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How This Blueprint Med School Study Planner User Hit Her Target Boards Score With a Long-Term Study Plan

  • by Erica Forrette
  • May 14, 2018
  • Reviewed by: Amy Rontal

This University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix student used Cram Fighter to build a long-term study schedule and stay on track in the final weeks leading up to Step 1.

We have the privilege of partnering with some notable medical schools in the US. Through these partnerships, the schools provide access to Cram Fighter as part of the suite of tools and resources offered to medical students to manage med school coursework and prepare for board exams.

One of our partners, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, offered Cram Fighter to all second year medical students for eight months. The College of Medicine – Phoenix wished to provide Cram Fighter to these students to help the cohort manage the challenges of sticking to a rigorous study schedule, reduce student anxiety from having to complete such an enormous task, promote academic balance between school work and Step 1 study and give their Learning Specialist team the ability to monitor student progress through an online dashboard.

Zana A., one of the U of A – Phoenix students who used Cram Fighter to prepare for her Step 1 exam, knew she would be personally challenged to prepare for Step 1 because she likes to tackle challenges as they come up, but Step 1 requires you to prepare well in advance to absorb and apply massive amounts of knowledge. “My biggest challenge with Step 1 study planning was foresight,” she said. “As someone who overcomes challenges as they arise, it was difficult to set aside protected time every day for an exam that was scheduled so far in the future.”

Zana’s experience reflects the key benefit of Cram Fighter: helping medical students organize many resources and large amounts of information into a daily schedule. Cram Fighter allows students to focus on learning and not on planning and managing a schedule on their own. “Without Cram Fighter, I would have had to divide out tasks and organize a long term schedule on my own—this would have detracted from time available to study. Cram Fighter made scheduling effortless and efficient, two characteristics that are highly valued by medical students,” she said.

Overdue tasks

She found Cram Fighter’s ability to rebalance a schedule in case she fell behind in her studies to be a big help. “Time became a large factor as I drew closer to my Step 1 exam date. I found myself having to rearrange my priorities in studying for the exam to ensure preparedness for the day of. Cram Fighter allowed me the flexibility that was necessary in the final weeks of board studying.” When you have an 8-month study plan, like Zana, you are bound to face obstacles. So Cram Fighter’s rebalance feature is often more than a convenient time-saver; it’s an essential strategy.


In addition, Zana emphasized the importance of med students knowing themselves—that is, knowing their own study style as they prepare for the board exams. “During board studying, study strategies that work for one individual cannot be duplicated for all students. My biggest piece of advice for students starting their study plan preparations is to know what type of study strategy works for them, as individuals, and commit to that strategy.” With Cram Fighter, students can tweak many study plan elements to their own individual needs, such as their resources, the days and hours per day available to study, the order in which they tackle body systems or resources, and planning recurring catch-up days in case they fall behind.

In Zana’s case, sticking to her customized Cram Fighter schedule and using our rebalance feature, paid off . She was able to hit her target score on the USMLE Step 1. “Cram Fighter kept me organized and allowed me arrange my study tasks sequentially in the months leading up to my exam. There was a number of resources that I wanted to study to completion in order to feel prepared for the Step 1 exam. Cram Fighter helped me divide my tasks into a manageable schedule over an 8 month period, allowing me the foresight necessary for preparing for a long term exam.”

Our mission is to help students like Zana with the massive challenge of succeeding in med school. We greatly appreciate our partners like the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix for having the insights to offer Cram Fighter to help their students better prepare for Step 1.

We’re always looking for new med schools to partner with. If you’d like to encourage your college to explore offering Cram Fighter for you and your fellow med students, please have them email us at to start the conversation.

About the Author

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