Can I pass step 1 in 4 weeks

Can I Pass Step 1 In 4 Weeks?

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Most medical students know the USMLE tests are the most challenging exams in medical school. So if you’re short on time – you ask – can I pass Step 1 in 4 weeks? What should my study schedule look like during the weeks leading up to the test?

Allot enough study and rest time to prepare for the step 1 test. This article will give you tips on the best study strategy and schedule to ensure you do well on the exam.

Can I pass step 1 in 4 weeks (1)

How Many Weeks Does It Take To Pass Step 1?

Medical students usually dedicate six to eight weeks to study for their Step 1 exam. However, the time you need depends on your current medical knowledge. Step 1 is the most difficult of the United States Medical Licensing Examinations as it covers extensive knowledge related to medicine.

You usually take this test in your second or third year in medical school, so you already have some experience with the preclinical curriculum. Step 1 includes these medical disciplines:

  • Genetics
  • Anatomy and Embryology
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry and Nutrition
  • Histology and Cell Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathology
  • Behavioral Sciences

This exam uses a pass/fail format for the results; and you need about 60% correct answers to pass. The Step 1 test lasts for a whole day (8 hours), so it would be best if you trained yourself to handle the lengthy testing time.

Let’s talk about the implications of Step 1 being pass-fail in this video:

[Free Download] Want to have everything you need to be a top student on your medical journey? Get FREE access to our Med School Success Handbook to get 60+ tips including the best study, time management, mindset tips you need to be a top student. Download it here. 

Can I Pass Step 1 In 4 Weeks?

Whether you can pass Step 1 in 4 weeks of study depends on your individual circumstances and study habits. Medical school can be busy with classes, exams, and extra activities. The second year is the busiest as you also take standardized tests during this time.

You should dedicate two or three months to studying for the exam, but sometimes medical students can only manage a month to study.

Can you pass the test in just 4 weeks? Possibly!

For reference – I studied for my exam for about 5 weeks back when it was a score and higher pressure.

So could you pass the exam in 4 weeks now it’s pass/fail? Yes.

Can everyone do it? Not necessarily.

You can pass your exams if you properly plan your study schedule. Know the date you will take the test and dedicate several weeks to focus on your reviewers.

Here is a helpful timetable to use when you’re studying for the Step 1:

7:00 AM to 12:00 Noon (Morning study)

You feel mentally fresh after sufficient rest, so dedicate the morning to studying, making flashcards, and note-taking. Make sure you have a notebook handy for your notes and key points.

12:00 Noon to 3:00 PM (Break time)

Take enough breaks so you don’t feel burned out. You should eat, relax, and do some physical activity after your morning study schedule. These activities will help refresh your body and mind to prepare for the afternoon study session.

3:00 PM to 6:00 PM (Afternoon practice questions)

You can use practice exams and self-assessments provided by your online reviewer. These tests can help you analyze your knowledge to determine topics you should review more.

Practice tests can help you prepare for the lengthy examination, and you will get a general idea of the exam questions.

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (Evening review)

Take a break after your practice assessment, then review your notes in the evening to memorize more things and correct previous mistakes.

Following this study schedule will help you efficiently review for your Step 1 exam four weeks before the date. Remember to take days off and leave your weekends to rest and leisure. Don’t burn yourself out, and make sure your mind and body are healthy when it’s time for the exam.

Now, here’s a 4-week schedule that you can follow to maximize your Step 1 prep.

Can I pass step 1 in 4 weeks (2)

How To Prepare For Step 1 In 4 Weeks

Efficiently use your time and study tools to prepare for the exams. It would be best to manage your time so you don’t study too late and cram for the test. Studying too early could also cause you to forget the exam information, so try to time your review properly.

Here are some tips you can follow when studying for the Step 1 exam:

Choose Appropriate Resources

You can pìck study resources with a textbook, question bank, lecture series, and flashcards to provide enough review material for your exams. UWorld, First Aid, or Sketchy provide helpful handouts and visual aids for medical students.

Check out this video on the best Step 1 resources that have helped me and other students:

Make A Study Plan

Make sure you know the exam date before studying so you can schedule your reviews. Start reviewing early to have enough time to remember all the lessons and concepts.

Make a list of the topics you struggle with most. This step will help you determine which lessons you should focus more time on.

Start studying challenging topics first so you can remember essential information and have enough time to review in the future. You may feel more exhausted and burned out during the end of your study period, so at this time focus on the topics you are good at.

