Steps of USMLE - United States Medical Licensing Examination

Steps of USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination)

USMLE

USMLE is also termed as ‘the Boards’ because it is a very challenging three-step exam to get a Medical license to practice Medicine in the US. Step 1 and Step 2 can be taken while a student is in med-school but step 3 can be taken only after graduation.

Students who look forward to pursuing a career in Medical must know that they will have to face a very tough and challenging educational pathway whereas students who look forward to pursuing a career in the US have to pass through even a more challenging path because this USMLE assesses the physician’s ability to apply concepts and knowledge to demonstrate the fundamentals which are applied in the field of medical sciences. It also tests, whether a physician is capable to apply basic sciences knowledge and clinical knowledge to practice medicine.

What are the steps of USMLE?

Steps of USMLE - United States Medical Licensing Examination

1. USMLE Step 1 or Basic Sciences Knowledge
2.a. USMLE Step 2 CK or Clinical Knowledge
2.b. Step 2 CS or Clinical Skills
3. USMLE Step 3 or Patient Management

USMLE Steps or Components

Steps of USMLE - United States Medical Licensing Examination

1. USMLE Step 1 or Basic Sciences Knowledge

  • Step 1 type: The hardest part to go through
  • Exam level: Very Hard
  • Questions asked: Application of knowledge of basic sciences to practice medicines.
  • Eligibility criteria: After the first two years of Medical School.
  • Time duration: 8 hours (one day)
  • Total blocks:7 blocks (1 hour for each block)
  • Questions in each block: 40
  • Total MCQ’s – Typically 280 questions
  • Exam mode: Online
  • Test venue: Prometric Sites Internationally

2.a. USMLE Step 2 CK or Clinical Knowledge

  • Step 2 type 1: The actual application of Physician’s clinical knowledge under supervision.
  • Exam level: Hard.
  • Questions asked: How to apply clinical Knowledge to practice medicines.
  • Eligibility criteria: During the 3rd and 4th year (Clinical Years) in Medical School.
  • Time duration: 9 hours (one day)
  • Total blocks: 8 blocks (1 hour for each block)
  • Questions in each block: 45
  • Total MCQ’s – 355 questions
  • Exam mode: Online
  • Test venue: Prometric Sites Internationally

2.b. Step 2 CS or Clinical Skills

  • Step 2 type 2: Focusses on five main factors:
    1. Relationship Fostering
    2. Provision on Information 
    3. Decision Making
    4. Emotional Support
    5. Handling Patient Behaviour’s
  • Exam level: Hard.
  • Questions asked: Application of ‘Clinical Skills’ on ‘Standardized Patients’.
  • Eligibility criteria: During 4th year of Medical School.
  • Time duration: 8 hours (one day)
  • Format:12 patients 
  • 1st 15 minutes: To encounter the patients
  • Next 10 minutes: To take notes
  • Test venue: Total of 5 test centres (Atlanta, Chicago, Huston, Los-Angeles, Philadelphia)

3. USMLE Step 3 or Patient Management

  • Step 1 Type: Apply the understanding and concepts of clinical science knowledge without any supervision by a physician
  • Exam Level: Very Hard
  • Questions asked: Ability to apply clinical science knowledge to patients without any supervision.
  • Eligibility criteria: After graduation
  • Time Duration: 2 days
  • Total MCQ’s – 500 questions
  • Exam Mode: Online
  • Test Venue: Prometric Test Sites in the USA
  • Day 1: (FIP) Foundations in independent Practice
  • Questions asked: Concepts based on scientific principles for effective medical care
  • Time Duration: 7 hours (one day)
  • MCQ’s – 260 questions
  • Day 2: (ACM) Advanced Clinical Medicines
  • Questions asked: Patient Management and Evolving Disease Process by applying medical knowledge.
  • Time Duration: 9 hours (one day)
  • MCQ’s – 200 questions
  • Scoring Criteria:
    1. Step 1 – Minimum 192 marks
    2. Step 2 CK – Minimum 209 marks
    3. Step 2 CS – Pass/Fail
    4. Step 3 – 190
USMLE Step-Steps of USMLE - United States Medical Licensing Examination | USMLE Steps | USMLE Step 1 | USMLE Step 2 | USMLE Step 3

Websites for Registration

Students who apply for Step 1, Step 2 CS and Step 2 CK should apply through the below mentioned websites:

  • In USA or Canada: candidates should apply in NBME (National Board of Medical Exam) website
  • Outside USA or Canada: candidates should apply in ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) website
Students who apply for Step 3 should apply from the below mentioned website:

All the medical graduates should register through FSMB website.

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