The Best USMLE Step 1 Question Banks Ranked

Med-Ace’s top recommended questions banks for Step 1 studying.

#1 UWorld Step 1 Question Bank

Total Questions: ~3,000

Overall Grade: 10/10

Pricing Options:
  • 1 Month: $269.00
  • 3 Months: $369.00
  • 6 Months: $419.00
  • 12 Months: $519.00
  • 24 Months: $799.00
Promotional Behavior:
 
  • Promotions are extremely rare and when they do occur (usually around November and December), they seldom go beyond more than a 15% discount off the regular price. 
 
  • Group discounts are offered, however, they involve a large volume of people (50+) and usually do not go beyond a 15% discount off the regular price.
 
Average Time to Complete:
  •  20 Ques/Day: 7-8 Months  
  •  40 Ques/Day: 3-4 Months
  •  60 Ques/Day: 2-3 Months

Final Recommendation:

We give this resource our highest level of recommendation. UWorld Step 1 should be a part of your Step 1 study agenda, period. We absolutely love the quality of the questions, explanations, illustrations, and content scope. Questions are continually updated as USMLE content evolves and new questions are constantly being added. Explanation quality is where UWorld shines. Some of the best topic explanations for difficult topics can be found here. As far as things that we do not like. It is annoying not being able to take any form of screenshot (even if it is not of the UWorld content). UWorld is also the most expensive question bank and rarely offer any form of promotion or group discounts. 

Overall Question Quality: 10/10

Excellent question quality overall. Questions highly resemble the NBME questions in terms of style, difficulty,  length & use of visual elements. Grammatical or content errors are non-existent. Questions are updated on a consistent basis and new questions are constantly being added.

Interphase Quality: 10/10

Excellent interphase quality overall. UWorld offers two interphases, one which requires an application called Java and another which only requires that you log in to your UWorld account on the UWorld website. Interphase is identical to the actual NBME interphase and works extremely well in both laptops and mobile devices.

Illustration Quality: 10/10

UWorld also shines in the quality of its illustrations. Some of the best medical illustrations can be found in this question bank. Images are made by expert medical artists and are beautiful to look at and learn from. Overall, this is one of our favorite things about UWorld. 

Explanation Quality: 10/10

This is by far the most valuable component of UWorld. The explanations are “top-notch” and most questions features a clear learning objective and reference article. Some of the best explanations for difficult Step 1 topics can be found in this question bank.

Question Scope: 10/10

The question scope is excellent. We would estimate that approximately 90-95% of the topics that you will encounter in the USMLE Step 1 will also be found in this question bank. We found no major gaps in content and given that questions are added on a continuous basis, it is clear that aim to keep it that way.

Med-Ace Tips for using UWorld Step 1 Question Bank:

  • This is an essential component to any Step 1 study plan which is the highest level of recommendation we give. 
  • Try to complete at least 75% of this question bank (minimum) before taking your exam, however, you should aim to complete 100%. If you are able to complete 100% of this question bank before exam date, we highly recommend you re-do your incorrect questions. 
  • You should start doing UWorld Step 1 at least 4 months before exam date in order to be able to complete it all before your exam. Consider starting this resource as early as possible, before starting any other resource. 
  • We recommend 20-60 daily questions in tutor mode. Avoid doing more than 60 questions in a single day as this is very mentally demanding. 
  • We recommend untimed tutor mode with all subjects and systems selected. 
  • If doing 40 daily questions or more, consider breaking the questions into two separate blocks at different times in the day. For example, 20 questions in the morning and 20 questions in evening. 
  • ALWAYS read the question explanations carefully, this is where the “meat” of UWorld questions are.  
  • Consider marking or writing down the question ID’s of difficult questions so you can revisit them later when covering those topics in your study agenda.
  • Consider purchasing at least a 6 month membership as you are unlikely to complete the entire question bank in any shorter timeframe. 

