USMLE Step 3 Question Banks: UWorld vs. Kaplan vs. BoardVitals

USMLE Step 3

Are you preparing for your USMLE Step 3 Exam? The USMLE Step 3 exam had a 97% pass rate in 2017 among all test takers and thus, has become notoriously one of the easier USMLE exams. Nonetheless, studying is important to secure your passing grade. The exam takes two separate (non-consecutive) days, with much longer question stems than those found on Steps 1 and 2. Timing and pacing are critical in performing well on this exam. A mix of practice questions for topic-based review is the best way to ace your exam and maintain confidence.

It can be hard to weed through the many options at your disposal for studying, and we get lots of questions about how BoardVitals’ USMLE Step 3 question bank differs from Kaplan and UWorld, so we’re laying it all out for you. We have talked to a few doctors and here’s a quick guide on what they noted as consequential differences.

“[Besides question banks, I recommend] flashcards — these are crucial for mastering memorization content: pharmacology, embryology, biochemistry, immunology, and microbiology,” Christopher Carrubba, MD* said. 

More interested in the differences for USMLE Step 1 or USMLE Step 2CK? Check out those comparisons on our blog.


#givevax

BoardVitals provides question banks specifically for students and practitioners preparing for medical licensing and certification exams. These questions are written and reviewed by those who have recently taken the exams. With this information, users can sort their questions based on high ratings, thus prioritizing those questions other doctors have found the most useful.

BoardVitals’ USMLE Step 3 Question bank provides users with more than 1,150 questions with costs ranging from $79 for 1 month, $129 for 3 months and $199 for 6 months.

Free Trial

BoardVitals provides a free 14-question sample for users from the Qbank.

Progress Tracker

Each BoardVitals Qbank provides individual exam scores, the median score of all users, and the user’s percentile rank for the questions in a test.

Feedback & Customer Service

BoardVitals has a feedback link on each question, which enables users to ask questions and get additional feedback from other doctors. BoardVitals has physicians on staff that respond to inquiries and update the content daily. This is a great feature for students who may need clarification other than what was provided in the detailed explanations. Customer service is available 24/7 via email [[email protected]] and via phone [877.221.1529] during normal business hours.

Content

The question bank covers all topics for the step 3 exam. The major drawback to this resource is that CCS (Computer-based Case Simulations) cases aren’t available for practice. CCS cases are a major part of the step 3 exam and make up half of the second test day (there are 13 CCS cases per exam). You don’t want to go to the test without practicing some actual cases first. Having the knowledge is one thing, and practicing on the software is another thing.

“BoardVitals provides a concise, high-yield study tool for busy interns and it also has features that allow questions to be incorporated into didactic sessions throughout the academic year,” Bisi Akindele, MD, said.

Additional Features

  • BoardVitals features an eBook on how to prepare for and pass the Step 2 and 3 exams. This was put together by high-scoring professionals – it’s a great guide.
  • Used questions can be renewed by deleting all the completed exams.
  • For each new customer, BoardVitals donates one vaccine to children in need as part of their philanthropic initiative: #GiveVax.

800px-Kaplan,_Inc._logo.svgKaplan offers question banks for a variety of medical and healthcare exams to help students and practicing physicians prepare. In addition to board review, Kaplan has a series of banks targeted to every Step in the USMLE exams. Their USMLE Step 3 question bank has 900 questions for $79 for 1 month and $179 for 12 months.

Free Trial

Kaplan’s free trial includes 10 questions to sample from their question bank.

Progress Tracker

This Qbank displays test analyses and cumulative performance.

Customer Feedback Tools

Kaplan has a support page with articles that answer frequently asked questions. Customer service is available via email, phone, live chat, and social media messaging.

Content

The Kaplan USMLE Step 3 QBank covers all topics for the Step 3 Exam, including audio questions. Also, Kaplan uses a similar interface, which looks like that of the actual test. This qbank also lacks CCS practice cases, which are a vital part of step 3 preparation.

Additional Features

  • Comprehensive courses: live or online lectures covering all topics.
  • They have a mobile app available for download.

UWorld-logoUWorld specializes in providing question banks to those preparing for the USMLE Step 1, 2, & 3 exams. Written by top performing practicing physicians, these question banks can be used as a comprehensive guide to passing each exam. The UWorld USMLE Step 3 Question Bank features 1,500 questions & CCS cases from $249 for 30 days, $299 for 60 days and $349 for 90 days (includes two self-assessments). They sell questions, CCS cases, self-assessment exams, and a biostatistics review to help prepare for this exam, plus, bundle and separate pricing options.

Free Trial

UWorld offers a 10-question free demo from their Qbank.

Progress Tracker

UWorld tracks users’ progress and compares individual test scores, the average of other users, and the user’s cumulative performance. Each individual question also shows the percentage of people that chose each answer option. 

Customer Feedback Tools

UWorld has forums for each exam, and customer service via email 7 days a week.

Content

This covers all topics found in step 3, including audio questions. 

“I used this qbank and the CCS cases for my step 3. The format of the CCS cases was very similar to the exam itself. I discovered so many different ways to order tests, medications, counseling options that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought to use if I had taken the test without practicing first,” Akindele said.

Additional Features

  • UWorld provides 40+ CCS cases and 50+ interactive cases for practice. This feature provides users with an idea of how the software works, how to find tests, make orders and work on their timing. This feature can be purchased separately or as in concert with the question bank. Check out their pricing options.
  • The amount of information that can be found on the forum is endless. You can interact with other users and share ideas or tips.
  • They have a mobile app available for download.

At-A-Glance Comparison

USMLE step 3 question bank chart comparison boardvitals uworld kaplan

*Christopher Carrubba, MD is the Co-Director of Tutor Development and Medical Education for Med School Tutors