exams to guide your studying for the final push. Use the final week before your exam to really focus on your weakest topics.
4. Think in terms of hours, not days
Studying for the USMLE Step 1 is a marathon, not a sprint. You will definitely feel more confident heading into your Step 1 exam day with more quality hours applied to your Step 1 study tasks. We’ve read that on average, students taking the USMLE Step 1 exam will need at least 500–600 hours of study. When you build a study schedule with Cram Fighter, we break your study schedule hours down into exactly which tasks you need to complete to get through all your resources in the time before your exam. And we show you your progress as you make your way through your Step 1 study plan. Staying on track, plus seeing just how much you’ve accomplished, can go a long way towards helping you feel prepared.
You may find it helpful to review one Cram Fighter customer’s personal account of how he studied for Step 1 in 7 weeks. In this blog post, our customer Thomas M. shares his strategies for exactly how he built his 7-week Step 1 study schedule.
Getting ready for the USMLE Step 1 in 2 months or less is challenging, but not impossible. Good luck!