United States Medical Licensing Examinations Resources
Aisha Khalid MD, Fatima Khalid MD, Rizwan Khalid MD
New York, 9/2006
This list and resources guideline is prepared with the help of medical students and recent
graduates. It by no means should be your only resource. Please do your own research and
find out the texts that are more suitable to your understanding.
The recommended time period to study for step I is variable depending on each
individual. The average time period utilized by recent graduates or medical students is 6
months. Physicians doing internship/ house-job may use more time. Three revisions are
recommended. The last revision should be in the last 20 to 25 days before the exam
Kaplan DVDs are usually repetition of Kaplan books – therefore, it is a personal
discretion to use it. DVD on Genetics may be used though.
Try doing First aid again one week before the exam.
The list of books required for step 1 are as follows:
* Kaplan lecture notes series:
4. Microbiology and immunology
7. Behavioral sciences
* BRS (Board Review Series) Pathology
* MRS (Made Ridiculously simple) Microbiology
* High yield series:
* first aid step 1 (very important)
* Q bank (3 volumes)…Q bank online also available
1. Kaplan step 1
2. Q bank
3. Web path
* buzz words (optional)
* DVDs on Kaplan lectures
Some guidance for individual subjects:
Pathology, microbiology, physiology and behavioral sciences (BS) are the most
important subjects, therefore, try concentrating more on them.
Pathology: one has to do both Kaplan and BRS.
Microbiology: its better to do bacteriology from MRS and rest from Kaplan but one can
stick to Kaplan only also, if one is getting the hang of it.
Pharmacology: Kaplan is enough.
Physiology: Kaplan is amazingly good for it.
Anatomy: concentrate more on the high yield series, as it is more comprehensive.
Bio-statistics: is taken as part of BS, its very nicely given in high yield (if one has no
background in bio-statistics). Kaplan has 20-25 pages on bio-statistics and is a good
Biochemistry: is enough from Kaplan .in biochemistry, the genetics part is very important
and needs to be reinforced with the DVDs on biochemistry. If time allows, you can do all
the DVD lectures on biochemistry. Either way, DVDs on Genetics should be done.
Behavioral Sciences: one other subject for which DVD lectures are mandatory is BS.
Proper understanding of the concepts without it can be difficult. Kaplan should be used as
Most physicians would do first aid step 1 after revising every subject. It is an excellent
book and has a lot high yield facts.
Q bank: Basically has questions with pattern similar to step 1. Many are repeat questions.
It is very important. We would advise that they should be done during the second
revision, which is also what most people do.
Qbank online is very similar to the book form. Some people prefer Q bank online because
doing it is just like giving the exam, at the end they give you your score and tell you
about your mistakes. It also helps in timing oneself. There is a 3-month package ($299)
and a 1-month package ($199). This is usually paid by credit card. The Book form is a
good alternative. The answers should be read as well. It has a total of 2100 questions.
Preferably, it should be done after the second revision.
Kaplan also has a Kaplan simulation exam. It is a single CD and should be done two
weeks before the exam (if required). The scores you get on it are NOT representative of
your actual score.
Step II Clinical Knowledge (CK)
Kaplan has five books for Step II (DVDs are available for each book as well). These are
Medicine: DVD is important (Cardiology is high yield)
Step II requires around three months. First revision should take one to one and half
month, which includes all the five books. First revision also includes Q Book for step II.
Q book on each subject should be done after the Kaplan book on that particular subject is
Q Bank – available in Book form or online (www.kaptest.com).
USMLE world online
Second revision should take one month and should include the five books and Q Bank
Third month should be utilized for USMLE world online (one month before the exam).
The actual exam is similar to USMLE world online. Book form is a very good
alternative. This is strongly recommended.
Third revision should be focused primarily on one’s weak points.
Crush the boards (Step II) may be used with second revision.
Kaplan simulation Exam CD for step II can be done 1-2 weeks before the exam.
Step II Clinical Skills (CS):
Standard recommendation is two weeks.
Best basic resource is First AID for CS.
You can choose between USMLE world (Video clips) and Kaplan CS.
Cases from USMLE world should be practiced.
Key to CS exam is to practice clinical skills. Practice can be done patients and even on
Rehearsal should include how to start an encounter, what questions to ask and how to
end. It is very important to time yourself.
12 to 24 cases should be practiced before the exam.
Remember that proper sleep before the exam is very important (and so is a good
It is preferable to take a white coat and your own stethoscope. Please try to get to the
exam city a day ahead of time and also get to the center well ahead of time. Things can
go wrong and people have been disallowed to take the exam even when they were ten
If one can afford then it is better to give CS exam after step I and before step II. Some
people have given it before giving any steps and some after step II and I. All of the
combinations are reasonable.
We hope this is useful. This document would be updated regularly as we get new