How to Choose Your Step 1 Resources

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • We share our most up-to-date stats and advice on USMLE Step 1 resource selection.

    As 2018 draws to a close, many medical students are selecting Step 1 or COMLEX Level 1 exam dates in the spring of 2019. With the test comes many decisions about what resources you’ll choose to prepare for the board exams.

    At Cram Fighter, we track the resources that our customers are adding to their Step 1 study schedules. Generally, the majority of medical students choose First Aid for the USMLE Step 1, UWorld’s Qbank, and Pathoma’s book/lecture series at a minimum. This combination is known as “UFAP,” a now-famous acronym popularized by members of Reddit’s r/medicalschool community.

    Back in October 2017, we reported on Step 1 resource trends that we saw our customers choosing for their Step 1 study schedules at that time. Currently, as of early Dec. 2018, these are the most popular resources that Cram Fighter customers are adding to their Step 1 study plans:

    Popular USMLE Step 1 Resources

    At this moment, the UFAP resources once again represent the top 3 resources our customers choose. While First Aid remains the #1 resource customers add to Cram Fighter study schedules, a little over a year ago, Sketchy videos were in the second slot and Uworld dropped to #4. This year, Pathoma is back at #4 and Uworld is back up to #2.

    Med students can choose additional resources that they select or that their med school provides. According to our network of Campus Heroes, representing 93 Allopathic and Osteopathic medical schools around the world as of early Dec. 2018, about 78% of these schools purchase at least one resource for their students—a nice bonus for cash-strapped students. On the flip side, 22% of the campuses represented by Campus Heroes do not purchase any resources for their students.

    The following are the resources our Campus Heroes most frequently mention as their school providing for students:


    What you choose for your Step 1 study schedule is ultimately up to you, but with “the wisdom of the crowd,” you may now have a better idea of what to use for your core Step 1 study resources and what to use for supplements. You can review up-to-date data on the most popular Step 1 and COMLEX Level 1 study resources on our Stats page.

    About the Author

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