How to prepare for USMLE Step1 for free

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

USMLE step1 is considered the most important part of residency applications. Many programs don’t even consider the applicants with scores below a certain point. Apart from being very important, USMLE step1 is an expensive test. Video resources, Qbanks and self assessments too consume a huge amount of money. So, to make things easier for you, we are listing some online resources for Step1 that are not only used by a number of students but are free too.


USMLE practice materials:

In the official website for USMLE, you find files containing content descriptions and general information for the exam. Before starting preparation for Step 1, go through this booklet so you can know what are the requirements of this exam and how you should do your preparation. There are also some practice questions available, you can solve them to have an idea how exactly the exam is.


In addition to the questions, there is a tutorial available, watch it so that on exam day you can save the time allocated for the tutorial.


These materials are available not only for Step 1 but for Step 2 and 3 as well.


YouTube:

YouTube is the ultimate resource where a huge amount of USMLE content is available and that too for free. There are a lot of channels where you can learn high yield stuff, clarity of concepts and test taking strategies. Some of these are Dirty Medicine, Med School Moose, Ninja Nerd Medicine and Randy Neil, MD. First Aid for USMLE step 1, 2021 edition also lists Dirty Medicine and Ninja Nerd Medicine as good resources for comprehensive review.

Anki:

Anki is a free open source software where you can create flashcards and also use those shared by others. You can find all the great pre-made decks on the reddit page of Ankingmed.

Anki is a good resource to review a certain topic after you have studied it in depth. Doing spaced repetition makes the information stay for a longer period of time in your brain.

But you have to be cautious with its use. There is a high possibility that you may fall into the trap of memorizing things without mastering them.

Don’t make anki your primary resource for studying.

OnlineMedEd:

OnlineMedEd is a website with video lectures and some great learning tools. You can watch all the videos for free but you need a premium account to access all those resources.

If you are in the initial phases of preparation and you struggle to master concepts, these videos might help you.


AnatomyZone:

This is a YouTube channel as well a website to learn anatomy. Over 200 video lectures are available there, in which Anatomy is taught with the help of 3D models. You can watch videos on YouTube too, but on their website there are some tools that might help you to make Anatomy stay in your brain for a longer period of time. All of these tools are available for free.


The Rx Study Planner:

This is a free planner for Step 1 preparation available on USMLE-Rx website. You can customize this according to your own pace. All the topics of each subject are listed in this planner and you can decide how much time to spare. There are options of normal, careful and intensive review.

This is a daily as well as a monthly planner


In addition to that, USMLE Rx has so called Bricks which contain the medical knowledge summarized with images and flashcards, you can get all Biochemistry and General Microbiology bricks for free by activating your free trial at USMLE-Rx. Even when your trial expires, you can access these bricks for life.


Divine Intervention podcast:

This is a fairly well known podcast for step 2 CK. But it also has a number of episodes for Step 1. In this podcast, all the high yield topics are explained in a very easy way. A great way to make the most out of your commutes, and review the knowledge.



HyGuru:

This website has a comprehensive course for USMLE Step1 and that too for free. This course has highest yield Step 1 topics delivered in a Question based manner.


They host webinars regularly where you learn top NBME concepts, most of these webinars are free. At the end of each webinar, you get the opportunity to ask questions to your instructor Dr.Rahul Damania.



Medbullets:

This is a website having a lot of features. In its free version, you can get more than 1000 questions.

You can search any topic here and it will show you all the related details in the easiest way of explanation. There are high quality images and videos available too. So, basically it can replace your big bulky books.

If you hate reading books and prefer visual learning, this can help you.

PassMedicine:


It's not a well known resource and very few people actually know about this.

This offers you a qbank of almost 700 questions free for the first 6 months of your subscription.

Apart from questions, there are more than 3000 flash facts powered by ANKI style spaced repetition system.

There is no surety about the effectiveness of PassMedicine, but you can use this when you are in the initial stages of preparation to learn concepts and interconnect them.

Social Media Apps:

The common belief is that social media is just for time killing. But using it wisely can help you with USMLE preparation. There are a lot of accounts on Instagram posting useful tips and tricks for Step exams.

You can use apps like reddit, discord and WhatsApp to connect with other people like yourself.

Telegram is another helpful app where you can find a lot of study materials for free.






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