 

#2 Kaplan Step 1 Qbank

Total Questions: ~3,300

Overall Grade: 9/10

Pricing Options:

 

  • 1 Month: $99.00 
  • 3 Months: $149.00
  • 12 Months: $199.00
  • 18 Months: $299.00
  • 24 Months: $349.00
Promotional Behavior:
 
  •  Promotions are not very frequent, however, considering this Qbanks already competitive price point, this is understandable. If promotions do occur, they are usually around the November-December time. 
 
 
Average Time to Complete:
  •  20 Ques/Day: 7-8 Months  
  •  40 Ques/Day: 3-4 Months
  •  60 Ques/Day: 2-3 Months

Final Recommendation:

We love Kaplan Qbank because it roughly approximates UWorld Step 1 Question Bank in most of our metrics, while still being considerably cheaper. We like that they recently (2019) updated their interphase, questions and question explanations. This update has significantly improved the overall quality of their question bank. We also like the unique feature of adding a YouTube video to each question explanation and giving a “strategy guide” for answering the questions correctly. As far as things that we do not like. We do not like the constant marketing and push to purchase additional Kaplan Medical products. We also do not like the quality of their illustrations which are of less quality and detail than those seen in UWorld. Another thing we do not like about Kaplan Qbank is the tendency to include graphics and images in their explanations from various different sources.  Overall, we recommend this QBank if you want additional practice before starting UWorld or during your pre-clinical years or if you plan to purchase some of their other products.

Overall Question Quality: 9/10

Questions are generally well written and in NBME style, however, some of their questions are somewhat short and lacking the complexity of actual NBME questions. The use of visual elements is also somewhat less compared NBME questions make frequent use of visual elements. 

Interphase Quality: 10/10

Excellent interphase quality overall. Very similar to the actual NBME interphase. Compatible in both laptops and mobile devices. Unlike UWorld, their interphase is based on their website and does not require an application such as Java. 

Illustration Quality: 7/10

This is one of Kaplan Qbanks biggest weaknesses. Most of their images come from their textbooks and various other medical prep assets and are not of the same quality as UWorld illustrations. Although they have improved this by using interactive media, 3D images and videos, it still lags behind UWorld. 

Explanation Quality: 8/10

This is another area where Kaplan Qbank Lags behind. Although they have improved this by restructuring their question explanations and including a “strategy guide” for answering the question, the practice of using various visual elements borrowed from unrelated sources can distract users somewhat. 

Question Scope: 9/10

The question scope is generally very good and comparable to that of UWorld. The only issue we found is that Kaplan Qbank questions have a tendency to depend on esoteric and somewhat out-of-scope topics which are infrequent in USMLE Step 1 exams. 

Med-Ace Tips for using Kaplan Step 1 Qbank:

  • Try to complete at least 75% of this question bank (minimum) before taking your exam, however, you should aim to complete 100%. If you are able to complete 100% of this question bank before exam date, we highly recommend you re-do your incorrect questions.
  • You should start doing Kaplan Qbank at least 4 months before exam date in order to be able to complete it all before your exam. Consider starting this resource as early as possible, before starting any other resource. 
  • We recommend 20-60 daily questions in tutor mode. Avoid doing more than 60 questions in a single day as this is very mentally demanding. 
  • We recommend untimed tutor mode with all subjects and systems selected. 
  • If doing 40 daily questions or more, consider breaking the questions into two separate blocks at different times in the day. For example, 20 questions in the morning and 20 questions in evening. 
  • ALWAYS read the question explanations carefully and take advantage of the “strategy tab” as this information is very useful for developing test taking skills.
  • Consider marking or writing down the question ID’s of difficult questions so you can revisit them later when covering those topics in your study agenda.
  • Consider purchasing at least a 6 month membership as you are unlikely to complete the entire question bank in any shorter timeframe.  

 

#3 USMLE-Rx Step 1 Qmax

Total Questions: ~2,300

Overall Grade: 8/10

Pricing Options:
  • 1 Month: $79.00
  • 3 Months: $129.00
  • 6 Months: $179.00
  • 12 Months: $249.00
  • 24 Months: $349.00
Promotional Behavior:
 
  • This question bank is almost always under some kind of promotion and you can easily obtain this product for half the regular price. We believe that this product is an amazing value when in promotion and recommend that everybody take advantage of their excellent promotional prices.
 
