Over 100,000 medical students and residents took one of the three USMLE Step tests in 2020 as part of their path to becoming practicing physicians. The USMLE results are used by state medical boards to help them make license decisions and meet their purpose of providing safe and effective patient care. The USMLE is extremely dependable and useful in today’s patient care. The program complies with professional testing standards to promote fairness and equity to examinees while identifying significant information to medical regulators as a national standard utilized by state medical boards to determine licensure in the United States.
The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the U.S. The USMLE evaluates a physician’s ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles, as well as demonstrate essential patient-centered abilities, that are critical in health and disease and form the foundation for safe and successful patient care.
The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) collaborate to co-sponsor the USMLE, which includes steps 1, 2, and 3.
Passing each step not only represents a turning point in your medical education and training but also moves you closer to your ultimate objective of acquiring a license to practice medicine in the United States.
The USMLE evaluates a candidate’s ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles as well as demonstrate basic patient-centered abilities. These abilities are essential for providing safe and effective patient care. Health-care customers across the country can be confident that doctors who have completed all three steps of the USMLE have reached a high standard.
Next, let’s look at the format of the exam and how it is conducted
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Examines the examinee’s knowledge of and ability to apply key concepts from the basic sciences to the practice of medicine, with a focus on the principles and mechanisms that underpin health, disease, and treatment options.
There are about 280 multiple-choice questions spread out over seven 60-minute periods.
It will be a one-day exam, most probably 8 hours
Examines the examinee’s ability to apply medical knowledge, skills, and clinical scientific understanding to provide patient care under supervision, with a focus on health promotion and illness prevention.
A total of 318 multiple-choice questions will be asked throughout the course of eight 60-minute sessions.
It will be a one-day exam, most probably 9 hours
Examines the examinee’s ability to use medical knowledge and comprehension of biological and clinical science, with a focus on patient management in ambulatory settings, and in the unsupervised practice of medicine.
Day 1: Independent Practice Foundations (FIP)
Examines the examinee’s understanding of core medical and scientific ideas that are necessary for providing good health care.
The second day is dedicated to advanced clinical medicine (ACM)
Examines the examinee’s ability to apply a broad understanding of health and disease to patient treatment and the progression of the disease over time Format
There are around 232 multiple-choice questions spread out over six 60-minute periods.
180 multiple-choice questions, broken down into six 45-minute blocks
Thirteen computer-based case simulations (CCS); each simulation is given a maximum of ten or twenty minutes of actual time.
Day 1: FIP One-day test session (about seven hours)
Day 2: ACM One-day test session (about nine hours)
The scores are given on a three-digit scale and do not disclose how they are calculated.
The following are the current minimum passing scores:
Step 1: Only pass/fail results are reported
Step 2 CK: 209
Step 3: 198
The Scores and Transcripts page has information on the minimal passing scores for USMLE examinations.
The minimum passing score is determined by the USMLE Management Committee. Once every four years, the USMLE Management Committee evaluates data for each component of the USMLE sequence and decides whether to revise the recommended minimum passing score.
Between one and two months after completing your second year of medical school, we recommend taking the USMLE Step 1 exam. It’s a requirement before you start your clerkships. However, we do not advocate taking it the day after finals because your brain will be too tired to perform at its best. You want to get a good grade on this exam!
We urge that you set aside time to review all you’ve learned so far. Taking USMLE Step 1 in this time frame will allow your brain to heal while still retaining all of the material you’ve acquired. You won’t have time to neglect anything important.
To pass USMLE Step 1, you’ll need to know everything you learned in your first and second years. How well you study affects your USMLE Step 1 scores. Examine your textbooks, notes, test scores, and any other materials available to you. You can also make use of the official USMLE resources. They have important information that will assist you in studying for the exam.
It’s fine if you don’t pass USMLE Step 1 the first time around. It’s a challenging exam that will put your knowledge and ability to think fast to the test. Within a 12-month period, you can retake the exam up to three times. If you still don’t pass after your first three attempts, you’ll have to wait six months between each attempt. You get a total of six chances to take the test.
We hope you feel more prepared for USMLE. If you have any questions, please reach out to us.