The United States Medical Licensing Examination, known as USMLE, is an examination that is made in three steps, that is required for anyone who wants to practice medicine in the United States. It is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®).
During medical studies and after finishing an M.D degree, physicians are required to pass this examination in order to become licensed and be able to practice medicine in the United States. All three steps of the USMLE complement each other, assessing the physician’s skills and abilities, meaning that a step can not stand alone in the assessment of readiness for medical licensure.
Usually, the first two steps are taken while the student is still in medical school, and then, after graduation, the third step is taken.
Step 1 – Overview
- Step 1 assesses whether you understand and can apply important concepts of the sciences basic to the practice of medicine, with special emphasis on principles and mechanisms underlying health, disease, and modes of therapy.
- Step 1 ensures mastery of not only the sciences that provide a foundation for the safe and competent practice of medicine in the present, but also the scientific principles required for maintenance of competence through lifelong learning.
- Step 1 is constructed according to an integrated content outline that organizes basic science material along two dimensions: system and process.
- Step 1 is a one-day examination. It is divided into seven 60-minute blocks and administered in one 8-hour testing session. The number of questions per block on a given examination form will vary, but will not exceed 40. The total number of items on the overall examination form will not exceed 280.
Step 2 – Overview
- Step 2 assesses whether you can apply medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical science essential for the provision of patient care under supervision and includes emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention.
- Step 2 ensures that due attention is devoted to principles of clinical sciences and basic patient-centered skills that provide the foundation for the safe and competent practice of medicine.
- Step 2 CK is constructed according to an integrated content outline that organizes clinical science material along two dimensions: physician task and disease category.
- Step 2 CK is a one-day examination. It is divided into eight 60-minute blocks, administered in one 9-hour testing session. Test item formats may vary within each block.