USMLE Step 2 CK Exam Experience: Is It Really Easy to Take?

With all of the information on the internet about how difficult the USMLE Step 1 is, many individuals discount Step 2 CK as merely another, much easier, step up the US residency ladder. This assumption is completely wrong, and I’ve had the misfortune of directly experiencing the bad consequences of making it. This is my […]

June 16, 2022

With all of the information on the internet about how difficult the USMLE Step 1 is, many individuals discount Step 2 CK as merely another, much easier, step up the US residency ladder. This assumption is completely wrong, and I’ve had the misfortune of directly experiencing the bad consequences of making it. This is my story about my USMLE Step 2 CK exam experience and how it influenced my journey to residency. I’ll try to cover all of the materials and details I used during my preparation. I hope you found this post to be useful.

Overview of the USMLE Step 2 CK

usmle step 2 ck exam experience

The USMLE Step 2 (commonly known as Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, or CK) is one of three standardized tests necessary in the United States to get a medical license.

Although study preparation is essential, comprehending the exam arrangement is equally vital to your success! Before taking the exam, you should concentrate on mastering key medical activities, physiological circumstances, and disorders. Once you feel you’ve mastered those topics, concentrate on achieving the highest potential score. Remember that in order to go to Step 3, you must have a passing score on Step 1 (which changed to pass/fail score reporting on January 26, 2022) and Step 2.

Previously, you would have had to complete an in-person clinical skills assessment, often known as Step 2 CS, before being able to take Step 3. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Step 2 CS was postponed in 2020, and the test was terminated in early 2021. Step 2 CK and CS may still be mentioned on the NBME® website and elsewhere, but it is no longer necessary for licensing.

When Should to Schedule For Step 2 CK?

Unlike Step 1, Step 2 is intended to put your clinical rotation knowledge to the test. Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Psychiatry are the specific fields assessed on Step 2:

Medicine50%–60% of questions
Obstetrics & Gynecology10%–20%

As a result, we strongly advise completing these fundamental clinical rotations prior to taking the exam, and then taking the test immediately thereafter, while the content is fresh in your memory. For example, if you complete your clinical rotations in your third year of medical school, you can consider taking Step 2 the summer before submitting your ERAS application. If you didn’t perform well on your previous examinations, you might want to spend some extra time reviewing concepts you struggled with before taking the exam.

Step 2 is currently the first “numeric” score provided for licensing tests, after the recent modifications in Step 1 score reporting to pass/fail. Because this movie is so new, it’s unclear how Step 2 results will be utilized to extend interviews or rank applicants for residencies. You should speak with your medical school counselor or potential program directors to see how programs are dealing with this transition.

When you apply to take Step 2, you must select a 3-month qualifying period to take the test. Choose this time period carefully, as the exam is not available at every Prometric testing site. If your local Prometric testing location does not provide step 2, you will need to schedule travel and your residence application stages wisely.

What Can You Expect on the Step 2 CK?

Step 2 CK is a full-day test with eight 60-minute blocks and an hour of rest time. Each block has no more than 40 questions (but it may contain less), for a total of 318 questions. While Step 1 is a foundational and fundamental science-based test, Step 2 is a far more clinically-focused exam that focuses on the application of medical knowledge to particular settings. For instance, you could be requested to:

  • Give a diagnosis and a prognosis.
  • Apply your understanding of fundamental science to particular clinical problems.
  • Determine the next step(s) in the patient’s care.

In Step 2, you will be asked three different sorts of questions:

Traditional inquiries

Traditional questions are stories about patients with four or more multiple choice responses. The correct solution will not be as straightforward as you may believe. Why? Multiple response choices may be somewhat right, but only one choice is the optimal answer. You should double-check your responsibility to ensure that it is not only technically correct but also the best alternative.

Items in order

A single patient-centered narrative is followed by two to three consecutive questions in a sequential item.

Take care! You will not be able to modify your answer for the previous question in this brief series once you have marked your answer option and moved on to the next question.

If you are unclear about a question, make an educated guess using your best judgment. Unanswered questions are immediately counted as wrong, therefore any answer is preferable to no answer.

Abstracts of scientific papers

Abstract questions present a sample or extract from a medical journal or research publication and ask you to analyze the material to answer a question. This style is typically used to assess biostatistics and data interpretation, but it may also require you to apply the information in the abstract to the care of a specific patient or to identify potential sources of bias or data constraints. The easiest method to prepare for test day is to become familiar with the format of abstract questions on the NBME website.

USMLE Step 2 CK Content

  • 15% of the questions were easy, brief, and straightforward. These were first-ordered queries on high-yield themes that we encounter frequently. There were also a few fundamental Step 1 information (for example, what is the virulence component for the insect that causes this disease?).
  • 35% of the questions were really difficult. These were made up of extraordinarily lengthy, twisted stalks. Third or fourth-order questions I’d never heard of these terms or subjects before. I mostly made educated guesses on them, noted them, and went on.
  • 50% of the queries were reasonable. They discussed subjects found in Uworld or NBMEs. I could generally limit it down to two response options and make an educated estimate.

USMLE Step 2 CK Time

Surprisingly, I completed each block with around 5 minutes to spare. This enabled me to review my marked questions (about 8-9 per block). The question stems were shorter than the majority of the Uworld questions and were NBME-style. I focused a lot on timing during devoted because I ran out of time on numerous blocks during Step 1.

Things I’ve never seen before on the exam

Abstracts from scientific studies Okay, I believe I saw an example of this in the Uworld Assessment. The ones on the real exam, on the other hand, were significantly more complicated and demanded great critical thinking abilities. These abstracts demand you to understand a study, apply it to a patient situation, and identify the research study’s merits and limitations. I had two abstracts, each of which included three questions.

There are 38 questions for each block. The two blocks containing the abstracts have 38 rather than 40 questions. These questions took longer to complete, but I’m happy the exam authors considered this.

Patient demonstrations Despite being new, these weren’t too difficult. They included an admittance note (i.e. patient age, chief complaint, past medical history, review of systems, physical exam). The inquiries that accompanied these were quite straightforward, such as “What is the diagnosis?” “What is the next managerial step?” I had around 4-5 of these in all.

usmle step 2 ck exam experience

What is the minimum score you need on the step 2 CK?

Step 2 is the first numerically scored test you’ll have to complete before applying for residence, as Step 1 is now pass/fail.

Step 2’s current minimum passing score is 209.

While in principle, all students might pass Step 2, the pass percentage has traditionally differed between US medical graduates and overseas medical graduates:

LocationPassing Rate
U.S. or Canada0.96
Outside the U.S. or Canada0.71

While 209 is the minimal passing score for Step 2, certain residency programs may utilize a higher cutoff to determine whether or not to interview or rank applicants. It is critical to understand what an expected score for your preferred specialty would be and to prepare thoroughly to achieve the highest possible result on exam day.

Keep in mind that you are not permitted to retry Step 2 in order to improve your score – make your first effort your best attempt!

Scores are normally provided three to four weeks following your exam, on Wednesdays. These outcomes will be available for 120 days. If you fail the Step 2 test, you will be eligible to repeat it as long as you fulfill the qualifying conditions. However, keep in mind that tries are restricted — beginning of July 1, 2021, the total number of permissible attempts is four. Any failed attempt will be recorded on your record, so make sure you are well-prepared before taking the test.

Points of interest

  • The audio stems of heart sounds were difficult to work with. I couldn’t tell which murmur was being provided, and the question stem wasn’t very helpful in revealing the solution. On my exam, there were maybe three of them. I had a couple of derm photos that asked 2nd or 3rd ordered inquiries that Uworld didn’t cover. Otherwise, this was a rather low-yielding topic.
  • Surprisingly, I had no queries about the kid’s immunization schedule or developmental milestones.
  • Biostats. I had around 7-8 first-ordered questions covering a wide range of issues like power, bias, relative risk, testing, and mistake.
  • It was a comprehensive exam, and I didn’t feel that any subject was given more attention than others.
  • “What is your first move in management?” was the most often requested question. All of the answer options contained measures you would take to manage the patient, however, you were forced to choose the best initial step.
  • There were basic Step 1 knowledge questions peppered throughout (about 1-2 each block). There just isn’t any way to prepare for these. I don’t think it’s worth it to spend hours going through all of Sketchy or First Aid.
  • There were a couple of questions that were extremely similar to the NBMEs (almost verbatim). Despite the fact that the NBMEs are renowned for underestimating scores, they serve as an excellent guide to learning high-yield, testable topics.

