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 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.

Some of the links on this chart are affiliate links, meaning I get small commission (used to fund this website) when you purchase by clicking through. Don’t worry though, by using the USMLE promo codes and USMLE review course discounts you’ll get the best possible deal.

USMLE Step 1 Course Comparisons & Discounts

USMLE Step 1
Smash USMLE review course BoardVitals Step 1 becker usmle






COMPANY Smash USMLE Board Vitals GraduateX USMLE Kaplan USMLE Becker USMLE
PRICE  $399  $179  $289  $1,999  $1,500
DISCOUNTS Save $129.50
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Save $17.90
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Save $57.80
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PRACTICE QUESTIONS 2,000 1,600 1,500+ 2,000  2,000+
VIDEO LECTURES 250 Hours None 200 Hours 200+ Hours
STUDENT SUPPORT Instructor Email Support Email Support  Email Support Instructor Email Support  Email Support
ONLINE ACCESS PERIOD 12 Months 6 Months 12 Months 3 Months 12 Months
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2017 USMLE Step 1 Training Course Rankings

1. Smash USMLE



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.


2. Board Vitals USMLE

BoardVitals Step 1


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.


3. GraduateX USMLE Step 1


Large Question Bank: GraduateX’s USMLE Step 1 course give students access to a vast bank of practice questions. For a fraction of the price, you get almost as many questions as the larger, more comprehensive courses. You’ll have plenty of time to get through all of the different sections, so don’t worry about trying to squeeze all of your studying into a short window.
Mobile: Don’t worry about being in front of the computer for your studying—you can take your USMLE prep on the go with the GraduateX mobile app. While it’s not anything earth shattering, it has all of the basics. So, enjoy your access to the study materials when you’re out of the office or not at home, as you’ll be able to knock out some key lessons while commuting or traveling.
Limited Course: While this prep tool is great for people who are great at studying at their own pace and with written content, there’s a lot that’s missing from this review program. For example, there’s no video content and it covers only the first step of the USMLE. However, there’s plenty of materials for students who have a handle on the information and really just need some repetitive reinforcement and test-taking tips.


4. Kaplan USMLE Step 1

kaplan usmle step 1


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.


5. Becker USMLE Review

becker usmle step 1


Live Online Classes: Becker’s live online classes show expert medical faculty explaining concepts in real time in the evenings and weekends. This is a solid solution if you can’t attend a traditional classroom course but need more structure than a self-study course, but you’re going to overpay for this offering. You’ll get 275 hours of instruction, including integrated cases, and you’ll also get access to eCoach for 9 months, in addition to the large question bank.
Large, Highly-Rated Question Bank: The Step 1 Qbank contains more than 2,000 exam-like questions that are frequently updated in accordance with the latest exams. Students report that the questions are on par with other highly-rated question banks offered by competitors. The low price makes it worth purchasing the question bank alone as a supplement if you choose not to buy the entire course.
Guarantee: It’s hard to not mention the lack of a real guarantee for passing the USMLE—with the amount you’re paying for this course, they should basically hold your hand through the certification process and throw a little party for you once you pass. Instead, you have to jump through hoops and even if you qualify, the refund isn’t sufficient given what you originally paid.
Price: This course is priced way out of many people’s range—it’s almost absurd how expensive the course is, given that there are much better (and cheaper) options out there. I wouldn’t recommend this solution for anyone, as it’s way overpriced and something that will throw you into debt without guaranteeing that you’ll pass the exam.


6. UWorld Step 1

uworld step 1


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.




 Best USMLE Step 1 Prep Courses

Best USMLE Step 1 Prep Courses Practice Questions Price
Becker USMLE 2,000+ $1500
Kaplan USMLE 2,000 $2399
Board Vitals 1,600 $179
Smash USMLE 2,000 $1295
Doctors In Training 1,020 $825
U World Step 1 2,200 $429
Graduate X 1,500 $289
Best USMLE Step 1 Prep Courses
Written by: James Edge
5 / 5 stars


gold top five

USMLE Step 2 CK Prep Courses

gold top fiveYou will be spending many hours preparing for the USMLE Step 2 CK, so it’s crucial to find a study guide that best fits your learning style and background. Don’t let a prep course that is not compatible with your learning style get in the way of passing this important exam!

Your goal is to pass the Step 2 CK exam the first time you take it, so you need to pick the course that is the best fit for your schedule and individual learning style. Otherwise, you will waste money and many hours of studying with materials that won’t help you succeed. Our job at CRUSH is to arm you with enough information to choose the course that is best for you!

For this reason, we have personally researched and reviewed every major Step 2 CK prep course on the market! The comparison chart below will help you figure out which online course best fits your needs.

Step 2 CK Course Comparisons & Discounts

Step 2 CK
Smash USMLE review course BoardVitals Step 2 CK    becker usmle






COMPANY Smash USMLE Board Vitals Kaplan Step 2 Doctors In Training Becker USMLE
PRICE  $399  $199  $2,399  $799 $1,500
PRACTICE QUESTIONS 2,000  900+ 2,000 350  2,000
VIDEO LECTURES 200 Hours 120 Hours  55 Hours  200 Hours

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STUDENT SUPPORT Instructor Email Support Email Support Instructor Email Support  Live Chat, Email, & Phone Support  Email Support
ONLINE ACCESS PERIOD 12 Months 6 Months 3 Months 45 Days  12 Months
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Best USMLE Step 2 CK Prep Courses

USMLE Step 2 CK Courses Practice Questions  Price
Becker 2,000  $1500
Kaplan  2,000  $2,399
Board Vitals 900+  $199
Smash USMLE 2,000 $399
Doctors in Training 350 $799
Best USMLE Step 2 CK Courses
Written by: James Edge
5 / 5 stars


USMLE Step 2 CS Courses

top 2Choosing the right USMLE Step 2 CS prep course is essential if you want to pass the exam the first time you take it.

It will save you both time and money if you take the time to explore the various online options before you commit to a specific prep program. If you choose a prep course that isn’t a good fit for your learning style you won’t be as well prepared for the exam. You might even fail the test and have to start all over from square one. CRUSH wants to make sure that doesn’t happen!

So, the good news is that we have personally researched and reviewed every major USMLE Step 2 CS prep course on the market to help you make the right decision! The comparison chart below outlines the pros and cons of each course and will help you choose the course that complements your strengths. Check out our recommendations below!

Step 2 CS Course Comparison Chart

Step 2 CS
Prep Courses



COMPANY Kaplan Step 2 CS UWorld Step 2 CS
PRICE $700 $70
VIDEO LECTURES  12 Hours Live  Physical Examination Videos
FORMATS  Live Online Course  Online Course, Self Study
STUDENT SUPPORT  In-Class Interaction & Instructor Email Support Email Support & Forum
ONLINE ACCESS PERIOD Thru Course Completion Date 2 Months
Step 2 CS
Prep Courses



Kaplan Step 2 CS UWorld Step 2 CS
$700 $70
 12 Hours Live  Physical Examination Videos
 Live Online Course  Online Course, Self Study
 In-Class Interaction & Instructor Email Support Email Support & Forum
Thru Course Completion Date 2 Months



Best USMLE Step 2 CS Prep Courses

USMLE Step 2 CS Courses Video Lectures  Price
Kaplan 12 Hours Live  $700
USMLE World  Physical Examination Videos  $70
USMLE Step 2 CS Courses
Written by: James Edge
5 / 5 stars


USMLE Step 3 Review Courses

Choosing the USMLE Step 3 prep course that is the best fit for your individual learning style is the most important decision you will make when it comes to passing this final USMLE test on the first try.

You will be spending many hours studying, and the difference between successfully passing or failing the USMLE Step 3 exam could well depend on how well your study materials prepare you. A prep course that isn’t a good fit for your learning style might result in a lower score or even failing the exam, costing you months of study time and additional exam fees.

Here at CRUSH the USMLE we have personally researched and reviewed every major Step 3 review course on the market so you don’t have to!

Step 3 Course Comparisons & Discounts

USMLE Step 3
BoardVitals Step 3




COMPANY Kaplan USMLE Board Vitals Doctors In Training
PRICE $999 $199 $249
VIDEO LECTURES  60 hours 10 hours
STUDENT SUPPORT Instructor Email Support Email Support Live Chat, Email, & Phone Support
ONLINE ACCESS PERIOD 3 Months 6 Months 45 Days

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Best USMLE Step 3 Prep Courses

USMLE Step 3 Courses Practice Questions  Price
Kaplan 900  $999
Board Vitals  1200  $199
Doctors In Training 500  $249
USMLE World 1400 $350
USMLE Step 3 Review Courses
Written by: Bryce Welker
5 / 5 stars


USMLE Discounts and Coupon Codes

On the fence about signing up for USMLE review courses? Why not get discounted study materials and online courses? Sign up here for discounts and coupons to save on your USMLE preparation journey. But, hurry, as deals like 10 percent off on all Smash USMLE products or 20 percent off Becker’s USMLE Step 1 Online Course aren’t going to last!

Becker USMLE Promo Codes

20% OFF Becker USMLE Step 1 Review – Promo Code: PREP20

30% OFF Becker USMLE Step 1 eCoach – Promo Code: ECOACH30

30% OFF Becker’s Step 1 Question Bank – Promo Code: QBANK30

20% OFF Becker USMLE Step 1 Live Online Courses – Coupon: ONLINE20

Board Vitals Coupon Code

BoardVitals coupon

Save 10% OFF all BoardVitals study materials!

