The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is an exam that all US physicians must pass in order to obtain licensure. 

The exam is delivered in three phases, with the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 before applying for residency, and the USMLE Step 3 during the first year or two of residency. 

Passing this exam demonstrates a medical student's mastery of basic science knowledge and their ability to solve problems through the application of those principles. As of January 2022, a passing score is currently a 196 or higher out of 300 possible points.


What is the USMLE Step 1 Exam and Why is it Important?

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 is an important exam that medical students must pass to obtain a medical license. It assesses whether the student understands and can apply important scientific concepts that are essential to the practice of medicine. 

The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and the passing score is currently 196 out of 300 points. The performance on this exam is taken into consideration by residency program directors during their application review process. 

Passing the USMLE Step 1 on the first attempt demonstrates a medical student's mastery of basic science knowledge and their ability to solve problems. For this reason, it is important to adequately prepare for the exam.


How Early Should I Start Preparing for the USMLE Step 1?

It's important to start studying for the USMLE Step 1 as early as possible. It's a comprehensive exam that covers material from the first couple of years of medical school, so you'll want to be prepared. 

It's smart to start preparing early, so you can get a better understanding of the material and make sure you're absorbing the information. 

You may even want to study USMLE materials while taking core classes to get a head start on the exam. Additionally, it's helpful to take advantage of resources such as study guides and practice exams offered by the National Board of Medical Examiners, so you can get a feel for what the actual test will be like.


What Resources Should I Use to Prepare for the USMLE Step 1?

To prepare for the USMLE Step 1, students should start studying from the first day of medical school, understand their own learning style, and take advantage of the resources available to them. 

Students should utilize resources such as their medical school's USMLE study materials, peer study groups, live review courses, and practice exams from the National Board of Medical Examiners. Additionally, it’s important to keep tabs on their grades and class rank throughout medical school in order to stay on track with their USMLE preparation.


How Can I Track My Progress During USMLE Step 1 Preparation?

To track your progress during USMLE Step 1 preparation, it's important to understand the importance of the exam, to start studying early when you start medical school, to use the right resources based on your learning style, to stay on track by monitoring your grades and class rank, and to take advantage of practice exams. 

Keeping tabs on your academic performance will be a direct indicator of your grasp of the material, and taking practice exams can help you simulate what the real process will be like. Additionally, forming a study group or joining a live review course can provide guidance and support as you work through the exam.


How Can Practice Exams Help Me Prepare for the USMLE Step 1?

Practice exams are a great way to prepare for the USMLE Step 1. They can help simulate the real exam experience, allowing students to become familiar with the format and types of questions they can expect on the day of the exam.

 Taking practice exams offered by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) is particularly useful as they are designed to the same specifications as the USMLE tests. 

It is important to note that practice exam scores may be slightly inflated and it is recommended to subtract 15-20 points from the practice score when estimating the score for the real exam.


Read also: What Is Changing About Pass/Fail the USMLE?