Is 2 Months Enough To Pass Step 1

Is 2 Months Enough To Pass Step 1?

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Preparing for any medical school exam is a marathon — not a race. If you’re asking things like, “Is 2 months enough to pass Step 1?” you should know that it doesn’t depend only on the duration but also on your prior medical knowledge.

Of course, by staying disciplined and implementing effective study methods, you can ace your exam in just 2 months of preparation.

Read on and check out the tips I have prepared for you!

[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. 

Is 2 Months Enough To Pass Step 1?

The truth is that some medical students may find it challenging to study in only two months. Some actually need more time to prepare.

On the other hand, some find 2 or 3 months enough to pass Step 1. The secret here is having prior solid medical knowledge and proficient learning routines.

How To Prepare For Step 1 In 2 Months

Start by planning for the score that you want — yes, even if the exam is on a pass/fail system. On top of that, identify your weaknesses and strengths.

After that, plan your study schedule. Allow enough preparation time to study the topics in your review plan. You can also automate your study schedule using Cram Fighter.

If you struggle with some subjects, you must dedicate more study hours to those. However, remember that you must still implement regular timeouts to prevent Step 1 burnout.

In addition, you can study for up to 12 hours a day if your schedule permits. If not, cut the review time to 6 hours, then extend your study time on other days — add 4 hours if you can!

Furthermore, when you take a mock exam, make it as close as the real USMLE Step 1 exam. Aside from that, make your review sessions in timed mode.

As much as possible, have zero distractions. Turn off your TV, mobile phones, and music to concentrate more — put yourself in such a way that it will be the most realistic exam day simulation.

step 1 study plan without anki

Tips To Pass USMLE Step 1

How long or short you will prepare for your USMLE Step 1 exam doesn’t matter. As long as you master the following tips I’m about to tell you, you’re good to go.

Tip #1 Plan How You Can Study Effectively

First and foremost, set realistic study goals. This means you must design an effective review strategy of your own — not based on what you get from other medical students.

Knowing yourself can help you plan to make the most of your limited 2-month time.

For starters, answer the following questions before studying:

  • Do you study well alone or with a study buddy or group?
  • Can you identify what topics you need to focus on first?
  • How well can you fit in your study time with your daily commitments?

Tip #2 Choose Your Test Resources

Refrain from squandering your time with low-yield resources.

Again, note that you only have 8 weeks before taking your Step 1 exam. With a limited time frame, you shouldn’t be agonizing over which study resources to include in your review.

Check out this article for the resources that have helped me in my Step 1 journey: The Best Step 1 Resources

Tip #3 Follow A Strict 10-minute Break For Every Hour Of Reviewing

Given that the Step 1 exam can be challenging, the ultimate secret to avoiding study burnout is resting for about 10 minutes before returning to reviewing.

During the break, avoid texting, checking emails, and going to social media. That way, you won’t be tempted to have more unnecessary screen time.

Instead, close your eyes and breathe. You may go outside your study place and take a short 10-minute walk.

Remember that resting your brain not only helps you relax but also to retain what you have studied.

Tip #4 Take At Least 3 Mock Exams During Your Review Period

Knowing which topic you’re starting to have a benchmark is essential. Most importantly, you can build confidence over time as you see yourself improve through practice exams.

Here’s how it worked for me:

  • Practice Test #1: Take the first mock test at the start of your 2-month study period. The results from this test must identify your weak areas.

The first practice test should help you organize what you will study for the next few days. More than that, you can allot more time on specific topics.

  • Practice Test #2: After a month of studying, take another practice exam. This time, you should see improvements. The second practice test measures how well you understand your weak areas on the first test.
  • Practice Test #3: You may take this 2 weeks before your USMLE Step 1.

Use the results from the three practice tests as your guide to ace the test on your big day. Furthermore, you must use the final week of your review to focus on your weakest topics.

P.S. Need to find good resources for practice tests? Check out this article: Best Question Banks For Step 1 

Tip #5 Concentrate On Top Priority Topics First

Aside from focusing on your most challenging topics, you must also allot a significant amount of time to review high-yield subjects.

