What You Need for Your Step 1 Exam

If you are on course for the first step of the USMLE, in order to avoid worrying about exam-related details and devote more time to studying, it is essential to familiarize yourself with what you need to know on the day of the exam.

Here are a few things you need for your USMLE Step 1 Exam.

Create and practice your daily routines

A key to performing well on exams is mastering your morning routine. Two or three days before the USMLE Step 1 test, wake up at the time you will on test day and stick to this schedule through the big day. This will guarantee that you are awake and attentive during the exam.

Moreover, choose a breakfast that fits your stomach, such as a bowl of fruit and yogurt or eggs and toast. Mapping out your morning routine can help calm your anxieties because you’ve been accustomed to these foods for a few days.

Watch your diet

The day leading to your USMLE Step 1 Exam is not the time to experiment or try new diets.

It is crucial to avoid trying new meals and consuming too much caffeine.

While studying for the USMLE, medical students frequently consider what nutritious foods are best to eat. A well-balanced meal with whole grains, protein, fruits, and vegetables is the quick response to this query.

Prospective candidates should avoid excessive carbs and salty foods as they can impede digestion. To avoid jitters or caffeine withdrawal, have as much coffee as usual in the days before the exam and on test day.

Figure out your transport route

Plan your transit plan for a stress-free USMLE Step 1 exam day. Leave your house or apartment at the same time you’ll leave for your exam so you may see how traffic and public transportation operate.

Determine whether using a garage or parking lot will cost you money by evaluating the parking situation. Location-based adjustments are made to public transit schedules and verify whether buses or trains will deliver you in time to the exam location.

You should arrive at the testing facility atleast thirty minutes before your exam. If you intend to drive alone, it’s a good idea to look into other routes to the testing center. You can adjust to unanticipated mishaps, construction, and other circumstances with this support.

Packing Up

Prior to the exam morning, make sure you have all of these things ready. A copy of your scheduling permit, either on paper or digitally, together with a government-issued photo ID (be sure it hasn’t expired straight away!) This could be a National ID card, a driver’s license, or a passport.  

Plugs for the ears. It is only permitted for you to bring earplugs into the exam as personal belongings. They must be soft foam earplugs that are cordless and have no strings connected. You will be given a locker to use for storing anything else you bring to the exam center, and remember that whatever you bring to the testing facility may be inspected, so be ready for a security examination.

Pack a nutritious lunch and some snacks for your breaks! If you enjoy your coffee, it’s a good idea to bring plenty of water bottles and coffee.

Review your study materials

It may be tempting to continue studying until the day of the USMLE Step 1 exam. It’s better to avoid looking heavily the day before and the morning of the exam because you’ve been studying for this time for months, so spend the day before the test unwinding and before going to the testing center, you should ideally have reviewed for no more than an hour or two in the previous 24 hours.

There are also study guides that can help you succeed in all the phases of your USMLE Step 1 Exam; sites like the CanadaQBank can allow you access to information and materials that can help you.

Understanding the schedule for the exam day

This exam lasts for eight hours and is broken up into seven one-hour chunks after a brief instruction. Depending on how long it takes you to answer each question, there will be a variable number of questions, no more than 40 during each block. There won’t be more than 280 questions on the entire test.

A minimum of 45 minutes is allocated for breaks during the exam, and there is also a 15-minute tutorial available at the start. Once more, we advise completing the Step 1 interactive testing process in advance or taking the entire mock exam at the testing center.

If you complete a tutorial early or complete a block of questions before the given time runs out, you get more time for your breaks. Having said that, take your time answering any of the questions or following the instructions. Give it some time! Remember that your fingerprint will be taken when you leave the exam and return.

Knowing your timers

On your exam, there are two separate timers to be mindful of. You can open the timer panel by clicking on the block time remaining in the bottom toolbar to access the timers during your exam.

The first is the block time information timer, which indicates which of the seven blocks you are now on, how much time is left on the block, how much time has passed, and how long the block is.

Additionally, there is a daytime information timer that displays the amount of time left on the exam (not just the block you are on), the time of day that has passed, and the total amount of time (eight hours). You may also see how much more break time you have left.


These planning tips will assist you in planning ahead and staying organized so that you can ace your examinations. You can also include a personal program to assist you to get in better physical and mental conditions before the test. As you prepare for your USMLE Step 1 tests, you should seriously consider CanadaQBank as a helpful study aid.

The Best Ways to Get Ready for Your USMLE Step 1 Exam Day

The Best Ways to Get Ready for Your USMLE Step 1 Exam Day

No matter how smart you are, even the most composed medical students get anxious before the USMLE Step 1 exam. The majority of people complete two or three years of education prior to taking the test. However, it’s not an easy one. Your knowledge of medicine is assessed on the USMLE Step 1 exam, and the findings are crucial in deciding the kinds of careers and residency programs you can pursue.

After sleepless nights coupled with months of studying, there is a question most medical students ask prior to a step 1 USMLE test day: “How do I prepare for a step 1 USMLE test day?”. Well, your answer is right here. In this article, we will discuss most of the very much-needed tips you need while preparing for your step 1 USMLE test day.

Test Accommodations

In the early stages of planning for your USMLE step 1 test, what you need to look out for prior to the test is whether you do need certain accommodations. It could be learning, medical disabilities, or disadvantages that might warrant this accommodation. If you need one, you need to go through the guidelines provided on the USMLE site and plan ahead of the test.