This includes their USMLE Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 Practice Tests and Question Bank.

Coupon Code: CRUSHEXAM

Smash USMLE Discount Code

Smash USMLE review courseGet 10% OFF all Smash USMLE products!

This includes their USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK Question Banks and Course Memberships.

Coupon Code: USMLE10

USMLE Discounts
Written by: Bryce Welker
5 / 5 stars
becker usmle

Becker USMLE Review


Becker USMLE offers a number of decent products for medical students who are taking the USMLE exams. The company’s options include live, live-online, and self-study courses, none of which are done especially well. Becker’s self-study option (eCoach) for the Step 1 and Step 2CK exams is an abbreviated course that includes over 200 hours of multimedia material, eBooks, access to the Step 1 question bank, audio lectures and summaries, all in an online self-study format.

Its live online prep course consists of a USMLE Step 1 review that includes 275 hours of live online lectures, 30 hours of integrated cases, access to eCoach, a question bank, textbooks, and one NBME exam with assessment.


1. Live Online Classes

Step 1 students who want a more structured course can sign up for 10 weeks of daily live online virtual classes (in the evenings and on weekends for a total of 275 hours) and 30 hours of live online Integrated Cases with an expert medical faculty member. This course also includes access to eCoach support for 9 months, which would be helpful if the support was actually competent.

2. Annotated Audio Lectures and Video Introductions

becker step 1

Becker’s multimedia instruction covers more than 200 hours of material in its review. Medical school faculty discuss the study material contained in the lectures in great detail.

The “Fastplay mode” allows students to view annotated audio lectures at regular, 1.25x and 1.5x speed, which kind of shows the lack of engaging content if it needs to be sped up so much.

3. Question Bank

becker usmle

Becker has a question bank with more than 2,000 exam-like questions. While the bank is decent, you’ll pay about $100-$300 depending on how many months you want to subscribe, which is a pain for people who want this included in the course price.

Detailed explanations help you understand which answers are correct and why, and your results are tracked so you can see your progress and spend the most time on your weaker areas.

4. Free Resources and Demos

Becker’s courses are more expensive than average, but you can take advantage of offers to sample the Step 1 eCoach Demo for free.

This is a way for students to check out the content and layout of the course to see if it is a good match for their learning style without paying the obnoxiously high price for Becker’s offering.


1. Price

Becker’s Live Online course is priced at $3,949, making this prep course a large investment and one of the most expensive options among the competition, by quite a bit. For what you get, it’s overpriced, especially considering the lack of any type of pass guarantee. It’s not anything we would recommend, unless your last name is Gates or Buffett.

If you are within commuting distance to one of their live review courses, the live review is the least expensive (without hotel room) at $3,399, but let’s be serious, who wants to pay that much for just the course.

2. No Money-back Guarantee

The “Becker Promise” offers students who failed to pass the USMLE after enrolling in Becker’ USMLE Step 1 and Live Online Review Courses the option to repeat the applicable review course for $1,500 off the regular retail price. There are many requirements and stipulations, which makes it difficult to know whether or not you will qualify for the Promise. Please see their website for additional details, but we’re going to guess that you won’t qualify for this terrible guarantee.

3. Interactive Chapter Review Questions

After each online video, students get an opportunity to answer review questions to gauge how well they understand the content of the lecture. This feature helps make students aware of any weak areas so they know when to go back and revisit specific material, but the way the information is presented isn’t ideal. Other courses do it better, trust us.

4. 3D Graphics and Animations

Becker uses technology to enhance studying and comprehension of complex processes and concepts with full-color illustrations, motion graphics and 3D animations, but the presentation is extremely confusing. Becker went overboard on this, making its course more expensive without adding any tangible value.


Becker USMLE’s online study material and live-online courses are disorganized, but take advantage of technological advances in graphics and animations. However, the cost is passed off to the consumer, as this offering is out of many people’s price range.  

The main drawback of Becker’s courses are the price and the quasi guarantee that it tries to pass off as an actual way to get your money back. Although students will get some quality materials, Becker’s courses do include an almost overwhelming amount of information. For what you’re paying, you really should get a better organized offering, a good guarantee, and something that justifies such an expensive asking price.


Becker USMLE Review Breakdown

1. Live Online Class
2. Annotated Audio & Video Lectures
3. Interactive Chapter Review Questions
4. 3D Graphics & Animations
5. 20% OFF USMLE Step 1
6. 20% OFF USMLE Step 1 Question Bank
Becker USMLE
Written by: Bryce Welker
3 / 5 stars

Kaplan USMLE Review


When it comes to USMLE prep, Kaplan USMLE stands out as the industry leader. Kaplan’s Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS and Step 3 prep courses include excellent content and quality materials for all in-person, live online and on demand options.

Comprehensive course materials, including instructional lectures and/or videos, question banks, practice exams, and lecture notes give US and international students access to a wealth of material to prepare them to master the USMLE exams.


1. Extensive Video Library

Access to more than 100 video hours for USMLE step 1 and step 2 preparation (and more than 2oo hours for courses aimed at international medical graduates) convey the large body of information covered on the exams in an entertaining and informative way. Videos are of high quality and can be viewed at 1.5 times their regular speed. Watching videos at top speed allows students to shave hours off of their study time, especially for topics that are more familiar.

usmle step 1 book2. Huge Question Bank

Kaplan has one of the largest question banks in the business. Questions are presented in an exam-like interface and are continually updated by medical faculty and former NBME writers. Students can select questions based on difficulty and high yield, and the question banks for all the different USMLE exams include full explanations for each question, as well as diagnostic and practice tests, overview tables, images, clinical videos and heart sounds.

Page references to First Aid (for Step 1) and USMLE Master the Boards (Step 3) point to external resources for additional information. For the hardest questions you’ll also get 200 mini-lectures (“Qutorials”) from expert medical faculty. A free mobile App compatible with both iPhone and Android) gives students the flexibility to study on the go.

3. Well-Structured and Organized

Kaplan’s methodological approach provides a good amount of structure for students who choose an online, on-demand option rather than a live course. An intuitive online platform with access to diagnostic assessments, practice questions, videos, and full-length practice exams keeps students focused and on track.

Multi-volume sets of carefully constructed lecture notes are included for the Step 1 and Step 2 courses to help you memorize essential information. You’ll also be able to take shorter quizzes, diagnostic tests, as well as one full-length simulation exam for most courses.

4. International Course Options

Kaplan offers a suite of courses aimed specifically at international students who have attended medical schools outside of the US. In addition to various options to prepare for USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 in a Live, Live Online, and On Demand format, international graduates can take an In-Center course at their own pace, which provides live interaction with peers, Kaplan staff, and top-of-the line computer labs to help students with focused review for their exams.

There is also a Step 2 CS prep course, and additional online courses are available to help foreign students navigate the residency application process, learn more about interview preparation, and get answers to questions about medical residency in the US. Kaplan Medical’s Plus Programs also allow students to bundle In Center with Live or Live Online programs for a reduced price.

kaplan app5. Mobile App

The mobile app offers the ultimate in convenience for busy medical students. Practice and review USMLE questions for the different exams from your smartphone whenever you have a few extra minutes. The app is compatible with iPhone and Android devices.


1. Information Overload

Kaplan’s impressive amount of study materials guarantee a full review of the content tested on the exams, but may be daunting for students who have already spent thousands of hours studying in medical school. You will definitely need to stick to a good study plan to get through Kaplan’s staggering number of review questions, video lectures, and ancillary materials.

2. Price

Kaplan Medical’s comprehensive USMLE prep materials are not cheap. These first-rate courses have the most updated material from medical experts, so you can expect to pay a premium price. There is so much material that you may not get your money’s worth if you don’t budget enough time to study for the USMLE exams. If you are looking for Kaplan USMLE discounts get our exclusive coupon code here: .


Kaplan Medical’s comprehensive and user-friendly on demand, live online, and in-person prep courses for students preparing for the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK and CS, and Step 3 are an excellent way to prepare for these challenging exams.

Their courses cover all topics in detail, are well thought-out, and come with a number of convenient features that make it easier to remember the material, regardless of your learning style. Aimed at both US and International medical school graduates, their courses deliver an abundance of study material and practice questions. Kaplan’s USMLE courses should definitely be your first choice if you want to pass your exams on the first try.




  • Hundreds of hours of high quality video lectures
  • Question Banks for each USMLE Step Exam containing practice questions, explanations, and references
  • Mini-tutorials for harder questions
  • Diagnostic tests, subject-based assessment tests, full-length simulated exams
  • Full suite of separate options for International Medical Graduates
  • A full-length simulated exam with detailed explanations
  • Multi-Volume Lecture Notes for Step 1 & Step 2 USMLE exams
  • On Demand, In Person, Live Online, and In Center options for certain courses


Courses for US Medical Students

Step 1 High Yield Course: $599 (3 months) / $799 (12 months)
  Step 1 QBank, 55 hours of video lectures and 1.5x speed viewing option, 28 warm up exercises, multiple-choice quizzes following lectures, clinical correlates, heart sounds and dynamic visuals, page references to medical reference books (First Aid, Pathoma, medEssentials), and dashboard progress reports.

