How Med Students are Modifying the Classic UFAP or UFAPS Study Strategy for the USMLE Step 1
- Mar 23, 2020
- Reviewed by: Amy Rontal
Many med students continue to emphasize the importance of UFAP resources (which stands for UWorld, First Aid, and Pathoma). But are these resources enough to prepare you for the USMLE Step 1?
Years ago, the Reddit hivemind coined the term “UFAP” for a list of key USMLE resources: UWorld, First Aid, and Pathoma. Medical student redditors explain that because UFAP resources are so high yield, they form the backbone of a successful USMLE study plan. Today, you will still find tons of med students praising the UFAP or UFAPS resource combos and discussing their merits on Reddit and elsewhere. But can you really succeed on Step 1 with just these resources?
Cram Fighter publishes an ongoing ranking of the Step 1 study resources we see our customers adding to their Step 1 study plan. By reviewing these stats, we’ve noticed two major trends on the topic of UFAP resources for Step 1:
1. Med students consider supplemental material, especially SketchyMedical, to be very important
If you read some of the most popular Reddit posts on UFAP Step 1 study resources, like this one from 2015, you will find lots of mentions of supplemental resources. In fact, the user who started this thread made a study plan that included Kaplan Qbank, USMLE-Rx Qbank, Khan’s Cases: Medical Ethics, and NBME practice exams. So, students who aced Step 1 do not necessarily view the UFAP method as exclusive of other resources.
You will also find that the acronym “UFAPS” is used more and more often. (The “S” stands for SketchyMedical resources, which include SketchyMicro and SketchyPharm.) At Cram Fighter, we find that many students create a parallel study block that contains SketchyMedical resources. This way, they study a few supplemental videos from Sketchy every day, regardless of what subject they are covering in First Aid or Pathoma. In fact, SketchyMedical resources are usually one of the top 5 or 6 resources added to our customers’ study plans.
But even UFAPS is not the final word on Step 1 prep. While med students agree that UFAPS is a set of high yield resources, some students choose to dive deeper as they prepare for Step 1. In May 2019, the subreddit Step1Concepts was founded to “discuss obscure factoids and topics not covered in UFAPS.” Here you can find lots of posts that collect topics you won’t find in UFAPS, like this list of 23 concepts.
2. Pathoma is not the only lecture series in town
When it comes to essential USMLE resources, UWorld and First Aid are virtually unquestioned. But plenty of students have found replacements for Pathoma when preparing for the boards. According to our stats, Boards & Beyond is consistently more popular than Pathoma in recent years, suggesting that some students find UFABB to be a fabulous substitute for UFAP or UFAPS for Step 1 study plans.
However, students should know that at 120 hours, Boards & Beyond is more than three times as long as Pathoma. So using Boards & Beyond instead might mean a slightly longer study plan or might mean forgoing a second pass of your lecture series.
While med students agree that UFAPS is a set of high yield resources, some students choose to dive deeper as they prepare for Step 1. In May 2019, the subreddit Step1Concepts was founded to “discuss obscure factoids and topics not covered in UFAPS.”
If you have considered using UFAP as part of your study plan, you should feel confident that you have chosen high yield resources. But, you should also keep in mind that you have plenty of options if a particular resource isn’t working for you. Don’t be afraid to add a supplemental resource to fill in the gaps or strengthen your weak areas, since it is a common practice when creating and managing a USMLE study schedule.
Want to build your own boards study plan? With a 7-day Cram Fighter free trial, you can create a customized study plan that combinations any of hundreds of supported resources. To get started, go to blueprintprep.com/medical/med-school/study-schedule and sign up.
About the Author
Erica Forrette is the former Director of Marketing at Cram Fighter.