My study plan

I intend to write a more in-depth piece on this later. But here’s a brief rundown:

  • I had three weeks of focused study time. In a perfect world, I would have put my exam out a week (primarily since I didn’t finish Uworld), but I understood that with the COVID-19 scenario, this wasn’t an option.
  • Throughout my third-year clerkships, I finished Uworld, resetting it a week before my devoted period. During pre-dedicated (while on my neurology clerkship), I performed 1-2 blocks of 40 questions each day, then 4 blocks per day during devoted. I did not complete Uworld (had about 300 questions left).
  • As for supplements, I utilized Online Med Ed and Zanki.
  • I researched management methods on UpToDate and definitely suggest it!
  • I finished all of the NBMEs and the Uworld Self Assessments. My NBMEs were in the 230s to 240s, and my Uworlds were in the 250s.

Begin studying strategically

Most students in the United States take the USMLE® Step 2 following their third year of medical school, right after completing clinical rotations. This is due to the fact that most of what is assessed in Step 2 is directly related to what you learn during your clinical rotations. But how can you study well while you’re in the middle of rotations and Shelf exams? It’s actually simpler than you think — what you’re doing in rotations is already preparing you for success in Step 2!

How should I prepare for the Step 2 CK exam?

Step 2’s road to success will be similar to Step 1’s path to success. The study timetable and resource categories will be nearly the same, but your material and practice will be different. Your initial objective? Determine your daily agenda and allot enough time for studying. Your research should include high-yield resources as well as a strategy for taking NBME practice examinations.

It is commonly advised to take one NBME practice exam every week. Creating a timetable might be difficult, but Lecturio provides tools to assist you in developing a program for Step 2 as well as any clinical subjects you may still need to learn. Take the time to personalize or utilize these plans as-is, and then focus on making your study plan a part of your habit.


  • NBMEs
  • Amboss biostats
  • NBME CMS forms
  • First aid step 1
  • Uworld step 2 CK
  • Online research
  • UpToDate
  • Uworld step 3

I just utilized UWORLD as a resource. I was first dubious about utilizing simply Uworld. So I attempted Step Up to Medicine at first, but it was not worthwhile. I also utilized MTB3 for specific pediatrics and OB/GYN themes, but it was not essential in my opinion. Uworld covers practically everything, and if you have previously completed step 1 and want to review anything from the book, utilize first aid step 1 rather than step 2 CK books.

I supplemented anything I didn’t grasp with extensive web study. During the second portion of my preparation, I used UpToDate.

usmle step 2 ck exam experience

My preparation was divided into three stages:

  • Phase 1 — UWorld initial round and review (8–10 weeks)

I began doing Uworld in an organized and timed manner. During this time, I created my own Uworld notes by snapping screenshots of flashcards. I didn’t appreciate having to read from someone else’s notes. I supplemented my notes with any fresh information I discovered through web research. I used to offer a brief overview of whatever system I was working on, starting with First Aid Step 1.

Memorize Uworld thoroughly. I cannot emphasize this more. If you’re taking notes, don’t forget to add the notes from the incorrect option explanations. To be honest, I got a handful of questions right on the exam because I recalled some of the incorrect selections that had enough information to identify the condition.

Taking Uworld notes throughout this period seems to take a long time, but it was well worth it in the end. These notes saved my life.

  • Phase 2 — Second review and second round of Uworld (8 weeks)

After I had completed one entire Uworld. I began studying Uworld flashcards that I had saved from the first round. I have not yet begun the second set of Uworld questions. This was the most important stage of my preparation.

During this time, I supplemented using UpToDate. You must utilize UpToDate with caution since it contains far too much information. I mostly read summaries and used algorithms. If used correctly, UpToDate algorithms are gold.

I completed NBME CMS and Uworld phase 3 for each system. I did not utilize these two tools as a learning aid, but rather as a practice and assessment tool. I used to do four CMS forms in four hours, and then the next day I would do the Uworld step three all system questions in a row, for example 160 questions cardiology, and then I would read over the explanations after I finished all the questions. I updated my Uworld step 3 notes with fresh information.

I would recommend completing all CMS forms, especially the newest ones. They contain all of the unexpected questions that you may experience on the real test. I didn’t have the money to acquire the new forms, but someone was kind enough to publish the only questions from the updated CMS on the Facebook USMLE forum. I used to come across similar queries now and then.

Step 3 of Uwolrd enabled me to think beyond the box. It contained a lot of high-end biostats medication advertising and abstracts. These questions prepared my mind to be cool in the face of challenging inquiries.

Step 2 of Uworld Because all of the questions from the UW biostats review and step 1 Uworld are repeated, biostats is a terrible resource.

After reading all of the systems in my notes, I took NBME 6 and received a 271. It was both soothing and overly prescriptive.

So, after finishing Uworld notes, Uworld step 3, CMS, UpToDate, and NBME 6

I began doing Uwolrd step 2 CK questions in the second round of what I call the “UWORLD Marathon.”

I call it the UWORLD marathon since I completed it in a week, completing 10 blocks every day to simulate the real test.

Doing Uworld again in the same way you did it before, in my opinion, is a waste of effort. Use it just as an evaluation tool. Simulate it as though you were taking the real test. It will improve your attention stamina and help you identify several flaws such as when to take a break when you lose concentration, and so on.

After the second round of Uworld, I took UWSA 1 and received a score of 272. I felt UWSA1 and NBME 6 were the simpler ones, therefore they are both over-predictive.

  • Phase 3 — Third review and NBMEs (4 weeks)

The most important advice

Prepare yourself mentally for this lengthy exam. Step 2 CK has one additional block than Step 1, but the same amount of break (1 hour total). The extra block may seem insignificant, but this 9-hour exam takes tremendous endurance and stamina. Remember to think positively. After each block, take a few minutes to reset. Don’t carry your stress from one block to the next.

I scheduled the exam for November 26th and began reviewing everything again. Now I had my notes from many sources, such as UW step 2, UW step 3, online research, and UpToDate algorithms. I didn’t have to bother about introducing a new resource at this point. During the designated period, the notes you make truly pay off.

During my second review, my main issue was how to retain all of this material. So I devised a new method of keeping everything fresh in my mind. I wrote sticky notes of anything that was easily forgotten and taped them on a wall in my room. I went through these sticky notes at least once a day, if not all of them. I made reviewing these sticky notes a morning habit, and the first thing I did was go through them.

During this period, I took NBME 8 and received a score of 252. I was exhausted and distracted. I was horrified when my grade dropped dramatically. But I didn’t give up. I used my bad grade as motivation to work harder.

I took NBME 7 a week before the test and received a 265; I then took UWSA 2 two days before the exam and received a 265. I was worried about being caught on one figure, but because my exam was only two days away, I didn’t dwell on it.

During the previous two days, I examined EKGs, cardiac sounds, imaging, and genetic illnesses.

At 8 p.m., I stopped studying and rested. I went to bed at 10 p.m. and awoke at 6 a.m. I was fortunate to receive a decent night’s sleep, as sleep is the most critical factor in exam success.

What is the primary distinction between Step 1 and Step 2 CK?

Step 2 CK, as the name suggests, is a clinical knowledge exam for medical students. While this statement is correct, it does not include any information on how different the two exams are. Step 1 was all on “How?” and “Why?” questions, whereas Step 2 CK is all about “What do you do?” questions. Simply said, Step 2 CK is an exam that assesses your knowledge of diagnosis and management, whereas Step 1 assesses your understanding of how the body functions and why diseases emerge.

Step 2 CK required a lot of endurance! It is only an hour longer than Step 1 at 9 hours, but the difference was significant enough for me to feel significantly wearier afterward. The question stems also felt lengthier to me, however, this might have been due to a peculiarity of my specific test.

Is Step 2 easier than Step 1?

