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How to Study for US Medical Licensure as an IMG

I get so many questions on my recommendations for tackling USMLE Step 1 as an International Medical Graduate. I hope you are aware that step 1 is the first set of tests to become licensed to practice medicine in the U.S.

Disclaimer: This post isn't aimed to claim I have all the answers. Your study schedule will be determined by your unique strengths and weaknesses. This post is rather aimed at providing you with a list of resources that you shouldn't skip on that almost every US Medical Student uses to prepare for Step 1.

With that said here are my recommendations: Most of these are free but I make two specific recommendations on which services you should pay for.


Buy a pdf or a hard copy of First Aid (doesn't have to be the latest version). Here is the website:

  1. This guide is just to serve as an outline for all the material you will need to study for Step 1. If it not enough to just review this guide in my opinion but it is a start! I'm sure you can find a free pdf version somewhere.

  2. The first thing I recommend you do is highlight information you think you know well.

Get Anki:

  1. Download for free the Anki software. Here is the website:

  2. Anki is an online flashcard software that allows you to make your own flashcards but it also allows you to use pre-existing decks that other people have made for FREE!

  3. Here is the link to the most commonly used deck for individuals in the US from reddit:

  4. When you reach the reddit website, make sure you are scrolling down to the actual download. Looks like this:


Online Service with Free Videos from Youtube and tailored studying:

  1. Pay for a subscription to Firecracker. Firecracker is an online tutoring and tracking system that allows you to stay on track. Prices vary based on how many months you should get a subscription for. I recommend buying the year subscription, since I believe this is how long it will take to master all the material, perhaps more. Firecracker has imbedded links, videos, and tailored daily questions. It uses artificial intelligence to get you to review concepts you are likely going to forget.

  2. Here is the link:

  3. You can select several from a 1 year subscription for $180, 16 months for $220, 2 years for $300 and lots of other terms as well. Prices may vary depending on when you buy.

Practice Questions:

  1. Pay for a subscription service that allows you to study the material and has questions for you to practice how the test actually will look like. There are several options, the best one in my opinion is UWORLD. It is expensive but it is worth it. You could get the 5 month or 3 month subscription. This should be the last thing you should buy. UWORLD is the number one practice question banks that pretty much all students use. Here is the website:

  2. The goal is to complete all the questions as tutor mode first before you take a sample test.

Questions? Shoot us an email!

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