5 Biggest Mistakes Students Make While Studying for USMLE Step 1

Studying for the USMLE Step 1 exam can be daunting. There’s a lot to know, understand and memorize. So, there’s always a penchant for students to make mistakes. But don’t worry, mistakes happen. Luckily, we’re here to outline some of those mistakes and help you choose the right path.

Know that there’s no perfect path or magic formula for studying for this exam. Different styles work for different people. So, let’s break down what not to do for these tests.

Let’s get to it!

1.  Using another person’s studying style verbatim

So, there’s nothing wrong with using another person for inspiration for your reading style, but trying to copy them without tweaking them to what works for you may be bad.

For example, take a student who does well in test reads by waking up by 4 am to make notes from the resources on CanadaQBank and read them. You see them and copy them without considering that you work at night and sometimes close later. So, waking up as early as 4 am may even be detrimental to your concentration. So, now you’re awake at 4 am, lack sleep, grump, and not making use of the right resources, you’ll end up with the short end of the stick.

Instead, you could look for times in the day when you’re well-rested and calm and use it to make notes and read them. Thus, it’s important to know yourself.

2.  Using too many resources

Information is power, but too much information can be dangerous for your exams.

For instance, numerous resources are available for the USMLE, such as flashcards and videos, on CanadaQBank. However, the abundance of options can trigger fear of missing out, which may result in bad behaviours such as rearranging a well-structured study schedule to accommodate a new resource and subsequently falling behind.

When it comes to content review and QBanks, it is better to thoroughly study a few top resources rather than skimming through many resources. Devoting agoradesign.it adequate time to a comprehensive review of only the upper limb is more beneficial than going through numerous additional resources superficially. Similarly, completing the CanadaQBank question bank judiciously is more advantageous than hastily reviewing two or more QBanks. Thus, it is recommended to create a plan using a fixed number of dependable resources and adhere to it. The watchword is to keep the plan simple.

3.  Not spending the right time reviewing explanations

While finding the ideal amount of time to spend reviewing each explanation can be a challenging task, it is crucial to strike a balance. Spending too little time can cause you to overlook crucial info while spending too much time can disrupt your study schedule. Every student’s ideal review time will vary, so it’s essential to discover how much time is required to conduct an efficient and effective review.

Students’ most common mistake is spending too much time during their dedicated study period. Although it may seem counterintuitive, many students devote ten or more minutes reviewing each explanation. That’s too long and could take up to 7 hours to check a 50-question block!

Once you have a solid foundation for questions where you immediately know the correct answer and why the other choices are wrong, quickly reviewing the explanation would leave more time for reviewing more demanding questions. This strategy allows you to search for new or challenging points to understand. If you’re still struggling to find the ideal review time, consider setting aside twice the time it takes you to complete the questions. For example, for a one-hour CanadaQBank practice question, spend roughly two hours reviewing the explanations.

4.  Not focusing on your weakness

Each student has a topic or subject that proves challenging to them, which is why students who achieve the highest scores are those who confront their weak points and comprehend them. Therefore, if you want to score well on the exam, you must overcome your shortcomings.

You can develop flashcards for the concepts that you struggle with. Then, you can review the flashcard deck regularly to become familiar with these concepts. For instance, if you’re bad at anatomy, you can focus on the anatomy questions on CanadaQBank rather than the subjects you’re better at.

5.  Not doing practice assessments

To perform well on the actual exam, it’s essential to stay composed and avoid any unexpected surprises. Full-length practice tests can help boost your confidence, acclimate you to the format, and assess the time required to complete each section.

Furthermore, these evaluations can provide a preliminary indication of the score you may get on the real exam. This feedback can help you determine if you’re ready to take the test or need to allocate more time for preparation. Therefore, to prepare adequately for the exam, take as many full-length practice tests as possible.

Also, students that tend to prioritize their studies over other aspects of their lives while pursuing their goals, often leading to burnout and a decrease in exam scores. To prevent such consequences, it is crucial to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

To avoid burnout during your USMLE Step 1 preparation, there are several things you can do. Firstly, decide on a time to stop studying for the day and plan a fun activity to do afterward. Secondly, take frequent breaks using techniques like the Pomodoro method. Additionally, prioritize a healthy diet and exercise regularly, and establish a fixed sleep schedule.


Mistakes such as not taking care of yourself, avoiding your weak areas, and using too many resources are among some of the biggest issues with students studying for their USMLE Step 1. Identifying your potential mistakes is the first step to getting a good score in your exams.

The best way to prepare for the USMLE Step 1 is to study hard and get plenty of practice questions. It is also important to stay calm and focused during the exam. If you have any questions or concerns, speak with your mentor or instructor, and take advantage of our QBank at CanadaQBank.

What To Do If You Failed Step 1?

