Details about the USMLE

USMLE Explained

To be able to study and practice medicine in the US, cracking the extensive three-step examination of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) is a mandatory step you have to perform. Funded by the Federation of State Medical Board (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), USMLE assesses your true know-how and expertise in the subject.

Why a separate licensing exam 

US respective authorities need to make sure you are capable of practicing in the US. Since the education system is different for every country, this is done to verify whether your conceptual and practical knowledge of the subjects comes in sync with the standards of US medicine.

Registration procedure for USMLE exam

In order to appear for the USMLE Exam, an international student needs to perform the following steps:-

Step 1 – Create your account on the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) website.

Step 2 – Complete the application form of USMLE Step 1. 

Step 3 – Filling form 183. This is to verify your current status of medical school

Step 4 – Post your form to Philadelphia.                                          

Step 5 – Wait till you get your scheduling permit. 

Step 6 – Book a date for the test at the Prometric website, which is the official testing portal for all USMLE exams. 

Test Overview

Step 1: the test is to appear after you have completed your MBBS. It tests your knowledge in various fields such as anatomy, biochemistry, behavioral sciences, pathology, physiology, etc.

Step 2: also known as the Clinical knowledge part, appears after you have completed your MBBS studies. It evaluates your understanding of surgery, internal medicine & pediatrics.

Step 3 is conducted after the completion of the first year of residency. It is the culminating assessment of whether you are qualified to execute the concepts and applications of medicine in unsupervised circumstances. 

The USMLE format for Step 1 includes 280 MCQs (Seven 60-minute blocks * 40 questions).      The format for step 2 includes 316 MCQs (Eight 60-minute blocks).                                              The format for step 3 includes 233 MCQs (Six 60-minute blocks) (For day 1) whereas 180 MCQs (Six 45-minutes blocks) and 13 computer-based case simulations (CCS) where 10-20 minutes are provided for each simulation.

The minimum passing score to qualify through USMLE is 60% and a reasonable contribution in the case simulations.

Perks of cracking the USMLE exam

  • Being a part of a qualified community of doctors in the US
  • Extensive possibilities compared to when holding an MD degree
  • Exposure to the latest medical services and technology
  • Can accelerate your career growth majorly
  • PG specialty doctors can work in many highly developed countries.

Salary structure – First-year residents in PG residency earn up to 45,000 USD per annum whereas non-USMLE candidates’ salary will depend on the specific job role and the level they get to work at.

Eligibility to apply for USMLE

The eligibility for USMLE steps 1 & 2 can be fulfilled by meeting any of the below conditions:

1. ‚ÄčAdmission or graduation from a medical school in the USA or Canada, resulting in an MD degree (Doctor of Medicine).

2. Admission or graduation from a medical school in the USA or Canada, resulting in a DO degree (Doctor of Osteopathy).

3. Admission or graduation from a medical school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS), outside the boundaries of the US & Canada. 

In order to be eligible for USMLE step 3, other than passing in the USMLE step 1 & 2 exams, the participant should hold either of the following:

In USA or Canada

1. MD degree from an LCME accredited medical school 

2. DO degree from AOA accredited medical school 

Outside the USA or Canada 

1. A degree equivalent to MD; or

2. A degree equivalent to DO


Q. What is the validity of the medical license?

A. The license is valid for five to seven years and the candidate needs to get admission to PG within that time period. Also, it is valid in UAE, New Zealand, and Israel.

Q. How many attempts are allowed per step?

A. Four attempts. It is possible to give a maximum of 3 attempts in 1 year.

Q. Where is the exam center in India?

A. The exam is conducted in India as well as in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Delhi, etc.

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