USMLE Step 1 Prep Courses

Hey everyone,

Hope I am not duplicating a similar post…

I am a M2 and expect to sit for Step 1 in June. My school requires the bottom half of the class (by rank) to take a commercial step 1 prep course of our choosing. Most go with Doctors in Training because it is cheap relative to other options. I fall into this bottom ranking (112/123 to be exact) and am looking for a prep course that I could get acquainted with now…

Anyone know much about Kaplan Comprehensive Step 1 prep or Beckers Step 1 online self-study? Feedback would be appreciated. We have taken some school-bought NBMEs and I performed well (so far) but want to make sure I get a good score to make up for that craptastic rank. :slight_smile:

Any advice on which one to choose – Kaplan, Beckers, DIT, others?

All the best!

– RxQueen

My school bought my entire class Kaplan. I also bought DIT for Step 1. I used all of DIT because it seemed more structured and took less time to complete than Kaplan. Looking back DIT was more like having First Aid read to you. I wish I had spent more time doing the Kaplan Qbank because their Qbank is really spot on in terms of the format of how the Step’s are done. I used Kaplan for Step 2 and felt more confident while taking my test, did better too. Remember the best prep is doing questions, lots and lots of questions. Don’t forget to go through UWorld (I’m sure you already know this) I also used pathoma through01 out M1 and M2 and did another run through during my dedicated Step study time. Don’t worry about rank, really your scores and EC’s are what schools care about. No program asked me about my school rank when I interviewed. Just keep doing the best you can. Good Luck!

I can’t offer any info that you asked for, but below is some unpetitioned info…

Does it have to be a full up course or does a QBank suffice? I’m an M2 as well and have using Kaplan throughout all of our systems blocks. Depending on how you learn, the QBank covers pretty much everything we do in class and then some (my school doesn’t necessarily follow the “First Aid” syllabus). I hate rote memorizing, so just reading FA does not work for me. The QBanks offer some context and more thorough explanations that other FA type resources I’ve seen.

UWorld is touted as the bible, if a QBank suffices, I would recommend that one if you’re only choosing one. Of all of the anecdotal testimonies, the one that stands out is from a Pulm Fellow that went to a Caribbean med school: “I went through UWorld twice and scored in the 99th percentile, and it sure as hell wasn’t my med school that taught me the stuff” (I’m not knocking Carib schools, that’s a pretty close quote from a Carib grad).

My classmates have mixed reviews on DIT, though a lot of them bought it because they offered my class a really good deal. The little I have seen of DIT, it’s pretty much a rehash of FA. I’ve tried segments of USMLE Rx’s video lessons, but it pretty much is also just FA read to you with a little bit deeper explanations (not great).

Pathoma has been amazing. The topics are dumbed down to my level of learning, and he covers a lot of physiology so you know how things are supposed to work and why they aren’t working in different disease states. Some of my teachers say he gets some things wrong or explains the right things with the “wrong” reasons, but some of my other teachers have actually incorporated Pathoma into the course material.

If you have to do a full course, I would recommend Kaplan only on the basis of personal experience with their MCAT course (online, on-demand).

Thank you both for your feedback! It really helps to hear other perspectives on this. I already have UWorld and have completed about 40% of it. The explanations, charts, diagrams and reference links make UW QBank a great learning tool. Unfortunately, it does not count as a ‘prep course’. DIT, Kaplan, Becker, Pass, would all count. I plan to use most of my time finishing up the QBank then going through it again. It will be nice to have the online prep course to reference explanations for things that won’t stick in my head. I decided on Becker because it’s cheaper than Kaplan and has many similarities (several of the same instructors). Most of my classmates go with DIT because it is the cheapest but I feel like it is reading FA to me and trying to be funny or entertaining. FA is not really that entertaining regardless of how you spin it. I have Pathoma too and rely on it heavily throughout my coursework. It is amazing; not sure how perfectly accurate he is but it seems to help me in the QBank. Thanks again y’all!

Just out of curiosity, does the school pay for the mandatory prep course? It really blows my mind that they make half of the class take one. Did they get crushed one year on pass rate and overreact?