Everyone appears to like comparing Step 2 CK against Step 1 in difficult competition. While I loathe comparing two very different examinations, I must state straight away that you should not trust anyone who tells you it’s simple; it is not! I made the mistake of thinking that because I had covered most of the critical topics in Step 1, I would undoubtedly obtain a higher grade in Step 2. While your core scientific studies might teach you a lot, if you don’t know the diagnostic and management recommendations, you simply don’t know them!

To my sorrow, I did not prepare as thoroughly for Step 2 CK as I did for Step 1. I wasted too much time, notably over 6 months, studying in a disorganized manner, and my score reflects this! My Step 2 CK score is significantly lower than my Step 1 score, indicating that I performed worse on this ostensibly “easier” exam.

Step 2 CK questions appeared to be more difficult knowledge-based questions than Step 1 ones. Using reasoning to determine the findings was more challenging since I could limit it down to two viable responses, but picking the proper one needed prior knowledge. My advice here is to thoroughly study diagnostic and management approaches.

Is Step 2 CK important for residency?

This question has a resounding yes! And, when the USMLE Step 1 score reporting changes to pass/fail, it will only become more significant over time. Many residency program directors like to see “score advancement,” which means that the applying student’s Step 2 score is higher than their Step 1 score. My score did progress, but alas, it was in the other way!

It was difficult to get past the 2020-2021 residency Match. Interviewers for competitive residency programs are not afraid to ask you questions you don’t know how to answer. I found myself rationalizing and justifying why I had a lower Step 2 CK score than my Step 1 score. I’m certain it had a significant influence on my Match outcomes. Fortunately, I was still able to Match and get into one of my top options!

Can a good Step 2 score compensate for a poor Step 1 score?

Sometimes the entire USMLE experience dehumanizes us. We begin to think of ourselves in terms of our grades when we should be focusing on our whole application. While many residency programs have so-called “filters” for Step 1 and 2 scores, most students do not need an impossible number to go beyond them. Aside from that, each application is unique and is evaluated based on its overall merits. So, the answer to this question is yes; if you have a poor Step 1 score, you may strive higher with Step 2 to compensate.

Personally, I felt the weight of the matching process firmly on my shoulders. I requested letters of recommendation from all of the clinicians I’ve worked with in the United States, and I had to select how I would write my personal statement. We forget that the other components of the application process are just as significant as our grades. After all, those grades have nothing to do with whether we’ll be excellent or lousy physicians!

Final word

Board test preparation might be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Allow us to lead you to Step 2 success. Our post gives information about USMLE Step 2 CK exam experience are particularly intended to help you get the required score and prepare you for residency and beyond. Finally, the outcome is determined by your efforts, exam performance, and chance. But, as the great Rumi says, you have the capacity to achieve everything and go beyond your bounds. We wish you well with your exam preparation and medical career – now get to work! 

Don’t forget to take our free USMLE practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the USMLE exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!


Can You Take Step 2 Without Step 1 Or Both Of Them?

Can you take Step 2 without Step 1? This post will show you the reasons to take Step 1 or Step 2 first and how to boost your Step 2 score without Step 1.

June 16, 2022

Given that Step 1 is pass-fail, you may be asking: “Can you take Step 2 without Step 1”. The USMLE Step 2 CK is now the only one that gets scored. As a result, residency programs will undoubtedly be more interested in it. Should you take Step 2 CK first if it is the “fresh Step 1”?

Many students are preparing for both the Step 1 and Step 2 CK exams. This implies that we can track their development as they proceed from one USMLE step to the next. While the majority of people have elected to do Step 1 initially, a small number have chosen to focus on Step 2 CK first, with good results.

The matter of order becomes much more critical once Step 1 turns pass-fail. You might always adjust your strategy and aim for a better Step 2 CK score if you had a poor Step 1 result before. The stakes are higher now that Step 1 is pass-fail.

can you take step 2 without step 1

In this post, we will explore the following topics:

  • The advantages and disadvantages of taking Step 1 before Step 2 CK
  • How much do the two tests have in common?
  • Even if you haven’t taken Step 1, here’s how to study to optimize your Step 2 CK score.
  • Is it possible to study for both Step 1 and Step 2 CK at the same time?
  • Finally, we will give you our tips for the best strategy.

Why should you start with Step 1? – Pros to Take Step 1 First

# Pro 1: Solidify key concepts covered in Step 1 before applying them in Step 2 CK

In medical school, the Step 1 material comes before Step 2 CK for a purpose. Clinical medicine requires knowledge of physiology, pharmacology, pathology, histology, and other areas.

Learning about amniotic fluid embolism without first comprehending cardiology, pulmonology, and hematology is a recipe for catastrophe. Yes, “tachycardia, tachypnea, high A-a gradient, and potential cardiovascular collapse” may be memorized. When presented with a vignette, let alone an actual patient, you’ll be lost without a thorough knowledge of fundamental physiology.

Studying for Step 1 initially will enable you to lay the groundwork for success in Step 2 CK. It’s no surprise, therefore, that in every study we’ve seen, Step 1 scores are among the single best predictors of one’s Step 2 CK score.

#Pro 2: Increase your study time before taking Step 2 CK

Some individuals assume that the Step 1 and Step 2 tests are two separate tests. We don’t agree. While some of Step 1 is specific to Step 1, most of it will overlap with Step 2 CK. Do you think you can get away with skipping genetics, immunology, and biochemistry? Guess once again. Even some of the most difficult fundamental science topics, notably in the pediatrics area, might reappear in Step 2 CK.

Students in their pediatrics rotation are surprised to learn that immunodeficiencies, metabolic pathways, and lysosomal storage disorders are still important concepts to remember.

So, what is the difference between Step 1 and Step 2 CK in terms of genetics, biochemistry, and immunology? Step 1 allows for more direct testing of fundamental science content. Questions on Step 2 CK, on the other hand, frequently pertain to clinical applications of basic science topics.

A biochemistry question in pediatrics is unlikely to show you a list of biochemical intermediates and ask which enzyme is faulty. Instead, you’ll see a 6-month-old baby who is having seizures after contracting a viral GI virus. Both deal with identical paths and foundations; the only difference is how they test you on them.

When you’re learning these concepts for the first time for Step 2 CK, they might be daunting. You’ll be able to stand out on the basic science topics that others struggle with if you master these first for Step 1 – and use an effective approach to recall them.

#Pro 3: More time to study and practice the USMLE format

The questions on the USMLE follow a highly unique format that isn’t found on many — if any — other tests. It’s not uncommon to see folks who graduated first in their medical school class struggle to pass the USMLEs. These formerly successful students prepare as they have in the past, but they fail to achieve similar outcomes.

There are several causes for this performance disparity. (Read this LINK HERE to learn more about how the NBME creates USMLE and Shelf questions.) Some of the most fundamental distinctions that make the USMLEs difficult for many people include:

  • The USMLEs use a two-step reasoning process
  • The USMLEs assess your ability to apply key concepts
  • Steps 1 and Step 2 CK are not about remembering a list of facts

It takes time to adjust and master the keys of the USMLEs if you’re used to memorization-heavy assessments. As a result, taking Step 1 is an excellent opportunity to get your feet wet and learn the format in a low-risk setting.

Why should you start with Step 2 CK? – Pros to Take Step 2 CK First

#Pro 1: Concentrate on the more important exam (Step 2 CK) first

Step 2 CK takes center stage now that Step 1 scores are no longer available to residency programs. Applicants for residency screening will have no choice but to utilize it to filter through the hundreds of applications received.

Here are some of the views stated by program directors:

  • When it comes to pass/fail, the majority of orthopedic (89.7%) and IM (69.6%) PD respondents agree that Step 1 will become less significant.
  • In a survey of dermatological program directors, 86.0 % (49/57) said they would put more focus on Step 2 CK.
  • 2% (43/55) of these PDs said they would start requiring all candidates to take Step 2 CK.
  • Step 2 CK values will be more essential, according to 87.8% of internal medicine PDs polled.
  • Step 2 CK will become increasingly crucial, according to 9% of these orthopedic surgery PDs.

You can focus on the more heavily weighted exam by completing Step 2 CK first.

can you take step 2 without step 1

#Pro 2: Step 2 CK is possibly more familiar and comfortable

Another advantage of Step 2 CK is that the content is more known to you. This is especially true for IMGs or those with a weak and/or outdated fundamental science curriculum. The USMLEs are difficult to study for. Microbiology, genetics, biochemistry, and other basic science disciplines may cause you to lose your hair.