Step 1 Qbank Only: $99 (1 month) /$299 (12 months)

Step 2 CK High Yield Course: $699 (3 months) / $499 (12 months)
Step 2 CK QBank, 45 hours of instruction and 1.5x speed viewing option (also accessible on iPad & iPad mini device), 150 high-yield, exam-style cases, 450+ images, 140 clinical algorithms, 25 clinical videos, 10 heart sounds, online survival guide and study plan, 1 diagnostic exam and 2 full-length simulated exams, and Step 2 Qbank mobile app.

Step 2 CK Qbank Only: $99 (1 month) /$299 (12 months)

Step 3 Qbank: $79 (1 month) /$179 (12 months)

Courses For International Medical Graduates*

Step 1 Comprehensive Courses

Live: $3,999 (7 weeks) / $5,999 (14 weeks)
Live instruction in various US metro areas, small groups, lecture notes, diagnostic tests, exam-like practice questions, Qbank, 2 simulated exams, med advising, guided study, and study centers.

Live Online: $3,999
Online interaction with master faculty through chat and online polling, lecture notes, access to 200+ hours of video lectures, 3900+ quiz questions, clinical correlates, animations,  diagnostic tests, exam-like practice questions, Qbank, 2 simulated exams, and med advising.

In Center: $4,099 (4 months) / $6,499 (7 months) / $7, 999 (10 months)
200 hours+ of video lectures by master faculty, self-paced study, 3,900+ quiz questions, clinical correlates, animations, lecture notes, diagnostic tests, exam-like practice questions, Qbank, 2 simulated exams, guided study, I20-eligible full-service study center, and med advising.

On Demand: $1,999 (4 months) / $2,999 (7 months)
200 hours+ of video lectures by master faculty, self-paced study, 3,900+ quiz questions, clinical correlates, animations, lecture notes, diagnostic tests, exam-like practice questions, Qbank, and 2 simulated exams.

Step 1 Live Online Question-Based Integration: $599
7 sessions (28 hours) of live online, case-based review (Pathophysiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, and Microbiology), and real-time answers by faculty and physician teaching assistants.

Step 2 CK Comprehensive Courses:

Live: $3,799
Includes: 6 weeks of live instruction by master faculty in various US metro areas, 219 lecture hours, small groups, lecture notes, diagnostic tests, exam-like practice questions, Qbank, 2 simulated exams, guided study, med advising, and  I20-eligible study centers.

Live Online: $3,499
Includes: 12-week schedule, 7 months of on demand access, online interaction with master faculty through chat and online polling, lecture notes, access to 213 hours of lectures, 115 hours of video lectures, 1,700+ quiz questions, diagnostic tests, exam-like practice questions, Qbank, 2 simulated exams, and med advising.

In Center: $3,999 (4 months) / $5,999 (7 months)
115+ hours of video lectures by master faculty, self-paced study, 1,700+ quiz questions, lecture notes, diagnostic tests, exam-like practice questions, Qbank, 2 simulated exams, guided study, study center, I20-eligible facility, and med advising.

On Demand:  $1,999 (4 months) / $2,999 (7 months)
115+ hours of video lectures by master faculty, self-paced study, 1,700+ quiz questions, lecture notes, diagnostic tests, exam-like practice questions, Qbank, and 2 simulated exams. Personalized computer analysis system measures Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS), Spoken English Proficiency (SEP), and the Integrated Clinical Encounter (ICE).

Step 2 CS Comprehensive Courses

LivePrep: $2,999
Includes: in-depth, small-group training on effective physician-patient communication, conducting patient histories, performing a focused physical exam, and writing concise patient notes in a well-equipped Kaplan learning center. Simulated clinical skills assessment and feedback. Step 2 CS lecture notes.

1-Day Practice Exam: $1,499
Includes: Practice Exam in Newark, NJ; Chicago, IL; or Monrovia, CA. Practice under exam-like conditions with 11-12 standardized patient encounters, and receive a detailed performance analysis report with feedback.

Live Online: $700
Four 3-hour sessions to review Step 2 CS exam content, patient notes, strategies for passing the exam, videos of full-length encounters with certified standardized patients, answers to questions and live feedback from instructors, live chat, and ability to compare your performance with that of other students.

Step 3 Comprehensive Courses

Live: $1,499
Includes: 100 hours of lectures taught by master faculty over a 12-day schedule, additional videos on patient safety and quality improvement, lecture notes, diagnostic test, 900 exam-like practice questions in Qbank, guided study, med advising, and  I20-eligible study centers.

Live Online: $1,299
Includes: 5-week schedule, online interaction with master faculty through chat and online polling, lecture notes, access to 100+ hours of video lectures, can access all lectures from your smartphone, diagnostic test, 900 exam-like practice questions in Qbank, and med advising.

In Center: $2,799
100+ hours of video lectures by master faculty, self-paced study, access all lectures from smartphone, lecture notes, diagnostic tests, 900 exam-like practice questions in Qbank, guided study, study center, I20-eligible facility, and med advising.

On Demand:  $499
100+ hours of video lectures by master faculty, self-paced study, access all lectures from smartphone, lecture notes, diagnostic test, 900 exam-like practice questions in Qbank, and additional practice questions in assessments.

*Prices for Step 1, Step 2CK, and Step 3 Qbanks only are same as for US medical students, above.

Kaplan’s Plus Programs let you combine On Demand with Live programs and In Center programs. Please see Kaplan Medical’s website for additional details on bundling courses and related discounts.



Kaplan USMLE Review Breakdown

1. Extensive Video Library
2. Huge Question Bank
3. Well Structured & Organized
4. International Course Options
5. Mobile App
6. Industry Leader
Kaplan USMLE Review
Written by: James Edge
3 / 5 stars


Board Vitals

Board Vitals USMLE Review

Board VitalsRATING:

Board Vitals USMLE offers students large questions banks for the Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 exams.  The practice questions come from expert sources along with detailed explanations to help students learn exactly why specific answers are correct or incorrect.

Students can choose between the Timed Mode and the Review Mode when answering questions or taking a practice exam, all at a bargain price.


board vitals usmle1. Timed Practice Exams

Students can see a timer for each individual question in addition to the timer for the entire practice exam to help them work on finding the right pace to succeed on the exam. The board review questions are designed to simulate both the difficulty level and the time required for actual questions on the exam. As on the actual exam, it’s possible to move back and forth among questions and change your answers.

2. Large Question Bank

The real benefit of this program comes in the detailed explanations and answers for every single practice question. Students will have no shortage of opportunities for practice, with access to 1,500 questions for the USMLE Step 1, 900+ for Step 2, and 1,200+ for the Step 3 exams. Questions are written by practicing physicians, or come from leading medical publishers and research organizations.

3. Score Comparison Tool

After you’ve answered practice questions and taken a practice test, you can compare your performance to that of other students taking the USMLE exam. Your performance also allows the program to suggest individualized practice questions for additional study, so that you will focus on those areas that will benefit most from review.

board vitals free trial3. Free Study Materials

BoardVitals gives students access to a few free practice questions from each exam, a free question guide for the USMLE Step 2 and Step 3 exams, and advice and tips for taking the various exams. They also post the USMLE Step 3 Content Outline (from USMLE) on their site for your convenience.

4. Price

Priced at just $79-$199, Board Vitals’ prep courses are the least expensive option of those we reviewed. They are a great supplement to a rigorous study program for the USMLE exams, in fact, Board Vitals recommends on their website that you use their question bank in conjunction with other study materials.

*Save 10% OFF  Show Coupon

5. Pass Guarantee

Board Vitals stands by their products and offers free extended subscriptions to courses if you do not pass the exam for which you are studying. Qualifying clients are eligible for a free subscription for the length of time they originally purchased. You’ll get continued access for as long as you need to pass your certification or board exam. Just submit a copy of the letter or notice that states you did not pass your exam. Please see the Board Vitals website for additional details and requirements for the pass guarantee.


1. No Video Lessons or Instructional Content

These prep courses consist exclusively of a digital question bank with practice questions and explanations, and practice tests. Students hoping to find live or recorded lectures or review material to help them get a general overview of the exams should look elsewhere.

2. No Mobile App

Although the question bank is accessible from mobile phones, there is no mobile app to make it more convenient for students study. Flashcards, games or other review material in a more portable fashion would be a nice feature.


If you’re looking for a lot of practice questions in a format that is true to the actual exam at an affordable price, Board Vitals’ online prep options for the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 3 exams are a good choice. You won’t get live options, lectures or interaction with instructors, but you will get plenty of practice with first-rate questions and practice tests that are close to the real thing. Answering the practice questions and reviewing why specific answers are correct or incorrect is one of the best ways to prepare for the USMLE exams.



