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Results of Survey on Step 1 Study Habits of the Class of 2020

The USMLE Step 1 survey was administered to 169 students in the Class of 2020 between April and July 2018. Students were invited to complete the survey after they had taken the exam. They also gave permission to merge their survey responses with their Step 1 score.

The response rate was 66 percent (111/169). The average Step 1 score of survey respondents was 244, which is higher than the average score of the entire cohort (240).

When did you first start studying for Step 1? (When did you have a change of study habit or begin using a resource specifically meant to prepare you for Step 1? It does not have to coincide with when you first starting using Step 1 resources. For example, you might have used First Aid early on to help with a unit exam, but not for specifically for Step 1 prep.)


Finding: The majority of survey respondents started specifically preparing for Step 1 during winter break or the spring of M2 year, before the start of dedicated.

How many hours per day, on average, did you study during dedicated study time?


Finding: Hours spent studying per day during dedicated was not significantly associated with Step 1 score. Students who studied 12 hours or more did not score significantly higher on the exam than those who studied for fewer hours.

Did you stay in Chicago/on campus or go home for dedicated study time?


Finding: Location of dedicated study time was not significantly associated with Step 1 score.

In total, approximately how many UNIQUE practice questions did you complete? Include UWorld, Kaplan, Rx, AMBOSS, practice tests and other Qbanks. Do not include second passes or repeated questions. Please enter your best estimate as a single number (no ranges).




Standard Deviation





Finding: The number of unique practice questions completed was positively and significantly associated with Step 1 score. Students who completed more unique practice questions scored better on Step 1, even after controlling for their exam performance in Phase 1.

Please indicate the degree to which you completed each resource. If you did not use the resource, please leave that row blank.


Finding: The most popular resources used were First Aid, Pathoma, Sketchy Micro, Sketchy Pharm and UWorld Question Bank.