What kind of studying should you do prior to your step 1 USMLE test day?

This is a recurring question that most people prepping to write the step 1 USMLE test ask prior to the exams. Well, months before the exams, it is expected that most candidates have a study schedule that will help them stay on the right track.

  • It is important to take practice test questions and maintain a digital study journal where you record the questions you miss. When you reach those sections of your medical coursework, go to your online study log and make a note of where you most need assistance. You can use sites such as Canadaqbank to access practice questions.
  • Focus on what you don’t know. Inasmuch as you need to hold the information you are competent in, avoid devoting a lot of time to areas in which you already possess confidence. Go back each week using your digital study journal to see what still needs improvement. Till you’ve also mastered those areas, devote time to them.
  • Using your mnemonics, this simple trick can help you a long way; by using the first letter of every word, you can create codes that will help you memorize places, things, and people easily.

Create a plan for your breaks.

Before exam day, make a plan for your breaks. Recall that the exam will last eight hours, divided into seven blocks. Your breaks will last for a total of one hour. So, arrange them in a way that suits you the best, or simply organize your breaks in advance of the test day.


Plan for the day of the USMLE Step 1 exam by figuring out your transit plan. When you leave your house or apartment, try to time your departure for when traffic and public transportation are at their busiest. Examine the parking situation and determine whether using a garage or lot will cost you money. Schedules for public transportation vary according to one’s location. Verify whether the buses or trains will arrive at your testing location in time.

Make sure you get to the testing location at least half an hour before the exam. If you intend to drive yourself to the testing site, it’s worth looking into alternate routes. This will enable you to adjust to unanticipated mishaps, construction, and other circumstances.

What you ought to do a day before your step 1 USMLE test

Early Journey

If you have to travel to a different place to take the exam, attempt to arrive early on the day before. The last thing you want is to arrive late and find out there was a problem with your registration right before your exam and have to make last-minute changes to your sleeping arrangements. Always remember that “it’s the early birds that get the worms,” so the earlier, the better.

Eat Properly

It’s important to eat well and properly. So, eat foods that your body system can tolerate. Also, it is not advisable to attempt anything new the day before your USMLE Step 1 exam. In particular, avoid consuming too much coffee. During their USMLE exam preparation, medical students frequently consider what nutritious foods are best to eat.

A well-balanced diet rich in whole grains, protein, and fruits and vegetables is the quick answer to this question. It is also advisable that you avoid spicy foods as well as any food that can interfere with your regular digestion.

Gather everything you’ll need the day before for USMLE Step 1 test

Your scheduling permit and a valid photo ID from the government are essential. You have a copy with you on test day. Make sure to prepare those items the day before and store them in a location you will remember to retrieve them before you depart.

You can also get your snacks and medications should you need them.


Cramming at the last minute always sounds like a smart plan. But you also need to know when to put down the flashcards and call it a night. You could miss your alarm or feel sleepy on the USMLE Step 1 exam if you stay up late or sleep later than usual.

To perform to the best of your ability on the USMLE Step 1 exam, you must be in outstanding physical and mental health. It follows that you ought to aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. The USMLE Step 1 test is broken up into many one-hour time slots. Getting enough sleep guarantees that you’ll be focused and able to complete the exam questions in the allotted time.


These tips will help you organize yourself and plan ahead of time so your exams can be a success. You can also add a personal program to help improve your physical and mental shape prior to the exams. It is essential that you consider using CanadaQBank as a helpful study partner as you embark on your adventure to ace the USMLE Step 1 exams. You can successfully prepare for the exam and attain your desired result by adhering to these tips and your approach to your specific needs.

Is it Possible to Work As a Doctor in the USA Without USMLE

Is it Possible to Work As a Doctor in the USA Without USMLE

For many people, working in the Americas and Europe is a dream come true. This also applies to healthcare practitioners such as Doctors who chase after this opportunity because they know it will provide them with better working environments and better pay. Unfortunately, the battle to get certified can be quite difficult and lengthy, as there are several difficult exams and regulatory hurdles to conquer.

The United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) and Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) are some examples of the exams taken in the US and the UK. However, the process of applying and preparing for these exams can be quite costly. So it comes as no surprise that some potential doctors may wonder if it is possible to work as a doctor in the USA without USMLE. In the coming paragraphs, we’ll delve deep into this.


The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) requires International Medical Graduates (IMG) to fulfill certain requirements before they can acquire further training and jobs. The USMLE is a three-step exam designed to assess and ensure that you meet the level of competence required to treat the citizens of the United States. This exam tests your readiness, knowledge, and skills to provide safe and effective patient care. Divided into Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), and Step 3, these exams range over diverse topics and test your capabilities in more than one way.

