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The Top 10 Best Resources to Prepare for USMLE Step 1

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by Yousmle Staff in Top 10

The United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 is a critical part of your quest to earn your medical license. But the exam isn’t easy, as it will cover many aspects of your education. It will cover topics from microbiology to anatomy to immunology and all points in between. The fact that this test takes about eight hours to complete and is in several stages only makes it all the more daunting. You’ll need to prepare for USMLE Step 1 with the right resources to help you succeed.

You will find many helpful books and other items that can help you get through the USMLE Step 1 process, with some of these products covering very specific parts of the exam.

You’re not going to see any questions that actually appear on USMLE Step 1 in any of these resources. But you will see questions and concepts that may be addressed in the exam. Let’s review what’s available and which are the best USMLE resources for medical students!

1. First Aid For the USMLE Step 1 2023

McGraw Hill’s annual resource for USMLE Step 1 test-takers is a trusted choice, as it is reviewed by prominent faculty and features guidance from students who have taken this exam in the past. The book features more than a thousand colored clinical images and various resources surrounding many USMLE Step 1 topics.

You will see various charts and images in this book that are carefully listed and highlighted. Each feature will help you figure out how to monitor a readout while distinguishing between different anatomical parts.

2. Preclinical Medicine Complete 7-Book Subject Review 2023

As of June 2023, the most recent edition of this USMLE Step 1 series from Kaplan Test Prep is the 2023 version. This series features seven books covering different topics. There are books for behavioral science, anatomy, pathology, and pharmacology, alongside three other points. The books include a series of lectures on different parts of the human body and how various conditions form, alongside how they are diagnosed and treated.

The content includes images alongside the lectures to help you understand more about these concepts. You can use these books if you’re aiming to focus on specific topics in the exam.

3. Sketchy Videos

Sketchy is a learning platform that turns various USMLE-related concepts into appealing videos for audiovisual learning. The platform has hundreds of videos covering many aspects of pharmacology, anatomical reactions, and more points. The videos include various clever and interesting illustrations and designs that help you remember how different points for the test work.

It does take a while to watch many of these videos, but how they provide details on the human body can help you understand more about the subject matter.

4. UWorld

Question banks can help you prepare for USMLE Step 1 by helping you understand the content covered in the exam and reviewing how the questions often appear. The UWorld resource is one convenient bank to review. UWorld offers thousands of questions with explanations and diagrams for each one. You can also create a custom notebook to help you save some of the more important bits of data you want to recall.

You will often hear that UWorld is the best USMLE resource as it closely resembles what you’ll see on your Step tests, but it also features an online platform that tracks your performance in reviewing USMLE Step 1 content, helping you see which areas require further improvement. This can be utilized to determine your strengths and weaknesses, facilitating necessary modifications to achieve success.


The AMBOSS system is another resource that can help you prepare for the exam by reviewing questions and understanding the concepts in each one. Each question in the AMBOSS question bank leads to detailed descriptions of various medical concepts. You can use these descriptions to confirm what you understand, plus you’ll find images and tables to complement many questions.

One convenient part of AMBOSS comes from how it categorizes the questions based on your knowledge and performance. You can skip the easier questions that you’ve mastered and move on to more challenging ones. This feature helps you gradually build your knowledge while preparing to understand what might appear in the exam.

6. USMLE Step 1 Made Ridiculously Simple: 2024

This next USMLE Step 1 guide covers all the main subjects in this exam, plus it provides a self-testing chart layout to help you see how you are performing. The guide includes example cases to help you learn how medical concepts work in the real world.

All these cases are listed as clinical contexts to help you review how well these ideas work. You’ll have an easier time reviewing your content here because you’re not struggling with too much data at once.

7. Pathoma USMLE Step 1

Some of the best resources focus on very specific subjects, and pathology is one of the more complex ones you’ll require additional help with before the test. Pathoma’s USMLE Step 1 platform looks like a traditional online book, but there’s more to the content than you expect. Pathoma’s digital book includes hundreds of color images illustrating the concepts and dozens of hours of video that goes further into the content. This resource helps you study at your own pace while reviewing the concepts well.


The next of the USMLE Step 1 resources to spot is USMLE-RX, a program that helps you understand how well different anatomical and pharmacological concepts work. You can use USMLE-RX to review various subjects, with all questions and content divided by subject. The platform also includes two 160-item exams to help you see how well you understand the content. This feature can help you simulate the testing process while giving you the additional confidence to succeed.

9. USMLE Step 1 Secrets in Color 5th Edition

It’s often tough to transport some USMLE Step 1 resources with you, but the Secrets in Color book is portable and offers great information on the go. The book uses a case-based approach to help you understand USMLE concepts. You will review various tables and summary boxes to help you check everything from pharmacological treatments to diagnostic procedures.

This book is also divided into all the segments you’ll review in this exam. The detailed charts in this book are especially helpful in illustrating multiple parts of the body, various treatment steps, how to read diagnostic reports, and many other points.

10. USMLE Step 1 Qbook: 850 Exam-Like Practice Questions to Boost Your Score

The last of these guides to review is a book from Kaplan Test Prep that includes hundreds of questions you may find in the exam. The book concentrates on helping you see how questions are laid out and how you can review different answer choices to figure out which is right or wrong. You’ll receive explanations for correct and incorrect choices, so you’ll figure out how to differentiate between similar concepts. There are also practice sets in individual categories to help you with segments that you might require extra help managing.

All of these resources can help you prepare for USMLE Step 1, as they provide details on everything you can expect in the test while helping you see what you need to improve upon. This exam is a daunting one that covers many points, so preparing ahead of the test is critical to your success. The right resources can make a positive impact on how well you can perform here.

Do you have any other resources for USMLE Step 1 that we missed? Leave us a comment listing what you’ve experienced and how it can work for students.

Want FREE Cardiology Flashcards?

Cardiology is key for impressive USMLE scores. Master cardiology from a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist who scored USMLE 270 with these 130+ high-yield flash cards. You’ll be begging for cardio questions - even if vitals make you queasy.