7+ Year Member
May 29, 2013
  1. Pre-Medical
Hey y’all. I’m currently a MS1 right now and I wanna know what I can do to start studying/preparing for STEP. I know there’s still time till I take it, but I have noooo idea on how to prepare for it. Usually with exams, it takes me a little longer than others to study so I kinda wanna start now. I’m gunna get the First Aid book and I know Uworld is used for questions towards the end of step studying, but what do you use for LEARNING the material besides obvious lectures and stuff from school? My school provides Kaplan qbanks and their resources but like is there something else I can use for learning the material? And please post other stuff I can use for questions towards end of step studying too besides uworld. Just trying to get some information together so I can start. Thanks guys!


5+ Year Member
Nov 1, 2015
  1. Medical Student
Lectures are honestly number 1 resource (assuming you go to a med school that has decent lectures that aren't 100% on PhD research). Learn the physiology right the first time. You can augment physiology with Costanzo which is a comprehensive resource (at least for Step 1 purposes) for physiology. I like Goljan's Rapid Review book for pathophys. Even though it says review and is written in bullet-point format, it's quite comprehensive and some of the figures are pretty good. It's a good overview of pathology although it's hard to learn from as a primary resource (hence use lectures to learn and this is reinforce/review). Pathoma is a watered down version of Goljan (much shorter) and manageable for review closer to Step 1 time.
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Jun 22, 2020
  1. Medical Student
It’s awesome you’re going to start preparing early! I took STEP in February, and I can reflect on what helped a lot. First Aid is the bible. Incredibly high yield information. I agree that Costanzo’s physiology is also great (I’m a little biased because she is a professor at my medical school and counseled me for my STEP 1 prep haha). If you are more of a visual learning from videos, my picks are definitely Boards and Beyond for systems and SketchyMicro for infectious disease, although these aren’t free services.

Sidebar on all that. To be completely honest, it doesn’t matter at all how good your resources are for step 1. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to generate good study habits and use the best study strategies while you study! Especially if you’re preparing for a long term exam, you don’t want to have to relearn stuff you study now when your exam gets closer. I think a lot of students spend way too much time using ineffective methods (rewatching lectures, rereading or highlighting through textbooks). So my recommendation is to start using better programs and methods to study, making good flashcards and reviewing them consistently. Check out apps like Anki or my personal favorite —RemNote. Hope that helps! Good luck :)
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Feb 16, 2019
If you are doing systems for M2, I would suggest reading the Constanzo Physiology textbook and watching the Boards+Beyond/Pathoma/Sketchy video at increased speed and then do USMLE RX flashcards or Zanki after each phys or path section. I think RX is a little better than zanki because it has less cards so you can do more practice questions. Definitely do all the Kaplan questions before each exam, but also another qbank, either Pastest before Kaplan or RX after.

It's just like a race to see who can do the most practice questions and read all the explanations. Then in dedicated you can take your time with Uworld and get a 240-250+. I think having the mentality that your score depends only on the number of questions you do is very helpful. Everything else is just there to help you get to the questions, you don't want to get hung up on the other stuff. Just my two cents, you can take it with a grain of salt.

For the rest of the summer, the best thing would be to start the RX or Zanki flashcards for the stuff you did in M1 and do all the pastest or Kaplan questions for your M1 material. If you can have those two resources completed for your M1 material before school starts up again you will have a very successful foundation.

Being one block ahead of your school in the videos/book/flashcards really helps. Then you can use the questions as your sole method of studying the current material, which is the probably the best way to study. And you can be watching videos/books/flashcards for the next block to always be one block ahead. It takes discipline, but not impossible. I think the most important thing is to study in a way that is FUN for you. You should really enjoy studying, because you will want to eventually be studying 10-12 hours a day, good luck!
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