The more unpleasant the work, the more inclined you are to put it off. Step 1 may be considerably more painful, especially if it’s been a long time and/or you never really mastered the content effectively. As a result, it may be preferable to begin with Step 2 CK.

#Pro 3: Step 2 CK material can be extremely fresh (You just did it clinically)

Some of you may even be in the middle of your clinical rotations without having completed Step 1. If that’s the case, it’s tempting to take your Step 2 CK when the material is still fresh in your mind. Many individuals find doing things like spaced repetition/Anki on rotations challenging. If this sounds like you – and/or you forget a lot of what you learn after each rotation – you might want to consider taking Step 2 CK before Step 1.

Step 1 vs. CK Step 2  Can you study for both at the same time?

The decision to take Step 2 CK before Step 1 is ultimately yours. Which would I study first if I had to? Given the importance of performing well on Step 2 CK, We would recommend starting with Step 1. In a low-stakes environment, you may study the format of the USMLEs. Furthermore, the majority of what you learn for Step 1 will serve as the basis for a solid Step 2 CK.

But what if choosing between Step 1 and Step 2 CK first is a mistake? What if you could study for both Step 2 CK and Step 1 at the same time? Yes, you may study for both the Step 2 CK and Step 1 exams at the same time.

How? By beginning to study for Step 2 CK from the beginning – but also learning the fundamental science. In other words, you learn the complete range of each disease, from basic pathophysiology through presentation and care.

You’ll be ready for any USMLE if you master everything from basic pathophysiology to presentation/management

For example, both Step 1 and Step 2 CK need knowledge of Von Gierke’s illness. Connect the pathophysiology with the presentation rather than trying to memorize the biochemical pathways for glycogenolysis/gluconeogenesis.

A kid with Von Gierke cannot convert glucose-6-phosphate to glucose because of a glucose-6-phosphatase deficit. As a result, their liver is “stuck” with glucose-6-phosphate. As a result, glycogenolysis/gluconeogenesis would be unable to provide additional glucose during a short fast.

The ensuing hypoglycemia would be severe, especially in children, causing lethargy or even convulsions, especially when cell glucose consumption is high. (For example, a small infant experiencing hypoglycemia seizures due to a GI viral infection)

Does fundamental science aid your understanding of illness presentation and treatment? Absolutely. If you have any flexibility in your schedule, you should seriously consider studying for Step 2 CK nominally while also mastering the basic scientific principles.

Take Step 1 NBMEs on a regular basis to guarantee you pass Step 1. Because there is so much overlap between Step 1 and Step 2 CK, understanding the Step 2 CK content should help you increase your Step 1 score on a regular basis. Step 1 can be taken whenever you’re certain of passing. After that, you can return to Step 2 CK after you’ve passed.

The bottom line

Have you heard the saying “every overnight success takes around 10 years”? In a nutshell, this is how you should go about preparing for Step 2 CK.

So, can you take Step 2 without Step 1?

Yes, you may devote as little as a month or two to studying. However, it is the months or years of preparation that will make the difference. The key to careful preparation is mastery, not memory, whether you take Step 2 CK or Step 1 first (or both at the same time). Mastery of the basic science in Step 1 will, in the end, speed and enhance your CK abilities in Step 2.

Don’t forget to take our free USMLE practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the USMLE exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!


USMLE Test Center Locations [2022 Updated] –

When you apply for USMLE, you must select one of the testing regions from the list of USMLE test center locations in this article where you will take the exam.

June 16, 2022

When you apply for the USMLE Step 1 or Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, you must choose one of the testing regions from the list of USMLE test center locations below. For each testing region, test centers offering Step 1/Step 2 Clinical Knowledge were located in the countries listed below. However, test center availability is subject to change at any time. Before choosing your testing region, visit the Prometric website or contact them for the most up-to-date information on test center availability and location for Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge.

There is no international test delivery surcharge for the testing region of the United States and Canada. You must pay an international test delivery surcharge of $185 for USMLE Step 1 and $210 for USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge if you choose a testing region other than the United States and Canada. The examination fee will not be included in this surcharge.

Let’s get started with our free USMLE practice test to enhance your chance of passing your actual exam with a high score on your first attempt.

usmle test center locations

USMLE test center locations

USMLE Test Centres for Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge

Testing RegionsLocation of Prometric Testing CentersStep 1 SurchargeStep 2 Clinical Knowledge Surcharge
United States and CanadaTest centers are located in every state of the United States, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.00
Test centers that are located in the Canadian provinces of
British Columbia
Nova Scotia
Newfoundland and Labrador
South Africa
Select Middle East testing region for centers in Egypt
For some centers in India, select the India testing region
The People’s Republic of China 
For Hong Kong, select the Asia testing region 
For centers that are in the other available cities in the People’s Republic of China, select the China testing region
AustraliaAustralia and New Zealand160180
ChinaPeople’s Republic of China160180
For Hong Kong, select the Asia testing region. 
For centers that are in other available cities in the People’s Republic of China, select the China testing region
The United Kingdom
Latin AmericaArgentina160180
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
Trinidad and Tobago
Middle EastEgypt160180
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
For the centers in Israel, select the Europe testing region

USMLE Test Centres for Step 3

Only the United States and its territories will administer Step 3 of the USMLE. The applicant must go to the Prometric website to find a test facility for USMLE Step 3.

How do select USMLE test centers in your location?

Prometric offers testing centers all around the world. As a result, the applicant can easily locate and select a USMLE exam center in their country. However, before choosing a USMLE exam center, the candidate must first register for the USMLE or Step Component.

After you’ve completed your registration, go to the Prometric website and choose a testing date and location.

Steps to select a Usmle test centers

  1. Prometric provides a variety of tests, including the USMLE, TOEFL, and GRE. From the list of tests, select “USMLE.”
  2. The candidate must then choose between taking the USMLE step or taking the USMLE practice exam.
  3. A list of countries will show if Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge are selected. Choose one country and a state.
  4. If Step 3 is selected, a list of USMLE exam centers in the United States and its territories will be displayed, from which the candidate can choose the best option.
  5. After that, the candidate must schedule the test (explained in detail below)

Scheduling the Usmle test

  1. The permit will be provided after you have successfully registered for the exam and have met the eligibility requirements.
  2. Appointment Scheduling: The exam can be scheduled online with Prometric after getting a scheduling permit. To arrange the test, applicants must submit their email addresses and phone number.
  3. Choose a convenient USMLE test center: Once the test date has been set, choose a convenient USMLE test center. Enter your address or the name of the city to find USMLE test centers within 400 miles of your place.
  4. Confirm seat availability: It’s critical that the preferred test center isn’t already full; otherwise, it won’t be available. Also, keep in mind that USMLE testing dates must fall within the chosen eligibility period.
  5. Choose your USMLE exam date: Book the test date if seats are available in the desired USMLE test centers.

FAQs – USMLE test center locations

Where can one take USMLE Steps 1 and 2 Clinical Knowledge?

Prometric conducts Steps 1 and 2 Clinical Knowledge and has USMLE 2022 exam centers all around the world.

How can one select a USMLE 2022 test center?

The candidate must first register for a step, after which they will be provided an eligibility period and a scheduling permit. The candidate can schedule the test using the permit.

In how many test centers USMLE Step 2 CS is conducted?

The Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) exam will be given in six locations across the United States: Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, and Philadelphia (2).

Where can I take the USMLE Step 3?

The step is only used in the United States and its territories.

Can I take the Prometric exam from home?

Instead of visiting a computer testing center, Prometric’s ProProctor program allows you to take your exam from the home or another quiet location. You’ll take your exam via video link under the supervision of a live proctor.


Scheduling an exam and finding USMLE test center locations are closely intertwined. Because not all exams are offered at every center, you must first select the exam you want to take in order to locate one near you.

Don’t forget to take our free USMLE practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the USMLE exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!


How To Prepare For USMLE Step 1 and Step 2?

USMLE is an essential test for all candidates who want to start in the medical field. So how to prepare for USMLE? Let’s begin with this article!

