Best USMLE Step 1 Prep Courses

Choosing the right USMLE Step 1 prep course is the most important decision you will make on your journey towards passing your exam.

You will be spending many hours studying, so it’s crucial to find the USMLE course that best fits your learning style and background. The difference between successfully passing or failing the USMLE Step 1 exam largely depends on how well your study materials prepare you for it.

Using a prep course that isn’t a good match for your learning style can cause you to score lower or even fail your exam, costing you months of study time and additional exam fees. CRUSH is here to make sure that doesn’t happen!

Here’s the good news: we have personally researched and reviewed every major USMLE Step 1 prep course on the market to make it easier for you! The comparison chart below will help you decide which online course best fits your needs.

Top 5 Best USMLE Prep Courses in 2021

USMLE Step 1
Courses
Pass Program Best USMLE Prep Course Top USMLE Prep Course - Smash USMLE Best USMLE Prep Courses Achievable USMLE Top USMLE Exam prep Course - BoardVitals Step 1
RANKINGS

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

OVERALL
RATING
COMPANY  Pass Program USMLE Smash USMLE Kaplan USMLE Achievable USMLE Board Vitals
PRICE  $899 $809   $997 $897 $1,999 $1,600 $299 $199  $179 $134
DISCOUNTS  Save $90
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PRACTICE QUESTIONS  2,000 2,000+ 2,000 1,600 1,600
FULL-LENGTH PRACTICE EXAMS
VIDEO LECTURES  150 Hours 250 Hours 200 Hours
PASS GUARANTEE
FREE SMARTPHONE APP
PROGRESS TRACKING
STUDENT SUPPORT  Instructor Email Support Instructor Email Support Instructor Email Support, Chat, Phone  Instructor Email Support  Instructor Email Support
ONLINE ACCESS PERIOD  5 Months 12 Months 10 Months 12 Months 6 Months
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ANALYSIS
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1. PASS PROGRAM USMLE STEP 1 COURSE

Pass Program Best USMLE Prep Course

OVERALL RATING: 

  • Help When You Need It: There is a great team of instructors that are ready and willing to help with any question you have. Of course they will not tutor you, but if you’ve missed a key concept, you may reach out and get detailed answers in 10-20 minutes and in our testing this is much faster than any other provider.
  • Access: The USMLE Pass Program includes 1 year of access. This is something that other providers have cut back on so keep an eye out when you’re comparing with other courses. It is very important to ensure you have all the time you need and so you don’t have to buy another course after yours expires.
  • Entertaining Lectures: Francis is a teacher that knows how to motivate students. His classes will actually keep you engaged and even excited at times.
  • Not Too Long Or Too Short: Lessons pacing is ideal, not too little, not too long. This ensures you get just enough information but overwhelmed.

USMLE Pass Program Features

  • Price: $899 Self Paced, $2,200+ Live Online
  • Practice Questions: 2,000
  • Video Lectures: 150 Hours
  • Course Length: 5 weeks or 12 weeks
 

The Bottom Line: The USMLE prep course created by Pass Program has been tailored to meet the needs of students by being engaging and informative. Lessons aren’t too long or too short, and the instructors are helpful and entertaining, making it a great choice for students that prefer personal attention.

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2. SMASH USMLE COURSE ONLINE

Best USMLE Exam Prep Course SMASHUSMLE

OVERALL RATING: 

  • Popular and Engaging Video Lectures: Smash USMLE founder, Dr. Adeleke Adesina, has an impressive following among medical students, who love his upbeat and straightforward video lectures and explanations. Some of his most popular videos have been watched millions of times on YouTube!
  • Extensive Question Bank: The Smash USMLE Question Bank includes more than 3,500 practice questions to help students prepare for the Step 1 and Step 2 CK exams. Detailed explanations help students learn why specific answers are right or wrong. The test bank can also be reset twice, and questions are reviewed regularly to ensure they are up-to-date. Practicing thousands of quality questions is a great way to raise your score on the USMLE!
  • Performance Feedback and Analytics: The course dashboard makes it easy to monitor your progress and evaluate your performance as you study for the USMLE exams. One glance at the pie chart shows you the percentage of videos you have watched, and software keeps track of your performance on the practice questions so that you can tailor your studies to those areas that would benefit from additional practice.
  • Basic, Low-Budget Videos: The streaming videos in this course may be popular and dynamic, but they are not in the same league as the professional videos created by more well-known review companies. Adesina’s accent is also somewhat difficult to understand in certain videos, although his English is very good.
  • Refund Policy: Smash USMLE no longer offers a pass guarantee or refunds on any of their courses. Make sure you read our full review and watch their Youtube videos so you get a good idea of what they offer before purchasing.

