How To Study For the USMLE for FREE

Dreams are difficult to achieve when they are hindered by reality. The USMLE journey is one such dream that many might dare to pursue, but cannot because of financial constraints. Unfortunately, because of the way the system is set up, this has been and will continue to be one of the challenges of this journey, And, sadly, for some it might even push them to reconsider their decision to want to practice medicine in the United States as a licensed physician. 


The good news is that while it might be difficult to be financially conservative during the preparation of Step 2 CK and Step 3, it is definitely possible to decrease some of financial burden while studying for Step 1! These are some of the ways we can minimize the costs of studying for the Step 1exam:


1.     You can use YouTube videos that are free and also to teach amazing medical content to their followers. Some of them are: 

a.     Ninja Nerd medicine 

b.     Dirty Medicine

c.     JJ Medicine

d.     Armando Hasundgan

e.     Handwritten tutorials

f.      Medicosis Perfectionalis

g.     Speed pharmacology

h.     Zero to finals

i.      Nikolay’s Genetic lesson

j.      Anatomy zone.

Just keep in mind that these videos are highly content oriented! 


2.     To practice your knowledge regarding heart sounds and breath sounds these YouTube channels would be very helpful: 

a.     Medzcool

b.     Think labs 


3.     Also make sure to follow Reddit groups since they share content for free.


4.     You can try to find more websites like medicalstudyzone.com which provide several must-have sources for USMLE.


5.     Amboss is a platform where you can review and practice questions. They can provide a scholarship for 3 months only if you are able to genuinely state the reason why you cannot pay for their services. 


6.     For long term retention, Anki cards really come in handy. You can find premade Anki decks that can speed up the learning and retaining process. And this saves you time from making your own!


7.     There are other well-known sources such as BnB, Amboss, Physeo,  Lecturio, and Sketchy that require a subscription. But if you form a group with your classmates or study buddies, then you can get a group discount to these platforms and this can help you save some money.


Having said that, there are certain costs that are unavoidable because they are invaluable in the preparation of Step 1. UWorld is a magnanimous QBank of very important questions we need to learn before we take the USMLE. Also, First Aid is a comprehensive review book that we need to know from cover to cover. Last, Pathoma is another high yield concept provider and the holy grail for all USMLE pursuers. These are the must-have resources for the USMLE. 


All things considered, there are thousands of resources available online that promise golden scores on the USMLE. It is our job to filter those out. We need to experiment with what works for us and build our own customized study resource list. Remember what works for some may not work for others. The USMLE journey can have an overbearing budget but with right planning you can manage it to some extent, especially when you are trying to save money and use the best resources. 


Written by: Sweta Dhakal

Edited by: @dr.mehta 

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