  • 1,500 USMLE Step 1 Board Review Questions
  • 900+ USMLE Step 2 Board Review Questions
  • 1,200+ USMLE Step 3 Board Review Questions
  • Ability to Flag Questions for Further Review
  • Covers all Categories Presented on the Exams
  • Answers and Detailed Explanations for Every Question
  • Choose From Timed Mode and Review Mode
  • Suggested Practice Questions Presented Based on Performance
  • Pass Guarantee

Step 1, Step 2 & Step 3 Pricing:

Same Price for All Steps (each sold separately)

Access for 1 month: $79
Access for 3 months: $129
Access for 6 months: $199



Board Vitals USMLE Review Breakdown

1. Timed Practice Exams
2. Large Question Bank
3. Score Comparison Tool
4. 10% Off Study Materials
5. Free Study Materials
Board Vitals USMLE Review
Written by: James Edge
5 / 5 stars
Smash USMLE review course

Smash USMLE Review


Smash USMLE was founded by Dr. Adeleke Adesina, a practicing ER physician and experienced USMLE instructor. Smash USMLE’s goal is to offer students engaging video lectures and study materials that will help them pass the Step 1 and Step 2 CK exams on the first attempt.


smash usmle video lecture1. Video Lectures

The company stresses its commitment to providing students with straightforward, encouraging video lectures presented by an experienced and upbeat instructor. In hundreds of hours of recorded videos, Dr. Adesina explains key terms and conditions and uses a white board to illustrate and emphasize his main points. Many students prefer this more dynamic approach compared to the standard narrated Powerpoint presentations, which can be quite dull.

2. Large Question Bank

With more than 3,500 high quality questions in total for the Step 1 and Step 2 CK exams, the test banks for this course give students ample opportunity to practice thousands of questions before they take their exams. The test bank can be reset twice, and the questions are reviewed by clinicians to make sure that they remain up-to-date.

3. Content is Very Popular with Students

Dr. Adesina has a large number of fans. His extremely popular videos have been downloaded MILLIONS of times on YouTube and students love his great explanations and straightforward teaching style. Whatever this course may lack in advanced web design and appearance is made up for by Adesina’s enthusiasm and genuine desire to help medical students pass the USMLE exams.

audiobook image4. Image Bank & Audio Books

These are two nice features that are typically not included in other USMLE prep courses. Students can review information while they are commuting, exercising, or when they are out and about by listening to the audio books. Detailed medical images are also available to increase your understanding and aid memorization while you study.

5. Progress and Performance Feedback

You can see your progress in the course in the dashboard area of the Smash USMLE site. A pie chart shows you exactly what percentage of the videos you have watched, and how much you have left to review. In the test bank, questions come with complete, detailed explanations for the correct answer choice, and the software keeps track of how you are performing in various categories.

6. Money Back Guarantee

Smash USMLE wants its customers to be absolutely satisfied with their products. They offer a 100% refund if you do not pass your boards. You must provide documentation/proof of your board scores in order to receive a full refund. Please see the Smash USMLE website for additional details and requirements regarding their refund policy.

*Be sure to save 10% OFF all Smash USMLE test prep with this coupon code:

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1. Low-Budget Videos

The video lessons are very basic. As you can see in the free trial videos, Dr. Adesina typically stands in front of a white board with a lot of writing on it, and lectures about specific topics. Most of the drawings are good, but the text is can be small and difficult to read at times.

Adesina’s English is excellent, but his accent is somewhat distracting and makes it difficult to understand certain topics in some of the lectures. The videos cannot be downloaded because of copyright concerns, so they must be streamed to your device which means you’ll need a solid internet connection to study.


Dr. Adesina’s encouraging personality and straightforward delivery makes even the most complex medical topics that are frequently tested on the USMLE exams easier to understand. A motivational video clip featuring scenes of famous actors and movies on the course website serves to inspire medical students never to give up until they achieve their dreams.

Despite some of the low-tech and somewhat amateurish features of this prep course, Dr. Adesina has an encouraging personality that shines through in his easy-to-understand and friendly lectures. It is not surprising that he has so many happy fans and supporters.

If you are looking for a review course that breaks the most commonly tested medical concepts and topics down into more easily digested and comprehensible segments, and if you don’t care so much about more advanced features or course analytics, the videos are worth watching for their upbeat and helpful message alone. Be sure to take advantage of their 15-day free trial to determine if this is the right course for you!




  • 450+ total hours of video lectures for Step 1 and Step 2 CK
  • 3,500+ total number of practice questions for Step 1 and Step 2 CK
  • Flash cards
  • 2 study guides/test prep books
  • USMLE Advisor
  • Progress tracking (percentage of videos watched)
  • Performance analysis
  • Audio book guide
  • Online calendar
  • Money-back guarantee


Step 1 Membership Plans: $399 (3 months) / $499  (6 months) / $599 (12 months)
Review course with 250+ hours of lectures, question bank with 1,900+ practice questions, flash cards, tracking of viewing progress of video lectures, USMLE step 1 study guide/prep book, USMLE Advisor (exam tips via video), audio book guide, online calendar, and performance analysis.

Step 1 Qbank Only: $99.99 (1 month) /$149.99 (2 months) / $199.99 (6 months) / $299 (12 months)

Step 2 CK Membership Plans: $399 (3 months) / $499  (6 months) / $599 (12 months)
Review course with 220+ hours of lectures, question bank with 1,700+ practice questions, flash cards, image bank, USMLE step 2 study guide/prep book, USMLE Advisor (exam tips via video), audio book guide, and online calendar.

Step 2 CK Qbank Only: $99.99 (1 month) /$149.99 (2 months) / $199.99 (6 months) / $299 (12 months)

*Don’t miss out on your chance to Save 10% OFF all Smash USMLE products with this coupon code!



Smash USMLE Review Breakdown

1. Video Lectures
2. Large Question Bank
3. Very Popular Content
4. Helpful Image Bank & Audio Books
5. Progress & Performance Feedback


Smash USMLE Review
Written by: James Edge
5 / 5 stars



GraduateX USMLE Step 1 Review


GraduateX USMLE review prep gives you a simple and customizable way to study for the United States Medical Licensing Examination, Step 1. It’s best to use this course as early as possible during your studying track, as the sooner you delve in using the platform’s finely tuned strategies, the less time you’ll have to devote to your preparation. With a number of features that are available either online or via mobile devices, you’ll have plenty with which to work wherever you are.

While they may not have video lectures and don’t offer some of the features that the heavy hitters of the USMLE prep industry do, it’s a simple and cheaper route on which to go. So, if you’re in the market for a smaller, yet still comprehensive option, this could be your best bet.


1. Mobile Option

While it’s not the best mobile application within the USMLE prep industry, GraduateX offers a great tool for anyone who needs to bring their studying on the road. The app gives you the chance to access the many strategic lessons or practice questions that will get you ready for the exam via your mobile device. It’s a simple, yet powerful tool that not all preparatory courses offer. So, take advantage of the mobility that GraduateX provides.

2. Guarantee

Some of the top-rated courses don’t have any type of refund or guarantee. While this isn’t a huge detriment, the ones that do offer this assurance definitely score some points with students. GraduateX offers test-takers a 30 day money back guarantee. This gives prospective medical professionals a chance to really dip their toes in and test the waters with this course. If you’re not happy with how it is structure and the overall structure, don’t fret, as you’ll get your money back!

GraduateXImage23. Practice Questions

With more than 1,500 practice questions, you’re not going to run out of material with this course. GraduateX includes a number of relevant queries and organizes them into a learning path that’s unique to each test-taker. Since the content is available via mobile, you’re going to enjoy taking these questions with you on the road. And, if you have any questions, the GraduateX team will answer them and guide you through the answer.

4. Memory Enhancement

Part of the difficulty of the USMLE is the sheer amount of information that is necessary for you to store inside that already cramped brain of yours! So, GraduateX culled through the mountains of memory-enhancing guides and found several key strategies to include in its course. One of its main and unique topics focuses on the many ways you can bolster your memorization skills—this helps with formulas, terms, and diagrams. Also, it should help to cut down on the total amount of time that you need to study!

GraduateXImage15. Simplicity

You’re going to see something similar in the Cons section, with regard to this course being “basic.” But, while some consider simplicity to be a bad thing, there are many learners who prefer a black and white approach to studying. GraduateX USMLE prep is the bare bones version of a review course—there’s nothing outside of the essentials for this product. The company has gathered only the most important information and strategies for taking the test, and grouped these nuggets of wisdom into a palatable online prep course. You’re going to get community questions as a unique feature, but other than that, this is a limited prep tool.


1. Video Lectures

With the GraduateX USMLE review, you’re not going to get access to an extensive video collection, as the lectures are constrained to a written version. While it’s not an essential for this type of prep, other companies offer the video services. So, if you’re an independent learner who doesn’t require visual cues and lectures, this won’t be an issue for you. However, if you prefer being dropped into a classroom via a video link, this will be a turnoff for you during the buying process.

2. Basic

While other courses have invested significant amounts of time and money into their online dashboards and programs, GraduateX is on the simpler side. There really isn’t too much to this course, as it’s about as simple as it gets. Though that may not be ideal for some learners, others will like the simplistic take on USMLE prep. There’s nothing here but strategies, questions, and terminology breakdowns—you just need to decide if this is what you want out of your course.


GraduateX’s USMLE review is one of the best options for those who don’t want to spend a fortune on test prep. There’s not any shiny bells and whistles in this course, but it has the essentials and a lot of test-taking strategies and memorization technique tips. If you want to just try it out, use the money back guarantee to assure that you pay only if you are satisfied with the layout and structure of the course.

Thanks to the mobile prep tool and flexible year one plan, you’ll have plenty of time to get through the course’s 1,500+ questions. If you have questions of your own, the experts at GraduateX will provide thorough answers to your inquiries. Also, the community for this course will help you through certain sections, as you can see with what other students are struggling. Overall, this is a great review tool for people who just need some general direction and targeted practice.


