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Best Practices for a 3-Month Step 1 Study Plan

  • by Erica Forrette
  • Mar 18, 2020

Our research shows that June is the most popular month to take the USMLE Step 1. For students who have 3 months to prepare, we share some advice and best practices.

With 3 months to fill, there are many different ways to build a board exam study plan. Here are 3 techniques for effectively creating and managing a 3-month USMLE Step 1 study plan. To try building a study plan for yourself, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial at and see how you can use our tools to quickly generate a customized schedule that suits your needs.

Rely on the Best Data

For those in the process of choosing your study materials, we recommend checking our list of the most popular USMLE Step 1 resources that we see customers adding to their study plans. Not surprisingly, UWorld and First Aid top the charts, but you may learn something unexpected from perusing these stats. For example, Boards and Beyond now consistently outpaces Pathoma. You may also find new, lesser known resources that are growing in popularity and may serve as good supplements in your study plan.

Once you have chosen resources, you can generate a schedule using Cram Fighter. Cram Fighter will help you assess your workload and how your assigned tasks fit into your 3 month study period. As you are building your schedule, we include a stats box that compares your estimated workload to the student average. If your assigned tasks exceed the student average by more than 50%, we highlight the stats box orange to warn you. Using our stats, you can avoid creating an overly ambitious schedule and set yourself up for long-term success.

Create Multiple Study Blocks

With 3 months to work with, it’s a good idea to break up your time into multiple “study blocks,” or mini-schedules within your overall study schedule. Here are 2 ways to use Cram Fighter’s Study Blocks feature:

  1. You can set up a schedule that allows you to go over a resource more than once. To do this, simply add the same resource to a second study block and Cram Fighter will take you through the material again.
  2. You can also create a study block that runs parallel to your main study blocks. A parallel study block can be a great way to supplement your boards resources, no matter what subject you’re covering. For example, many students choose to create a parallel study block that contains just SketchyMicro, so that they can study a couple Sketchy videos each day.

Use Cram Fighter’s Rebalance Feature

According to our stats, students use the rebalance feature 10 times on average throughout their study plans. The Rebalance feature redistributes your overdue tasks over the rest of your schedule, so that you don’t need to manually reschedule tasks. Interruptions and distractions are common over the course of a 3 month period, so it’s best to keep things fluid and let Cram Fighter figure out what you need to do to catch up.

Want to see how Cram Fighter helps you create the perfect USMLE study plan? Sign up for a 7-day free trial at and get a personalized study plan today.

About the Author

Erica Forrette is the former Director of Marketing at Cram Fighter.