June 15, 2022

So I will start with the very basics. This is a very basic guide to prepare for USMLE for anyone who wants to pursue medical training in the US and wants to have some idea about the USMLE. For others, you may skip this part if you are already done with your USMLE exams.

What is the USMLE?

prepare for usmle

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (often known as the USMLE for short) is a medical examination in the United States. All medical students and physicians who intend to practice medicine must go through a three-step examination process, which includes a background check.

The first exam is referred to as USMLE Step 1 in the medical field. On the first day, you will be tested on nonclinical topics such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and genetics. You will also be tested on drugs, pathologies, and biostatics, among other things. The American Board of Internal Medicine is in charge of administering it. Which questions are on the step 1 test and how long will they last?

It takes eight hours to complete the Step 1 exam, which is divided into seven one-hour blocks, followed by a 45-minute break and a 15-minute optional lecture, for a total of eight hours. There are Prometric centers all around the globe where you may take the examination. It will not be necessary for you to go to the United States in order to take this exam, which is wonderful news for foreign students who are studying there. It is commonly referred to as the most challenging of the USMLE tests since it covers the principles of medicine, and this is because it includes the most material.

Stage 2 is the name given to the second examination. It used to be divided into two sections: Clinical Knowledge (also known as CK for short) and Clinical Skills (also known as CS for short) (which is often known as CS for short). For the last several years, anybody interested in taking the Step 2 CS exam had no choice except to go to America, since it was not available anywhere else in the world. The OET (or OET for short) will be used to temporarily substitute for the Step 2 CS requirement in Medicine while the pandemic is still in progress.

Step 2 CK is a one-day examination that is similar to step 1, with the exception that it is more focused on clinical concerns rather than general knowledge. Eight one-hour blocks of instruction are broken down into two-hour halves with one hour of leisure time in between and an optional session, for a total of nine hours of instruction. There are Prometric centers all around the globe where you may take the examination. It will not be necessary for you to go to the United States in order to take this examination. This evaluation, in contrast to stage 1, is considered uncomplicated by the vast majority of IMGs, who report good outcomes.

If you want to administer Step 2 CK following or before the USMLE Step 1 test, that decision is completely up to you. It is not necessary to finish Step 1 before moving on to Step 2. Those who successfully pass these examinations will be granted the ECFMG certification title. When applying for residency in the United States, the ECFMG will ask you to provide this certification.

Consideration Before Attending Preparation for USMLE

This is a basic topic that everyone interested in advancing instruction in the United States should consider. Why do they really want to take the USMLE STEPs route instead of the traditional one? You need to be really honest with yourself. You are the one who will have to deal with all of the difficulties. Several of the below considerations can assist you in making your decision.

The training provided in the United States is among the greatest in the world. You will have the opportunity to work in one of the top healthcare in the world. You have the opportunity to work at world-class hospitals with internationally known professionals. You get knowledge of new procedures that are not accessible in your own nation. There are several options for you to advance in your profession.

When you are motivated to study, the possibilities are unlimited. Work-life balance is better in the United States than in most of our developing nations. The pay is excellent, particularly after you have completed your training. If you do not choose to permanently relocate to the United States, you may always return home to serve your people and build excellent healthcare institutions in your own country. However, there is a cost to everything nice.

prepare for usmle

The USMLE  Step exams are difficult, but they are attainable

Everyone else is passing them, and there is absolutely no mistake about it; all you need to do is maintain your concentration and persevere through the difficult times. For each test, you may be required to spend at least 4 to 6 months in your residence halls or bookstores, depending on the difficulty of the examination. You could not be working since preparing for a job will require more time than you have available. Program directors often believe that IMGs must have good test scores since graduates have the opportunity to prepare effectively for the job market.

As a result, you may feel a little down at times since your colleagues are continuing their postgraduate studies in your nation and earning money while you are merely sitting in the library or your room studying, which is normal and reasonable. “Patience is bitter, but it produces a delicious fruit,” as the saying goes.

The cost of the USMLE Step 1 might be fairly high

Step 1 exam fees are currently $985 at the time of writing. An international test delivery premium of $100 exists whether you are preparing for the exam outside of the United States and Canada in your home country. This fee amounts to around $1165, for a total of approximately $1165. Prices are subject to change, and you should check the official website for the most up-to-date information.

The current exam prices for step 2 CK are $985 plus a $200 international test delivery premium, for a total of $1185 when you are taking the exam outside of the United States and Canada. As a result, the test costs for two examinations will total $2350. The expense of ECFMG enrollment, the cost of study reading materials, the cost of online topic banks and assessments, and other expenses will push the total cost far beyond $3000. In terms of money, this is a significant figure, and it is sometimes difficult for students, particularly in underdeveloped countries, to come up with the funds.

Asking for independence

You may have to spend time away from your family, including your parents, siblings, and friends while undergoing training in the United States. You have the option to adjust your marital arrangements. These are also items that must be kept an eye out for. Please address all of these points with your families so that you can ensure that everyone is on the same page before proceeding with this trip together.

Job Potential

Occasionally, you may not be able to get the specialty of your choosing. In the United States, it is more difficult to get residency positions in surgical specialties such as orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, or neurosurgeons than it is to obtain residency positions in residency training, family practice, psychotherapy, pediatrics, or neurological specialties. Some of my friends have been accepted into surgery programs, therefore it is not impossible; nonetheless, it is something you should consider and keep in mind as you go.

Difficulty after completing the exam

What are your intentions for the rest of your time in the United States? Do you want to stay in the United States for the foreseeable future? Are you planning to return to your home country? Will you be relocating to another country? In the event that you must return to your home country, what choices do you have? Which hospitals will be able to fulfill your needs? These are key issues and plans to think about before determining whether or not to follow the USMLE program.

It is also likely that if you complete your training in the United States and return to your home country, your choices may be restricted since only a handful of the hospitals will be able to accept you; however, this varies from nation to country. 

In my view, the most significant benefit of taking the USMLE is for individuals who want to work and live in the United States after completing their residency training. They will have a healthy work-life balance, as well as a high salary, financial stability, and industry experience. For the others, the choice is personal, and they should think carefully before deciding to pursue the USMLE track solely on the basis of social pressure. This kind of peer pressure is frequent, and many individuals are unaware of it at the time. Because everyone is studying for the USMLE tests at the same time, you begin without taking all of these considerations into account.

prepare for usmle

USMLE Step 1 Application Process 

ECFMG registration

As a result of thinking about all of the above, you’ve decided to go the USMLE route. Now, allow me to assist you in realizing your goal of obtaining permanent residence in the United States. First, I’ll go through some of the essentials, including how to join the ECFMG. “Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates” is the acronym for ECFMG. Besides verifying IMGs’ credentials and ensuring that they fit the requirements for clinical background in the United States, it also offers a status report on the USMLE examination for international physicians.

Our main medical degree (M.D.) must be authenticated. You need to verify that your school is included in this ECFMG’s global directory of medical schools.

It is now required for you to register with the ECFMG if your medical school is included in the worldwide directory of medical schools. Creating an ECFMG account is generally the first step in the process. Check out IWA (Interactive web apps) on ECFMG’s website. You’ll need to create a new account and include all of your personal information, such as your name, address, and date of birth, as well as a passport-sized photo.

It’s a good idea to maintain your identification with you at all times to ensure that you fill out the forms correctly. ECFMG will send you an email with your login and password within 2-5 business days. Access to your account is also available. $160 is the cost. The ECFMG’s fees may be seen here. Form 186, which you may obtain from your ECFMG account, must be signed by either an attorney or an oath inspector once you’ve completed the online application.

This form serves as proof of identification. ECFMG will send you an email confirming your account’s authorization within 2-5 business days after you submit this form. To be eligible to apply, you must also have a degree in medicine or a diploma in medicine, whichever comes first. ECFMG Certification requires a medical degree, so check the requirements.

Verification of a Degree or Diploma

After that, the papers will be sent to your medical school, where they will be verified. Your medical school’s Dean or Principal must sign these papers. The ECFMG receives the papers and processes them. After ECFMG receives your papers, you should expect a response from them within 15 business days. For some, this may be a challenge. Your medical school has to verify and provide your paperwork in a timely manner if you want them to be accepted.

