USMLE USMLE Exam (United States Medical Licensing Examination) Detailed Information
What is USMLE
The United States Medical Licensing Examination ® (USMLE
®) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States and is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®).
assesses a physician's ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles, and to demonstrate fundamental patient-centered skills, that are important in health and disease and that constitute the basis of safe and effective patient care. Each of the three Steps of the USMLE
complements the others; no Step can stand alone in the assessment of readiness for medical licensure.
Who is USMLE
Find out more about the USMLE
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Step 2 CS - limited hotel availability in Philadelphia April 2017
Posted: September 14, 2016
Please be advised that between April 27, 2017 and April 29, 2017, hotel availability in Philadelphia will be limited and rates may be higher than usual. Examinees planning to take the USMLE
Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) exam in Philadelphia should note that while the Philadelphia Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration (CSEC) test centers will remain open, it may be difficult and/or more expensive to obtain a hotel room during this time.
Learn more »
Score Report Retrieval System
Posted: July 14, 2016
The Score Report Retrieval System is now back online.
Please be advised there are intermittent outages with the system that NBME- and FSMB-registered examinees use to retrieve their USMLE
score reports. If you have encountered an error when attempting to retrieve your USMLE
score report, please try again later. We are working to resolve the issue and will update this message when the system functionality has been fully restored.
Learn more »
Bulletin of Information
The Bulletin includes information on all aspects of USMLE
, such as eligibility requirements, scheduling test dates, testing, and score reporting. You must review and become familiar with the Bulletin before completing your application for USMLE
Step 1, Step 2 (CK and CS), or Step 3. Start reading the Bulletin of Information »
Download the PDF version of the 2017 Bulletin »
Download the PDF version of the 2016 Bulletin »
Upcoming Changes to USMLE
A summary of planned changes over the next few years is available. [Updated!]
The Composite Committee of the USMLE
initiated a process to undertake a comprehensive review of the USMLE
program in 2004. The Composite Committee establishes policy for the USMLE
and is composed of representatives of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), and the American public.
This multi-year project to review and revise the USMLE
sequence is called the Comprehensive Review of USMLE
(CRU). Additional information about CRU is available.
Do You Need More Information?
Check out the Frequently Asked Questions. If you still can't find answers, contact us.
Questions about USMLE
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Applying, Scheduling, and Rescheduling
How do I apply for USMLE
To apply for USMLE
examinations, you must read the USMLE
Bulletin of Information and submit an application through your registration entity.
What is the cost of the USMLE
Information about the cost of the exams is available on the websites of the appropriate registration entities.
Is there a fee for changing my appointment?
A fee may be charged if you change your appointment, depending on how much notice you provide. See the appointment change fee schedule for more information.
Preparing for USMLE
How do I prepare for the test? Is there a review book for USMLE
No test preparation courses are affiliated with or sanctioned by the USMLE
program. Information on such courses is not available from the ECFMG, FSMB, NBME, USMLE
Secretariat, or medical licensing authorities.
The best preparation for the USMLE
is a general, thorough review of the content reflected in the examination descriptions. You should also practice for your exams using the sample test materials. Self-assessment information and materials are also available. In addition, registered examinees who want the opportunity to become familiar with the Prometric test center environment may take a practice exam at the test center, for a fee. Register for a CBT Practice Session »
Where can I obtain a copy of the USMLE
Bulletin of Information?
Bulletin can be found at http://www.USMLE
.org/bulletin. You have the option of viewing the Bulletin online or downloading a PDF file.
How do I update my contact information (email, mailing address, phone number) or register a name change?
Go to the website of your registration entity to submit a name change request and/or obtain the form for completing the change, or to request a change to contact information. Supporting document is required for a name change request
Name change forms and documentation must be received and processed by your registration entity no later than 7 business days before your scheduled testing appointment.
NOTE: If you have a scheduling permit, a revised permit will be issued to you with your new name. You must bring your new permit for admittance to the test center or you will not be permitted to test.
What should I do if I have a disability that requires test accommodations?
If you have a documented disability covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and require test accommodations, you must obtain information regarding procedures and documentation requirements from the Test Accommodations section of this website.
You must submit your application for the Step and your request for test accommodations with required documentation at the same time.
Is there a limit on the number of times Steps can be taken?
You are ineligible to take a Step or Step Component if you have made six or more prior attempts to pass that Step or Step Component, including incomplete attempts.
Do the Steps have to be taken at particular points during my medical education and career?
You must pass Step 1 and Step 2 before you are eligible to take Step 3. In LCME-accredited medical schools, although Step 1 and Step 2 can be taken in any order, most students will take Step 1 at the end of their second year and Step 2 in their fourth year; Step 3 is usually taken during the first or second year of postgraduate training. Students and graduates of medical schools outside the United States and Canada should contact the ECFMG for information on ECFMG Certification and Step 1 and Step 2 eligibility. Most medical licensing authorities require completion of USMLE
Steps 1, 2, and 3 within a seven-year period, which begins when you pass your first Step. Check the FSMB website for further information on such requirements.
If a physician currently holds a license in one state and has not taken USMLE
, is it necessary to pass USMLE
to seek licensure in another state?
Generally no, although this should be specifically checked with individual medical licensing authorities or the FSMB.
