How to Rebalance During Your Dedicated USMLE Study Period

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • Worried you’ll fall behind during your dedicated study block? Here’s how to handle overdue tasks.

    Your dedicated study period will be intense. Even when devoting a fully day to Step 1 studying, you are bound to fall behind at least once. But don’t panic. Cram Fighter gives you the flexibility to handle overdue tasks without losing your mind. And if there’s anything you need during your dedicated study period, it’s your mind. Below we explain some tips for dealing with overdue tasks in your Step 1 study plan.

    1. Overdue tasks from an earlier study block

    You may begin your dedicated study block with a few overdue tasks from your last study block. You won’t be able to rebalance tasks from an expired study block. But you may want to spread these tasks out over your dedicated study block. Making a decision about how to handle these tasks right away will ensure you don’t rack up too many overdue tasks early on. To redistribute them, change the end date of your earlier study block. Set a date that corresponds to when you want to be done with those old tasks. Upon returning to your schedule, Cram Fighter will automatically ask you to rebalance your schedule.

    2. Make sure to set weekly catch-up days

    Setting catch-up days gives you a chance to take a breather and work through (or at least, put a dent in) your overdue tasks. Thomas Mike, a medical student at the University of Pittsburgh, shared his strategy for his 7-week USMLE study schedule with us. “I fell behind almost every week on studying,” he said, “Consequently, I scheduled one day each week to catch up, so that I wouldn’t be too far behind by the end of the block.” We recommend a set catch-up day in every schedule for this reason.

    3. Rebalance early and often

    During your dedicated study period, you have limited time until your exam date hits. Keep an eye on your overdue tasks. You don’t want to rebalance 100 tasks when you only have one week until the USMLE Step 1!

    Instead, as soon as you notice overdue tasks accumulating, make a decision about how to handle them. We recommend you scan through your overdue tab on a regular basis and see if there are any tasks you can complete today. If you can’t do them today, consider moving them to a catch-up day with the calendar button. You could even spread them out over multiple catch-up days. Your best option is to use our Rebalance feature to rebalance your schedule and redistribute overdue tasks quickly and easily without manual work.

    Side note: we find that the average student studies for the USMLE Step 1 for 99 days and rebalances about 10 times!

    Rebalancing spreads these tasks over your schedule, according to your distribution of study hours. You will not see rebalanced tasks appear on catch-up days; those will be kept clear. When you rebalance, you have the option to tell Cram Fighter that you are “done for the day” if you are finished with your daily tasks or simply want to redistribute your remaining tasks for the day.

    To learn more, check out our help article on rebalancing and our video on falling behind. Good luck on your studying!

    About the Author

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