Blueprint Med School Blog (formerly Cram Fighter & Med School Tutors)

The blog for Blueprint Medical, supporting your MedEd journey with our exam study planner, tutoring, residency consulting, and advanced boards.

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Spot the Difference: DO vs. MD

Justine Falcone and Patrick Curtin contributed to this post. When under the care of a physician, receiving treatment in the ER, or establishing care with a PCP, most people don’t ask the physician what degree they have. In fact, many non-medical people and patients are entirely unaware that in the US there are two different medical degrees, MD

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How to Approach Step 1 Dedicated in 2024

Neelesh Bagrodia also contributed to this post. If your Step 1 exam is scheduled in 2024, you may be wondering whether you need to be following conventional advice about Step 1 dedicated periods. Should you follow the detailed study calendars that abound online? Should you use the entire study period which your medical school has

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How to Study For Shelf Exams: A Tutor’s Guide

As you progress through medical school and the structure of your educational curriculum evolves, how you learn will also change. The most dramatic transition happens when you start your clinical rotations. In the process, you move from classroom-based or online learning with content developed by your medical school (e.g., lectures, online modules, and labs) to

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How Long Does It Take to Become a Surgeon?

A career as a surgeon is incredibly rewarding, stressful, and meaningful. As a surgeon, your patients put the highest level of trust in you and you’re responsible for their very lives when they’re on your operating table. Surgeons are exposed to an extremely wide range of pathologies with a high degree of complexity, and they

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My Success Story: Passing Step 1 and Shelf Exams During Third Year with Med School Tutors

The following post is a guest blog from a Blueprint tutoring student, Katerina, who successfully passed her Step 1 and shelf exams at the same time with the help of her Blueprint tutor. Hear her story below! The summer before my third year of medical school, I still felt like I wasn’t ready to take

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What Happens if I Fail Step 1 (Now That It’s Pass/Fail)?

While some med students may feel relief from Step 1 going pass/fail, others may still be wondering, “What happens if I fail Step 1? Without a score, how will I know how to improve when I retake the exam?” Whether you’ve arrived at this article before taking Step 1 or after receiving a failing score,

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Step 1 Pass Rates Are Decreasing: How to Make Sure You’ll Pass

In recent years, the role Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) plays in the residency application process has changed. When it transitioned from a scored assessment to a pass/fail test in January 2022, the change alleviated the pressure to score as high as possible and realigned the focus back to making

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Why Take a Step 1 Mock Exam (Even Though It’s Pass/Fail)?

In 2022, the USMLE altered the very fabric of the first two years of medical school by changing Step 1 to pass/fail. While this change has been embraced by many med students, this doesn’t mean that Step 1 is no longer important, or that you don’t need to thoroughly prepare for the exam! If anything,

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