Student Inquires About Step 3 Preparation

Stethoscope on KeyboardThis question was submitted by a Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara 2012 student


DIT was excellent for my Step 1 and 2 preparation. I am now taking a year off, applying to residency programs and studying for Step 3. I was wondering what materials do you suggest for studying for Step 3?
You have probably gotten this request before, but if you have not, please create a review course for step 3!!! I am a big fan of your reviews, and I have had a lot of people from my school ask me what I used. You guys are the best, hands down.


Thank you for your question Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara. We have had this question pop up several times over the past year, so residents are clearly interested in guidance in preparing for Step 3.

The majority of students (61%) surveyed have prepared for Step 3 by doing all of USMLE World questions and all of the 88 (currently 93) cases in USMLE World. There were several students that used the Kaplan question bank (9%). They have been successful using this by completing ALL of the cases and questions. The scores ranged from very high to barely passing. Using the question bank has been their primary resource, with a few students reporting using an accompanying text such as Crush the Boards, Master the Boards, or First Aid for Step 3. The time for preparation ranged from 10 days to 2 months in this particular sample; however, there was not enough data reported to make reliable conclusions concerning correlations between scores and preparation time.

Several Continental U.S. students did not prepare for the Step 3 exam as rigorously and formally as they did for Step 1 and Step 2. If you feel confident enough to not establish a formal preparation, it is recommended that students should, at the minimum, review all of the sample interactive questions the official USMLE website provides.

Here is the link to the USMLE Step 3 practice material.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page for Step 3 materials.  Students have to download software to view the samples, but it is worth it. The USMLE site provides an “animated demonstration” so you can get a feel for what the test will be like. It is much different than what you have experienced as straightforward multiple choice and consists of batches of questions that are dependent on how you answer previous questions linked to a given vignette. It is interactive so you must be familiar with how to progress through a case.


Also, thank you for your kind words. We enjoy hearing that students have experienced success with our board review materials. We highly value your feedback on other resources we could provide that would be useful to medical students. Other students have relayed interest in a preparation course for the Step 3 board exam as well. As the expressed desire for a Step 3 course grows, DIT will do its best to meet those requests if at all possible.

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