Student USMLE step 1 preparation and performance

Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2004;9(4):291-7. doi: 10.1007/s10459-004-3925-x.


Objectives: Many medical students take commercial preparation courses to prepare for the USMLE Step 1. This investigation examined the relationships among Step 1 performance, preparation method, and academic achievement in medical school.

Method: A survey was conducted on 148 junior students at a medical school in July 2000 regarding their preparation methods for Step 1. Additional data was collected on student Step 1 scores, attendance record on preparation courses, and course grades in medical school.

Results: One hundred students (68%) responded to the survey including 32 preparation course participants. Course participants had significantly lower Step 1 scores and second-year GPAs than those of the non-participants (p < 0.05). However, the effect of preparation method was not significant by using ANCOVA when the second-year GPA was used as a covariate (p = 0.71).

Conclusion: Performance on Step 1 is related to academic performance in medical school and not the type of preparation methods.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Licensure, Medical*
  • Male