Note that every question in your USMLE Step 1 is worth the same points. On top of that, you won’t get penalized for answering the questions incorrectly.

Tip #6 Let Go Of All Your Hopes Of Being Perfect

You can study for a whole year and still don’t know everything on the Step 1 exam. Previous examinees say that some questions are not covered in their review materials.

Of course, there are no top or perfect scores anymore, given that USMLE Step 1 has already transitioned to pass or fail scoring — just focus on passing first so you can move to the next step.

Tip #7 Focus On Study Hours, Not Days Or Months

As mentioned, you’re entering a marathon, not a sprint. This means you will feel more confident passing the Step 1 exam with more quality hours of reviewing.

On average, most med students taking the Step 1 exam need at least 500 to 600 hours of extensive reviewing.

The most powerful tip I can share here is to find an app that can help you track your accomplishments every hour of the day. This can help you feel prepared as the big day comes.

Tip #8 Take A Day Off Before The USMLE Step 1 Exam

Letting your mind and body rest before the test day would be best. Take that day off from reviewing and just let your head be in a good space.

For more information on how to do well on your Step 1 exam, check out 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. 


Here are frequently asked questions about your Step 1 prep:

Is 4 Weeks Enough For Step 1?

For those with a strong foundation and efficient study habits, 4 weeks of focused effort may be enough to achieve a passing score. 

Determining whether 4 weeks is sufficient for Step 1 preparation hinges on individual factors like prior knowledge base, learning pace, and target score.  Those with weaker knowledge or slower learning styles may require more time.

Additionally, aiming for a high score likely necessitates a longer study period. Ultimately, the decision depends on individual strengths, target score, and available resources.

This 4-week review plan can give you enough time to finish a textbook and lecture series.

Here’s an in-depth discussion on what to do if you have 4 weeks left for Step 1 prep: Can I Pass Step 1 In 4 Weeks?

How Common Is It To Fail Step 1?

In 2022, the total number of students who failed Step 1 was about 9,700. The failure rate increased as opposed to 2021’s 5,700.

The shift from scoring to using a pass-or-fail system has significantly affected the student’s performance in USMLE Step 1.

What Are The Most Common Reasons Why Students Fail USMLE Step 1?

Like any medical school exam, failing USMLE Step 1 shouldn’t surprise you. Especially now that the passing rate has declined from 2021 and 2022 data across the board.

Here are the top reasons for failing the Step 1 exam:

Reason #1: Cramming For USMLE Step 1

Ideally, medical students must start studying for it during the first day of their first year in med school. However, it doesn’t happen for every medical student.

Instead of cramming for the test, try at least 2 months to prepare. Students who cram their Step 1 exam only look for a failure remark.

Reason #2: Using way too many review resources

Although having more resources is right, information overload is not beneficial. Getting distracted with low-quality resources can detract from the usefulness of high-yield ones.

P.S. Curious whether you can pass Step 1 with UWorld as your only resource? Check out this article: Can You Pass Step 1 With UWorld Only?

Reason #3: Students delay their study sessions

While it’s true that we also have a life outside med school, remember that you signed up for a career that will require you to sacrifice most of your happy times.

As much as possible, don’t delay your review hours. If you don’t have enough time to study, postponing the Step 1 exam and taking it another time would be better.

What Are The Subjects Included In The USMLE Step 1 Test?

You must ensure that you have reviewed all these subjects in a 2-month time frame:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Pathology
  • Medical Ethics
  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology and Immunology
  • Genetics and Aging
  • Behavioral Science
  • Biostatistics and Epidemiology


Every med student wants to finish their USMLE Step 1 exam, but rushing into it and hoping for the best is just the right blend for disaster.

Is 2 months enough to pass Step 1? Of course, but with only 2 months to prepare, you must implement strict, effective study routines.

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). 

Did you enjoy this content, how about checking out some of our other related blog posts?

Until the next one my friend…

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