GraduateX USMLE Review Breakdown

1. Guarantee
2. Simplicity
3. Memory Enhancement
4. Mobile
5. Practice Questions
Graduate X USMLE Review
Written by: James Edge
4 / 5 stars

USMLE World Step 1 Review


USMLE World, also known as UWorld, is an online prep course that focuses on self-assessment exams and includes an excellent question bank. This affordable option is best paired with additional study materials, as there are no video lectures or textbooks.


1. Extensive Question Bank

USMLE World’s question bank is quite extensive and includes more than 2,200 practice questions. It’s an excellent learning-tool for anyone taking the exam because the questions are frequently updated to ensure they remain closely aligned with the latest version of the Step 1 USMLE. Working your way through the entire Qbank one or even several times should dramatically increase your chances for a good score. All of the questions also come with detailed explanations and you can compare your performance scores with those of other UWorld users.

2. Self-assessment Exams

Their self-assessment exams are very useful as well. Having an idea of your level of ability before you decide where to focus your study efforts will save you time and get you acclimated to the exam format. Created by physicians, the self-assessment exams closely resemble the step 1 format, as they are broken down into 4 blocks of 46 multiple-choice questions. Although the actual exam contains 7 blocks of questions, completing several self-assessments will give students a very good sense of their strengths and weaknesses. Students have found these exams to be very helpful, particularly because each assessment comes with detailed analysis of strengths, weaknesses, and an approximate 3-digit score based on UWorld’s statistical data.

3. Free Mobile App

Having a free mobile app is always a welcome feature in any prep program. This means that busy students can practice questions from UWorld’s extensive Qbank on the go, whenever they have a few minutes to spare. The app is compatible with iOs and Android. Everything is synced to a central database, so you can move seamlessly between various devices while you study.

4. Affordable Pricing

For the amount of practice and feedback provided, UWorld’s prep option is competitively priced. The extensive question bank, self-assessment exams, a mobile app, and in-depth progress tracking, students will get a lot for their money.


1. No Video Lectures

This course consists primarily of practice questions, practice exams, and the feedback generated from your performance. You won’t get any lectures or review in the form of videos or study guides.

2. No Study Books or Notes

USMLE World offers subject review materials in biostatistics for students who are preparing for the USMLE Step 1, but these are only available in electronic form, and the material isn’t designed to replace lecture notes or study books. If you’re looking for a fully comprehensive prep course, USMLE World may not be the best option. It may be a good idea to use additional materials to study for the exam.


USMLE World provides future physicians a more affordable way to study for the USMLE Step 1 Exam. They provide great tools to help students practice and assess those areas that need improvement. Although this course is not as comprehensive prep course as some of the competition, it would make a great supplementary study tool for those who are looking for extra practice.


Features and Pricing:

Step 1 Question Bank (30 days) & Self-assessment Form 1 and 2 (two weeks each): $169

Step 1 Question Bank (60 days) & Self-assessment Form 1 and 2 (two weeks each): $219

Step 1 Question Bank (90 days) & Self-assessment Form 1 and 2 (two weeks each): $259

Step 1 Question Bank (180 days) & Self-assessment Form 1 and 2 (two weeks each): $329

Step 1 Question Bank (360 days) & Self-assessment Form 1 and 2 (two weeks each): $429

Biostatistics Subject Review Subscription (90 days): $25


To compare the Best USMLE prep courses, please click the button below:



USMLE World Review Breakdown

1. Extensive Question Bank
2. Self Assessment Exams
3. Free Mobile App
4. Affordable Pricing


USMLE World Step 1 Review
Written by: Bryce Welker
3 / 5 stars


Doctors in Training Review


Doctors In Training offers user-friendly online prep courses at an affordable price for the Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 USMLE exams. The program videos are taught by licensed MD educators and cover a lot of key information. Students get access to a large amount of study material at a lower cost than many other review courses.


1. Extensive Video Series

Licensed physician educators present more than 180 videos in shorter chunks to aid the memorization process. The videos are particularly helpful if they are watched immediately after reading (or at least skimming) the corresponding chapters in the First Aid book. Lectures include interactive whiteboard instruction, animations and other memory aids to make the information stick.

The Step 1 course consists of three parts: 1) the primer series, which gives students unlimited access to 30 videos with most important information that is tested on the USMLE, 2) Part 1 questions, which includes 340 open-ended study questions (in batches of 10, 3 times a week), and 3) the Part 2 video series, which contains an additional 70 videos. A sample video for Step 1 is available on the website for those who want to check it out first. The Step 2 CK course also includes 50+ hours of videos in addition to video answers to questions. The Step 3 course includes 37 videos in addition to other study materials.

2. Video Answers, Illustrations, Animations, and X-Rays

Doctors in Training’s Step 1 course includes many practice questions that are accompanied by video answers. The course also includes hundreds of animations, illustrations, x-rays, heart sounds, pathology slides, and clinical images to help students remember the information for the exam. A personal dashboard and downloadable study guides round out the course.

3. Free Study Plan

You can check out DIT’s detailed, free study plan for various scenarios on their website to plan ahead and get an idea of how many days a week and how many hours you will need to complete the program before exam day. The study plan shows how many videos you will need to watch each day, depending on the number of weeks you have to study.

4. Student Support

Doctors in Training gives its clients several options when they have questions or need support. The industry standard for student support in most prep courses comes down to emailing questions and waiting for a response. DIT offers students both live chat and phone support. This is especially useful for online learners, who often lack direct access to an instructor.

5. Affordable Price

For a prep course with a good number of quality online lectures in addition to a question bank, Doctors In Training’s Step 1 course is very affordable. Priced at $825, the Step 1 Review Course is the least expensive option we reviewed that includes video lectures. The Step 2 CK course costs an equally reasonable $799, and the Step 3 review will only cost you $249. If you need extra time to review, you can extend the Step 1 and Step 2 CK courses by one week for an additional $200 each.


1. No Full-Length Practice Exams

The DIT review course only includes quizzes; there are no practice exams that simulate the actual USMLE exam. Their website does include information about taking the USMLE Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 practice exams offered by the NBME, however, no full-length practice exams are included in any of DIT’s courses.

2. Limited Access Time

Although some students like to cram for exams at the last minute, the limited access time to the courses makes it difficult for students who like to plan ahead to spread their study time over several months to a year if they do not pay for the 1-month extension. For example, the Step 1 Course only allows for 45 days of unlimited access to the Part 2 videos.

3. Quality of Lecturers Varies

Some students have reported that certain videos are less helpful because the lectures are too wordy or include information that is not essential for the Step 1 exam. Busy medical students will obviously prefer succinct presentations of the most crucial information to maximize efficiency. There has been some criticism of presenters who are trying to liven their lectures up by being entertaining at the expense of delivering valuable information or strategies at the same time.


DIT’s online video lectures and the question bank are helpful tools to prepare for the USMLE at an affordable price. This course would be stronger if it also offered practice exams to prepare students for the actual exam, and if the lectures were more streamlined and focused more on high-yield information that is covered on the USMLE exams.

Those who learn best by watching video lectures and working through video problems will gain the most from DIT’s courses. The bottom line is that DIT is a good resource when used in addition to one of the bigger review companies, such as UWorld or Kaplan. Many students also find DIT’s Step 1 course to be more useful than the Step 2 CK or Step 3 courses.


  • More than 180 videos to prepare students for the Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 USMLE exams
  • 800+ Images, Illustrations, Charts, Graphs, Animations, X-Rays, and Pathology Slides
  • Student Support via Live Chat and Phone
  • Emailed Study Questions
  • Practice Questions with Video Answers for All Three Steps
  • Study Hints and Quizzes
  • Downloadable PDF Study Guides
  • Study Calendar


Step 1 Review Course: $825

Step 2 CK Review course: $799

Step 3 Review Course: $249

One week extension of the Step 1 and Step 2 CK courses: $200 each.

To compare the Best USMLE Step 1 prep courses, please click the button below:




Doctors In Training Review Breakdown

1. Extensive Video Series
2. Videos, Answers, Illustrations
3. Free Study Plan
4. Student Support
5. Affordable Price


Doctors In Training Step 1 Review
Written by: Bryce Welker
3 / 5 stars

Pass Program USMLE Review


Overall, reviewing Pass Program was a positive experience; much of it very useful, but some aspects of the course seemed a bit amateur.

Pass Program’s online lectures are well-rounded, and the subjects are taught well. They also provide their students with a cool online learning-tool to really emphasize the main points of each lecture.


1. Videos

Pass Program has great videos, mainly because of Dr. Francis. He is a very good educator and having him explain all of the topics is a plus. He uses questions well, helping the students understand the concepts and not just memorize them.

Dr. Francis’ way of teaching might divide opinions as he shouts at times (although, not angrily) to emphasize points, but for the most part it is not disturbing and actually helps with the monotony of long study sessions.

2. Self-Assessment Quizzes

The online lectures come with very useful self-assessment quizzes. The quizzes comprise of 5 multiple-choice questions that cover the material in each lecture. What really make these quizzes great though, is the video explanation for each question. This really helps you to improve no matter how you performed the first time.

3. Practice Exams

While the self-assessment quizzes are fantastic,  there’s nothing quite like getting 2 NBME practice exams to prepare you for the real deal. Practicing with the actual test format is very important and really helps this course stand out.