While failing USMLE Step 1 isn’t an uncommon experience, it can feel devastating to do so. You’ve spent much time, money and effort learning as much knowledge as possible as it’s now down the drain. Surely it can feel like the end of the road. And it’s no surprise that many students who fail Step 1 feel overwhelmed and uncertain about the future. But here’s the truth: failing Step 1 doesn’t mean you are a failure or your medical career is over; it only means you can tighten loose ends and try again. In fact, according to studies, US MDs who retook Step 1 had about a 66% pass rate. This shows that you can get a passing score with a dedicated plan and absolute focus. Read for more instructions regarding how to process and what next steps to take on passing the test on your next attempt.

1.  Contact your school

The first thing to do after seeing your result is to contact your school. It might be embarrassing to call your academic advisor, but it’s important, as they’ll work in your best interest. Do not avoid or delay this step. While each school has different policies, many schools will contact you to offer support and assist you with the next steps. In tough times like this, it’s important to have someone in your corner, and your academic advisor should be that person. Also, it’s of a surety that your school has dealt with situations like this in the past and have helped other medical students scale through. Not only would your school help you with resources to guarantee success in your next attempt, but they’d also get the ball rolling in working out logistics for your next attempt. And it’s never a fun experience going through it yourself — you must have your school as a beacon of support as they help you through this.

2.  Do some self-analysis

Analyze your results to see where you went wrong. Ponder about some of the things you left unfinished and think about the reasons for your failing score. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Did I give the test 110% effort? Or did I study in a rush without time to breathe, rest, and retain information?
  • Did I confront my weaknesses head-on?
  • Was I using only the most common resources and nothing extra?
  • Did I make effective and honest use of assessment tools? Was I adapting to the results?
  • Was I willing to ask for help when I was lost? Did I ask the right person?
  • Was I leveraging the power of USMLE flashcards?
  • Were my timeline and study plan appropriate?
  • Did I choose my test date wisely?

Once you understand the mistakes you made in the previous examination, you’ll know how to tackle them and prevent them from recurring.

3.  Ask for help

Indeed, no man is a compendium of knowledge. Seek out people who have passed step 1 and ask them for advice. Your school comes in handy in this case; considering that they are intimately aware of students’ performance, they can link you up with upperclassmen who may have tips for you. You can also reach out to upperclassmen who retook the exam in previous years.

While there is no size fits all advice for passing an exam, there are general trends among students. As you ask your colleagues for tips, identify the general trends and compare them to your previous approach while preparing for Step 1. Stick with the general trends that seemed to have worked for many and cut off some tips that many students didn’t do.

Also, if you are overwhelmed by the number of pages and past questions you need, you can hire a professional tutor who can help you plan out your schedule, so you know what to study each day. If your mental health is a barrier, you can contact a health professional who can help with tools and tips to help you deal with negative emotions.

4.  Give yourself enough time to prepare

This is another chance to get it right, and upon learning that you failed, you might benefit from an initial study-free week to enable you to plan and clear your mind for the new task ahead. Following that, you need ample time to study, but pace yourself, so you don’t overload yourself with so much medical stuff that you don’t remember any.

The time you give yourself to prepare will depend on how far you are from passing: if you are really far from getting the minimum pass score, you might need a month or more to prepare. Missed it by a hair’s breadth? You can continue at your previous pace while reworking your study schedule. Another important factor is how long it’s been since your last attempt. Medicine is a constantly evolving career, and questions and resources change along with it. You might need to update your resources, buy the newest revisions of your textbooks or sign up for updated questions on Canada QBank. You might feel some resistance when you start reading, but once it’s in motion, you’d only need to gather momentum each day.

5.  Focus On high-yield topics

One common mistake candidates make is focusing on low-yield topics when preparing for Step 1. This is because they are more familiar with low-yield topics, and trying to answer high-yield topics might feel Comprar cialis generico barato en españa overwhelming or anxiety-inducing. But the truth is, they will never ask you about low-yield topics in Step 1. Instead of paying more attention to low-yield topics in detail, you can have a cursory knowledge of them and move on paradormirmejor.org to something that has been occurring over the years, like cardiac tamponade, emphysema, and sickle cell anemia. Study materials, such as Canada QBank, can help you identify areas of weakness and offer you a variety of course reviews to help you master several areas in USMLE step 1.

6.  Ensure that your study schedule is bulletproof.

If you cannot hire a professional tutor due to financial constraints or other restraints, drawing up a reading plan and sticking to it can also help in the long run while preparing to retake step 1. In the old times, creating a study schedule was very daunting as you had to break up the resources you wanted to use to study and map them out in a spreadsheet. However, these days, they are a walk in the park— many apps can now be assigned to create several schedules in minutes.


Writing the USMLE step 1 exam can be challenging, and retaking becomes even more daunting. Utilize all the resources you have at your disposal, and ensure to rework your previous blueprint, as you surely know by now that it doesn’t work. Ask for tips from candidates who have written the exam and passed and engage with many question banks. Work with a Step 1 tutor, or if, due to financial constraints, you can’t, draw up a reading plan and stick to it diligently. Your life and career are worth the investment.