Necessity of the USMLE

Passing the USMLE with great scores helps to open numerous doors of opportunity to IMG as there are quite a number of doctors applying and writing the exams with you, so the competition is stiff. Therefore, hospitals and employers are most likely to choose the people with the highest scores and certifications. Here are some more reasons why the USMLE is important:

  1. Integration into the US healthcare system: People who pass the exam demonstrate that they are capable of integrating into the healthcare system, as it assesses your clinical decision-making and communication skills to ensure that you can provide your patients with safe and effective care. The USMLE is a pre-requisite for international graduates to acquire a license to practice in the USA and to participate in specialty exams that grant you Board certification to establish expertise in a specific specialty.
  2. Standardized Assessment of Medical Competence: The USMLE provides a standardized and uniform evaluation of medical competence in applying medical knowledge and principles to patient care. This is helpful to doctors who graduated from medical schools that are not on the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) list, as employers will be able to see how you perform against those who are.
  3. Residency program Admission: In order to be considered eligible for most residency positions in the US, you must have passed all three steps of the exam. Residency programs typically use USMLE scores as a criterion for selecting candidates.
  4. Competitive advantage: Scoring high in the exams will play in your favor as it will allow you to stand out in a river full of recent graduates. It enhances your competitiveness and shows residency programs and employers that you operate at a level higher than average level with a strong foundation of medical concepts and techniques.
  5. Global recognition: The USMLE is recognized worldwide as a measure of medical competence, and passing it provides versatility to your portfolio, allowing you the option to practice or pursue further education in other countries.

Most doctors recommend the use of a trusted and qualified question bank when preparing for the USMLE, as they contain past questions used from actual exams. Really good ones like CanadaQbank also contain features that will accurately simulate actual exam scenarios.

Can doctors work without USMLE?

Doctors do 5 kinds of work: administration, clinical, education, management, and research. In the most technical sense, only clinical work requires you to have passed the USMLE. This does not mean that every job in the other field is now available to you, as certain employers will still value the presence of a pass, but below are some available opportunities:

  1. Clinical Research Positions: Positions are available in research, and these focus on non-clinical roles like conducting research studies and gathering data. These positions are available in academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies, or research organizations.
  2. Teaching Positions: IMGs with strong teaching skills and relevant experience in their expertise can find jobs teaching at medical schools, institutions or teaching hospitals. These roles do not involve direct patient care.
  3. Limited Licensure Programs: Some states in the US offer limited licensure programs that allow medical school graduates and those who have passed a comparable exam in their home country to practice in the US under restrictions and supervision, often in underserved regions. These programs are designed to address healthcare shortages and may involve additional assessment, interviews, or specific practice restrictions.
  4. Military services: The US Armed Forces have specific programs to recruit physicians and healthcare professionals trained outside the States. Each branch of the US military has its accession programs for healthcare professionals, and they can offer specific training in exchange for a service commitment of a few years.
  5. Telemedicine Positions: this is an emerging field that offers doctors the chance to provide consultations and remote patient care. However, it is highly limited and regulated and is usually available under public health emergencies or during collaborative agreements, where IMGs may work with licensed physicians or healthcare institutions.
  6. O-1 Visa: Given to individuals who have shown extraordinary ability or achievement in their field, this visa is rarely given and then only to exceptional graduates. This visa allows you to participate in activities that showcase your exceptional skills, but it is not designed as a substitute for medical licensure.
  7. J-1 Visa: This visa category is commonly associated with cultural exchange programs. It includes the J-1 exchange visitor physician category, allowing foreign medical graduates to complete their graduate medical training in the US. They also have the option to work in underserved regions of the US in exchange for a waiver of the two-year home county residency requirement. This can be a pathway to employment, especially in areas with doctor shortages.
  8. Public Health and Policy: There are opportunities for IMGs to contribute to public health initiatives and policy development. This can involve working with NGOs, government agencies, or international health organizations.
  9. Healthcare Administration and Management: IMGs with strong administrative and managerial skills can choose to explore roles in healthcare management. Rather than direct patient care, these positions focus more on the business and operational aspects of healthcare.


While passing the USMLE is an integral step in the path for an international medical student looking to practice freely and fully in the United States, it is not the only way to find employment in the States. There are other alternate routes that you can take to acquire a job and a source of livelihood. Whether your goal is to wait a bit to prepare and raise money for the exam or a retest or to start working and building your career in a non-clinical direction, we hope this article was of use to you.

USMLE Step 1 Practice Question Types

The USMLE Step 1 looms large, a towering hurdle on every medical student’s path. This isn’t just another exam; it’s a gateway to your future, and with proper preparation, you can unlock it with confidence. But where do you begin?

It isn’t just about cramming facts. Step 1 demands a deep understanding of diverse question types, a keen eye for the evolving focus, and the ability to navigate the intricacies of each category. From “Most Likely” masterpieces to Multimedia mysteries and Chart conundrums, we’ll crack the code on them all.

In this comprehensive exploration, we’ll demystify the exam, equip you with valuable insights, and reveal the strategies you need to tackle every question precisely. Forget one-size-fits-all approaches – we’ll help you tailor your prep to your unique learning style and keep you motivated until you cross that finish line.

The Shifting Landscape of USMLE Step 1

The landscape of the USMLE Step 1 underwent a seismic shift with the transition to pass/fail grading in early 2022. This transformative change brought about a recalibration of the exam’s content, notably elevating the importance of applying basic science concepts and communication competencies.

Gone are the days of agonizing over three-digit scores. Now, Step 1 reports pass or fail, emphasizing broader knowledge and clinical reasoning over rote memorization. The exam now focuses more heavily on clinical skills and patient management. It will increasingly assess your ability to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues while navigating ethical dilemmas in a clinical setting, thus reflecting the evolving priorities of medical education.

These changes have caused Residency programs to consider a broader range of factors, including Step 2 CK scores, letters of recommendation, and clinical experiences when making their selections.

The changes have sparked lively debate, with some praising the shift towards clinical skills and others concerned about potential unintended consequences. However, one thing is clear: Step 1 has evolved, and future medical students need to adapt their preparation strategies accordingly.

