Starting a career in medicine is no easy feat. Whether you’re interested in becoming a doctor, a nurse, or any other medical professional, the educational requirements are steep and will often incorporate a combination of university education, postgraduate education, and additional certifications. One of these certifications is the USMLE, a notoriously difficult licensing exam that comes in multiple parts.
Looking to pass the USMLE? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back:
One of the best ways to prepare for taking this exam, or any similar exam for that matter, is to answer practice questions. High-quality practice questions can provide simulations of the real exam-taking experience by imitating the structure and content of the real thing. Answering a large quantity of practice questions correctly can help to reduce your anxiety when taking the USMLE, greatly increasing your chance of passing as a result.
Interested? Here’s what you need to know:
Question banks can come in a few different formats. Many are included in USMLE review courses as part of their learning curriculum. Many more are sold in standalone books or eBooks, with even some of the aforementioned prep course providers selling theirs in this way. Often times, USMLE question banks will be separated by each level, or Step, of the exam.
Finding the right question bank can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Therefore, we’ve created this list of the best USMLE Step 1 Question banks in order to help you skip this entire process and get down to what matters most: studying so you can CRUSH the USMLE!
What is the best USMLE Step 1 Question Bank?
1. Kaplan USMLE Step 1 Qbank
Although it may not offer as many questions as our #1 pick, Kaplan’s Step 1 USMLE Qbank comes closest out of all competing providers. Their flexible pricing and streamlined interface offer many positive additional benefits as well.
In a move that may seem out of the ordinary for a high-end prep course provider, Kaplan offers access to their Step 1 practice questions at a few reasonable tiered prices. If students choose to purchase 12 months or 18 months of access, the cost per month is less than $20!
Kaplan’s QBank is delivered through an interface that is streamlined to the point where it is very easy to access all important information such as progress reports and test simulations. This is an important design factor for relieving stress and saving time during the study process.
Con: Covered Material
Despite this QBank having a large pool of questions for students to access, some areas of the USMLE Step 1 exam have more questions than others. According to one reviewer of Kaplan’s practice questions, there aren’t enough regarding neurophysiology.
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2. BoardVitals USMLE Step 1 Qbank
With a smaller pool of questions than the two best question banks on this list, BoardVitals makes up for this shortcoming by providing study content crafted by highly qualified medical professionals and excellent customer support.
Pro: Professional Expertise
As was previously mentioned, BoardVitals employs a team of doctors and experts to create all of their practice material. Thanks to this highly qualified group of instructors with skin in the game, customers can take comfort in the knowledge that they are learning from the best.
Pro: Customer Support
Although issues with their service are rare, BoardVitals still places considerable emphasis on providing an excellent support system for students experiencing any problems. Students can reach out to their support team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, either through phone or email.
All of BoardVitals’ educational content, including their practice questions, are meant to be accessed on a standard personal computer. This means that no mobile app has been developed for use on a tablet or smartphone. While some resources can be reached on mobile, the lack of a dedicated app can negatively impact students’ performance on mobile devices.
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This includes their USMLE Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 Practice Tests and Question Bank.
3. GraduateX USMLE Step 1 Qbank
Despite being low on our list, GraduateX’s USMLE Step 1 practice questions are still an excellent educational resource for any student looking to prepare for the exam. A helpful community and easy-to-navigate curriculum make this a stress-free learning resource.
GraduateX divides all of the important information covered on the USMLE Step 1 exam into 90 steps. These steps devote a decent amount of time to each aspect of the exam with reading material that serves as a companion resource.
Upon signing up for access to GraduateX’s practice material, students will gain access to their community resources. This allows students to contact other students or GraduateX team members to devise study plans or resolve issues.
Con: Question Bank
Although all of the material provided by GraduateX is easy to access and divided into sections that make sense, the actual size of their content is low. At only 1,500 practice questions, this provider offers the lowest number out of all services on this list.
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4. UWorld USMLE Step 1 Qbank
UWorld has a substantial USMLE Step 1 QBank that does a fantastic job imitating the real thing.
Out of all the educational resources on this list, UWorld has the one QBank with the highest number of questions. Over 2,400 multiple choice questions are included in their product, meaning that students who use their QBank won’t run out of learning material for quite some time.
Pro: Device Compatibility
It can be difficult for students juggling multiple responsibilities to find time for studying. To help mitigate this concern, UWorld’s QBank is compatible on mobile devices such as a tablet or smartphone. With the option to access these practice questions from other devices, students can more easily squeeze in a quick study session while on break or during a commute.
According to many students and reviewers, including those from competing USMLE prep course providers, UWorld’s question bank offers an experience most similar to actually taking Step 1 of the exam. This means that it is far and away the best method for students to acclimate to the time constraints and pressures of the real exam in a controlled environment.
It is no doubt that having a large volume of questions to pull from can be a major benefit for a student looking to pass the USMLE. It’s also very helpful that these questions can be accessed on mobile devices. However, the fact remains that answering all of these questions will take a great deal of time, making UWorld one of the most time-consuming QBank resources.
What are the best USMLE Step 1 Qbanks?
Best USMLE Step 1 Question Banks 2018 – Compared
|Best USMLE Step 1 Prep Courses||Best Feature|
|Kaplan USMLE||Most comprehensive|
|Board Vitals||Best Value|
|Graduate X||Community Forums|
|UWorld||USMLE Exam Simulation|