 
Average Time to Complete:
  •  20 Ques/Day: 6-7 Months  
  •  40 Ques/Day: 2-3 Months
  •  60 Ques/Day: 1-2 Months

Final Recommendation:

We love USMLE-Rx Step 1 Qmax because of its competitive pricing, frequent promotions, integration with the First Aid textbook and focus on high yield topics. USMLE-Rx is highly recommended if you enjoy the First Aid Step 1 textbook series as this is basically the question bank companion to the textbook. The focus on high yield topics makes this question bank an excellent primer for Step 1 studying and pre-clinical study. The explanations while somewhat simplistic are easy to understand and hard to forget. As far as things we do not like. The questions tend to underrepresent the difficulty level of actual USMLE questions and are somewhat simplistic. The same can be said about their question explanations which are not as in depth or thorough as those of Kaplan Qbank or UWorld.  We also do not like that just like Kaplan Qbank, USMLE-Rx floods your inbox with advertisements and promotions of their other products. Overall, we recommend this question bank if you want additional practice before starting UWorld or during your pre-clinical years or if you plan to purchase some of their other products.

Overall Question Quality: 7/10

While the questions cover high yield material, the delivery is often very simplistic and not as similar to actual NBME style questions as those of Kaplan Qbank or UWorld question bank. These questions underrepresent the actual difficulty of USMLE questions. First order questions are very prevalent and the use of visual elements is also somewhat rare. 

Interphase Quality: 10/10

Excellent interphase quality overall. Very similar to the actual NBME interphase. Compatible in both laptops and mobile devices. Unlike UWorld, their interphase is based on their website and does not require an application such as Java. 

Illustration Quality: 8/10

The fact that this question bank borrows the illustrations of the First Aid Step 1 textbook makes this question bank unique. While the illustrations of the First Aid textbook series are certainly impressive, we feel that they are not on par with those of UWorld Step 1 question bank. Mainly because there are significantly fewer illustrations and images by virtue of this being a shorter question bank.  

Explanation Quality: 7/10

The explanations in this question bank are not as in depth as those seen Kaplan Qbank and UWorld. They tend to be more simplistic and short. In our experience, we felt that more information could have been provided in the question explanations. To mitigate this weakness, is the ability to pull up screenshots from the First Aid Step 1 textbook series.  

Question Scope: 7/10

This question bank is shorter when compared to Kaplan Qbank and UWorld so naturally, there is going to be less opportunity to cover the wide breadth of topics required. However, we do appreciate that they focus on very high yield topics and avoid esoteric and uncommon Step 1 topics. That being said, some topics are frequently repeated while others are underrepresented. 

Med-Ace Tips for using USMLE-Rx Step 1 Qmax:

    • This is a short question bank with relatively straightforward questions and explanation so you should aim to complete 100% of this question bank. This is easily achievable.
    • You should start doing USMLE-Rx Qmax at least 4 months before exam date in order to be able to complete it all before your exam. Consider starting this resource as early as possible, before starting any other resource. 
    • Given that this is a relatively short question bank, it is an excellent idea to use this question bank as a primer before starting UWorld. Coupling two question banks is a powerful strategy for preparing for the Step 1 exam. 
    • We recommend 40-80 daily questions in tutor mode. Avoid doing more than 80 questions in a single day as this is very mentally demanding. 
    • We recommend untimed tutor mode with all subjects and systems selected. 
    • If doing 40 daily questions or more, consider breaking the questions into two separate blocks at different times in the day. For example, 20 questions in the morning and 20 questions in evening. 
    • ALWAYS read the question explanations carefully and take advantage of the integration with First Aid Step 1 textbook. Using this resource in conjunction with the First Aid Step 1 textbook is an excellent study technique which we highly recommend if you enjoy the First Aid Step 1 Series. 
    • Consider marking or writing down the question ID’s of difficult questions so you can revisit them later when covering those topics in your study agenda.
    • Consider purchasing at least a 12 month or longer subscription since it is easy to obtain this product while in promotion.  
Scroll to Top