Understanding question types, practicing clinical reasoning, and honing communication skills are crucial. Resources like CanadaQBank’s targeted qbanks and the latest NBME forms can be invaluable allies as you practice. They ensure your focus resonates with the current nuances of the exam.

As we navigate this evolving terrain, we must recognize the diminishing role of systems-based practice and patient safety questions in Step 1. Diagnosis and management questions, once integral to Step 1, now find their place in USMLE Step 2.

The Often Overlooked Art of Communication

Amidst the sea of scientific knowledge, one aspect that often takes a backseat is communication. Some students perceive it as “common sense” or “low yield,” potentially undermining its significance in the exam. Surprisingly, communication-related questions constitute a notable 6-9% of the Step 1 exams, according to the USMLE testing outline.

While it might be tempting to rely on intuition for such questions, dedicating time to their preparation can prove invaluable. Crafting empathetic statements, navigating open-ended inquiries, and knowing when to seek additional information or medical records are skills that can set you apart. Investing time in honing these communication competencies contributes not only to exam success but also to the development of a well-rounded medical professional.

Unraveling USMLE Sample Question Categories

Decoding “Most Likely” Step 1 Questions

The quintessential “most likely” question, often phrased as “Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?” reigns supreme in the USMLE Step 1 exam. These questions typically unfold within the context of complex clinical cases, demanding a holistic understanding of the presented information.

Efficiently tackling these questions involves a strategic approach. Commence by immersing yourself in the stem question – the heart of the case. This initial reading provides a roadmap, guiding your focus on whether the emphasis lies on diagnosis, biochemical correlates, anatomy, or other aspects. A brief scan of the answer choices complements this, forming a preliminary framework.

As you delve deeper into the case, the art lies in identifying 3-5 key clues. Distracting details may lurk, relevant to incorrect answer choices, underscoring the importance of assembling all clues and treating the case as a cohesive whole. This methodical unraveling of complex clinical scenarios is pivotal for success in “Most Likely” questions.

Navigating Multimedia Step 1 Questions

Multimedia questions, characterized by radiologic or pathologic findings, videos, or audio snippets of physical exam maneuvers, can be stressful and panic-inducing. The key to dominating these questions is maintaining composure amid the multimedia onslaught. Reading the stem first, before delving into multimedia content, is a foundational strategy.

Start by immersing yourself in the actual question before skimming through the answer choices. This provides a preliminary understanding of what to look for in the question stem. Then, you view the multimedia file for about 15 seconds to not be weighed down. Recognize patterns, interpret findings, and weave a coherent narrative within the question’s constraints. Whether deciphering a cardiac physical exam or interpreting a pathological image, recognizing clues within the stem enhances your ability to navigate the complexity of multimedia questions.

Mastering Chart Step 1 Questions

Chart questions present information in a visually overwhelming format, often featuring a plethora of arrows and data. Overcoming the initial intimidation involves adopting a systematic approach. Start by taking a deep breath to release any tension that can come with being bombarded by the chart, and then look towards the column you’re most familiar with and judiciously employ the process of elimination.

Chart questions demand a nuanced understanding of cause and consequence. Amidst the array of arrows and data points, getting entangled is easy. Taking your time and methodically approaching chart questions can unravel the complexities, preventing confusion and ensuring accurate responses.


In essence, preparing for USMLE Step 1 is a multi-faceted journey that extends beyond the confines of textbooks and review materials. It’s about developing a comprehensive understanding of medical concepts, honing diagnostic skills, and fostering effective communication – skills that will serve you well beyond the confines of the exam room.

As you navigate the depths of USMLE Step 1, remember that success is not just about answering questions correctly but about embodying the qualities of a competent and compassionate medical professional. With each question you tackle, envision yourself not just as a test-taker but as a future healer equipped with the knowledge and skills to make a meaningful impact in the world of medicine.

Ensure you check out our Qbanks at CanadaQBank for a comprehensive and up-to-date compilation of practice questions.

What is the USMLE Step 1: Tips and FAQs

In your journey to become a doctor in the United States, you’ll encounter the USMLE Step 1, the first of three exams. The USMLE, short for the United States Medical Licensing Examination, is the licensure exam you need to pass to practice medicine in the US.

Specifically, the Step 1 exam tests your foundational understanding of medical principles. To succeed, you must demonstrate knowledge of diseases, treatment principles, and the inner workings of physiological processes.

You have the option to take this exam right after graduating from medical school. However, some US medical students prefer to tackle it during their third year when the fundamentals of medicine are still fresh in their minds. Preparing for the USMLE Step 1 is essential to achieving success. So, firstly, here are some tips to help you along the way:

  1. Plan Sufficient Study Time: Allocate an adequate amount of time to study for the exam. Depending on your knowledge base, you can opt for either the 40-Day or 99-Day Study Schedule. These schedules provide a structured plan to cover all important topics and allow for thorough revision.


  1. Utilize High-Quality Resources: Make sure to use trustworthy and comprehensive study resources. Review books like First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 and CanadaQBank are popular choices among students. Consider supplementing your study materials with additional resources, such as educational videos and online lectures that can be found on CanadaQBank.


  1. Active Learning and Practice Questions: Simply reading and memorizing facts may not be enough. Actively engage with the material by answering practice questions and participating in interactive learning activities. This will reinforce your understanding and help you apply knowledge in a clinical context.


  1. Create a Study Group: Studying with peers can provide valuable support, motivation, and the opportunity to discuss difficult concepts. Join or form a study group where you can share resources, exchange insights, and clarify any doubts.