Since no one else at my medical school seemed to care about this, I had to do it on my own. When it comes to registering and verifying one’s credentials with the ECFMG, the procedure might be arduous. You should begin the procedure when you’re still in your country of residence, particularly if you want to attend medical school in the city where you plan to practice medicine.

Eligibility to take the USMLE 

After completing two years of medical school and registering with the ECFMG, you will be qualified to take the USMLE test.

Step 1 of the USMLE registration process

After registering with the ECFMG, you must complete the USMLE Step 1 enrollment application form. A cost of $1165 must be paid online if you present at a Prometric location outside of the United States or Canada. You may use a debit or credit card to make a payment online. One problem I had was that my credit card’s capacity was insufficient to cover the whole test amount. As a result, I’ve decided to pay the costs in three equal installments.

On the ECFMG site, there is a possibility to pay the cost in installments, and the total will be stored in your account until it is paid in full. Once you’ve saved up enough money, you may pay the charge. As an example, you may pay the charge in three equal payments, totaling between $1165 and $1165. You now have to pay them in order to submit an application for the test. As an IMG, I had a difficult time paying the cost at the time, and I felt it would be helpful to share my experience with other IMGs.

As part of the first-step registration process, you’ll be asked to pick a three-month time frame in which you want to take the test. Select the months that are most convenient for your planning and timetable. If you wish to sit for the exam in January, choose a three-month window from January to March so that if you aren’t ready by then, you still have time to sit for the test in February or March, if necessary.

This option is available if, at the conclusion of the three-month term, you are still unsure of your ability to sit for the test. USMLE rescheduling fees will still be charged (100$ if done 6-30 days in advance, 328$ if done 5 days or less before). This extension may only be granted once per user. This means that selecting a three-month interval while registering for the USMLE is critical.

Step 1 was formerly graded with a three-digit score. When it came to studying for exams, IMGs were notoriously slow. Some of my classmates studied full-time for almost a year to get high marks. With respect to the first stage, only pass/fail is reported by ECFMG. Changes in reporting might have both advantages and disadvantages. Getting a good Step 1 score is no longer as stressful, and you’ll save a lot of phases of the procedure.

Previously, IMGs had an edge over their American counterparts by obtaining high marks on Step 1 and Step 2 CK examinations. This benefit will no longer be available if you decide to apply for permanent residence in the United States. Extracurriculars, scientific papers, and time since graduating are all important considerations when applying for a residence in the United States. These include US clinical experience (externships, observerships, and electives), scientific papers, and time since graduating.

How to Prepare for USMLE Step 1?

Become acquainted with the syllabus

To begin your USMLE Step 1 preparation, the first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with the USMLE Step 1 curriculum and examination process. As a result, it’s necessary to keep track of the curriculum. There are notifications on the official USMLE website about improvements in test administration software, the date of Step 1 tests, and access to new practice materials. As a result, regular visits to the USMLE website are recommended.

Try taking a look at the example questions offered on the USMLE website. It will give you a better understanding of how the exam is conducted. The test consists of single-best-answer questions in which the applicant must choose one of five answers. Examinees are tested on their capacity to recall and apply information, as well as their ability to analyze and comprehend visual, tabular, and other types of data in order to solve issues.

As soon as feasible, begin your preparations

It’s a good idea to start studying for the Step 1 test as soon as you start school. You may get a jumpstart on the preparation by taking this step. In addition, you’ll be able to attend your normal classes with an eye on studying for the Step 1 test.

Preparation for the USMLE Step 1 will take a long period due to the lengthy curriculum. It’s an eight-hour test with a lot of information to cover. In order to be prepared for such an attempt, you will need to put in enough time as you can.

Preparation for the USMLE test may be made easier if you schedule aside a certain amount of time each day to study for it. This will allow you to prepare for the USMLE Step 1 test in advance. This kind of evaluation will assist you in identifying your strongest and weakest points.

prepare for usmle

Resources with a high return on investment boost your chances of success.

 If you’re preparing for the USMLE, anything that has a high probability of appearing on the test is considered “high yield knowledge.” Teachers and mentors are excellent providers of high-quality knowledge. Because they have previously gone through all of these steps, they are equipped to recognize information that has the potential to provide large returns.

This isn’t the only thing that can aid you, however. Another one of these books is First Aid for the USMLE Step 1. You’ll perform better on the test and be better able to assist your patients if you’ve learned high-yield material. A list of high-yield information sources should be made for your preparation.

There is a slew of USMLE preparation resources available online. Traditional USMLE preparation methods include Kaplan and USMLE Works as well as the Pass Program and Beker. Experts suggest taking the USMLE within three to four months after completing your review course.

Optimize your learning schedule

Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles are all included in the VARK model, which divides students into four distinct categories. Most students were found to be auditory learners, whereas those in their final year and beyond favored kinesthetic learning, according to an NCBI research.

Not everyone will benefit from the same kind of educational approach. As a result, choose your preferred method of learning and tailor your study time to suit your needs. You’ll be able to better prepare for the USMLE Step 1 exam with this knowledge. There are other resources you’ll need to find that will assist you in better comprehending the material. Memorizing vocabulary, topic banks, and 3D atlases, for example, may assist students to prepare.

Accurate preparation is vital

Having a plan in place and adhering to it can help you complete your list of supplies. But if you can’t remember what you’ve learned, it won’t be of any use. Effective planning requires whole concentration on the subject at hand. Here are a few tips to help you get there.

  • Do not allow yourself to get sidetracked when studying.
  • Breaks may help students stay focused throughout long study sessions.
  • As a follow-up to the preceding suggestion, avoid taking breaks that are too frequent or prolonged.
  • In order to remain focused, you need to take care of yourself.

Practice makes perfect

Practicing for the Step 1 exam is much like preparing for any other test. The best approach to prepare for the USMLE examinations is to take practice questions. It is recommended to spend a large amount of time learning a specific subject followed by a practice exam. Practice exams may be found in a variety of places.

Analyze the outcomes of each practice exam to determine your weaknesses. You may then spend greater attention on the weak spots. You will also get more acquainted with the testing procedure by completing this experiment. As a bonus, it keeps you calm at the exam centers.

Students and professors alike suggest the practice examinations supplied by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). These practice examinations are designed to meet the requirements of the USMLE exams.

Recognize and stay away from preparation burnout

An emotional state of exhaustion and exhaustion are known as burnout and is described as a psychological phenomenon. Exhaustion, a loss of excitement, a rise in pessimism, and a drop in performance are just a few of the symptoms. Identifying and addressing burnout concerns early on is critical to your preparedness.

Preparing for the USMLE Step 1 exam may be challenging due to the volume of content that must be mastered. Candidates applying for the USMLE and medical school often find it difficult to do both at the same time. Preparation for the USMLE Step 1 examination is a must.

Identifying your objectives and the work required is a necessary first step. As a result, you’ll be less likely to get overwhelmed. Once you have a study plan in place, you may begin studying. Be aware of your physical and mental limitations, and take pauses as needed. It is possible to boost output while decreasing the likelihood of burnout if you are aware of your own limitations. Self-care is just as important as taking a break from work.

Don’t be afraid to seek assistance from your classmates or instructors if you’re having trouble preparing for a test. Also, be prepared to alter your daily routine in order to better prepare for the test. The sheer vastness of the curriculum might be intimidating. Plan beforehand and devote enough time to the test, and you’ll be able to get a high score. All you need to do now is familiarize yourself with the material, plan your study time, learn on the go, take practice exams, and fine-tune your approach. To prevent exhaustion, make sure to take pauses and regulate your routine.

Preparation for USMLE Step 2 CK 

For this test, “establish your notions” is the guiding principle. As a result of this examination, you will be tested on how well you can apply your principles in various circumstances. Your principal source of information may be a series of books, but you’ll have to clarify all of your notions by whatever means necessary, no matter what. You may use the internet, books, research papers, coworkers, or elders, whatever it takes, but make sure you have your notions straight. Period.

In about four months, I was ready for step 2 CK. In six weeks, I finished Kaplan’s series of books for the CK portion of the test. The Kaplan series’ medical book is outstanding and addresses most of the subjects thoroughly. The surgical book is smaller, but it’s sufficient for the test. In order to prepare for step 2 CK, I studied the Master the Boards (which is also popularly known as MTB for short) book. It took me two weeks to finish it. For test preparation, I used my go-to book MTB, which is easy to review in three to four days, and I made all of my comments there.

