Category: Exams

USMLE Step 1 Books

Very often students ask me about the books they should use for the steps’ preparation. Here are a few principles and book names that I have gathered over the years from our students that prepare and take tests with various results.


  1. Every book is valuable, however, everyone has a different taste and different ways to understand. Hence, you will have to choose your own set by reading various books.
  2. Read a topic for example pathology of asthma from all candidate books and see which one helps you the most in terms of style of writing, diagrams, distractions, and recall. Mind it, when you will read the same topic from each book, you will become better from one to the next book. You might incorrectly conclude that the last book you read the topic from is better. To counter this bias, read another topic in the reverse order. Mix it up for a few topics and choose your favorite writer.
  3. Each book has some great points and some points that are missing. If this was not the case then all of them will be the same one book. Furthermore, some books are textbooks, some are review books, some are notes, and so on. Don’t compare a textbook to a notes book.
  4. It is not necessary to choose a set that is by one company e.g. all Kaplan’s books, or all Becker’s books or all DrBeen’s topics, etc.
  5. Once you have a set chosen then stick to it. As each book is written differently, they all have different deficiencies. Accept this instead of running after every book and ending up with a pile of books that you cannot review in a timely fashion.

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USMLE Examination Guide Part 1

Note: This article is for international medical graduates (IMGs) the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step test for medical licensure. It is mandatory for every doctor who wants to practice in the US.

United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step test for medical licensure. It is mandatory for every doctor who wants to practice in the US.


The examination is conducted in three steps. Step 1 and Step 2 must be cleared to match for a residency, however, Step 3 can be attempted during the residency.

  • Step 1 tests the foundational aspects of the medical knowledge.
  • Step 2 tests the clinical knowledge and clinical skills of a doctor. Hence it is divided into the clinical knowledge (CK) and clinical skills (CS) parts.

It is not necessary that you attempt Step 1 before Step 2. In this article, we will discuss strategies to decide which step to attempt first.


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5 Simple Steps to Ace Your Next Exam

1. Setting Goals and Expectations

The first thing you need to know is what the minimum score is to pass and your intention to score way above that mark. Be honest with yourself and where your current knowledge level is. Once you know what level you currently stand, it will be much easier to dig in and learn what you need to master in the timeliest fashion. What do you want to score? Do you have a study plan? How long do you intend to study? What tools have you set out to use? What specialty do you want to practice? Set your goals and expectations early and you’ll find that your roadmap to success will be much easier to follow.

2. Study Agenda

Start looking at study material as you prepare for your school courses early. Sometimes the lecturer will cover outside material in order to cover the intended material for the class, but not emphasize information taught heavily for board preparation. By cross correlating between your lecture material and your board study prep, you fill in the gaps and critical information isn’t left behind. You’ll also have extensive notes already written for the critical period of time allocated for your exam.

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This is a guest post from Noah Smith at

Teens today have quite a bit to worry about, between pressures at school to perform well and fit in, the stress of figuring out higher learning and what comes next, and all the worries that come with social media. It can be difficult to know how to help when your teen begins to exhibit signs of anxiety–which can manifest into physical symptoms–but because anxiety can lead to depression and other mood disorders, it’s important to know what those warning signs are, how to help your child cope, and how to learn ways to prevent those feelings from coming back in the future.

Keeping the conversation open with your teen is a great start. That’s not always as easily done as one might hope, but showing your child that you understand what they’re going through–or are trying to–is an important part of helping her sort out her feelings, and it will help her learn to trust you.

Here are some of the best ways to help your teen with anxiety.

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