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  1. Rafay says:

    Hi Alex, Didn’t get the cardio deck.

    1. Yousmle says:

      Hi Rafay! So sorry you didn’t get the cardio deck – did you check your spam and promotions folders? Are you receiving any emails from us? If you’re not able to find the deck, please email us at, and we can get it sorted out.

  2. Claudia says:

    Hi Alec,
    I confirmed my subscription but I am not received the free micro starter deck.
    Thank you for helping us.

  3. Abimbola Abiodun says:

    Hi, Please i will like to purchase your step 1 anki. Also, I would like to ask if they are updated considering the fact that there are updates to USMLE from time to time. I believe you created these anki some 3-4years ago

    1. Yousmle says:

      Great question! The cards are regularly updated/added to, to reflect changes both in medical science as well as in what is tested. You can purchase the cards here:

  4. Badr Samman says:

    Hi : I am an orthopedic surgeon, graduated long long ago , now I am in US and I intend to go to study USMLE Step1, but I don’t know how to start. Please how can I start, please guid me for that. Badr Samman

    1. Yousmle says:

      Great question – I’d start by referencing the “For Beginners” articles on the table of contents page:

  5. PrAsoON SaXeNa says:

    Sir myself Prasoon Saxena from India studying MBBS 2nd year.I want to start my preprations for USMLE but don’t hav any clue about the pattern,scheme of selection from India,What are the top universities that can be targeted by me.Please sir can u help me fr that

  6. Funmi says:

    Dear Alec,
    I am an Austrian medical graduate starting to prepare for my first USMLE. Since I have been working as a general physician for some years and gained a lot of clinical experience, I decided to start the “USMLE- Marathon” by taking the USMLE Step 2-CK first.
    It seems like most people coming across your page are preparing for Step 1.
    Can you give me any tips and advice how to best prepare for Step 2-CK? I have about 5 months preparation time.
    What you would recommend regarding learning materials? Also, I am intending to get the Anki Cards for Step 2, but is there any specific timetable for when to start using them (as soon as possible vs. after deepen my knowledge)?
    I would highly appreciate any help and advice!
    Thank you

  7. VP Lorena says:

    hi, I´m trying to download the anki proram for step 1, but what kind of program (vlc media, real player or other?) do I need for open it?
    thank you!

    1. Yousmle says:

      You need the Anki program (not just the cards). For detailed instructions, see this page:

  8. Sahliea rashid says:

    Hi, I am looking to purchase the Step 1 Anki program, how would I be able to access your deck? Thanks!

  9. Khushi N says:

    I went over the sample of Anki Flashcards and I am interested in buying them. However, I wasn’t able to view the images (if there were any?). It seemed like a couple of cards had images attached to it, but it was completely blank with couple of sentences at the bottom. So, before buying I would like to fix this issue. Please help!

    1. Yousmle says:

      Great question! This has come up before: they’re not actually spaces for images, the (blank) spaces are there intentionally to “hide” the answers, so that they will automatically show up when you click on the answer, but they you won’t see them inadvertently and thus clue yourself into the answer. The actual deck itself has an updated card type that doesn’t rely on hiding information in this way, but know that those spaces are intentional and aren’t for missing images =)

  10. Jaya Raj says:

    Hi! I just purchased your Step 2 Anki program to access the flashcards you made as advertised on your website section for CK but upon downloading, I don’t see them. I did go to the shared cards and found other people’s. Where can I find your deck? Thanks!

    1. Yousmle says:

      Hi! I just sent you an e-mail to the address you entered in at checkout with a copy of the deck you purchased and instructions on how to get set up!

  11. Pi says:

    Dear Alec,
    Thank you for your help. Just wanted to ask if you have any advice or materials for step 3. Thanks

    1. Yousmle says:

      Great question – honestly the material is very similar to Step 2CK. My best advice is to practice the clinical case simulations w UW. Those are DEFINITELY different and take a while to get used to. Otherwise, the most important thing is to work on interpreting the passages properly, and keeping your knowledge base broad, since it is hard if you don’t do things like ob, peds, or other things you may not have covered during your intern year/residency.

  12. MidhunCurie says:

    Alec , in my practise tests it shows 87 percentile , I have total 5 months of time till my exam date as im planning to give in november of this year . Please guide me in an efficient way of utilising the time i havent finished even half of my first aid once . all those percentile is due to my traditional med school text books knowledge . I really want to get into 240 + in the step 1 so that i can apply my dream residency of pathology Thanku .

  13. Midhun Kumar says:

    alec u adviced me to go beyond first aid that actually helped me . but my percentile got stucked at 83 .

    1. Yousmle says:

      Fair question. Make sure you are also working on spaced repetition, as well as actually applying that information to questions. Try and figure out what each sentence means, not just searching for buzzwords, by going through each sentence more slowly.

