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Free 6-Week USMLE Step 1 Study Schedule

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You’re 6 weeks away from your USMLE Step 1 test day and it’s time to get serious. Very serious. Hopefully, up until this point you have already gotten involved and are familiar with Step 1 material, test structure, or consulted with a USMLE Step 1 tutor. Maybe you’ve gone through First Aid, gotten started with UWorld questions, or started using a USMLE prep platform like Osmosis or Pathoma, but now it’s time to buckle down and make sure you’re ready.

***If you’re reading this 6 weeks or less from your test date and UWorld sounds like a peace organization and you thought First Aid is something you learned in 8th-grade health class, we highly recommend you contact us immediately so we can help you rapidly study for USMLE Step 1.***

So anyway, let’s get into it. USMLE Step 1: The 6-week Study Calendar is our most intensive and aggressive timeline for Step 1. This Step 1 study schedule is intended for strong students who score within ~20 points of their target score on their initial baseline assessment. As noted before, most students have completed 2-4 weeks of dedicated studying prior to beginning this calendar.



Before we jump in, here are some key notes about this 6-week Step 1 Calendar:

  • This schedule requires 12+ hours of studying every day (with the exception of afternoons off after NBME assessments).
  • This calendar focuses on a question based review. Recent research in learning education suggests that this is the most efficient way to go about studying for standardized multiple-choice exams. 
  • Flashcards are the student’s own – putting in the time to create a personalized study resource is worth the effort in the long run!
  • This calendar allows students to choose their own supplementary video learning resource and flashcard review platform. If you need help choosing your resources, check out our resource reviews here.

Basic Structure of the Elite 6-Week USMLE Step 1 Study Schedule

  • Day (about 7AM to 5PM)
    • Morning: Timed Practice Questions (Mixed) – Practice Questions are your #1 resource! Now is the time to go over questions you missed yesterday and new questions!
    • Afternoon: Continued Qbank Review with Flashcard Creation – Keep pushing with your practice questions! Going through more questions (2-3 blocks) thoroughly, including making flashcards can easily take 4 hours, so don’t feel like you’re going “too slow.” This review should be system based.
    • Early Evening: Review your Flashcards & Supplement Weaker Topics – During the day, you probably identified a few weaker topics. Get into your video resource and review the flashcards you made so that you are ready for your mixed review tomorrow!
    • Early Evening (about 5PM to 8PM)
      • This schedule requires ~3 hours of study in the evening focused on primarily on review, flashcards, and supplemental learning usually by system.
      • Reviewing flashcards should be an every evening ritual for at least an hour but not more than 2.
    • Assessments
      • The baseline assessment is critical to pressure test whether the 6-week calendar is right for you. If you’re within ~20 points of your target score, then this is the calendar for you.
      • The 4 subsequent assessments provide critical exposure to a real testing environment, objective data of how you are progressing, and helps students practice timing, fatigue, and stress management
      • If the final assessment is not within ~5-10 points of your target score, we typically recommend considering delaying your exam for further review.

We hope you enjoy our 6-week Step 1 study schedule! If you need personalized focused help preparing for USMLE Step 1, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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About the Author

Marcel Brus-Ramer, MD, PhD

Completing his BA in economics at Rutgers University in 2000, Marcel Brus-Ramer went on to complete his Diplome de Recherche at Paris Diderot University in…

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