My USMLE Step 1 Practice Exam Scores: Increasing 40+ Points in 6 weeks 2021

In this post, I’ll be sharing my Step 1 practice exam scores! Initially, I was a little hesitant about posting them because I know how hard one can be judged on an exam score! BUT, I feel that as medical students, we are SO much more than these numbers. We can not let them define us. Especially with Step 1 becoming pass/fail next year, these numbers will mean absolutely nothing very soon!

It was also important for me to share these for those who are going through the process now. I started off with an almost failing score but ending up with a score a few points from my goal score of 250. So, I wanted to offer some inspiration to those starting off in a similar place.

Lastly, I wanted students to have scores to reference to that are not from people scoring >270, at the beginning of dedicated. Throughout my time studying for Step 1, I was repeatedly discouraged from reading about how people would have these incredible practice exams scores. Hopefully, by giving you some real, average scores to reference to, you’ll restore some confidence in yourself during this difficult time.

Anyway, let’s get to it!

6 weeks out: NBME #17- 205


My initial reaction: OMG, I’m screwed. I had to remind myself that this was just the beginning. Up to this point, all I had done was review Boards and Beyond and some Uworld questions. I felt that I had decent background knowledge, but had no practice applying my knowledge. From this week on, I started going through more Uworld questions while continuing to review content. (See my dedicated schedule for all details)

5 weeks out: Med school’s NBME- 217

Med School’s NBME

An improvement for sure, but still wayy under my goal. I continued to complete Uworld questions, review Sketchy and listen to Pathoma.

4 weeks out: NBME 18- 225


Okay, great. I’m seeing some improvement in my scores, especially after spending some time on my weaker subjects.

3 weeks out: Uworld assessment (UWA) 1- 241


I was ecstatic about this score! BUT, I remembered hearing how UWA 1 generally overestimates your score. So, I tried not to get too excited. This was week 4 out of 7 of my dedicated period. I knew I had a lot of work to do and time was slowing running out. I continued chugging through Uworld blocks and listening to random Pathoma videos at night.

2 weeks out: NBME 21/22- 234


This confirmed that UWA1 overestimated my score. Still, I was a little disappointed with this score. I had completed NBME 21/22 back to back to simulate the actual length of Step 1. Since the real exam is 7 blocks long, I completed 7 instead of the 8 blocks from the combined NBMEs. I had 2 weeks left and anxiety really started to kick in. I was feeling fatigued but knew I had a lot of work to do. At this point, I started to re-listen to Pathoma because I felt like I was missing questions due to knowledge gaps in some areas. I also continued doing Uworld blocks (re-doing my incorrects).

1 week out: UWA2- 239


I forgot to save my score report for this one. Anyway, a 239… Given that the average Step 1 score for U.S. medical students in 2017-2018 was 230, I was content with this score. I knew I had put in a lot of work and tried my best. While it was easy to get upset that I wasn’t as close to my goal score as I wanted, I tried to find comfort in that my scores weren’t trending the opposite way. I thought about pushing back my test date after this exam but was so tired that I knew I couldn’t do a few more weeks of dedicated. At this point, I had one week left until my exam. I was wrapping my studying. I was doing less Uworld and more reviewing of First Aid. I also continued listening to Pathoma.

2 days out: Free 120 questions 85%/245

These questions can be found here and the correlation which was made from someone on Reddit can be found here. Also, there’s no score report generated from these questions. I’ve heard that these set of questions are very predictive of actual Step 1 exams scores. So I was pretty happy. Of course, I still had doubts that I would totally bomb this exam. I had a few more days of studying and reviewing to do then I took the day before my exam off. I tried to get my headspace in the right place. That was the best thing I could for myself at this point. There was no turning back!

Actual Step 1 exam: 245-250

I was very pleased my score!


3/116 weeks outNMBE 17205
3/145 weeks outSchool NBME217
3/224 weeks outNBME 18225
3/313 weeks outUWA1241
4/62 weeks outNBME 21234
4/62 weeks outNBME 22234
4/131 week outUWA2239
4/172 days outFree 120s85%/245
4/20Step 1 EXAM!!245-250

I have other blog posts about my Step 1 experience, NBMEs, dedicated schedule, best resources, and how to stay sane while studying for this exam.

Click here to get my exact USMLE Step 1 Study Schedule for $5!

Study essentials

Good luck and let me know if you have questions by commenting below!

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  1. medstudent
    04/05/2020 / 10:10 pm

    Thank you soo much for this post, it was really encouraging! Can I ask what your first pass UWorld % was?

    • Lily Trinh
      04/05/2020 / 10:54 pm


      Thanks for your comment. My first pass was 65%! I started Uworld towards the end of the 2nd year. My second pass, during dedicated, was 80%. Hope that helps! Good luck!


  2. Nicole
    06/18/2020 / 11:57 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this! My scores have been like yours almost to a T and I took the exam last week thinking I have no idea if this is where I should be after reading like you said all the >270s in readit. Thank you so much for sharing this! I love your blog! You’re the best!

    • Lily
      06/20/2020 / 10:53 pm


      You’re so sweet! I’m glad you found this helpful! I agree I wish people with more ‘average’ scores would share their scores! Good luck to you!! (:


    • Lily
      06/20/2020 / 10:53 pm

      Thanks for the feedback!!


  3. Paley
    09/30/2020 / 12:05 pm

    Very nice post. I definitely love this website. Keep it up!

  4. Yang
    10/13/2020 / 7:05 am

    I’m able to find good advice from your blog articles!

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