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How USMLE Tutoring Works

Whether you’re struggling with your exams or looking for a competitive edge, it’s no secret that a 1-to-1 tutor can be an incredible asset to your studies. But if you’ve never worked with one before, it’s often daunting to dive in without any idea of what you would be doing or what your relationship would be like.

So what can you expect from meeting with a step 1 tutor? How does USMLE tutoring work?


We can’t speak for all services, but with us USMLE tutoring really depends on the individual student’s circumstances – what works for one person may not be as effective for another. Our students typically meet with their tutors for 2-hour sessions once or twice a week. In the time between, they follow a detailed step 1 study schedule their tutors put in place for them, which changes and develops over the course of their work together. This keeps the student on track as precisely as possible and provides an extra sense of accountability that can be extremely helpful. After all, there is such an enormous amount of material to cover that it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer thought of how to best proceed.

In the sessions themselves, students can work with their tutor on any number of things. One common USMLE prep approach is to go through UWorld questions together.

Doing so accomplishes a lot more than just seeing how your content mastery is coming along: with a tutor, you have an expert set of eyes looking at how you are approaching the questions themselves. Does the wording of a question trip you up or mislead you? Are you having a hard time deciphering what the question is actually asking? Do you second-guess yourself, only to find out that your first instinct was right? By looking at how you tackle questions, a tutor can identify any difficulties you’re having, work through them with you, and give you the tools you need to overcome them on your own.

A step 1 tutor can also go over practice assessments like NBMEs with you.

Not only are these great tools to measure the progress you’re making, they are also a way for a tutor to put a student’s test-taking skills under the microscope. That way, they can see what can be improved about the way student performs under exam day conditions.

When it comes down to it, the best tutoring services will personalize what they offer to your needs.

Are you a visual learner who works best with images? Do you prefer to talk material out? Do you respond well to lecture-based approaches? Tutoring is not a one-way street — we always encourage our students to communicate what is working and what would be helpful to their tutors.


Remember, tutoring is not a magic cure-all guaranteeing a high score. At the end of the day, it’s up to the student to put in the necessary work: if someone doesn’t want to study, follow instructions or take responsibility for their own future, there’s little a tutor can do. It’s also important for students to know when the help they want isn’t something that a tutor is the best-fit to provide. Tutors can help students feel more prepared for their exams and provide support and encouragement, but for larger issues with test-taking anxiety, it’s usually best to seek out a specialist. The same is true of learning disabilities.

Everyone can use a little help sometimes. That’s why the best athletes, actors and – yes – doctors all use coaches and mentors. If you think Med School Tutors would be a good fit for you, check out this overview video on how to get started!