  1. Timed Practice Exams: Practice exams are a crucial component of your preparation. Take several timed practice exams on CanadaQBank to simulate the actual test environment and gauge your progress. These exams will help you identify weak areas and develop strategies for managing your time effectively.


  1. Focus on Weak Areas: Identify your weakest subjects or topics and dedicate extra effort to strengthen your understanding in these areas. Retain a balance in studying across all subjects, but devote additional time and resources to the areas where you need improvement.

Remember, success in the USMLE Step 1 requires a combination of thorough preparation, effective study strategies, and self-discipline. CanadaQBank understands the importance of preparing for the USMLE Step 1 and offers resources to help medical students succeed in this crucial exam. That’s why we’ve curated some frequently asked questions to gain a clearer understanding of this pivotal step in a medical student’s journey.

Frequently Asked Questions About USMLE Step 1

Here are some FAQS about USMLE Step 1

When should you take the USMLE Step 1?

Typically, most students aim to take the USMLE Step 1 after their second year of medical school. This timing allows them to have covered all the necessary basic sciences that are tested on this exam. International medical school graduates also need to take this exam to practice medicine in the United States.

What about the USMLE Step 2?

Once students complete their third year of medical school, finishing clinical rotations, they usually proceed to take the USMLE Step 2. This step is closely aligned with the knowledge acquired during clinical rotations, making the timing ideal for its completion.

What about the USMLE Step 3?

It’s generally recommended to take the USMLE Step 3 after gaining at least a year of clinical experience post-medical school. Many individuals choose to take this step during their residency program, about a year into it.

Now, let’s talk about the USMLE Step 1 specifically.

How many questions does USMLE Step 1 consist of?

This exam comprises 280 multiple-choice questions. These questions cover a broad range of topics, including general principles, body systems, behavioural health, and social sciences.

How long does the USMLE Step 1 last?

The exam takes place over one day and lasts for eight hours. It is divided into seven blocks of questions, each lasting 60 minutes. You’ll have a minimum break time of 45 minutes, along with an optional 15-minute tutorial. Each block can contain a maximum of 40 questions.

Who is eligible to take the USMLE Step 1?

To be eligible, you must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Officially enrolled medical student or graduate in a U.S. or Canadian school leading to an MD degree accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).
  • Officially enrolled medical student or graduate in a U.S. school leading to a DO degree accredited by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA).
  • Officially enrolled medical student or graduate in a school outside the U.S. and Canada listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools as meeting ECFMG eligibility requirements and meeting other ECFMG eligibility criteria.

Now that we have a good grasp of what the USMLE Step 1 entails, let’s explore the importance of using resources like CanadaQBank to prepare for this critical exam. CanadaQBank is dedicated to assisting medical students with their exam preparation. With a vast question bank, including detailed explanations and references, students can strengthen their knowledge and test-taking skills in a structured and organized manner. The platform allows for interactive learning, enabling students to track their progress and identify areas that require further attention.


Preparing for the USMLE Step 1 is a significant undertaking, but with the right resources and guidance, success is within reach. CanadaQBank provides a reliable and comprehensive tool for medical students to tackle challenging content and boost their confidence. So, if you’re on the path to conquering the USMLE Step 1, consider utilizing CanadaQBank as a valuable study companion on your journey to becoming a licensed physician.

How to Plan a 10-Week USMLE Step 1 Study Schedule

Okay, let’s get down to it. If you’re in med school and have about 10 weeks to study for your USMLE Step 1, you’re in the right place. You still have a lot of time, but you need a realistic study guide to keep you occupied and ready for your exams.

So, we’ve helped you formulate a study guide to keep you locked in on your goal.

Let’s get to it.

What is USMLE Step 1

When embarking on your journey to become a practicing physician in the United States, the USMLE Step 1 is the first examination within a series of three. The acronym USMLE, short for the United States Medical Licensing Examination, aptly captures its purpose: It is the exam you must complete to obtain your physician’s license in the US.

USMLE Step 1 focuses on assessing your foundational knowledge of medical principles. This examination evaluates your understanding of various aspects, such as diseases, treatment principles, and the underlying mechanisms of physiological processes. It serves as a comprehensive evaluation of the fundamental concepts that form the bedrock of medical knowledge.

Planning your USMLE Step 1 Study Guide

When planning your USMLE Step 1 exam, ask yourself these questions.

  • How many practice exams do you plan to complete for Step 1?
  • How long do you intend to dedicate your study period to Step 1?
  • How many hours each day have you allocated for studying purposes?
  • Which specific areas of the subject pose the greatest challenge for you? Remember to allocate extra study time for these areas.
  • How many days of the week will you commit to studying for Step 1?
  • Lastly, would you like to have a study partner who can help keep you accountable during your dedicated study period?

Additionally, consider your peak mental sharpness and identify the most effective study methods that work for you.

Tips for Planning Your Step 1 Study Schedule

  • Plan your study schedule in advance

Developing a well-structured USMLE study schedule in advance brings about time-saving benefits and aids in maintaining focus. Often, individuals fail to recognize the significance of charting their daily study plans at the start of their exam preparation phase. This proactive approach conserves valuable study time. When you wake up each morning without a clear game plan, you may find yourself wasting precious hours in indecision.