Smash USMLE Step 1 Features

  • Price: $697+ Self Paced or Live Online (New 2021)
  • Practice Questions: 2,300
  • Video Lectures: 250 Hours
  • Course Length: 3, 6 or 120 months

The Bottom Line: Smash USMLE offers an enticing package with their high volume of practice questions and excellent analytical tools. Their video content is decent as well, although it could still use some improvement.

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3. KAPLAN USMLE STEP 1 PREP COURSE

kaplan usmle step 1 USMLE review

OVERALL RATING:

  • Flexible Course Formats: If you study better in a real classroom setting, Kaplan is one of the few remaining USMLE course providers that offers it. They also provide live-online options which are a great mix of the classroom experience, but with the convenience and ability to study anywhere you want. Then if going at it alone is your style, they have complete full featured, self paced courses or if you’re on a budget you might be able to get away with their USMLE Qbank alone.
  • Large Question Bank and Video Collection: Kaplan Medical’s USMLE Step 1 course give students access to a large number of exam-like questions in a Qbank and include an extensive video library with 2,000+ questions. Cut hours off of your review time by watching videos at 1.5x their regular speed. The high-quality videos are informative and entertaining, making the large body of material less daunting.
  • Diagnostic Exams, Quizzes, and Practice Exams: There are many opportunities for students to test themselves on the knowledge they must master before they sit for the exam. Diagnostic tests, shorter quizzes and full-length simulated exams give students practice and targeted feedback on their ability and performance.
  • Mobile Friendly: All lectures can be viewed from your iPhone an Android device, making it easy to get your study hours in, no matter where you are located. The Step 1 Qbank includes a free app for you to work on practice questions and check answers as well.
  • International Student Friendly: Kaplan Medical has first-rate options for International Students who are preparing to apply for a residency program in the USA. Live, Live Online and On Demand options are supplemented by immersive In Center learning opportunities and study centers with state-of-the-art facilities, computers, internet access, and helpful staff to answer questions.
  • Pricing: Kaplan provides a top tier USMLE course, but it comes at a cost. There are less expensive alternatives that provide similar quality, so if price is a deal breaker you may want to check out the other courses on our list. They also rarely have promotions, so make sure to check out our discounts page regularly so you don’t miss anything.

Kaplan USMLE Step 1 Features

  • Price: $1,999+ Self Paced, Live Online $4,399+, In Person $9,999+
  • Practice Questions: 3,300
  • Video Lectures: 220 Hours
  • Course Length: 4, 7, or 12 months

The Bottom Line: Kaplan has one of the most comprehensive USMLE prep courses on the market. They offer flexible course formats including in person options (which are hard to find these days). If you value real time feedback and want all the bells and whistles to pass then don’t let the price scare you.  It’s a quality course and offers a vast library of practice questions, video content, and simulated exams all focused on helping you pass the exam.

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4. ACHIEVABLE USMLE STEP 1 REVIEW COURSE

Achievable USMLE

OVERALL RATING:

  • Advanced personalization: Advanced personalization: Achievable uses adaptive learning techniques to create and update a personalized model of your memory, individually tracking your retention and mastery of each USMLE learning objective. Their learning engine monitors your study progress and continually reprioritizes your quiz questions to ensure you’re focusing on the topics that matter most for you, improving study effectiveness while reducing overall study time.
  • Modern platform: Whether you’re studying on the web or a smartphone, Achievable’s UX is clean and responsive. Their progress charts highlight your journey through the course content and your current strength in each section.
  • No-nonsense textbook: Achievable’s material cuts off all the fluff so you can focus on the core points of each topic. Reference images, diagrams, and charts are found on nearly every page. Review quizzes on each topic to continually test your understanding.
  • Light Course: We’re not joking when we say Achievable USMLE cuts out the fluff. There are much more comprehensive options available. If you need the extra help we suggest test driving the other courses higher on the list.
  • No Guarantee: It’s important to note that other USMLE courses offer pass, or satisfaction guarantees Achievable does not.

Achievable USMLE Step 1 Features

  • Price: $299
  • Practice Questions: 1,300
  • Video Lectures: 0 Hours
  • Course Length: 10 months
 

The Bottom Line: Achievable’s online textbook and great mobile experience make it an excellent resource so you can study anywhere, and their adaptive learning engine helps you memorize more information in less time.