After that, I logged on to Uworld’s online question bank. In the same way that I practiced for the USMLE Step 1, I used the Uworld in a randomized and timed manner to gain a feel for the test. It took me roughly six weeks to finish Uworld. The finest explanations come from Uworld. By reading these descriptions, your ideas will become more clear. The world’s explanation must be read word for word and paragraph for paragraph with attention.

In the test and in real life, these are exactly the same topics that you will encounter. I used to store the photographs of Uworld explanations on my phone since they were so beautiful and educational. When I had some spare time, I would work on these photos. Whenever I read anything, I’d also go to Google and look for photographs related to it or radiological pictures may be included in these photos, depending on the nature of the condition.

Simple as that: make your thoughts crystal clear. In the actual examination, we see visuals that are like these. The more you encounter these photographs, the easier it would be for you to identify them. I felt confident since I had taken the Uworld self-assessment exams and had excellent results. A few days after finishing MTB, I sat for the test.

Above is everything you need to prepare for USMLE. Prep for USMLE is not easy at all.  Try your best and ace this test.

Don’t forget to take our free USMLE practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the USMLE exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!


USMLE Exam Syllabus & Pattern

USMLE has been designed to provide a license to practice medicine in the United States. Read on to find out the latest USMLE Exam Syllabus and Pattern in 2022.

June 15, 2022

The purpose of the U.S Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) is to provide a license to practice medicine in the United States. This USMLE exam is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).

In this article, we provide the latest USMLE Exam Syllabus and Pattern for 2022. Let’s get started with our free USMLE practice test to pass your actual exam with a high score on your first attempt.

usmle exam syllabus

USMLE exam 2022

The aspirants wishing to practice medicine in the United States need to qualify for the entrance exam. Check below to find out what is the USMLE exam details:

Name of the examThe U.S Medical Licensing Examination
Commonly Known asUSMLE
PurposeObtaining a license in order to practice the medicine in the United States area
Sponsoring organizationthe National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) along with the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB)
USMLE Stepsthe USMLE exam consists of the total of three steps:
Step 1
Step 2: Clinical Skills along with Clinical Knowledge
Step 3
Mode of USMLE examStep 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and Step 3: computer-based 
Step 2 Clinical Skills: Offline
ResultThe National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) will declare results for all Steps
RetakesNo more than 3 times of taking the USMLE exam within a 12-month period
Number of attemptsAn examinee can not take a USMLE Step or Step Component more than six times
Mode of ApplicationOnline

Who Is Eligible for The USMLE Exam?

To prevent being rejected, candidates must check the eligibility conditions before applying for the test. Aspirants must fulfill a specified requirement for each step of the test. Candidates can take USMLE Step 1 and 2 Clinical Skills, as well as Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, in any sequence. To appear for Step 3, candidates must first complete USMLE Step 1 and 2. The following are the USMLE eligibility criteria:

Eligibility Criteria For USMLE Step 1, 2 Clinical Knowledge, And 2 Clinical Skills

  • Medical students must be officially enrolled in, or a graduate of, a Canadian or the United States medical school program leading to the MD degree that is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Or,
  • A medical student officially enrolled in, or a graduate of, a United States medical school leading to the DO degree accredited by the American Osteopathic Association. Or,
  • A medical student officially enrolled in, or a graduate of, a medical school that is outside the United States and Canada can apply.

Eligibility Criteria For Taking The USMLA Step 3 Exam

  • Aspirants must have passed Steps 1, 2, and 2 Clinical Knowledge and Clinical Skills.
  • Candidates having an MD degree or DO degree from an LCME- or AOA-accredited United States or Canadian medical school. Or,
  • The equivalent of the MD degree from a medical school outside the United States and Canada is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools.

USMLE Exam Pattern

Computer-based assessment will be used for USMLE Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and Step 3. Candidates will be guided by the USMLE exam pattern in terms of the exam format, test duration, and the purpose of each Step and Step Component. The exam pattern can be used to assist the candidate’s test preparation. Below is the USMLE exam pattern:

USMLE Step 1 Pattern 


Knowledge of and ability to apply critical ideas from the basic sciences to medical practice, with a focus on the principles and processes underlying health and illness, as well as treatment modalities.


280 multiple-choice questions, divided into seven 60-minute blocks.

This computer-based exam is given by Prometric test centers around the world.


One-day test session. Approximately eight hours.

USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge Pattern 


This exam assesses the examinee’s ability to use medical skills, knowledge, and clinical science understanding to provide supervised patient care with a focus on health promotion and illness prevention and management.


There are approximately 318 multiple-choice questions spread throughout eight 60-minute blocks. Prometric test centers administer the computer-based exam.


One-day test session. Approximately nine hours.

USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills Pattern 


STEP 2 includes a unique and distinct component called the Clinical Skills Test.  It is the second component of the STEP 2 exam. It evaluates the examinee’s abilities to get information from patients, conduct physical exams, and explain their results to both patients and colleagues using standardized patients.


There are 12 patient cases to complete, with each patient visit lasting 15 minutes and an additional 10 minutes to document each patient encounter., the exam was offered in six different locations. Cities in the United States include Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, and Philadelphia.

This component of the USMLE Exam is divided into three subcomponents:

The Integrated Clinical Encounter (ICE) includes components such as Integrated Clinical Encounter (ICE), Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS), and Spoken English Proficiency (SEP)). 


One-day test session. Approximately nine hours 

USMLE Step 3 Pattern 


This exam assesses the examinee’s ability to apply medical understanding and knowledge of biological and clinical science to carry out unsupervised medical practice while also evaluating their communication skills.

Day 1: The principles of the performance

The examinee’s ability to comprehend the fundamentals of medicine and scientific concepts needed for efficient healthcare services is assessed by FIP.

Day 2: Testing your advanced clinical experience

The American College of Medicine (ACM) assesses the examinee’s ability to use a broad knowledge of health and illness in the context of patient care, as well as the changing presentation of disease throughout time.


Day 1 FIP: 

There will be approximately 232 multiple-choice questions split out over six 60-minute blocks. Prometric test centers across the country offer computer-based exams.

Day 2 ACM:

There will be 180 multiple-choice questions spread out over six 45-minute periods. This study used thirteen computer-based case simulations (CCS). Depending on the complexity of the simulation, each simulation is given a maximum of 10 or 20 minutes of actual time.

Prometric test centers across the United States offer computer-based exams.


Day 1 FIP: It is a one-day test session that lasts approximately seven hours.

Day 2 ACM: It is a one-day test session that lasts approximately nine hours.

USMLE Exam Syllabus

What is the USMLE test syllabus? Students who are currently enrolled in or have just graduated from a medical school recognized by the World Directory of Medical Schools are eligible to apply for USMLE.

USMLE Step 1 Syllabus

The USMLE Step 1 Syllabus covers the majority of the subjects addressed in the first two years of medical school. The following is information on the subjects and their weight ranges for each subject:

USMLE Step 1 subjects distribution is as follows

The Foundational Science's General Principles15% - 20%
1. Multisystem Disorders & Processes15% - 20%
2. Biostatistics & Epidemiology
3. Population Health
4. Social Sciences
1. Immune System60%-70%
2. Special Nervous & Senses System 
3. Skin & Subcutaneous Tissue
4. Respiratory System
5. Pregnancy, Childbirth along with the Puerperium
6. Female Reproductive & Breast
7. Male Reproductive
8. Endocrine System
9. Blood & Lymph reticular System
10. Cardiovascular System
11. Musculoskeletal System
12. Behavioural Health
13. Gastrointestinal System
14. Renal & Urinary System


Abnormal Processes55% - 60%
Normal Processes10% - 15%
Principles of Therapeutics15% - 20%
Other10% - 15%

USMLE Step 2 Syllabus

usmle exam syllabus

Step 2 in the USMLE exam focuses on patient care under medical supervision. It is an examination of the candidate’s clinical science skills and knowledge, which are required for patient care under supervision and disease prevention. It applies basic clinical science principles and patient-centered skills to provide safe and competent practice of medicine.

