Are you preparing for your USMLE Step 3 Exam? The USMLE Step 3 exam had a 96% pass rate in 2016 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.
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 1,100 questions with costs ranging from $79 for 1 month, $129 for 3 months and $199 for 6 months.
BoardVitals provides a free 12-question sample for users from the Qbank.
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 [917.768.0744] during normal business hours.
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.
- BoardVitals features a book on how to prepare for and to pass the step 2 and 3 exams. This was put together by high-scoring professionals – it’s a great guide.
- The used questions can be renewed by deleting all the completed exams.
Kaplan 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 30 days and $179 till your exam day (maximum of 12 months).
Kaplan’s free trial includes 48 questions to sample from their question bank.
This Qbank displays test analyses and cumulative performance.
Customer Feedback Tools
Kaplan has a help link in each question for those who need additional clarification. They have a doctor available via email to flush out medical content found in the questions. Customer service is available via email or phone.
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.
- Comprehensive courses: live or online lectures covering all topics.
UWorld 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 for $149 for 30 days and $599 for the Qbank for two years. They sell questions, CCS cases, and one assessment to help prepare for this exam and have bundle and separate pricing options.
UWorld offers a 10-question free sample from the Qbank.
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 a link to FAQs, forums for each exam, and 24/7 customer service via email.
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.
- UWorld provides 51 interactive CCS cases and 41 read-out 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.