What Medical Students Should Know About USMLE
This topic will be discussed under the following:
- Steps in USMLE
- Facts about USMLE
- USMLE Examination Centers
- USMLE Eligibility Criteria
- USMLE Application
- Cautions on Examination Day and Testing
- Examination Identification Requirements
- USMLE Result
- USMLE Scoring System
USMLE simply stands for United States Medical Licensing Examination. It is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States. It assesses a doctor’s ability to apply the knowledge, skills, and principle gained in medical school to patient’s care. It also assess the ability of doctors to demonstrate basic patient-centered skills rather than theoretical skills that are important in effective patient care. This examination is sponsored by FSMB (Federation of State Medical Boards) and NBME (National Board of Medical Examiners).
Steps in USMLE
As stated above, USMLE comprises three major steps. These are step 1, step 2 and step 3. Step 2 has two basic components, step 2ck (clinical knowledge) and step 2cs (clinical skills). Step 1 and step 2 can be written in order of preference, however, step 3 can only be written after an individual had graduated from medical school and had passed the other steps of USMLE.
Furthermore, USMLE step 2 cs and step 3 can only be taken in the U.S. while step 1 and step 2ck can be taken in any designated centers around the world.
USMLE Step 1
This assesses if you understand and can apply fundamental concepts of basic sciences to medical practice. Emphasis are laid on principles and mechanisms underlying health, diseases and modes of therapy.
It is a one-day examination which span a period of 8hours. This period is divided into seven 60-minutes blocks. The number of questions in each block in a given examination may vary but cannot exceed 40 and the total questions in the examination will not exceed 280.
Application fee for year 2020 is $965, additional charges may be required.
USMLE Step 2
This is divided into two basic components, the step 2 ck and step 2 cs.
USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge)
This assesses the ability to apply medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical sciences that are essential for the provision of care for patients under supervision. It lays emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. It also ensures that due attentions are paid on principles of clinical sciences and basic patient-centered skills.
USMLE step 2ck is a 9-hour examination which is taken in one day, it is divided into eight 60-minutes blocks. The number of questions per block may vary but not exceed 40. The total questions for the examination will not exceed 318.
Finally, the examination also includes a minimum allotment of 45minutes break time (this may be increased by finishing the block questions and the optional tutorial before the time allotted) and a 15minutes optional tutorials.
Application fee for year 2020 is $1600, additional charges may be required.
USMLE Step 2 CS (Clinical Skills)
USMLE Step 2 CS assesses the ability of a candidate to apply medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical sciences essential for the provision of patient care under supervision. It emphasizes health promotion and disease prevention.
Furthermore, it uses standardized patients to test medical students and/or graduates on their ability to obtain information from patient, do physical examinations and report findings to supervisors and colleagues.
it should be noted that USMLE step 2 cs is currently suspended until further notice.
USMLE Step 3
USMLE Step 3 is the final examination in the USMLE sequence resulting in obtaining a license to practice unsupervised. It assesses if you can apply medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical sciences essential for unsupervised practice of medicine. Emphasis are placed on patient management in ambulatory setting.
It devotes attention to the importance of assessing the skills and knowledge of doctors who are assuming independent responsibilities for delivering general medical care to patient.
Furthermore, it is a two-days examination, the first day being called Foundation of Independent Practice(FIP) and second day named as Advanced Critical Medicine(ACM).
In the first day, there are about 232 multiple choice questions which span a period of 7 hours, this is divided into 6 blocks. There are about 180 multiple choice questions that span 9hours, also divided into 6 blocks in the second day.
Application fee for year 2020 is $895, additional charges may be required.
Facts About USMLEI
- It stands for United States Medical Licensing Examination
- It consists of three main steps
- Step 1, step 2 ck and step 3 are computer based examination
- It is done to obtain license to practice medicine in the U.S.
- Step 3 can only be attempted after passing other steps and after graduation from medical school
- It is sponsored by FSMB and NBME
- Interactive Web application accepts application for step 1 and step 2 while application is through FSMB for step 3.
USMLE Eligibility Criteria
The following are the eligibility criteria for USMLE:
USMLE Step 1, step 2 ck and Step 2 cs
- As a U.S citizen, you must be a medical student who is officially enrolled in or a graduate of a U.S or Canadian medical school program leading to an award of MD degree or D.O degree
- As an International Medical Graduate(IMG), your school should be listed in World Directory of Medical Schools as a meeting Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduate(ECFMG) eligibility criteria and must be officially enrolled in or a graduate of any of these schools.
USMLE Step 3
- As a U.S citizen, you must be a graduate and must have passed USMLE step 1, step 2 ck and step 2 cs
- As an IMG, you must have graduated and passed other steps of USMLE.