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Medical students prepping to take the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step 1 may be feeling stress, but shouldn’t fear—use this roundup of top tips and study advice to make the most of your preparation in these upcoming weeks. Get started with your definitive guide to the USMLE Step 1.


Joshua D. Brooks, PhD, associate director of medical academics at Kaplan Medical, gives his best tips for studying at any stage:

Create a week-by-week plan, organized by subject, and only focus on that subject during the designated week. Watch videos, take notes and try sample questions on the topic. Also, meeting with a study partner once a week can help keep you both on track, and it gives you a way to discuss what you’ve learned and help each other. Learn more early start strategies.

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If you have limited time to prepare, use an intensive study strategy. Create a “Why I missed it” sheet to track all the questions you get wrong on practice tests. This will help you focus your studying to the areas and types of questions you miss the most. Get more study tips for when the clock is ticking.

No matter how much you have prepared for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1, anxiety is difficult to avoid before and during the exam. But some strategies can help you conquer that anxiety. For example, remember: It’s supposed to be a difficult exam, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Brooks recommends listing your personal strengths on an index card. Refer to the card if negative thoughts intrude on your study time. Read more anxiety-beating strategies.

In Brooks’ experience, students make four common mistakes while preparing for the USMLE Step 1. Read the four mistakes to avoid.

Tell us: Which USMLE tips and resources have helped you?