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Which Blueprint Med School Study Planner Should I Choose?

We break down our most popular subscription options for med students studying for the boards.

Because every medical student’s journey is different, we offer a variety of subscription options. Some people learn about Cram Fighter late in their exam prep timeline, so they need to purchase shorter-length plans, while others are lucky enough to learn about Cram Fighter early in their med school careers and can take advantage of it for a longer term. Whatever your situation, it can be challenging to figure out what plan is best for you.

Sometimes it helps to consider “the wisdom of crowds” to review our most popular plans. Looking at January 1, 2020 through mid-December 2020, our 3 most popular plan lengths were the 12-month plan, the Monthly plan, and the 3-month plan.

Cram Fighter Subscription Trends 1

We find that many second-year med students purchase the 12-month Cram Fighter subscription to use it for their entire M2 year leading up to their exam date in the spring of their second year. Med students can add class-related study tasks to Cram Fighter schedules along with board exam study tasks, so it makes sense to purchase the Cram Fighter plan with one of the lowest effective cost-per-month prices. This way, students can use it for many months during M2 for Step 1 or COMLEX Level 1, and even into M3 while preparing for Shelf exams and Level 2 or Step 2 CK. Or, they can use it during M2 to build a lighter study plan for the Fall semester, and a heavier / more structured study plan for the Spring semester right before their exam. It’s a great option for students who want to “set it and forget it” and purchase once, without worrying about a recurring payment each month.

After the 12-month plan, the Monthly plan was our second-most-purchased plan this year. Students find this plan appealing, because you don’t prepay for “study months” you may not use. For some people, it makes sense to purchase Cram Fighter on a month-by-month basis, and simply cancel it when they no longer need it. Of course, this tactic also works out to be the highest effective per-month cost, but many students appreciate the flexibility. We do not offer partial refunds on pre-purchased plans, so the month-by-month approach could be seen as a safer option.

The 3-month plan was our third-most popular subscription in 2020. Across all the exams we support, Step 1 is the exam we see students using Cram Fighter for the most. Our study stats show that currently, our customers preparing for Step 1 build study plans of just under 4 months in length. Although the 12-month plan is the most popular subscription people purchase, on average, we’re seeing students build their structured Step 1 study plans for Step 1 to be around 3 months long.

The time of year and the exam students are preparing for, affects which subscriptions people purchase. For customers preparing for the USMLE Step 1 in 2020, for example, we saw a big surge in 12-month purchases in January as students return from winter break and realized that Step 1 is coming soon. (The most popular Step 1 exam months for Cram Fighter customers are currently June, May, and April, so it’s possible that these customers bought the 12-month plan with an eye to exams beyond their spring dates, given that 12 months is more than a few months’ prep time.) They may have seen this plan as the most cost-effective. After January, the 12-month plan did not see high demand again til August/September, when we assume most students who bought it then were looking ahead to spring exams the next year and planned to use it during both of their M2 semesters.

If you plan to study over time for your board exams, it makes sense to purchase the 12-month, or even the 2-year plan. This way you can create study plans for your classes, pepper in a lighter routine of doing qbank questions daily, and then build a hard-core schedule when your Dedicated Study period begins.

Demand for the 12-month plan is inversely correlated to the Monthly and the 3-month plan for Step 1 test takers. The peak for the 3-month plan this year was March, as students preparing for an exam in late spring or early summer prepared to build study plans of that duration. By the same token, the Monthly plan increased in popularity the closer we get to the late-spring/early-summer timeframe, peaking in the month of May.

Cram Fighter Subscription Trends 2

On another note, for customers taking USMLE Step 2 CK, the Monthly plan was purchased the most. Our data shows that students preparing for Step 2 CK build study plans of approximately 2 months in length, and the most popular exam months were July, June, and August, so it makes sense that customers purchase shorter-length plans very close to their exam date.

Demand for the Monthly plan for Step 2 CK peaked in June this year, with an interesting “second peak” in August. This anomaly may have been a result of Prometric testing centers being closed and test dates changing, because we don’t usually see this much demand in August for Step 2 takers.

Demand for the 3-month plan for Step 2 CK was highest in March through May given the most popular exam months occurring in the summer.

Cram Fighter Subscription Trends 3

While we’ve only highlighted our 3 most popular plan lengths in this post, we do offer subscriptions ranging from 2 months to 2 years. Every students’ needs are different. Ultimately, your decision of what plan to buy should take into account these factors:

  1. How much time you have to study – when is your exam date? Count backwards from there to estimate how many months you have to prepare. Or, just decide on how long you want to study, and purchase for that length of time.
  2. Do you want to use Cram Fighter to structure study plans beyond your M2 board exams? We can support 17 different exams you may take during med school, from M2 to M4! Here’s a helpful post describing how you can use our 2-year plan during each year of your med school career.
  3. What is your budget? You may need to choose a plan based on what you have allocated to spend. To get more bang for your buck, keep an eye on our social media for occasional promotions, or check for member discounts through medical student associations like SOMA.

Once you’ve answered those questions, visit our current pricing for each subscription plan at and make your purchase. We’re here to answer any questions and help guide you to what might be best for your situation. Email us anytime at Good luck!

About the Author

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