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The Importance of a Study Schedule When Studying for the USMLE Step 1

  • by Joel Harding
  • Jun 30, 2016

Our users share their tips on why they found it especially helpful to use Cram Fighter to allow for customization and flexibility in their study plan.

According to one of our users, “the sheer amount of information needed to study for these exams requires there to be structured, so as to cover the materials at an optimal pace to a) reasonably and sufficiently finish studying on time, b) not be overly ambitious and end up failing own expectations and feeling discouraged, and c) make each day a small step that is achievable (definitely makes the test less overwhelming). Cram Fighter was a worthwhile way for me to plan out the large of amount of lectures/books I want in an efficient manner so that I can spend time studying instead of planning.”

Our user says that “every student has slightly different materials they would like to cover or preferences in their study schedule. I preferred Cram Fighter over other types of scheduling system because a) it was affordable, b) it can customize very well to my specific preference in study materials, and c) the ability to reorganize the schedule after falling behind is super helpful because everyone falls behind in different and unpredictable ways. Premade schedules give great insight to what I might want in my schedule, but I would ultimately still put the premade schedule into Cram Fighter because of how I can customize it (e.g., add other resources after starting my study period because I realized one resource wasn’t working well for me).”

“Constantly identify your weaknesses, review your weak subjects and analyze topics you frequently get wrong on question banks.”

Joel Harding, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, USMLE Step 1 Score: 250

Joel claims that “creating a schedule is a very personal experience with a lot of adjustments within the first few days. Each person has different strengths and weaknesses which causes them to drastically change time allotments for certain subjects and resources. Flexibility is key!” Joel says that Cram Fighter, Pathoma, USMLE First Aid, and UWorld question bank were the right combination of resources to help him reach his goal.

Joel mentions that it’s common to fall behind. “When I found myself falling behind I would assess what my biggest time waster was and apply what I like to call academic triage,” Joel says. “If I felt that the subject that was wasting my time did not fall into a high yield category then I cut my time on that topic by 50%. For example, a lot of question banks give students bizarre epidemiology questions and formulas; many of these formulas never end up on the board exam. It is important to customize your schedule to fit your own needs.”

According to Joel, it’s important to “constantly identify your weaknesses, review your weak subjects and analyze topics you frequently get wrong on question banks.”