PA Student FAQs and Tips

Should I Postpone My USMLE Step 1 Test Date?

You scheduled your USMLE Step 1 exam forever ago and you’ve been gearing up for it ever since, but now something has come up (or you’re not feeling ready) and you’re wondering: Should I postpone my USMLE test date?

The answer? Maybe.

Should I Postpone My USMLE Step 1 Test Date

How do you know if it’s the right thing to do? We’re here to let you know things happen and postponement doesn’t count against you, but before you postpone the USMLE, you should figure out if it’s what’s right for you.

If you’re a little scared to take the test, let Picmonic get you over the anxiety of studying! Picmonic Pathways cover the 10,000+ facts you need to know in a way that’s enjoyable so you can retain more information and not even think about USMLE postponement. Whatever you need, there’s a Picmonic for that! Try it now on a tough topic you’re studying! Then, read on and let us help you figure out when it’s actually a good idea to postpone your USMLE.

Do I Have Unrealistic Expectations?

Are you hoping to score over 255 on your USMLE Step 1? Are you at 160 right now but think you can break through several divisions in just a month? That’s very unrealistic, especially since the median USMLE score for most is around 228. If your score is too low too close to test time, take the time to postpone the USMLE so you can reassess the score you’re willing to accept and study, study, study! You’ll be able to postpone the USMLE for free if you’re over a month away, but the closer you get to your exam date, the more expensive switching your date will get. Also, if you decide to postpone your USMLE, be sure to talk to your dean if you think it will affect rotation, they can help you put together a plan.


I Have a Mediocre NBME Score. Should I Postpone My USMLE Test Date?
Should I Postpone my USMLE ?

How much time do you have left to study? You may not have to reschedule. Studying for Step 1 should be efficient, consistent, and never boring, but studying takes time. Start studying early and smarter with Picmonic. Picmonic uses visual study guides that are research-proven to increase your retention by 331% and exam scores by 50%. We suggest you start studying at least six months in advance so you can take your NBME and make a study schedule you can stick to. However, it is possible to boost a score and study proficiently in only three months, especially with Picmonic’s Daily Quiz with Spaced Repetition! Our Daily Quiz with Spaced Repetition automatically adjusts your daily study queue to maximize retention and ensure you can recall everything you’ve learned not only for the month after the test, but for forever! Consider that before you decide to reschedule.

You’re a Little Scared

It’s natural to worry about the USMLE but if you’re a month away and scoring between 210 and 225 on the NBME, there’s no need to postpone your USMLE. However, if your NBME score isn’t 210 yet and test day is a month away, you are in danger of failing. You need to postpone the USMLE and recoup with a new study gameplan to get your score above 210. Let Picmonic help you do that! Picmonic understands that time is precious, and studying shouldn’t take over your whole life. Our visual study guides make learning and reviewing more efficient with short (but impactful!) videos, performance-based quizzes, and even a premium users offline mode for on-the-go studying. Sign up for free and get learning the fun (and efficient!) way.

Not every little thing should lead to the postponement of the USMLE, but check your gut to know if it’s worth it. When you know if postponing the USMLE is right for you, make a solid plan so you only have to postpone once. Then, create a study plan you can stick to with Picmonic! Picmonic’s visual study guides let you review and learn key facts that are difficult to remember in a totally memorable way so you never forget them! The Picmonic home screen even provides recommendations on what to study next based on performance so you study what you need when you need it most. It’s like a personal trainer for your brain, which is exactly what you need in order to score way above the average on the USMLE. Sign up today!


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Marlee Liberman

Marlee Liberman, RN, Master Nursing Scholar

As a registered nurse, Marlee understands the struggles that nursing school throws at you – not to mention the overwhelming pressure preparing for the NCLEX®! Marlee brings a unique skill set and perspective to Picmonic with her previous degree in broadcast journalism, her creativity in video production, and her wandering nomad lifestyle. Her blend of talents provides her with the knack for simplifying complicated concepts and demystifying the world of nursing.

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