Step 1 Resources

As you begin to choose your Step 1 resources, it is important to understand that there is no “magic pill” or “magic study resource” that will help you reach your desired score. Achieving your ideal Step 1 score takes discipline, hard work, and focus.  You may be a little overwhelmed by the number of potential resources out there. While all of these resources are helpful, it is important to figure out what works for YOU!  What works for another classmate may not be ideal for you.

To help you choose preparation material, we have provided a list of the different types of resources available.

NOTE: Providing the following information does not represent an endorsement from UTRGV School of Medicine or the Office of Student Affairs. 

UTRGV School of Medicine Resources:

  • Comprehensive Programs

    Doctors in Training

    • Video based lectures (lots of them!)
      • Great for auditory learners
    • Fairly interactive
    • Highly structured
    • Will take the "guess work" out of your boot camp study period
    • Expensive program- $800-$900
    • 3 part program
      • Primer videos
        • Contain high-yield and/or difficult concepts to understand
        • Can complement current coursework
      • Part 1 Questions
        • Videos provide questions and answers 
        • Mixed subjects so you can practice switching from idea to idea
        • The goal is to answer the question on your own first
        • Provides citations to additional and specific resources that cover the topic in more detail
      • Part 2 review
        • 239 videos, average of 20 minutes in length
        • Recommended to start Part 2, 45 days before your Step 1 exam date
        • Comes with 60 days of unlimited access
    • Doctors in Training

    USMLE Rx

    • Great for content review
    • Three parts (can choose one or all three)
      • QMAX
        • Highly recommended 
        • Solid Qbank
        • Easier than UWorld, so it's a good Qbank to start with
        • Over 2,000 questions available
        • Ranges from 1 month - 24 months ($99-$399)
      • Flashcard program
        • Over 9,000 flashcards that align with First Aid content
        • Over 3,500 case- based flashcards
        • Ranges from 3 months - 24 months ($49- $149)
      • Rx Expression Video
        • Lectures through First Aid
        • Over 40 hours of high- yield videos
        • 15-20 minutes videos
        • 1 month - 24 months ($199-$499)
    • Occasionally discounts are found on the Facebook page
    • Can purchase for 1 month to 2 years 
    • Access to all three parts ranges from $199-$599
    • USMLE Rx

    Kaplan

    • 2 parts (can choose one or both)
    • Qbank
      • Great Qbank
      • Over 2,000 Qbank questions
      • 1 diagnostic test & 2 full simulated exams
      • Gives explanations, summaries, and tables to explain answers
      • 200 mini lectures on difficult questions
      • 1 month- $99
      • Until your test- $199
    • High Yield
      • 6 steps
        1. Diagnostic exam
        2. Warm up questions before lecture (over 400 questions)
        3. 55 hours of video lecture
          • Organized by organ system
        4. Practice with the 2,000 exercises in the High Yield work book 
          • 20 hours of video explanations
        5. Short quizzes at the end of lecture (over 500 questions)
        6. 2 simulated exams
      • 3 months - $549
      • Until your test- $699
    • To purchase both High Yield and Qbank
      • 3 months- $599
      • Until your test- $799
    • Kaplan 
  • Board Style Questions

    USMLE World Qbank

    • Gold standard
    • 90 days for free (purchased by UWSOM)
    • Recommended you use this for a minimum of 180 days
    • 2 assessments are offered, but for an extra cost
    • UWorld

    Kaplan and USMLE Rx also offer board style questions (see above)

  • Flashcard Based Program

    Firecracker

    • Flashcard format, individualized, and educationally sound
    • Requires dedication
      • Every day you will be sent questions to answer
      • New topics each week based on progress and performance
    • Great to use alongside classes because it  incorporates current material and past material into the questions
      • The highest priority questions will align with what is currently being learned
    • Can update topics as "urgent" to study for an upcoming test
    • Ranges from 3 months to 18 months ($117-$370)
    • Discounts are available on the website
    • Firecracker
  • Subject Specific Programs

    Pathoma

    • Invaluable resource
    • Provides lectures and PDF to follow along with
      • 35 hours of online video
      • Covers the 19 chapters of Fundamentals of Pathology
    • Includes Fundamentals of Pathology
      • 218 pages
      • Integration of key concepts from associated disciplines
    • Ranges from 3 months to 21 months ($485-$199)
    • Pathoma

    Sketchy

    • Great for visual learners
    • Helpful, colorful videos, symbols, and visual reminders
    • Helps in microbiology and pharmacology
      • 104 SketchyMicro videos and images
      • 70 SketchyPharm videos and images
      • Subjects can be purchased individually
        • 6 months- $99
        • 12 months- $159
    • Sketchy

    Picmonic

    • Uses audiovisual mnemonics in combination with text-based materials
    • Includes self-assessment modalities
    • Good for visual learners
    • Offer some discounts
    • A recent study (Yang et al.,2014) provided support for th use of Picmonic
      • Students who used Picmonic retained medical information about disease topics to a greater degree and for a longer period of time as compared to their counterparts, who used a text-only version.
      • These students also outperformed the text-only students on application tasks that demanded higher-order thinking skills.
      • Additionally, high levels of satisfaction and engagement were reported with the use of Picmonic.
      • Picmonic study (open access)
    • Picmonic 
  • Books

    some not all are available to use at the Office of Academic Advising and Academic Support Services

    First Aid

    • An obvious "must-have"

    Step 1 Secrets

    • Case studies
    • Good if you dislike First Aid
    • Not quite as complete as First Aid
    • Could explain content in a different way to help understand

    Step Up to Step 1

    • Comprehensive Review book created by Doctors in Training

    Board Review Series

    • Textbooks that focus on particular topics
    • Online books are available
    • Flashcards can be purchased separately

    Additional books to consider:

    • NMS Review for 1
    • High Yield Pathology
    • Goljan's Rapid Review of Pathology
    • Robbins Review of Pathology
    • Princeton Review USMLE Review
    • Blueprints- Step 1 Q&A
    • Appleton & Lange USMLE Step 1
    • Platinum Vignettes (Elsevier)
    • Rapid Review Series- USMLE Step 1