Step I vs USMLE released sample items


Senior Member
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Jul 11, 2001
  1. Attending Physician
    Sorry if this is a repeat, but I was wondering how the USMLE sample items compare to actual USMLE exams. I ask because I'm not doing so hot on Kaplan (like 60%), but I killed on the USMLE items. There seems to be a clear difference in difficulty. Which questions (Kaplan or USMLE) are more like the actual exam? Thanks in advance.


    Playing doctor
    10+ Year Member
    15+ Year Member
    Feb 19, 2003
    1. Attending Physician
      I haven't taken the USMLE yet, but I recall an earlier thread on this site where people were saying the released items were easier than the tests that we will be taking. I think the Q bank are slightly harder, but not 100% representative of the test. I've been told that the NMS USMLE questions are the most representative.


      Most kind beast around
      7+ Year Member
      15+ Year Member
      Oct 7, 2002
      Where Democracy was born
        Hi there,

        The emphasis on given subjects on the the real exam is variable, therefore i don t think you can predict the difficulty of any given exam. Concerning the sources that you mentioned, I think that( at least in my case) the actual exam was much more difficult than both of them. I did pass, but since I haven t received my score report yet, i can t tell you what the score was. I had an average 70% in q bank, and a 75% in the released items, if that s of any help to you. I would say that q bank was more difficult than the released items, and therefore closer to MY exam. Additionally, it has much more questions, so I think it gives a more spherical represantation of what may be asked. A friend of mine got 73% on the released items, and scored 83 in step 1.
        Hope it was helpful,
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