4. Free Demo

Pass Program has a demo on their site showing how to use their software and better yet a few sample lectures from Dr. Francis. This is a nice little feature to give prospective students an overall idea of what to expect as far as the main lecturer and study portal are concerned. They want students to know what they’re getting, which gives the course more credibility.


1. No Question Bank

Pass Program is not a one-stop-shop kind of deal as they do not provide their online students with  access to a question bank. They do; however, provide 5 videos at the end of each topic that show how to approach different types of questions. In total they have about 180 topical question videos that they provide. Students might want to supplement this course with a question bank from another company.

2. No Guarantee for Online Course

Students taking the 8 week live course with Pass Program are guaranteed their money back in case they fail the step 1. Unfortunately the program doesn’t extend this offer to its online students.


Overall this course has some solid strengths. The videos really drive some important points home in a unique and interesting way, while covering all the main subjects. A main issue with this course was the lack of a question bank, so I’d suggest looking into a more comprehensive USMLE prep course.


  • Online lectures on almost 40 topics
  • Course notes book
  • Questions with video answers
  • Student support
  • Practice exams


3 Month Access: $999

6 Month Access: $1699

12 Month Access: $2750

To compare the Best USMLE prep courses, please click the button below:



Pass Program USMLE Course Information

Pass Program Strengths
1. Videos
2. Self Assessment Quizzes
3. Practice Exams
4. Free Demo
5. Audio Review Course
6. Financing Options


Top Paying Medical Careers

Becoming a physician is not an easy thing to do. From getting into medical school, to passing your courses, to passing the boards, to working for years in hospitals specializing, the road is long and demanding.

Once you get there though, all the hard work can be seen in the size of the pay checks you receive. Specialized physicians performing operations are at the top of the pay scale, whilst medical doctors opting for a career in education and research receive a more modest compensation.

In this article I’ll list some of the top paying careers in the field of medicine.

Anesthesiologist Salary

An anesthesiologist is a medical doctor specializing in administration of proper anesthesea for surgical or medical procedure. An anesthesiologist will monitor patients for reactions and complications as well as ensure comfort and pain management before, during and right after the procedure.

These days, the job description of an anesthesiologist can span beyond the surgical setting in a hospital. Anesthesiologists are required in dental clinics, delivery units, pain clinics, intensive care units as well as in research and education. Anesthesiologists are reported to experience a high level of job satisfaction.

When it comes to compensation, anesthesiologists are close to top of the ranks. reports a median salary of $260,497.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 11.47.24

According to’s annual compensation report on anesthesiologists from 2014, the mean salary for anesthesiologists was $338,000. About 6% of the professionals earn less than $100,000 annually while 11% reach a salary of over $500,000 (according to 2013 report).

Orthopedic Surgeon Salary

Orthopedic surgeons’ patients are people who need diagnosis or treatment on bone, ligament, skeletal, tendon or muscle injuries or diseases. They perform surgeries ranging from setting fractured or broken bones to installing implants.

The purpose for orthopedic surgeries is to save, replace and fix broken or unfunctional bones and joint as well as improve skeletal health.

The meadian annual salary for an orthopedic surgeon according to is $302,278.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 13.38.39

However, according to’s 2014 compensation report the average pay for an orthopedics was $413,000 making this specialization field the top ranking career in the medical profession measured by compensation. Medscape’s 2013 report suggests that a whopping 35% of physicians in this field earn $500,000 or more annually while 11% earn less than $100,000.

Cardiologist Salary

A cardiologist is a physician with specialization in finding, diagnosing, treating and preventing heart and blood vessel related diseases.

The field of cardiology can be divided into invasive and non-invasive cardiology.

Invasive cardiology entails pace-maker insertion, heart catheterization, emergency angioplasty and cardiac ablation.

Non-invasive cardiology on the other hand focuses on prevention of cardiovascular diseases and managing patients with health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other diseases related to the cardiovascular system.

The salary of a cardiologist is significantly influenced by whether or not they perform invasive procedures.
Here’s’s illustration for non-invasive cardiologists income:

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 15.11.58

And here’s the same scale for cardiologists performing invasive procedures:

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 15.13.48

As you can see, the hike in compensation between invasive and non-invasive cardiology professionals is substantial.

Dermatologist Salary

Dermatologists diagnose and treat skin, hair and nail related diseases such as eczema, acne, skin cancer and nail infections. Dermatologists can also perform cosmetic procedures to improve the appearance of their patient’s skin, hair and nails.

Dermatologists may specialize for example in pediatric dermatology, cosmetic dermatology or dermatopathology.

Dermatologists use diagnostic techniques such as biopsies to determine appropriate and effective care and treatment for their patients. Dermatologists may also perform fairly minor out-patient surgeries such as removing cancerous cells or moles from the skin.

A career in dermatology is fairly lucrative. According to the median annual income of a dermatologist is $202,468:

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 20.16.59

According to’s 2014 compensation report the average annual earnings for a dermatologist was $308,000. Same report states that dermatologists experience the highest level of job satisfaction out of all the medical physician groups

Oncologist Salary

Medical oncologists ore physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating cancer.

Oncologists have normally first completed a residency in internal medicine followed by an oncology fellowship. Typical tasks in this field include making diagnosis, keeping record of patients test results and adjusting patients treatment when needed.

Overall, the goal is improving cancer patients quality of life by selecting and administrating appropriate treatment and pain relief. Oncologists take care of the patients all the way from cancer diagnosis to recovery or death. Oncologists are expected to make difficult assessments when it comes to prescribing treatments and evaluating whether or not patients can even withstand the rigors of cancer treatments.

According to the median salary for an oncologist is $217,856 annually.

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According to’s annual compensation report in 2014 the average compensation received by oncologists is $290,000.

Plastic Surgeon Salary

Plastic Surgeons dedicate their careers to improving aesthetics of the human body as well as reconstructing mobility to patients who have suffered injuries.

Reconstructive surgery is used when a patient has been in an accident for example to restore broken bones, or damaged muscles or skin. Reconstructive surgery is used in cases where a patient has skin injuries such as burns and a surgeon uses skin grafts to help the healing. The goal for reconstructive surgery is to mimic the patients natural appearance.

Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, aims to enhance or maintain the patients appearance. Procedures typical to cosmetic surgery include body lifts, breast augmentations and hair replacements. Cosmetic surgeons also perform non-surgical procedures such as botox injections.

According to’s 2014 data, the median salary for plastic surgeons in the US is $246,176.

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The earnings of a plastic surgeon depend to some extent of their specialization. Physicians in this field working in hospitals making skin transplants for burn victims is likely to be paid less than a colleague specializing in cosmetic surgery for a financially successful clientele.

According to’s 2014 compensation report the average salary for a plastic surgeon on an annual level is $321,000, making it one of the more lucrative specialization areas. However, according to the same report plastic surgeons experience the lowest level of job satisfaction out of all the medical doctor specialization groups.

General Surgeon Salary

General surgeons operate on important parts of the human body such as the endocrine system, gastrointestinal tract, liver, and colon for example.

It is mandatory for a general surgeon to have extensive knowledge entailing anatomy, physiology, immunology, metabolism, nutrition, wound healing, shock and resuscitation, intensive care, and pathology, which are at the core of all different specialities of surgery.

General Surgeons are consulted on a multitude of issues and they tend to be in charge of patients in need of multi-system care. Thorough training in wide-ranging areas makes general surgeons essential in the health care system.

According to’s 2014 data the median income for a general surgeon on an annual level is $234,470.

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Practitioners of general surgery made a salary averaging at $295,000 per year according to’s 2014 report.

Heart Surgeon Salary

Heart surgeons do pretty much what is says on the box – they focus their surgical work on the heart and blood vessels of the thoracic cavity. This may include anything between removing tumors to performing a heart transplant to fixing a leaking valve to coronary artery bypass surgery.

Majority of times heart surgeons consult with patient’s other physicians in order to learn about any potential risks that might cause complications and influence the outcome of the surgery. Heart surgery is a high-stress field where a doctor’s knowledge and abilities may mean the difference between life and death for their patients. reports a median salary of $288,274 per annum for heart surgeons:

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Overall, heart surgery is a growing field and heart surgeons get compensated accordingly. Over the next decade or so this field I expected to glow 18% in the US and therefore the pay is expected to grow as well with the hike in demand.

Oral Surgeon Salary

Oral surgeons are specialists concentrating on oral defects, diseases and deformations. They treat teeth, mouth, jaws and the face. Oral surgeons treat patients for example with problems with their wisdom teeth as well as trauma patients with face injuries.

Dental surgeons work closely with dentists and orthodontists to evaluate the treatment plan making sure it’s the best possible for the patient. Dental surgeons also administrate local or general anesthetics for their patients prior to operations.

Many oral surgeons also perform procedures that aim to enhance the aesthetics of a patient’s teeth such as some types of dental implants as well as other cosmetic procedures such as minor chin or cheek-bone enhancements. reports a median salary of $207,365 for oral surgeons in the US.

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Radiologist Salary

Radiologists are medical doctors who work with medical imaging technology such as X-ray, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging.

Radiologists do not work directly with patients but analyze the medical images of patients and consult the patient’s physician and recommend treatments based on the findings.

People often find it hard to see the difference between radiologists and radiologic radiology technicians, though there is a definite and straight-forward distinction between the two: technicians take care of the process of attaining medical images and radiologists as medical doctors take charge of interpreting the results and making suggestions about treatments.