Additionally, transitioning between different study activities can lead to time loss. Given that studying for USMLE Step 1 involves various tasks like reading, solving questions, reviewing answers, creating flashcards, and taking practice tests, it becomes logical to reduce the time wasted during these transitions by making them more predictable.

However, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed by the thought of scheduling weeks and weeks of study days all at once. Instead, focus on planning your daily study schedule a few days in advance to ensure you remain on top of your tasks and maintain a sense of organization.

  • Always have study breaks

Having interacted with numerous students, we have discovered that the majority tend to experience a decline in effectiveness and feelings of fatigue after engaging in a single task (such as reading or solving question blocks) for approximately 2 hours.

When devising your study timetable, make it a point to include designated breaks for meals, exercise, and restful sleep. And remember to incorporate at least half a day each week to unwind and take a break from your study routine.

  • Be flexible

Creating a study schedule for the USMLE requires flexibility to accommodate new insights gained from assessments during the process.

For instance, you might have initially believed that you had a solid grasp on cardiology, only to realize through testing that you performed poorly in that area. In such cases, it would be wise to allocate time in your schedule for reviewing CanadaQBank cardiology questions later on.

Life has a way of introducing unexpected hurdles – perhaps you unexpectedly feel unwell or receive a surprise visit from a dear friend, causing your meticulously planned 10-hour study day to unravel.

To account for these curveballs, it’s essential to incorporate buffer zones into your schedule. These provisions will serve as safety nets, enabling you to regain lost time and catch up on missed study sessions.

Structure for USMLE Step 1 Study Guide

Let’s design a daily study plan that balances efficiency and comprehension without rushing through the material:

Day (approximately 8 am to 5 pm):

Morning: Dive into First Aid – Allocate ample time to read each section twice and take detailed notes. It’s crucial not to rush this process; ensure you genuinely grasp the concepts and information presented.

Afternoon: Embrace CanadaQBank Questions. Here, dedicate a thorough amount of time, around 3+ hours, to answer 50 questions (equivalent to 1.25 blocks). Feel free to create flashcards as you progress, and don’t worry if you feel like you’re going at a slower pace.

Late Afternoon: Review and Solidify Knowledge. Here, devote time to review the questions you just tackled. This step is indispensable for cementing the topics into your memory. Repetition is key – it reinforces what you’ve learned and ensures your understanding, leading to success on test day. Never skip this step!

  • Evening (approximately 7 pm to 9 pm):

Set aside around 2 hours in the evening for focused study. During this time, prioritize reviewing your flashcards and engaging with supplementary resources like Pathoma or Sketchy Micro to enhance your understanding.

Make reviewing flashcards a nightly ritual for at least an hour. Consistency in this practice will yield fruitful results.


While the initial baseline assessment provides a sense of the USMLE, it holds less importance than the 6-week study calendar. Use it to familiarize yourself with the exam format.

The subsequent 5 assessments are crucial as they expose you to the real testing environment. They provide objective data on your progress, aiding in time management, combating fatigue, and managing stress as you prepare for Step 1.

If, after following this schedule, your final assessment falls 8-10 points below your target score, it’s usually advisable to consider delaying your exam for further review.


Preparing for Step 1 can be tough, with long study hours becoming the norm. But remember, don’t overexert yourself! Take breaks, eat well, exercise, and get enough rest. It’s important to avoid burnout and make studying enjoyable. If you feel overwhelmed or exhausted, take a break. Don’t be afraid to close your books and do something relaxing, like walking or spending time with a pet. Make your study space comfortable and find natural light if possible.

Don’t stay cooped up at home all the time. Try studying at libraries, quiet coffee shops, a friend’s house, or a peaceful park. If studying alone is challenging, consider getting a tutor or forming a study group for support and accountability. Stay calm, stay focused, and study diligently. Make sure to use CanadaQBank to have access to countless resources that can make your reading a lot easier. And forget to take care of yourself along the way. You’ve got this!

Tips to Help You Perform High on the USMLE Step 1

Do you want to conquer the USMLE Step 1 with confidence and achieve your dreams? Well, CanadaQBank has your back!

In the paragraphs below, we’ll dive into five main practical tips to help you perform at your best on this crucial exam. From effective study techniques to mental preparation.

Let’s get to it!

What to know about the Step 1 exam

When it comes to medical school, the USMLE Step 1 exam is notorious for being incredibly tough and stressful. People say it’s the hardest test you’ll ever face in your medical education. But why does it matter so much?

Well, how you perform on this exam can have a significant impact on the clinical rotations and residency programs you’re able to secure in the future. This is very important if you want to land residencies like neurosurgery.

While you’ll encounter various exams during your time in medical school, Step 1 is the only one that’s standardized and truly assesses your academic performance.

That’s why passing your Step 1 is crucial. Top-notch residency programs are highly competitive, and they place a lot of importance on your Step 1 scores.

Often called “The Boards,” this exam evaluates a range of critical aspects, including:

  • Grasping the fundamentals of basic sciences.
  • Demonstrating self-discipline and focus.
  • Having the aptitude for effective study techniques.
  • Absorbing and retaining a massive amount of technical information.
  • Exhibiting the determination and ability to shine when it counts the most.

Now, let’s look into some valuable tips that will help you navigate the USMLE Step 1 exam successfully.

1.   Step 1 is Mainly a Test of Basic Science Knowledge:

While there are a few clinical questions in Step 1, the majority of the exam focuses on your understanding of basic science topics, such as

  • Experiment interpretation.
  • Basic physiology.
  • Basic biochemistry, and
  • Recognizing histopathological slides.