Overview of USMLE Step 1

Overview of USMLE Step 1

Becoming a doctor in the United States is no small feat, there are a number of exams you have to pass like the MCATs and USMLE before you can practice medicine legally there. The process to write the USMLE is a little complex but that is why we are here to break it down for you. The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the U.S. meant to assess a physician’s ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles and demonstrate fundamental patient-centered skills.

It is usually done by med students as well as graduates from foreign and local universities who wish to exercise their medical skills in the United States of America.

Step 1- Basics

The USMLE Step 1 exam is the first element of the USMLE. This exam is meant to assess the basic science knowledge of the student and requires the students to apply these basic science principles in clinical medical practice. Step 1 consists of multiple-choice questions (MCQs), that you will have to answer. These MCQs were created by USMLE committees that have recognized prominence in their respective fields.

However, the majority of questions require the examinee to interpret graphic and tabular material to identify gross and microscopic pathologic and normal specimens. These examinees also have to solve problems through the application of basic science principles.

Application Process

Before applying to ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) for examination, international medical students/graduates must obtain a USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number via ECFMG’s online services (an Application for ECFMG Certification), including the notarized Certification of Identification Form (Form 186).

Furthermore, applicants are advised to read the detailed instructions for the application before they begin working on it. This is because these instructions contain information on how to complete Form 186 using NotaryCam. They also include resources that will help you plan the timing of your application and outline any necessary items (such as official signatures). Also, it is essential to note that the application for ECFMG Certification will not be considered complete until ECFMG receives and processes both the online part of the application and the notarized Form 186 from NotaryCam.

You can apply for USMLE Step 1 via ECFMG’s online services. To do this you should read the USMLE Bulletin of Information and submit an application through your registration entity; as there are different procedures to account for both foreign and differently-abled students. When applying for the examination, you must select an eligibility period during which you wish to test, and then a scheduling permit with your eligibility period will be issued via email. After obtaining the scheduling permit, you may visit the Prometric website to schedule a test date.

Prometric’s test centers are grouped into defined testing regions, and you can take the exam at any test center in your testing region that offers USMLE, provided there is space available on the date you choose. Note the test centers available for USMLE Step 1 are subject to change. Scheduling may not be available more than six months in advance. You are permitted to reschedule within your eligibility period though you will pay a fee if you make a change during the 30 calendar days before your scheduled appointment.

Examinees should also keep in mind deadlines imposed by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) and graduate medical education (GME) programs as it is solely your responsibility to complete the required exams in time to meet deadlines imposed by the NRMP and/or GME programs. Since the number of applicants seeking to complete these exams may exceed the spaces available in time to meet those deadlines, there is no guarantee that sufficient spaces will be available for all applicants to meet deadlines imposed, so


Application for ECFMG Certification: $160

Step 1: $975 + $180 (Surcharge fee for writing outside the U.S.)

The total number of attempts allowed per Step is four (4). If you have attempted a Step four or more times, including incomplete attempts, and have not passed, you are ineligible to apply for any Step in the USMLE exam sequence.

Benefits of CanadaQBank

The USMLE Step 1 exams are not easy. Practicing with CanadaQBank allows examinees to test and develop themselves against the main exam. The question banks familiarize you with the different systems of questioning, and you will see an increase in the speed and reasoning with which questions are answered. You will be compelled to tailor your study plan to its optimum state; a good study plan will help you perfect your skills and increase your knowledge about the field. Handling such an exam will be less of a burden.

CanadaQBank contains 3016 classic simulated USMLE Step 1 multiple-choice questions (MCQs), with each MCQ covering a different USMLE Step 1 topic from the subject areas tested.

It offers three different modes that allow examinees to take tests in timed, un-timed, and tutor modes. Answers and detailed explanations for all questions are provided to allow you to review your selections and know where you erred.

CanadaQBank offers examinees the ability to generate tests by subject category or any combination of categories and to choose how many questions you want to take in each block,

Review detailed analysis of previous USMLE Step 1 tests taken, compare your scores with other users, review performance breakdown from an overview to overall cumulative performance.

CanadaQbank receives continuous updates to the questions and explanations. So therefore it is revised with feedback from the most recent exams and has an upgraded MCQ interface for accurate simulation with normal lab values. Furthermore, it can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere in the world.

Subjects Covered

Anatomy, Biochemistry, Embryology, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Ethics, Genetics, Histology/Molecular Biology, Microbiology & Immunology, Neuroscience, Pathology & Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychology

CanadaQbank is an efficient and affordable way to practice the questions with ease under simulated exam conditions. There are different subscription prices tailored to whatever your need is. The prices are:

  • $95 – 1 month
  • $135 – 2 months
  • $ 175 – 3 months
  • $250 – 6 months
  • $335 – 9 months
  • $395 – 12 months