The average annual compensation for a radiologist in the US according to is 274,980

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Top Medical Career Salaries 

Occupation Average Salary
Anesthesiologist $260,497
Orthopedic Surgeon $302,278
Cardiologist Non-Invasive $203,576
Dermatologist $202,458
Oncologist $217,856
Plastic Surgeon $246,176
General Surgeon $234,470
Oral Surgeon $207,365
Radiologist $273,980


scholarship program

Crush The USMLE Scholarship Program

Crush The USMLE Scholarship

Our Spring 2017 Scholarship Program is open for registration!

One Grand Prize Winner will receive $605 to cover the cost of Step 1 of the USMLE and access to a GraduateX review course that’s valued at $289!

This is an annual scholarship for medical professionals who need to obtain licensure. Applicants must enter prior to May 31st, 2017, when the winner will be chosen and announced by our staff.

Who is Eligible?

In order to be considered for this USMLE scholarship, you should be actively pursuing the first step of medical certification. This means you’re hoping to secure a license to practice medicine and are an active applicant. We will select the best candidate based on a range of factors, including college GPA, work experience, and medical school performance.  

History of the USMLE Scholarship

Crush the USMLE is dedicated to helping medical professionals obtain licensure as quickly and as effortlessly as possible. Ensuring licensure is difficult, so we wanted to provide a way to give one student a chance to prepare for the test with the help of one of the best study tools available in the industry.  

Given the state of the economy and significant student loan problems, we figured we’d help out with the cost of a review course and the USMLE fees. Passing the test is the hard part, so let us make it easier and cheaper to do so.

Included with Grand Prize

  1. $605 reimbursement of USMLE Step 1 fees
  2. GraduateX USMLE Review Course ($289 value)

Crush The USMLE Exam Scholarship

Email Address:




Graduation Date:


When do you plan to take the USMLE exam?

In 500-1000 words, please answer each of the following questions:

What made you decide to go to medical school? What career path or medical industry do you plan on pursuing? Why?

Please attach your response in the form of a single PDF file using the uploader below.

USMLE Step 1 Information

The first step of the three stage USMLE exam helps to measure how well the test-takers have understood and are able to apply some of the main concepts and principles central to practicing medicine.
Here’s a table from specifying which fields will be covered in the exam:


Step one is a computer based test that consists of approximately 322 multiple choice questions. The questions are divided into seven 60-minute segments, making the examination day 8 hours long. The test is usually taken after the second year of medical school.

How To prepare For USMLE Step 1

Study prep for USMLE step 1 tends to be somewhere between 2 and 3 months of active study time. You probably should start thinking about the test even before then and familiarize yourself with the structure of the test and the resources available for study, so that when it’s time to study hard you’ll be concentrating on the important material. Before you start studying take a practice test to find out where you’re at and go from there.

Choosing the right prep resources for you is integral for your success in the USMLE. Much depends on how you personally learn but I’d say anyone will benefit from having access to prep tests and a question bank. These resources will give you a clear idea with what you’re dealing with and will make you more at ease walking into that exam. Using a good prep course can make all of the difference in studying effectively for the exam. We have reviewed some of the best Step 1 prep courses so you don’t have to, check out our Step 1 Comparison Chart.

Get used to the USMLE type multiple-choice questions. Make sure you also really work with the questions. Figure out your weaknesses and analyze your answers. Make sure you understand the logic behind all the questions and answers.

USMLE Step 1 Study Schedule

Start prepping early. Your study schedule is completely dependent on how much time you have. Most med schools give students about 2 months off classes for the preparation. Use this time wisely and make a schedule for yourself. Pencil in the hours you’ll be at the library and a study plan to go with it. Hold yourself accountable of the process. Concentrate on your weak points.

Tutoring with a friend and purchasing a prep course can make a lot of difference in many cases. It allows you to make further connections and more things become interrelated intuitively. You’ll be amazed how much you’ll learn explaining things to another person. It reveals weak points in your understanding and you’ll most likely learn from others. Some people get good results revising on their own, but most can benefit from outside help.

Set your schedule and stick to it. Divide the material into segments and work methodically. You’ll be working long hours so make sure to schedule in breaks!

USMLE Step 1 Scores

USMLE uses a scaled 3-digit scoring system. However, the NBME does not disclose how the end score is calculated. Theoretically the maximum score for step 1 is 300.

It’s smart to set a goal for the USMLE. In 2014 the passing score on the test is 192, the national mean score 230, and the score that will get you into most competitive specialities somewhere around 240. If you know what speciality you’re going for aim for the score that will get you there. If you’re undecided, go for a score that won’t limit your options in the future.

USMLE Step 1 Secrets

USMLE is a massive and demanding exam. The good news is it’s not going to try to trick you into giving wrong answers. The questions are straight-forward and if a question seems “too easy” it may just be an easy question.

The test consists of some basic questions, some more difficult questions and some extremely difficult ones. When you get an easy question just answer it and move on quickly to save time for the more demanding ones.

The key to success in step 1 is to prepare in a smart way. Practice multiple-choice questions every day. Answer a 100 of them each day if possible. Then list all of the mistakes you made and read that list often. This is your chance to learn from your mistakes. Do this on a regular basis and you’ll make sure you won’t make those mistakes on the day of the actual test. A good prep course is capable of pointing out your areas of weakness for you and quizzing you more frequently in those areas.

It might not feel amazing to be reminded of your mistakes but it makes all the difference. You’ll learn more that you’d expect using this tactic.

USMLE Step 1 Dates

When you register for the exam you’ll have to pick a 3-month eligibility period so for example January-February-March or June-July-August. During the period allocated to you, you’ll be able to choose a location and a date available to take the test.

Please keep in mind that prometric test centers are closed on major holidays. Also take into account that Step 1 testing is not available during the first 14 days of January.

If you’re unable to take the step one exam, you can apply for a one time extension only for the next contiguous eligibility period.

USMLE Step 1 Registration

Registering for the Step 1 of USMLE is a two to four week multi-step process. First you’ll need to register online on the NBME website. After this your schools student affairs office will verify your enrollment and good standing. After this process you’ll finally able to choose your exact test location and time.

Test opportunities fill up fairly quickly, so in order to make sure you get to sit the exam in your preferred location on your preferred date, it is suggested to start the registration process early. If you wish to sit the exam in the summer, you should start the registration process in December of the previous year.

Make sure you register with the exact name that is on the government issued valid ID you’ll use when entering the exam center.

USMLE Step 1 Cost

The cost of registering for the step 1 exam in 2015 is $590. This gives you a three month window in which you’ll have to complete your step 1 exam. You can apply for an extension once for a fee of $70. If you fail to complete the exam during your initial eligibility window or the extension period, you’ll have to register and pay the fee again.

USMLE Step 2 CK Information

So, what exactly are you preparing for?

The USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge examination is designed to measure the clinical knowledge third year med students have accumulated over the core clerkships. Step two CK is similar to step one but with most of the weight on clinical skills.

A typical question in this exam would be giving the test-taker a realistic scenario with a patient and then asking what the next step and/or diagnosis is. There are a few questions in the test that will include audio or video clips.

Step 2 CK Exam Day

The USMLE Step 2 CK is a full-day computer based test that takes 9 hours to finish. The test-takers are allowed 45-60 minutes of break time during the day depending on whether the test-taker chooses to take part in a 15 minute tutorial at the beginning of the test. Skipping the tutorial will give the test-taker 15 minutes extra break time.

No food or water is allowed on the desk during the exam but you can eat what you brought from home during the breaks. You’re not allowed to bring a watch with you into the exam but the computer will show you time during testing.

USMLE Step 2 Study Plan

The study schedule for Step Two CK will vary a lot depending on how long after the clerkships you wait before taking it as well as whether you’re studying during your 4th year of med school or during your vacation. Overall, in most cases it’s more advisable to sit for the exam as soon as possible after your 3rd year core clerkships.

The study time most students take for preparing for the step 2 CK ranges between 1 to 4 weeks, the average time spent being between 2 and 3 weeks. If you take the test during vacation time you’re more likely to spend need a couple of weeks less for studying than when taking the test during 4th year rotation.
The general consensus is that step 2 CK is a lot less demanding than the step 1 examination. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you won’t need to prepare for it.

We suggest using the same strategy as you did during step 1 prep if you were happy with the result. If not, make sure to segment the study material and assign time for each segment. You’ll also want to commit to answering as many test questions as possible to get comfortable with the format.

Allocate your time so that you’ll go over all the subject matters at least once and make sure to have a bit of extra time to pay attention to your weak points before the exam.

Use a prep course, this can make all of the difference in studying effectively for the exam. We have reviewed some of the best Step 2 CK prep courses so you don’t have to, check out our Step 2 CK Comparison Chart.

USMLE Step 2 Secrets

The questions in step 2 CK tend to be quite long so it is a good idea to prepare for it by practicing reading long question stems quickly. Make sure you include difficult practice questions in your preparation so you won’t be taken aback by the more demanding parts of the exam.

Set a goal. This is important as it gives you a reference point and a clear idea of where you’re headed with your preparation. After you’ve set a goal, choose your resources.

