We recommend that you only take the USMLEs once you have taken assessment tests which indicate that you are "test ready". These tests are challenging and it has been our experience in communicating with many IMGs who apply to our program that many have taken and failed these tests because they lacked the necessary English skills. Further, many IMGs have never taken such timed standardized exams before and are unfamiliar with test taking strategies. Therefore, we recommend that IMGs never take any of the USMLEs without having concrete evidence that you are ready. Even if you have scheduled a test and postponing it would indicate that you would lose the cost of the examination fee, it is worth losing the cost of the exam. Every time you take any of these exams and do not pass the exam, you decrease your level of competitiveness.
Kaplan students should consult with their professional counselors who will guide them based on the result of your assessment exams.
There are assessment test such as those offered by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Self-Assessment Services which offer web-based exams to the general public for a fee per examination. Please visit the NBME website for further details.
Studying for the USMLE
Many of our IMG Program participants highly recommend the FIRST AID text books such as the First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2008 Student-to-Student Guide, First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CS (Clinical Skills), First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge), and First Aid for the USMLE Step 3 as well as the USMLE preparation text books offered by Kaplan.
Both Kaplan and USMLE World offer web-based questions known as Q-banks (questions banks) which have proven to be an essential part of our IMGs curriculum. There are membership fees for the purchase of these Q-banks. Please refer to each vendor's site for more information.
We highly recommend that you incorporate yourself into a study group. Those of you who are or have been Kaplan students should form highly focused study groups to offer each other peer support. You should speak English with your study group participants at all times. Many of our successful IMGs studied with a dedicated study group for at least a six month period prior to applying to our UCLA IMG Program.
Learning how to manage your time to study properly is an acquired skilled set. The following text is a recommended resource: How to Study in College, 9th Edition by Walter Pauk and Ross J.Q. Owens.
Updated October 2010