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5. BOARD VITALS USMLE STEP 1 REVIEW COURSE

BoardVitals Step 1 - USMLE Review Course

OVERALL RATING:

  • Exam-Like Practice Tests: A timer helps students keep track of their progress on each question and the overall exam. You can move back and forth among questions, which are designed to match the difficulty level of the questions on the actual exam. You can also choose between the Timed Mode and the Review Mode when answering practice questions or taking a practice exam.
  • Large Question Bank with Explanations: Detailed explanations and answers for every single practice question form the core of this prep program. You’ll have access to 1,500 board review questions to prepare for the USMLE Step 1 exam. Questions are written and reviewed by practicing physicians, medical faculty, or come from 3 leading medical publishers.
  • Adaptive Learning Technology: You’ll get individualized question recommendations based on your performance. After you’ve answered practice questions and taken a practice test, you can compare your performance to that of other students. Your performance allows the program to suggest specific practice questions for additional study, so that you can focus on those areas that will benefit most from review.
  • Great Price: For the quality of the material, you can’t beat the price. Priced between $79-$199 for up to 6 months of access, this course is a bargain and could easily be combined with other study materials. The pass guarantee makes this offer even better: Board Vitals offers free extended subscriptions to your course if you do not pass the exam for which you are studying.
  • Test Bank Only: While Board Vitals USMLE has quality materials to help you pass, it’s only a test bank. If that’s all you need to pass, then it’s a great deal.

Board Vitals USMLE Step 1 Features

  • Price: $69, $119, or $189
  • Practice Questions: 3,300
  • Video Lectures: 0 Hours
  • Course Length: 1, 3, or 6 months

The Bottom Line: BoardVitals has a great USMLE prep course that contains realistic test simulations and is backed by effective adaptive learning technology. Best of all is that these features come at one of the lowest prices on this comparison. Better yet they even have a monthly option so you can get a taste of what the content and dashboard looks like.

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6. Lecturio USMLE Step 1 Study Materials

OVERALL RATING:

  • Study Schedules Included: Lecturio provides a comprehensive USMLE course that is customizable to an extent. Best of all they include step-by-step study schedules optimized to ensure you stay focused and learn everything you need to succeed.
  • First Aid Match: The Lecturio Bookmatcher offers the fastest way for you to find relevant video lectures for topics in your First Aid® textbook. Simply entering the page number of your First Aid® for the USMLE Step 1 or by scanning the relevant page with a smartphone, you are instantly guided to all applicable videos for your current topics.
  • Adaptive Learning: Memorize key USMLE information faster with the Lecturio adaptive algorithm that tells you exactly when and what you need to repeat to score higher. Their system also allows you to stay on track with regular notifications for questions due.
  • Integration Issues: Lecturio’s learning components and features ar  essentially separated, which means you’ll likely be devoting nearly all your time to navigating Lecturio. If you’re short on time, you may want to look elsewhere. The only other con is the discussion of test taking strategies leading up to test day and on test day. The strategies discussed don’t necessarily apply to all tests (namely, they do not apply to taking the USMLE Step 1 in the USA). Take this lecture with a grain of salt and always verify with your test center what their protocols and rules are.

Lecutrio USMLE Step 1 Features

  • Price: $299
  • Practice Questions: 2,000
  • Video Lectures: 200 Hours
  • Course Length: 3 months, 1 year, 2 year, or 4 year

The Bottom Line: Lecturio’s USMLE study materials are focused on high quality videos and are great for visual learners. This is a contrast to the traditional question bank style of learning, but they have that too. New monthly pricing is very affordable making this a great option to get started with your USMLE prep.

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7. UWORLD USMLE STEP 1 PREP COURSE

best usmle step 1 prep uworld step 1

OVERALL RATING:

  • Extensive Question Bank: UWorld’s Step 1 question bank includes more than 2,200 practice questions. It’s an excellent learning tool with frequently updated questions. All of the questions also come with detailed explanations, and students can compare their performance to other UWorld users to see how they measure up.
  • Self-Assessment Exams: Created by physicians, the self-assessment exams closely resemble the format of the Step 1 exam and consist of 4 blocks of 46 multiple-choice questions. Although the USMLE exam contains 7 blocks, completing several of UWorld’s self-assessments will give you an idea of your strengths and weaknesses. Each assessment comes with a detailed analysis and an approximate 3-digit score.
  • Free Mobile App: The convenience of a free mobile app is always a popular feature with students. Practice questions from UWorld’s extensive Qbank can be accessed from smartphones and tablets whenever you have a few minutes to spare. The app is compatible with iOs and Android and your progress is synced to a central database, so you can move seamlessly between devices while you study.
  • No Video Lectures or Additional Materials: This course does not include video lectures or additional review materials to help you go over the material in a more structured way. UWorld’s approach to studying consists of practice questions, self-assessments, and the feedback generated from your performance on these tasks.

The Bottom Line: Unless video content is a must-have, students will appreciate what UWorld has to offer in their USMLE Step 1 prep course. Expect lots of practice questions, self-assessments, and a handy mobile app.

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