  14. PRAVEEN says:

    i am an IMG,I recently wrote step 1 n got failed,my score is 190..i did the mistake what you said.i repeated first aid nearly 60times..i know each and every word in the book..i did uworld twice..but i am going try for step 1 again..i m thinking to buy your anki cards..i have preparation time of 4months..i am thinking to do kaplan q bank this time along with your ankicards..what do you say?..i am desparate to get score of 250 this time..please help me to get big score

    1. Yousmle says:

      Thank you so much for your message, and I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. There are so many others that have faced a similar situation, however, and who have learned how to learn things effectively. Many students have found success using the Step 1 deck as a means of learning pathogenesis to presentation, as was to give them an idea of what sorts of things they need to actually know to do well on Step 1. I also recommend doing question things other than just World, since you will remember so many of the questions, it won’t really help you with the interpretation of the questions and application of information. Kaplan would be a very good start.

  15. Apoorwakishore Prasad says:

    Hello Alec!!!! I was pretty much pleased to read all your articles on the internet. Your ideas have truely help me evolve n revolutionised the way i look at my studies now. I’m a student from India and m currently in my second year and i plan to give USMLE-1 in january of 2017. I wud b very grateful to you if u wud guide on that n tell me more about how to create the ANKI cards….plz
    Waiting eagerly for your reply….

    1. Yousmle says:

      If you’re looking for particular articles, I would recommend the following.

      Just reading articles is not often sufficient, as you may find. I’ve seen tremendous results with students who have used to be Step 1 Anki cards, both in the amount of knowledge they’ve been able to gain in such a short period of time, with students who been able to get 50 or 60 points or even more within a two-month timeframe, and who have been able to maintain their knowledge by using spaced repetition thereafter. If you are looking to take the next step, you can find the cards here:

      Best of luck!

  16. Anastasia Bertoldo says:

    Hi! I’m a 1st year med school student from Argentina and I’m starting to prepare for taking the USMLE step 1 next year. So these are my questions:
    1- what books do I need to start reading first? Which ones shall I continue with?
    2- how much time would you recommend before taking the exam?
    3- is it possible for a foreign student to prepare for the exam during medical school? (my CEFR level is C1, last year I scored A in Cambridge’s CAE exam, so I have no difficulties with English)
    Thank you! And your blog is amazing 🙂

    1. Yousmle says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. As far as books, I would recommend you use the resources page on the website. The time it takes to prepare will depend entirely on your goal score, as well as what your practice exams are. That said, most students in the States spend at least 1 to 2 months preparing. It is definitely possible to prepare during school, I have worked with other foreign students who have done the same thing for the exam.

      Best of luck!!

      1. Anastasia Bertoldo says:

        thank you very very much!!

  17. arooj fatima says:

    hi i just saw your website after getting a 198 on nbme 13 and desperately looking for score improving techniques online. i took nbme 11 exactly 3 weeks ago and scored 213 on it and i was pretty hopeful that i ll improvement score in these 3 weeks. what would you suggest should i go ahead and take the exam after 3 weeks and take 2 more nbme in between them bcoz i have to go visit my parents in my home country or i should just not take it and change my testing region to my home country. my eligibility would be ending in November. i am really in need of an expert advice right now. i am really too stuck right now i didnt want to settle for a low score but at this point i feel like a 210 would be a blessing.

    1. Yousmle says:

      Hi Arooj,

      Thank you so much for your message. One of the most difficult questions for all students who take Step 1is to know how long to study for, and when they’re ready to take the test. Generally, I would recommend taking the test if you are scoring within a range that you’re comfortable with on your NBME exams. It doesn’t sound like you are quite there yet, and there’s not really any guarantee that you will improve your score by any particular amount in the coming 3 weeks. What I would recommend is to think what score you really would be ok with, and then take another NBME in two weeks to see if you are in that range – if so, take the test, and if not, I would delay my exam and take it in your home country. Again, this is a very personal decision, so I can only tell you what I would do in the situation, as there is no single “right” answer.

      If you’re looking for particular advice, the best advice on the subject of how long it might take to improve your score, you can see this article here: Help! How Long To Add 20-40 To My USMLE Step 1? 4 Step 1 Experiences (Including a 45-Point Jump from 1st NBME Practice Exam)

      If you’re interested in my thoughts on when you know you would be ready to take the test, I recommend this article: Warning: Do You Know What You’re Doing With the Last 2 Weeks Before Your USMLE Step 1?

      Thank you again for your message. Best of luck with your preparations!


      1. arooj fatima says:

        thank you so much for your precious advice. i think you are right that its not worth the risk, so i cancelled my trip for now and i am going to dedicate 4 weeks of intense preparation to improve 25-30 points. i ll be taking another nbme 2 weeks from now after focusing on my weaknesses which is mostly the memorization related to pharmacology. Do you have any suggestions regarding improvement techniques for my situation ? i read both your articles and found them really useful, i have downloaded anki in my phone but i really don’t know from where to start?

        1. arooj fatima says:

          p.s. i really really appreciate all your help 🙂

          1. Yousmle says:

            Thank you for your message. Pharmacology is one of the most difficult subjects, but also one of the most straightforward to do Anki. Here’s a link to an article about my best advice on the topic.

            Master Pharmacology for the USMLE Step 1 Over a Glass of Wine
            I highly encourage you to check out the table of contents for the website:

            Best of luck!

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