I am a graduate of a medical school outside the United States and Canada. How can I get information on what is required to enter graduate medical education and/or practice medicine in the United States?
The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) provides such information. Through its Certification program, ECFMG assesses the readiness of graduates of medical schools outside the United States and Canada to enter residency or fellowship programs in the United States. The ECFMG® Certification Fact Sheet provides an overview of ECFMG Certification and preliminary information on entry into US programs of graduate medical education. For detailed information on these topics, including eligibility to take the USMLE
, refer to the ECFMG Information Booklet. Both publications are available on the ECFMG website.
I am a MD/PhD candidate and the state board where I am applying for licensure requires applicants to complete all three Steps within seven years. Is there an exception to this policy?
program recognizes that the recommended seven-year time limit may pose problems for medical licensure for some candidates with a combined degree (i.e., MD/PhD). For this reason, the USMLE
program recommends to licensing jurisdictions that they consider allowing exceptions to the seven-year limit for MD/PhD candidates who meet the following requirements:
The candidate has obtained both degrees from an institution or program accredited by the LCME and a regional university accrediting body.
The PhD should reflect an area of study which ensures the candidate a continuous involvement with medicine and/or issues related, or applicable to, medicine.
A candidate seeking an exception to the seven-year rule should be required to present a verifiable and rational explanation for the fact that he or she was unable to meet the seven-year limit. These explanations will vary and each licensing jurisdiction will need to decide on its own which explanation justifies an exception. Students who pursue both degrees should understand that while many states' regulations provide specific exceptions to the seven-year rule for dual-degree candidates, others do not. Students pursuing a dual degree are advised to check the state-specific requirements for licensure listed by the FSMB.
What are the rules regarding retakes?
You may take the same examination no more than three times within a 12-month period. Your fourth and subsequent attempts must be at least 12 months after your first attempt at that exam and at least six months after your most recent attempt at that exam.
Can I retake a Step that I previously passed?
If you pass a Step or Step Component, you are not allowed to retake it, except to comply with certain state board requirements which have been previously approved by USMLE
governance. For example, you may retake a passed Step to comply with the time limit of a medical licensing authority for the completion of all Steps or a requirement imposed by another authority recognized by the USMLE
program for this purpose. The medical licensing authority must provide information showing that you are an applicant for licensure in that jurisdiction; have fulfilled all requirements for licensure in that jurisdiction; are eligible for licensure except for the out-of-date examination; and have completed the full USMLE
sequence, including Step 3. Information regarding retakes allowed to comply with ECFMG requirements is provided at the time of exam application using ECFMG's Interactive Web Applications (IWA).
If you are repeating a previously passed Step or Step Component because of a time limit, you may apply to retake the examination only after the applicable time limit has expired. An exception to this policy can be granted if, at the time of application and testing:
you are currently enrolled in an LCME- or AOA accredited medical school program leading to the MD or DO degree;
you have previously passed Step 1 and/or Step 2 but have not passed Step 3;
you are expected to graduate from the medical school program six or more years after the date you first passed Step 1 and/or Step 2; and
you are otherwise eligible to retake the examination.
What is ERAS?
ERAS®, the Electronic Residency Application Service, is sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and was developed to transmit residency applications via the Internet, including electronic transmittal of USMLE
transcripts to residency programs which participate in ERAS.
Information on electronic transmittal of USMLE
transcripts through ERAS is available for students and graduates of accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada from the medical schools.
ERAS is available to students and graduates of medical schools outside the United States and Canada through ECFMG.
How do I report a problem related to my testing administration?
If you experience a computer issue during the test, notify test center staff immediately. The testing software is designed to restart the test at the point that it was interrupted.
To report test day issues, such as computer problems or not completing your exam (for any reason), send a written description of the incident to Test AdministrationS ervices at firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to (215) 590-9457. Test Administration Services must receive your notice within 10 days of your testing date or it may not be possible to investigate your concerns.
Your correspondence should include your name, your USMLE
ID number, the examination name (Step 1, 2 CK, 2 CS, or 3), date of administration, and a detailed description of the difficulty experienced or the reason you decided not to finish the examination.
Please allow at least 15 business days for your report to be investigated and evaluated. You will receive written notification of the investigation results.
If you wish to appeal the results of the investigation, you may submit a written statement to the above office within 10 days of the date of the correspondence containing the results of the investigation. Please include a detailed explanation of the basis for your appeal. A group of senior staff will review the matter. Please be advised that the appeal process can take at least four weeks to complete and may not result in a change to the original decision.
What are the rules regarding what I can and cannot bring into the secure areas of the testing center?
It is important that you read and understand the rules regarding personal possessions. Unauthorized possession of personal items while in the secure areas of the testing centers may lead to a finding of irregular behavior and permanent annotation of your USMLE
For all Steps, if you bring personal items to the test center, you must store them in a small designated locker outside the secure testing area or in the designated storage area for Step 2 CS; electronic devices must be turned off. All personal items are subject to inspection and are prohibited in the secure areas of the testing center.
For Step 2 CS, the entire testing session from orientation until the evaluation is completed, including all breaks, is considered a closed and secure testing session, and the entire test center, including the orientation room and the restrooms, is a secure testing area. Therefore, the rules regarding unauthorized possession during Step 2 CS apply to the orientation room and to all breaks.