A question bank is a must for most people. Make sure the questions come with clear and detailed explanations for the right answers! This will teach you a lot. Make sure you understand where and why you went wrong. The answers you get wrong are a lot more valuable to you than the right ones. Many of the prep courses we have reviewed include large question banks.

Take care of your head. Don’t over do it and reduce your chances for a good score by stressing out too much. Take breaks. Take care of your mental health. You’re going to CRUSH this exam!

USMLE Step 2 Score

Just like in Step 1, in the step 2 CK exam the scoring is reported in a 3-digit scaled score.
The minimum passing score for the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge is 203. National average is somewhere between 220 and 230. If you’ll be applying for some of the more competitive residency programs you’ll probably want to score somewhere around 240.

The score you receive from this exam will be taken into consideration, among several other factors, in the residency application process. Most likely you will score quite similarly on this exam as you did in step 1; However, if you under performed during step 1 this is the perfect chance to shine and show that you can do better.

USMLE Step 2 CK Registration

You must register for this exam through the NBME website. Make sure you start the process about six months prior to your preferred test date.

Only after this, you’ll get to choose your eligibility period and book the exam for your preferred date and location. Make sure to start the process early. Testing opportunities can fill up surprisingly fast.

USMLE Step 2 CK Cost

Registration cost for USMLE Step 2 CK is $590 for 2015. This fee gives you a three month eligibility period in which you’ll have to take the exam. If you’re unable to take the exam in the timeframe allocated to you, you can apply for an extension for the next 3 consecutive months for a $70 fee. If you fail to take the exam in the extension period, you’ll have to re-register and pay the fees associated with the process again.

USMLE Step 2 CS Information

USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills is a test designed to assess test-takers’ ability to demonstrate some of the fundamental clinical skills required to give safe and effective care to patients.

The test is divided into three subsegments on which the test-takers will be evaluated in.
First one is Integrated Clinical Encounter. This part will measure test-takers’ data gathering and documentation abilities.

Second part is Communication and Interpersonal Skills. The objective of this part is to assess test-takers’ questioning and information sharing skills as well as their professionalism in their manner.

Third and last subsegment is Spoken English Proficiency. This is to make sure all test-takers are able to communicate clearly in doctor-patient scenarios.

Step 2 CS Cases

Step 2 CS differs from Step 1 and Step 2 CK in a big way. It’s not a computer based multiple-choice exam, but uses standardized patients. These people have been trained to act as real patients in the exam. The test-takers task is then to act professionally, build a relationship, get the patient’s medical history, perform physical examinations, and answer the patient’s questions in a professional manner.

Step 2 CS consists of 12 cases. Test-taker has 15 minutes with each patient and then 10 minutes to record the encounter. If the test-taker doesn’t use the full 15 minutes with the patient the remaining time will be added to the time for recording the patient note.

USMLE step 2 CS is a full-day test, taking about 8 hours in total.

How to Study for Step 2 CS

How to pass Step 2 CS? So, this exam is very different from the other “Steps”. Your preparation will therefore have to be different as well. Some test-takers go in unprepared thinking they won’t need to prep – after all the test is usually taken right after clerkships.

No matter how confident you may be in your clinical ability, make sure you take some time to prepare. You may be nervous on the test day, so it would be smart to put as many test items as possible into routine.
Read the USMLE CS site as well as the latest test bulletin. This way you’ll know what to expect.

First Aid for Step 2 CS

This is The Book to get for this exam. It’s full of cases similar to what you’ll be faced with during the test. It’ll guide you through the cases, giving you guidelines to follow with different types of symptoms and suggesting effective questions to ask the patients.

Read the First Aid for CS. Revise the content and concentrate on your weaknesses.
There are resources that allow you to practice recording patient note USMLE style. Use this. Review cases and record your notes. Get efficient at it as you can expect to be short on time during the test.

USMLE Step 2 CS Tips

Do practice cases and analyze your diagnosis. It would be wise to find a study partner and practice scenarios using the FA as a guideline. Practice the right questions that lead to the most helpful answers.

There is software available that allow you to practice recording patient note USMLE style. Use this. Review cases and record your notes. Get efficient at it as you can expect to be short on time during the test.

The more practice you get in, the better your odds of passing. During a high stress situation such as the test, it all comes down to routine. You most likely won’t do perfectly on every patient encounter, but a routine will keep you going throughout the day.

USMLE Step 2 CS Experience

Most people who take the test are surprised by how intense and stressful the day really is. Time is limited, situations nerve racking and the pace is fast. You’re expected to recover from mistakes in a blink of an eye.
There are 5 special testing centers around the US that administrate this exam. The facility is fitted with normal looking patient rooms similar to those you would see in clinics around the country.

You’ll see 12 patient actors during the day, document your findings, list lab orders or other exams needed to find out what the problem is, and list up to 3 possible causes for the patient’s symptoms. Then you’ll list findings from the encounter that support your diagnoses. All this in 25 minutes total.

The day begins with five consecutive patient encounters. Then it’s time for a lunch break. After lunch you’ll see 4 more patients before breaking for a bit and the last segment is 3 patients long. All of this will be scored by the test administrators.

USMLE Step 2 CS Locations

As said before, there are only 5 test centers in all of the US. They are located in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. The cost of taking the exam is $1,250. On top of this fee, you’ll need to budget for travel expenses related to getting to a testing center as well as lodging for 1 or 2 nights. This definitely is one of the more expensive steps and you’ll need to plan ahead for travel accommodations.

USMLE Step 3 Information

USMLE step 3 is a test designed to assess whether the test-taker is able to apply medical knowledge in an unsupervised environment. It’s the final step in the USMLE test sequence leading to a license to practice medicine independently and without supervision in the US. The exam puts emphasis on patient management in ambulatory situations.

Step 3 is a 2-day Computer-based Case Simulation and multiple-choice exam.

First day is dedicated for 256 multiple-choice questions. The questions are divided in 6 blocks, each consisting of 42 to 43 questions. Test-takers are allotted 60 minutes to finish each section. The first day of the exam will be about 7 hours long including about 45 minutes of break time and a 5 minute long optional tutorial.

The exam session in the second day is 9 hours long. It begins with an optional 5 minute tutorial before moving onto 198 multiple-choice questions. The questions are divided into segments of 33 questions. Test-takers have 45 minutes to answer the questions in each block.

After the traditional multiple-choice questions it’s time for the CCS section of the exam. It begins with a 7-minute tutorial followed by 13 simulated cases. The case simulations can be anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes long.

During the second day test-takers are allotted a minimum of 45 minutes of break time.

How to Study for USMLE Step 3

As with all standardized tests, step 3 more measures your ability to take the test, not your ability as a physician. Therefore, make sure you take some time to prepare for it. You may have plenty of clinical experience which may help, but the exam requires you to think and answer in a specific way.

Even though many people say step 3 preparation is unnecessary as it is considered to be the easiest exam of the bunch, it would be foolish not to take a couple of weeks to study and prepare. The questions are difficult and the 2-day marathon of a test is sure to take it’s toll.

The vast majority of people taking this exam do not have the luxury of taking time off and preparing for the exam like they may have for the previous steps. Taking a couple hours a day for a few weeks can make all the difference in this case and as long as you choose your resources and your study strategy wisely this can be enough.

After a bit of preparation your confidence will be higher, which can make the 2-day test much more tolerable.

USMLE Step 3 Tips

Step 3 is somewhat similar to Step 1 and Step 2 CK as it consists mainly of multiple-choice questions. If you received satisfactory results from the previous steps, you should stick to similar prep strategy for the multiple-choice questions part of step 3. The CCS cases are the thing that sets it apart from the previous steps.

Step 3 CCS Cases

First, familiarize yourself with the CCS software and example cases.

Getting the diagnosis and primary treatment tends to be pretty easy in USMLE step 3 cases. The trick is getting used to CCS systems awkward points. For example, you’ll have to “order” counseling to patients when required, when in real life you’d simply counsel on the spot.

If you diagnose someone, make sure you always order the appropriate test to go with the diagnosis. It’s very important to remember all the correct orders and it can be very helpful to write them down on paper before starting the test to make sure you remember them during all the cases. Having a physical reminder on your test desk can make all the difference in the stressful exam environment.

USMLE Step 3 Scores

Because pretty much all residents put in less work on Step 3 it is easier to get a good score. However, if you struggled to pass Step 1 and Step 2 CK, it is obviously very important to study for step 3 even more. It’s not a walk-in-the-park type of deal.

75% of the exam consists of multiple-choice questions and the remaining 25% are clinical case simulations. The scores are reported in 3 digit scale and the lowest passing score in Step 3 is 190.

USMLE Step 3 Registration

Every medical school grad, in the US or abroad, who has passed Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS needs to sign up for step 3 through FSMB. You are free to take the exam at any prometric test center in the US or its territories.

First you’ll need to crate an account and submit an application to take the exam with the payment. You’ll need a credit card (American Express, Master Card or Visa) to pay the fee. You’ll also need to provide FSMB with an email address through which they can keep you posted on the application status.

After this, the next step is to print and mail the certification of identity form.The applications are processed in 3 to 5 business days after the certification of identity form has been delivered.

USMLE Step 3 Cost

Taking the USMLE Step 3 comes with a fee of $815. Once you’ve payed and picked an eligibility period during which you’re meant to take the exam, you can’t change your mind without having to pay the fee again. It is possible, however, to apply for a one-time 90-day eligibility period extension for $65.