• First Aid - Necessary, but not sufficient for learning conceptual material. Use it to identify the highest yield material to study. Full of memorization worthy tables.
  • Medical Physiology (Guyton and Hall) - Physiology is a large component of the USMLE, and Guyton and Hall is well designed for medical students in terms of clinical relevancy and the depth of the material.
  • Clinically Oriented Anatomy (Moore) - Focus on the material in the blue boxes. Knowing what nerves/arteries/muscles are likely to be damaged in a given injury will get you a long way.
  • Rapid Review Pathology (Goljan) - Many pathologies that can be tested can be found in Goljian. Goljian uses an outline style. If you prefer something wordier go with Robbins Pathology. Robbins has a question book (Review of Pathology) that matches up fairly well with Goljian that's good for cementing in the concepts.
  • Board Review Series (BRS)- Outline style review of every subject. Extremely useful for pharmacology. The behavioral science one covers psych as well many assorted high yield topics neglected elsewhere like ethics, legal, child development, grief, substance abuse and behavioral neuropsych. The merit of BRS anatomy is its basically endless practice questions.

Flashcard Decks and Tools

  • Firecracker - Premade Step cards. Many people like to flag topics to add to their deck as they are covered in the curriculum. It is usually possible to arrange a class discount.
  • Pharmcards (Johannsen & Sabatine) - memorization is the only way in pharm, and a good set of cards covering mechanisms, indications for use, and toxicities is crucial.
  • Microcards (Harpavat & Nissim) - Its super fun to play microbe invader with microcards in front of you to reference if you get stumped.
  • Robbins and Cotran Pathology Flashcards (Klatt & Mitchell) - Excellent and succinct, these can help you master the testable diseases
  • Netter cards - Pictures of unlabeled Netter plates that are good for quizzing yourself on structures. Answers are on the back.
  • Anki - is a favorite flash card program that works well on desktop or mobile. There are many free flashcard decks for the USMLE (we recommend the brosencephalon), as well as Hebrew.
  • Memorang - offers free decks, premium decks, or the ability to make your own. Desktop version allows you to mix up the quiz style (flashcard, matching, multiple choice) but the mobile app is lacking

Question banks

  • Uworld - You need to get uworld when you study for the step. It is unparalleled in quality. Once you finish the bank the first time, many people like to go over their missed questions again to focus on their weaknesses. The self assessment tools are not as well designed, but you may still find the extra practice useful.
  • NBME self assessments - These are the best tools for predicting your score, tracking your progress, and seeing authentic questions.
  • Free 150 sample questions Can also be used t predict score performance using the equation Y = 2.68x + 11. (x is percentage correct, y is the score estimate)
  • Kaplan Qbank - Difficult bank known for testing minutiae, but good preparation. Helps with sharpening time management. Qbank questions will make the real thing look easy. Discount available with an AMA membership
  • USMLE RX - RX questions are often relatively straightforward and will test your actual knowledge of the material (rather than your ability to distill out what a roundabout question is getting at.)


  • Pathoma - Pathology videos + a book outline of the topics covered. Remember that a very large percentage of the USMLE is pathology, so pathoma will get you pretty far with a manageable number of videos.
  • Doctors in Training - Comes with a quiz book to fill in and tons of videos. On the whole, its very comprehensive and fairly entertaining.
  • Kaplan - Kaplan videos are pretty much endless, and are much more comprehensive and detailed than DIT.
  • Ackland's anatomy - what cadavers are supposed to look like. Just wow.
  • SketchyMedical (previoiusly sketchy micro) - cartoons to help you remember microbes. They may be offering group discounts in the fall of 2015.