It would be best to allot two to five days per topic. This period will give you enough time to memorize and master the medical concepts. Assign five days to your weaker lessons and three days to the stronger ones to give the topics equal learning opportunities.

Schedule Free Time Between Study Schedules

Preparing for the Step 1 exam is stressful; you will want to dedicate as much time to studying as possible. However, you must be kind to yourself and allow some relaxation time between these study schedules.

It feels tempting to lock yourself in your room for four weeks and have an intensive study session, but you can easily feel burned out during this time, and it will significantly affect how you perform on the exam.

Leave some time for rest, exercise, and socializing during your four-week-long study period. This balance will help you feel content and put yourself in a good condition during study time.

Studying for the USMLE Step 1 exam can be challenging, especially since it’s the most difficult of the three tests. However, if you have a study schedule and quality review materials you can perform well on your test.

P.S. If you need an actual Step 1 study schedule that you can follow, check out this article: Study Schedule For Step 1 (Actual Examples)

[Free Download] Want to have everything you need to be a top student on your medical journey? Get FREE access to our Med School Success Handbook to get 60+ tips including the best study, time management, mindset tips you need to be a top student. Download it here. 


Here are frequently asked questions about Step 1 prep:

Is 1 Month Enough For Step 1?

Ideally, you should have six to eight weeks of study time for the USMLE Step 1 test. This period allows you to have thorough reviews and enough leisure time before the exam.

However, life events may leave you with limited study time, and you may only have one month left to study. You can perform well on your exam, but you should have a definite review schedule with high-quality materials. Always include rest time during your study period.

What Happens If You Fail Step 1?

The USMLE Step 1 test is one of the most challenging exams in medical school. Even with enough review time, you may fail the exam, and this could impact your residency chances in prestigious hospitals.

However, failing this exam is more common than you think. The USMLE Step 1 exam only has a 94% passing rate for first-time takers, so you’re not alone if you fail.

You will feel discouraged after failing the Step 1 test, but it’s not the end. You can always choose to retake the exam next year. You can use this time to improve your study strategies and find better reviewer material. What to do if you fail Step 1?click here.

Is Passing Step 1 Difficult?

Several medical students consider the USMLE Step 1 test as one of the most challenging medical school exams.

This test has a 94% passing rate for first-time takers, and it follows a pass/fail scoring system. You need at least 196 points to pass, and your test results determine your possible medical residency hospital.

Several factors contribute to why Step 1 is a challenging exam.

  • Medical students don’t have the stamina for the test: The USMLE Step 1 test is the first exam where you apply medical school concepts, so students aren’t used to these test questions. The test lasts eight hours, so you might feel burned out and mentally drained at the end of the day.
  • This exam covers various medical school topics: The Step 1 exam checks if you can apply medical principles in a clinical setting, and it covers various disciplines, from Biochemistry to Behavioral sciences. These topics can be too much information for medical students to handle.

Giving yourself enough study time and using high-quality reviewers can significantly increase your chances of passing Step 1. Schedule your study topics and do the practice exams to get used to the question format and long test.

Can I pass step 1 in 4 weeks - group study


Medical school is full of class content, school events, and exams. I know you sometimes feel like you don’t have enough time to study. I always ask myself, can I pass Step 1 in 4 weeks? Is that sufficient time to master all the concepts I learned in first-year medical school?

You can pass the USMLE Step 1 in four weeks, but you need a definite study schedule with specific days to study specific topics. You should concentrate while studying, but allow some time for leisure and movement to ensure you don’t feel burned out.

Step 1 is a challenging exam, but you can do well by being focused during study and using high-quality review materials.

Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

1. The Med School Handbook:  Join thousands of other students who have taken advantage of the hundreds of FREE tips & strategies I wish I were given on the first day of medical school to crush it with less stress. 

2. The Med School BlueprintJoin the hundreds of students who have used our A-Z blueprint and playbook for EVERY phase of the medical journey so you can start to see grades like these. 

3. Med Ignite Study ProgramGet personalized help to create the perfect study system for yourself so you can see better grades ASAP on your medical journey & see results like these. 

4. Learn the one study strategy that saved my grades in medical school here (viewed by more than a million students like you). 

We hope this article helped you develop positive study habits while preparing for Step 1. If you like this post, you can read our other medical school articles here:

Until the next one my friend…

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