What is the best book to study from for 1st step USMLE?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single “best” book for USMLE Step 1 preparation as it depends on your individual learning style and strengths. However, there are some highly recommended resources that most students find valuable:

High-Yield Review Books:

First Aid for the USMLE Step 1:

This is the most popular review book, known for its concise and high-yield information focused on frequently tested topics. It’s a great resource for consolidating knowledge and identifying key concepts.

  • Concise and high-yield: FA condenses vast amounts of information into easily digestible, bulleted points, focusing on frequently tested concepts. This is perfect for students who value efficiency and want to prioritize high-impact topics.
  • Excellent for review and consolidation: FA’s clear organization and consistent format make it ideal for quickly refreshing your memory and solidifying key points before exams.
  • Widely used and well-regarded: FA boasts a massive user base and is considered the “bible” for Step 1 prep by many students. This can be advantageous for finding study groups, comparing notes, and accessing online communities built around the book.


This resource offers video lectures and accompanying notes that simplify complex pathology concepts. It’s particularly helpful for visualizing disease processes and memorizing key pathways.

  • Simplifies complex pathology: Pathoma uses clear, engaging video lectures and accompanying notes to break down complex disease processes and pathways into easily understandable chunks. This visual approach is particularly helpful for students who struggle with traditional textbook memorization.
  • Focuses on mechanisms and reasoning: Pathoma emphasizes understanding the underlying mechanisms of diseases rather than just rote memorization of facts. This fosters deeper learning and better application of knowledge to clinical scenarios.
  • Highly engaging and enjoyable: Dr. Sattar’s humorous and relatable teaching style makes learning pathology less dry and more enjoyable, which can be crucial for maintaining motivation during long study hours.
Here are some additional tips for choosing your USMLE Step 1 resources:
  • Assess your strengths and weaknesses: Focus on resources that address your weak areas and reinforce your strong ones.
  • Consider your budget: Some resources, like UWorld, can be expensive. Plan your budget accordingly and prioritize the materials you need most.
  • Start early and be consistent: Effective preparation takes time and dedication. Don’t wait until the last minute to start studying, and develop a consistent study schedule to maximize your learning.

I hope this information helps you choose the best resources for your USMLE Step 1 journey!

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