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Boost Your Score in 10 Weeks – Free USMLE Step 1 Plan

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The Ultimate 10-Week USMLE Step 1 Study Schedule

 

So you’re in med school and 10 weeks away from taking the USMLE Step 1? Don’t panic, you still have some time!

You now need a realistic Step 1 study schedule that you can adhere to and be well-prepared for test day. Our dedicated USMLE tutors have put together the ultimate study calendar that outlines our recommended timeline for most Step 1 students.

 

So, let’s get right to it.

 

*Please note that most students have completed 1-2 weeks of dedicated studying prior to beginning this calendar.

 

Key Notes About This 10-Week USMLE Step 1 Study Schedule

 

  • This study plan is intended to be intense and calls for roughly 10+ hours (including breaks) of studying every day (except evenings off after NBME assessments). The harder you work, the more likely you will be to pass. However, that being said, do what you can. We realize that many students simply don’t have 10+ hours a day for USMLE Step 1 studying.
  • A minimum of 4 assessments should be taken before test day, with the first practice exam occurring at the start of the dedicated Step 1 study plan to identify strengths and weaknesses.
  • This timeline focuses on a limited number of high-yield resources: Video resources, UWorld, NBMEs, and Flashcards. We believe that intensive focus on a limited set of resources is key to success. 
  • Flashcards are a MUST– putting in the time to create a personalized study resource is worth the effort in the long run. If there’s something you’re struggling with, add it to the flashcards! Learn how to utilize flashcards for USMLE studies.

 

Basic Daily Step 1 Study Structure:

 

  • Day (about 8am to 5pm)
    • Morning: Practice questions: Completing a 40 questions block in timed mode should take 1 hour with an additional 2-3 hours afterwards spent reviewing (maximum 4 hours). Completing a 40 questions block on tutor mode should take about 3-4 hours, allowing for time to read explanations and make flashcards. Throughout this 10-week Step 1 calendar, students will be expected to gradually shift from completing the majority of questions in tutor mode, to timed mode.
    • Afternoon: Review assigned topic-specific content using supplemental videos and texts or review QBank questions. Repetition is the only thing that will solidify what you’ve learned and confirm your understanding to ensure your success when test day rolls around. So, DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
    • Late Afternoon: Review weaker topics as identified during reviews.

 

  • Evening (about 7pm to 9pm)
    • Content review using supplemental videos and texts, transitioning to targeting QBank review in later weeks.
    • Reviewing flashcards should become your new evening ritual for at least 1 hour per night.

 

  • Assessments
    • The baseline assessment is less important than in the 6-week USMLE study calendar and is meant to simply give you a sense for what the USMLE is like.
    • The 5 subsequent assessments provide critical exposure to a real testing environment and objective data of how you are progressing. This will help your practice time, fatigue, and stress management in preparing for Step 1.
    • At the conclusion of week 6, after your 4th assessment, pause to briefly reflect on your studying effectiveness. Have your practice exam scores been increasing? Do you feel more comfortable when approaching questions? If the answer is “no”, you may consider tweaking your study plan for the final 4 weeks to ensure a successful outcome.

 

Tips from the Best USMLE Tutors:

 

  • 10+ hours a day of studying is no simple task. In fact, most full-time jobs are only 8 hours. That’s why it is very important that in following this 10-week Step 1 study schedule, you push yourself, but not too hard. Working yourself to exhaustion every day can cause more harm than it does good. Make sure to avoid test day burnout by doing your best to relax and making Step 1 studying as enjoyable as possible, which leads us to our next point:
  • When you are studying during the day, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, unreasonably stressed out, or exhausted, take a break. Especially in the first week or two while you are adjusting to this schedule. Don’t be afraid to turn off the computer, put down your pencil, take a walk, play with a pet, or cook some food. We also highly encourage students to make their study space comfortable and pleasant. Buy a desk plant, set up shop in an area full of natural light, and get studying!
  • DON’T STAY AT HOME FOR 10 WEEKS!!! While it is important to study in a place where you can focus, staying home and studying for 10+ hours a day is not healthy. While it is okay to study from home sometimes, remember the importance of packing up your things and heading on over to the library, a quiet coffee shop, a friend’s house (study buddies can be great!) or even a quiet park.
  • If you find yourself constantly distracted studying alone, give us a call to schedule tutoring sessions or create a study group of individuals that will hold you accountable and keep you on track.
  • Stay relaxed and study, study, study!

 

We hope you enjoy our 10-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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