So, rather than going overboard with clinical questions during practice exams, concentrate on studying pathways, mechanisms, pathology, biostatistics, genetics, and experiments.

Tip: For comprehensive practice, tap into the vast question bank provided by CanadaQBank. We cover a broad range of topics necessary for Step 1 success.

2.   Expect to Encounter Theoretical Experimental Questions:

A considerable number of questions in Step 1 require you to interpret experimental results. These questions can be complex and challenging, putting your ability to grasp multiple concepts at once to the test. So, you should be prepared for questions related to physiology and pharmacology that involve theoretical experiments.

To perform well in Step 1, aim to understand the intricacies of pathways, mechanisms of enzymes, and medication actions. Then, familiarize yourself with the names of commonly used anti-coagulant and anti-platelet medications. If you’re not a fan of theoretical experimental questions, CanadaQBank can help you by giving you access to several certified resources.

3.   Brace Yourself for Lengthy Questions:

When it comes to the USMLE Step 1, most questions are very long! The sheer amount of reading can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s crucial to prioritize proper rest and hydration

Also, eat brain-friendly foods and take strategic breaks. The exam makers intentionally include unnecessary information and details that aren’t relevant to answering the question. Don’t let them throw you off! Stay focused on identifying the pertinent details required to answer accurately. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself what the simplest possible answer is and work back from there.

To help yourself with this, use CanadaQBank’s diverse set of practice questions. This varies in length and format to train your stamina and enhance your ability to read and comprehend efficiently.

Tips to Help You Study Better

1.   Create a Good Study Plan:

The USMLE Step 1 exam covers a wide range of topics. That’s why you need to have a well-structured study plan. You must take the time to understand the content outline. Then, you must break it down into manageable study blocks. After you’ve done that, map out your schedule, making sure you give attention to each topic and allowing ample time for review.

However, remember to be flexible and adapt your plan as needed. Anything can come up.

Tip: CanadaQBank offers an extensive collection of practice questions for USMLE Step 1 that can help you become comfortable with experimental scenarios and reinforce your understanding of these concepts

2.   Pick the Right Resources:

The right study resources can make a world of difference in your preparation. Remember to start with classic textbooks, such as First Aid for the USMLE Step 1. They provide a comprehensive overview. Then, supplement your reading with online question banks, like CanadaQBank, to test your knowledge. You can practise answering Step 1 style questions here. Also, ensure your resources align with your learning style. This is to help you grasp the concepts effectively.

3.   Read Actively

Learn how to read and learn actively! You should use active learning techniques to maximize your knowledge retention. To do this, break down complex topics into smaller parts. Then, create visual aids like diagrams, concept maps or even doodles. You can also practice by explaining the material out loud. Or you can teach it to a study partner. Talking it out will solidify your knowledge. Also, a good way to actively learn is to get involved in study groups or online forums. Then, discuss difficult concepts and learn from them.

4.   Learn Good Test-Taking Skills

The USMLE Step 1 isn’t just about knowledge. You need strong test-taking skills. That’s why you must understand the exam format, time constraints, and question types. After you’ve familiarized yourself with it, start learning strategies to approach different question styles. For instance, eliminating obviously incorrect answers and making educated guesses when needed. A good way to practice is by making use of the question banks on CanadaQBank and practicing them often.


Remember, CanadaQBank is always there for you no matter what, so you should never fear the USMLE Step 1. But remember, exams require dedication and a strategic approach. By understanding the exam format, leveraging these high-quality QBanks and implementing effective test-taking strategies, you’ll be well-prepared to excel on this exam.


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.

Exploring Foreign Countries Where USMLE Scores Are Accepted

Exploring Foreign Countries Where USMLE Scores Are Accepted

Most medical professionals seeking job opportunities abroad are likely to have heard about the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). This is because graduates looking to practice in the United States are evaluated using the USMLE test. The three-step test evaluates a physician’s medical knowledge, ideas, principles, and ability to apply information and give essential patient care. Also, it ensures that the doctors’ qualifications are not fraudulent or false. However, the assessment can be a massive hurdle to getting licensed in the U.S.

In this article, we will briefly explore the different steps of the USMLE and simultaneously show some foreign countries that accept USMLE scores.


The assessment comprises three steps. Each explicitly assesses physicians’ understanding, mastery and proficiency.

Step 1 evaluates a physician’s understanding of fundamental science concepts relevant to medical practice and the ability to apply them in clinical scenarios.

Step 2 is separated into two parts, Clinical Skills (CS) and Clinical Knowledge (CK), and as stated, it evaluates a physician’s clinical skills and knowledge. CS examines your ability to interact and correspond proficiently with patients while collecting medical information, while CK assesses your comprehension of clinical concepts and diagnostic reasoning skills.

Lastly comes Step 3, the final step of the USMLE, which focuses on your clinical decision-making and management. It evaluates your capacity to apply your medical knowledge and skills as you deliver safe and effective patient care in diverse clinical environments.

Importance of USMLE

Getting a high score on the USMLE not only certifies you to work and practice medicine across the U.S. but also holds immense significance for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) aspiring to practice medicine abroad.

Exceptional USMLE scores substantially improve physicians’ prospects of obtaining residency positions and medical licensure in foreign countries. USMLE is recognized worldwide as a standardized metric for indicating a physician’s preparedness to engage in unsupervised medical practice, and medical regulatory authorities often rely on the results when evaluating a physician’s qualifications and competence.

