Home » Master the USMLE in 6 Weeks: Your Free Step 1 Study Plan

Master the USMLE in 6 Weeks: Your Free Step 1 Study Plan

Complete the form to receive your study schedule via email.

6-week Study Planner preview image for Step 1 by Elite Medical Prep.


The USMLE, encompassing Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3, serves as an important milestone in the journey toward medical licensure. Despite the transition of Step 1 to a pass/fail grading system in February 2022, effective preparation remains paramount. That is why we created the 6-week Step 1 study schedule! To keep you on track during your preparation road ahead.


Recent data highlights a concerning trend of declining Step 1 pass rates, underscoring the necessity of thorough preparation. Challenges in assessing readiness have arisen, necessitating guidance from mentors or Step 1 tutors.


Moreover, performing well on Step 1 lays a solid foundation for success on Step 2 CK, given the substantial overlap in material between the two exams. While concerns persist regarding the impact on Step 2 CK scores, current data suggests minimal effects overall. However, heightened stress levels among students emphasize the importance of robust Step 1 preparation.


In navigating the evolving licensure landscape, strategic preparation for Step 1 remains essential for medical students aiming to excel in their future endeavors. This blog is your roadmap to a successful Step 1 journey! We’ve curated the ultimate study plan and guide, packed with study schedules, top-notch resources, and expert tips. Simply enter your email above, and your study plan will land in your inbox—let’s crush this exam together!



Step 1 Study Resources


When it comes to Step 1 preparation, it’s crucial not to overwhelm yourself with an excessive array of resources. Trying to cover everything can lead to fatigue and difficulty in discerning high-yield material from the rest. This common pitfall often results in burnout among students.


To navigate this challenge successfully, we recommend focusing on three main categories of resources:


Question Bank (UWorld or AMBOSS):


Your QBank serves not only as a review tool but also as a valuable content-learning resource. Understanding how to effectively utilize platforms like UWorld for Step 1 can significantly enhance your preparation, as well as set you up for Step 2 success. While our detailed study schedule has already been crafted for you, consider the gradual transition from tutor mode to timed mode as outlined in the schedule, and customize as needed. Additionally, prioritize doing blocks of random questions to replicate the test environment and expose yourself to diverse content.


Anki or Another Flashcard Resource


Anki, a spaced repetition tool, is excellent for long-term retention of details. We’ve incorporated Anki creation and review time into the study schedule, but using pre-made decks and customizing them to your needs is also effective. Anki has proven to be a successful method for many students, including some of our tutors. See our blog on effective Anki use for more information.


Content Learning Resources


While your QBank serves as a learning resource, having an additional source can be beneficial. However, it’s essential to avoid trying to cover everything. First Aid is a high-level, high-yield resource highly recommended for book enthusiasts. Pathoma offers high-yield video lessons, particularly beneficial for visual learners. Sketchy is renowned for its microbiology series and is an excellent option for visual learners.


By focusing on these three categories of resources, you can streamline your study approach and optimize your preparation for Step 1. Remember, staying organized and prioritizing high-yield material is key to success. For further guidance and structure, refer to our downloadable study schedule, which ensures you stay on track and make the most of your study time.



Understanding the 6-Week Step 1 Study Schedule


Ready to embark on your Step 1 journey? Here’s what to expect from our 6-week study plan:

  • Focused Study Time: Allocate around 10 hours per day for dedicated preparation, with allotted breaks.
  • Question-Centric Approach: Dive deep into practice questions; they’re the backbone of effective learning for standardized exams.
  • Personalized Flashcards: Craft your own flashcards for a tailored review experience that enhances long-term retention.
  • Resource Flexibility: Choose your preferred video tutorials and flashcard platforms to complement your learning style.

Daily Structure:

  • Morning (7AM-5PM): Start your day with UWorld questions and flashcard creation. Spend the afternoon diving into Qbank review.
  • Early Evening (5PM-8PM): Wrap up your study session with system-based review, flashcards, and supplemental learning.

Top Study Tips:

  • Assessment Strategy: Aim for at least three assessments (NBME/QBank) to gauge your progress effectively. More tips on Step 1 assessments in the section below.
  • Transition Timing: Shift from tutor mode to timed mode gradually as you approach the exam date for realistic practice.
  • Spaced Repetition: Keep reinforcing your knowledge consistently throughout the schedule to solidify understanding.
  • Stress Management: Take breaks when needed, and avoid cramming to maintain focus and clarity on exam day.

Ready to conquer Step 1? Dive into our structured plan and pave the way for success! Enter your email address at the top of this page to get your structured Step 1 study plan via email!



Step 1 Self Assessments and Exam Readiness


Assessments play a crucial role in Step 1 preparation, offering insights into your readiness and areas needing improvement. It’s essential to take baseline and subsequent self-assessments consistently throughout your study period. This helps in developing test-taking strategies, identifying weak points, and tracking progress. Don’t be discouraged by initial low scores; they’re normal and expected!


To aid in your assessment strategy, we’ve incorporated self-assessments into our 6-week Step 1 study schedule. Consistent practice with these assessments is key to honing your skills and boosting confidence for the actual exam.


In determining readiness, practice exams are invaluable. They provide a benchmark of performance, predict exam readiness, and help break down subject areas for focused study. We recommend taking all practice exams seriously and thoroughly reviewing them to familiarize yourself with the question style and content.


Among the available practice exams, the NBME CBSSAs and UWorld Self-Assessments stand out. Based on student feedback, NBME 28 and UWSA 2 show the strongest correlation with Step 1 performance. However, all available CBSSAs and UWSAs are beneficial predictors of exam success. Read our dedicated blog post on which self-assessment is the best predictor for passing Step 1.


Our 6-week Step 1 schedule includes dedicated time for assessments, ensuring you have ample opportunities to gauge your progress and refine your study approach. By following the schedule and leveraging assessments effectively, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the Step 1 exam confidently.


As you progress through your study period, remember to stay focused, trust your preparation, and utilize the resources provided to maximize your potential for success on Step 1.





Your Step 1 journey begins here, armed with the tools and guidance you need to conquer this milestone exam. With the transition to a pass/fail grading system, effective preparation has never been more critical. Our 6-week Step 1 study schedule offers a structured approach to streamline your preparation and optimize your study time.


By focusing on high-yield resources, prioritizing practice questions, and incorporating personalized flashcards, you’ll build a solid foundation for success. Remember, our study schedule is not just a plan; it’s a roadmap to achieving your Step 1 goals.


As you embark on this journey, we invite you to enter your email above to receive your study plan delivered straight to your inbox. Additionally, if you find yourself needing further assistance or guidance along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to schedule a consultation for our tutoring services at Elite Medical Prep.


In the face of challenges and uncertainties, stay focused, stay resilient, and trust in your preparation. With dedication and perseverance, you’re well-equipped to excel on Step 1 and pave the way for a successful medical career. Best of luck on your Step 1 journey—you’ve got this!

Need additional
help with an exam?

Elite tutors are qualified, professional, and 100% online.

Schedule a Consult

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…

Read More