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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You 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.
Choosing 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!
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!
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’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 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.
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.
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.
2. 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.
5. 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.
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.
Live: $3,999 (7 weeks) / $5,999 (14 weeks)
Includes: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
Includes: 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)
Includes: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)
Includes: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
Includes: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)
Includes: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)
Includes: 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
Includes: 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
Includes: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
Includes: 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.
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.
1. 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.
3. 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.
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.
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.
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.
1. 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.
4. 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 products. Show Coupon!
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
2 study guides/test prep books
Progress tracking (percentage of videos watched)
Audio book guide
Step 1 Membership Plans: $399 (3 months) / $499 (6 months) / $599 (12 months)
Includes: 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 2 CK Membership Plans: $399 (3 months) / $499 (6 months) / $599 (12 months)
Includes: 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.
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.
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!
3. 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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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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.
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
3 Month Access: $999
6 Month Access: $1699
12 Month Access: $2750
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