Top preparation materials for USMLE

There are various options available to prepare for USMLE. Broadly the preparation materials of USMLE can be divided into; online, books, lecture videos/audios and smartphone applications.

Online Preparation for USMLE:

Undoubtedly, the online preparation constitutes the majority of USMLE preparation material. Many private organizations have been providing lot of preparation material; which include question banks and self-assessment modules. The main advantage of online preparation is mentioned below:

  • Real exam scenario – The USMLE step 1 / 2 CK and 3 are all computer based exams. 
  • The online material providers also continuously update their question bank. Some of them are even compared to real exam scenario and the assessment modules are comparable to the real exam score.
  • USMLEWORD, KAPLAN, BECKERS, NBME and USMLERX – These online services are paid and can be purchased for weeks, months and year.
  • Payment is done by securely online by credit cards. The examinee can use the paid service many times as needed during the subscription period.
  • There are special discounted fees on extension of the subscription.
  • The USMLE also provide a demo examination material and software to accustom the examinee to the exam and its software. The software is updated frequently and hence the applicants are requested to download the latest version from the official USMLE website

Books for USMLE:

The knowledge from books form the core of the examination.Though many books are available for all the USMLE steps, some books are considered as fundamental preparatory material. Some of the books provider being; KAPLAN, BECKERS, BRS and many others. Many of these books are available on amazon and other online books markets.

I request the examinee to refrain themselves from downloading free examination materials available on the internet, the reason being most of the material is outdated and will definitely harm your preparation. Some of the books are also copied and made available in book store, but again the copy quality and degraded images hampers your preparation. USMLE Step 1 has many publisher books and entire subject wise question sets available, hence my advice to the examinee would be to make a personalized preparatory module with guidance from seniors or an appropriate mentor and follow it rigorously.  

Some books available for USMLE

  • Kaplan USMLE Lecture notes.
  • Becker’s USMLE.
  • First Aid for USMLE.
  • Master the Boards.
  • Step Up series.
  • Board Review Series.
  • High Yield Series.
  • USMLE Secrets.
  • Rapid Review series.

Videos and Audios to Prepare for USMLE:

Some of countries have USMLE professional coaching facility available. They offer classroom coaching and online preparation for USMLE. In India, USMLE professional coaching is provided by BECKER- EDUPRISTINE, KAPLAN and some local agencies. Along with online videos, they also provide interaction with US medical faculties. To help more in USMLE preparation, audio mp3 files can also be downloaded on your smartphone and can go through whenever possible. I also encourage the examinee to attend or subscribe to many webinars or seminars held free to assist and guide in their preparation. Again, please refrain downloading from the internet as most of the material available are outdated and the USMLE curriculum has underwent a transformation since then.

Latest smartphone applications:

Most of the online USMLE provider and book publishers have their customized smartphone applications and can be downloaded for the APPLE apps store or ANDROID play store. A search of USMLE on the respective app store will enlist all the available USMLE apps and can be downloaded free or paid online easily.

A guide to withstand the expenses in the USA for USMLE

Studying in the US is a dream for many students in India. The updated and most advanced US education system have attracted many Indian students to US. Every year about 70,000 students go to US for further studies. However, the US education is not cheap. Also, students from all over the world apply for US education institutions making it most competitive ones.

Availability of Loans for Medical Student:

A master’s course in a good US university could cost about 50 lakhs as tuition fees. This is a large amount for most of Indian student. But studying in US has been easier now due to availability of educational loans at very good interest rate. Less documentation and faster processing is now possible. An acceptance letter for US Education University and a guarantor with collateral is required. The loan can be repaid after completion of education course or starting of a job. Many Indian students have been benefited by this facility.

Availability of Scholarship in USMLE:

The US education institution recognises the financial constrains the students go through during education and hence has made available scholarship opportunities for them.   Many scholarship opportunities are available for international students from many Indian and US private and governmental organisation. A thorough screening procedure and personal interview is done before allocating the scholarship. Scholarships are available on the institution portal and also department portal.  Proper guidance from seniors or your mentor is of vital importance during scholarship application. 

Jobs a USMLE student can do:

Most of the student entering the US have a F1 visa. The student visa entitles you to work in your respective educational institution for maximum 20 hours. A minimum hourly wage is given to you decided by the state labour or federal authority of US. Many campus jobs are available in library, dinning, gymnasium, college games and hostels. The student should be applying through the university job portals to many such opening. It is illegal to work outside your education institution if you are on a F1 visa.

The J1 visa is also an educational visa which entitles you to work in a particular institution and also illegal to work outside the education institution which granted j1 visa. A H1B is a work visa which entitles you to work in US and can work in other institutions also. However, a H1B sponsor is require and have to pay a fess to the issuing authority.

Research option in USMLE:

Research is given a substantial importance in the US. Many multinational companies and educational institutions has research and development projects in US. They offer a lots of research opportunities and funds to the right candidate. Also teaching assistant or research assistant are needed in all department and their requirement is also put up on the department boards. Many research fellows’ examination and selection criteria are laid down on their website or even job portals. A right candidate irrespective of their citizenship will be selected. The candidate should be vigilant and should thoroughly search on research or scholarship portal. A good application, favourable recommendation letters and references are needed during the application.