Improve Your USMLE Step 1 Performance in 2 Weeks

When it comes to the USMLE Step 1 exam, you may think that there’s no way to improve your performance in just two weeks. However, with determination, effort, and a focused approach, it is indeed possible to make significant progress in a short amount of time.

We have some tips. It’s not perfect but it’s sure a good place to start.

So let’s get down to it.

Why are the last two weeks important for Step 1?

The last couple of weeks before the exam are often the most challenging. It’s common to feel like everything you’ve studied over the previous weeks and months has slipped away. The sheer volume of knowledge can be overwhelming. However, it’s crucial not to underestimate the importance of this time. By utilizing these final two weeks effectively, you can maximize your chances of success.

So, how can you make the most of these two weeks?

While there are no shortcuts to success in the USMLE, there are some valuable strategies you can employ to optimize your time and improve your performance. Here are seven key steps to follow:

Plan very well!

During these last two weeks, it’s crucial to simulate the testing environment as closely as possible. The USMLE Step 1 exam is an eight-hour test, so it’s essential to get accustomed to the rigours of that duration.

Create a study schedule that mirrors the exam day and includes dedicated blocks of time for each section. However, be cautious not to overexert yourself and risk burnout. Study when you can, take regular breaks, and maintain your focus on the ultimate goal.

Prioritize your workload

Working smarter, not harder, is the key here. By this point, you should have already covered all the necessary material at least once. Identify the chapters or topics that require extra attention and focus on the highest-yield areas within those sections.

Here are some examples of high-yield topics to prioritize

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neurology

Review the corresponding sections of your study materials and consolidate your understanding of these concepts.

Test yourself frequently

Utilize question banks like CanadaQBank to your advantage. These question banks provide a realistic preview of the actual exam and can help you fine-tune your review. Regularly practicing questions will make you familiar with the test format, ensuring there are no surprises on the actual exam day. Set aside dedicated blocks of time for question practice and aim to complete as many practice questions as possible. However, allocate sufficient time to review the explanations for each question, as they offer valuable insights and reinforce your understanding of the material.


Two weeks before the exam is not the time to learn new material. Instead, focus on reviewing your weak areas and reinforcing previously acquired knowledge. Identify the topics or concepts that you find most challenging and dedicate extra time to understanding and memorizing them. If you find any significant gaps in your understanding, consider rescheduling your exam to ensure you are adequately prepared. Some recommended review topics include lists of organisms, equations, and disease hallmarks. Use resources such as First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 to guide your review.

Take care of yourself

It’s easy to neglect self-care during this intense period of studying and pressure. However, taking care of yourself is essential for optimal performance. Maintain a healthy sleep schedule, aiming for 7-8 hours each night. Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation and overall cognitive function. Additionally, nourish your body with nutritious meals that provide sustained energy throughout

the day. Incorporate exercise into your routine whenever possible, as it can help reduce stress, improve focus, and enhance overall well-being. Even a short walk or a few minutes of meditation can greatly

Preparing for your USMLE exams

Here are some ways to prepare for your USMLE exams.

Craft a Focused Study Plan

With limited time available, it’s vital to create a targeted study plan. Assess your strengths and weaknesses by reviewing practice exams and assessments. Devote more time to topics you need improvement while ensuring a balanced coverage of high-yield subjects. Setting specific goals for each study session will keep you on track and allow you to measure your progress effectively.

Embrace Simulated Exams

Simulated exams play a crucial role in acclimating yourself to the format and timing of the Step 1 exam. Allocate dedicated time to complete full-length practice exams, preferably under conditions that mirror the test. This approach will help you build endurance, manage time effectively, and identify weak areas that require further review. Analyze your performance to pinpoint specific topics for additional study.

Harness the Power of CanadaQBank

CanadaQBank is an invaluable resource for Step 1 preparation, and its importance cannot be overstated. This comprehensive question bank replicates the exam experience and covers all major subjects. By practicing with CanadaQBank, you can reinforce your understanding of high-yield topics, sharpen your test-taking skills, and identify improvement areas. The detailed explanations for each question are invaluable in solidifying your knowledge and addressing any knowledge gaps.

Activate Your Learning with Active Techniques

Engaging in active learning techniques enhances your retention and understanding of the material. Instead of passively reading, actively quiz yourself using flashcards or create your practice questions based on key concepts. Challenge yourself to explain concepts in simple terms and consider teaching them to a study partner or even a rubber duck. Actively involving yourself in the learning process will deepen your comprehension and help cement the information in your memory.

Leverage Trusted Resources

First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 remains a cornerstone resource for Step 1 preparation. In your time-limited schedule, prioritize reviewing high-yield sections and annotations in First Aid. Supplement your studies with reputable resources, such as online video lectures, review books, and mnemonic aids, to reinforce your understanding and consolidate your knowledge.


Preparing for the USMLE Step 1 exam within two weeks requires a focused and strategic approach. By crafting a targeted study plan, prioritizing high-yield topics, incorporating simulated exams, and utilizing resources like CanadaQBank, you can maximize your chances of success.

Remember, while intense studying is necessary, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care and maintain a balanced lifestyle. Ensure you get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, and nourish your body with healthy meals. Taking breaks and practicing relaxation techniques, like meditation or deep breathing, can help alleviate stress and improve focus.