With all that being said, when you begin your preparations for your attempt at the exam, we recommend you utilize a question bank (Qbank) as part of your study regimen, as it increases your chances of scoring well. A good choice for one is CanadaQBank, it is an easily accessible and inexpensive way to practice questions under test conditions, and it’s kept up to date on new questions and clarifications. It covers topics ranging from Anatomy to Psychology and possesses a question database that lets you become acquainted with several different question systems.

The test can be taken in three different modes: Timed, Untimed, and Instructor, and all the questions have answers and extensive explanations so that you can go over your options and see where you stand. CanadaQbank allows you to choose the number of questions to answer in each block and how many subjects you get tested on.

By regularly practicing with CanadaQbank, you can acquaint yourself with the layout and scope of the USMLE, thereby improving your confidence and performance when you take the exam.

Foreign Countries that accept USMLE

As noted above, the USMLE is a standardized exam utilized by medical licensing boards to decide the competency of medical graduates to practice within the United States. Due to its stringent standards, some countries accept the USMLE results from IMG looking to practice medicine in the countries. We’ll discuss below some of these countries and the requirements they require in addition to your USMLE results.

United Kingdom

The supreme health authority in the United Kingdom is the General Medical Council (GMC), and they consider USMLE scores when granting licenses to IMGs who apply for registration. If you’re interested in practicing medicine in the United Kingdom, you must undergo the GMC registration process.

To be eligible for GMC registration and to have your USMLE accepted in the UK, there are a few critical criteria to remember. First, you should have successfully cleared Steps 1 and 2 of the USMLE within four attempts because you stop being eligible after the fourth attempt. Second, if your results are over two years old, you must have been actively practicing medicine for at least three of the last five years before submitting your application. These requirements ensure that applicants have recent experience and are kept abreast of changes in the ever-evolving field of medicine.

The registration process involves submitting the necessary documentation to the GMC, such as proof of qualifications and medical work background. After registration, you may be required to complete a period of internship or foundation training in approved hospitals or healthcare institutions in the UK. This provides practical experience and a foundation for further specialization.

Depending on your career goals, you may pursue specialty training in your desired field through specialized training programs. They offer structured training and lead to certification in a specific specialty, further enhancing your professional development and career prospects in the U.K.

Australia and New Zealand

International medical graduates who have passed the USMLE can use their scores to apply for registration with the Medical Council of Australia or the Medical Council of New Zealand, the premier health authorities of their respective countries. They typically mandate that you take the Australian Medical Council (AMC) exams or the New Zealand Registration Examination (NZREX). These exams carefully evaluate your clinical knowledge and skills, ensuring they align with the specific medical practice requirements in Australia or New Zealand.

Once you pass the necessary exams, you can go forward to the next phase: to apply for registration with the Medical Board in Australia or the Medical Council in New Zealand. Doing this grants you the official recognition and authorization to practice medicine in these countries, allowing you to embark on a fulfilling medical career in Australia or New Zealand.

IMGs with a primary qualification in medicine and surgery awarded by a training institution recognized by both the Australian Medical Council and the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS) and who have concluded training or assessment with an approved competent authority may apply for provisional registration via the Competent Authority pathway.


The Singapore Medical Council (SMC) recognizes USMLE scores when considering the certification of IMGs. Still, they also have an added criteria of requiring you to first secure a job with one of the many healthcare institutions in Singapore and complete a one-year supervised clinical training program in an approved healthcare institution.

During the supervised clinical training period, you will work under the supervision of a designated supervisor and gain practical experience in various medical specialties. This phase is pivotal as it allows you to showcase your capacity to apply your medical skills in a realistic environment. It’s a critical period where you can demonstrate your competence and meet the requirements for obtaining complete registration with the Singapore Medical Council.

To be eligible for a complete registration, you must present the required paperwork, such as proof of your medical credentials, a letter of a job offer from the prospective employer, evidence of satisfactory completion of supervised training, and meeting the specified language proficiency requirements. Satisfying these requirements assures the SMC that you possess the qualifications, experience, and linguistic mastery to deliver exceptional medical care and contribute effectively to Singapore’s healthcare system.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE is made up of seven emirates, and each of them has varying licensing processes for IMGs intending to practice. Typically, IMGs undergo the licensing process with the relevant health authority, such as the Dubai Health Authority(DHA) or The Health Authority Abu Dhabi(HAAD). The good news is that both health authorities recognize USMLE scores as part of their certification process. This means physicians who have taken the USMLE and are interested in practicing medicine in the UAE can utilize their scores to apply for certification.

It is common for physicians aspiring to practice medicine in the UAE to undergo the licensing process with the relevant health authority. This may involve passing licensing exams, providing supporting documents, and completing necessary paperwork.

After completing the licensing process, you may be required to undergo dataflow verification to validate your medical qualifications and experience. This verification process is conducted by a designated authority to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of the provided information. Additionally, post-licensing requirements must be met by IMGs to maintain their licensed status. These requirements typically include completing a designated period of supervised practice, actively participating in continuing medical education activities, and adhering to the regulations and guidelines established by the respective health authority.


Excelling in the USMLE showcases your clinical expertise and underscores your unwavering dedication and commitment to excellence in the medical field. A strong performance enhances your chances during the residency application process, unlocks opportunities for diverse training programs, and heightens the likelihood of securing coveted positions within foreign healthcare systems.