Step 2 Clinical Knowledge is a one-day examination, just like the Step 1 exam. The test will last 9 hours, with each block lasting 60 minutes. The total number of USMLE step 2 questions will be 350, with no more than 40 questions in each block. The questions on the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge test will be in the same MCQ format as the Step 1 test.

Candidates will encounter standardized patients who have been trained to portray real patients in Step 2 Clinical Skills. This is an assessment of their clinical knowledge and patient communication skills. Candidates need to listen to patients, communicate with them, treat them professionally, identify their medical issues, and answer their medical questions.

The USMLE Step 2 test is divided into three sections:

  • Integrated Clinical Encounter
  • Communication Skills as well as the Interpretation Skills
  • Spoken English Proficiency

For Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, the following information regarding the subjects and their weightage ranges is given:

Foundational Science's General Principles1% - 3%
1. Biostatistics/Population Health & Epidemiology1% - 5%
2. The Medical Literature Interpretation
1. Immune System85% - 95%
2. Multisystem Processes & Multisystem Processes Disorders
3. Lymph Blood Reticular Systems
4. Endocrine System
5. Behavioural Health
6. Male Reproductive System
7. Female Breast & Reproductive System
8.  Special Nervous & Senses System
9. Renal & Urinary Systems
10. Skin & Subcutaneous Tissue
11. Gastrointestinal System
12. Musculoskeletal System
13. Respiratory System
14. Cardiovascular System

USMLE Step 3 Syllabus

While candidates who have enrolled in or graduated from medical school take the Step 1 and Step 2 exams, those who have completed the program take Step 3. Students from Canada, and the United States, as well as international medical graduates, have graduated from a medical school recognized in the World Directory of Medical Schools.

Step 3 evaluates whether or not the candidate is capable of providing unsupervised medical practice. Candidates who pass USMLE Step 3 obtain the final license to practice medicine.

The Step 3 exam lasts two days. As follows, this exam is divided into two subcategories:

  • Foundations of the Independent Practice
  • Advanced Clinical Medicine

The following table summarizes the various competencies and their weight on the USMLE Step 3 exam.

CompetencyFoundations of the Independent PracticeAdvanced Clinical Medicine
Professionalism & Communication 8% - 12%NA
Scientific Concepts along with Medical Knowledge18% - 22%NA
Systems-based Practice/Patient Safety as well as Practice-based Learning22% - 27%NA
Patient Care: Diagnosis40% - 45%NA
1. History/Physical Examination
2. Laboratory/Diagnosis Studies
3. Diagnosis
Prognosis/OutcomeNA20% - 25%
Patient Care: ManagementNA75% - 80%
1. Health Maintenance & Disease Prevention
2. Pharmacotherapy
3. Mixed Management
4. Surveillance for the Disease Recurrence
5. Clinical Interventions

USMLE Scores and Results

USMLE Scores

There are no fixed scores for passing the exam. The higher your score, however, the better programs will be waiting for you. Below listed are the latest USMLE Step 1 passing scores, USMLE Step 2 Scores, and Step 2 Clinical Skills results, with USMLE Step 3 Scores required:

USMLE TestsLatest Qualifying USMLE Scores
Step 1194
Step 2 Clinical Knowledge209
Step 3196

USMLE Results

The USMLE Step 1 results are released within 3 to 4 weeks every Wednesday. It will be delivered to you by the entity you registered with, either NBME or ECFMG. And also, it will be posted on their respective website. 

USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge results are declared within four weeks of the exam. USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills results are not a particular number, they are declared simply as pass/fail. 

Similarly, USMLE Step 3 Results take three to four weeks as well.

FAQs – USMLE Exam Details

The following are some frequently asked questions regarding USMEL Steps 1, 2, and 3:

Is there a limit to the number of times you can take Steps?

Candidates who have tried to pass a Step or Step Component six times or more are eligible to take that Step or Step Component.

Is there a minimum age to apply for the USMLE?

No, the officials have not set an age limit for the applicants.

Where can I apply for the USMLE Step 3?

You must apply for USMLE Step 3 on the FSMB’s official website.

What happens if I fail USMLE?

You can retake the test twice within a year after your first failed attempt.

Is USMLE a hard exam?

One of the most stressful and challenging exams you will take during your medical school career is the USMLE Step 1. Your performance on this exam will largely determine if you are successful or unsuccessful in the residency match process.

What is the hardest exam in the world USMLE?

Step 3 is the most difficult. It’s a 16-hour exam spread out over 2 days, with tests scheduled within 8 hours. There are a total of 454 multiple-choice questions (256 on the first day and 198 on the second), with candidates receiving a maximum of 1 hour of break per day.

What is a resident doctor’s salary in the USA?

How much can a Resident Doctor make? In the United States, the national average salary for a Resident Doctor is $62,608.

What countries accept USMLE?

Medical licensing authorities accept the USMLE program in the United States, New Zealand, Israel, UAE, and Qatar. These countries accept the USMLE scores and exempt candidates from other eligibility requirements.


The USMLE Exam aims to assess students’ ability to apply comprehensive knowledge in the context of patient care. It focuses on determining how diseases have evolved over time and how professionals have perceived them.

Through Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3, the candidates would be assessed for basic to advanced levels of their understanding of medical sciences.

The candidate’s knowledge of history and physical examination, diagnosis, and diagnostic investigation application will also be tested. As a result, this article will aid you in better understanding the USMLE exam syllabus requirements so that you can prepare for the exam.

Don’t forget to take our free USMLE practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the USMLE exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!


USMLE Step 1 Test Day Experience: A Detailed Sharing

Are you getting ready to take Step 1? It’ll be helpful to learn from someone who has been through the USMLE Step 1 test day experience and succeeded. 

June 15, 2022

Even the calmest medical students will be stressed by the USMLE Step 1 exam. Before taking the exam, most people have completed two or three years of schooling, although it is no easy task.

Dr. Arjun Chatterjee is here today to share with us the most in-depth USMLE Step 1 experience for IMGs. In his third year of medical school, he took Step 1 and got a score of 259. 

His full USMLE Step 1 test day experience will be shared in this article. Let’s explore how he went through that tough time as well as learn about helpful experience lessons and tips when studying and taking USMLE Step 1.

Now, let’s get started!

usmle step 1 test day experience

First words

This message is dedicated to my family, my teachers (both high school and college), and Dr. Srinivasan. This would not have been possible without the help of my mom and the rest of my family.


In this piece, I’ll tell you how a guy without a doctor in his extended family and no one to guide him cleared Step 1 by sheer dedication, hard effort, and Internet browsing.

This thread is entirely about my viewpoint; you may think I’m arrogant or that it’s overly thorough while reading it, but I DON’T CARE.

This email would have saved me a lot of time if I had sent it to myself three years ago. This will be a long post, with three years of my life sandwiched between the lines, so take your time, but I promise you won’t be disappointed!

So, like with any other person’s viewpoint, take it with a grain of salt, change it and use it in your own way, or ignore it entirely; we are all different, so find what works best for you! So there you have it, my humble USMLE Step 1 test experience.


I am an Indian medical student in my third year. I learned about the USMLE exam during my first year and tried to figure out what it was all about by Google it.

After a few days of sifting through pointless search results and forums, I stumbled into USMLE-FORUMS and began reading the Recommended Step 1 Threads.

I was unable to incorporate the USMLE materials into my study routine during my first year owing to a lack of guidance, but I made it a point to do so in my second year.

The second year of the Indian MBBS curriculum is one and a half years or three semesters, and there was plenty of time to revise all of my first-year areas of study as well as complete my second-year subjects, but instead of doing it all from Indian authors (which my peers prefer) and “the big foreign books,” I began using USMLE prep materials and solely relied on them to get me through my second year (List will be given below).

Apparently, before taking college exams, I used to seek advice from Indian authors and prepare the relevant question that could appear on the exam, but I never let college exams be my primary focus; rather, I studied from Kaplan and Pathoma, supplementing with Shanbhag (Indian author) and Robbins (Basic) as needed.

I had practically completed every subject in my second year, including a review of Anatomy, Biochemistry, and Physiology, as well as Pharmacology, Pathology, and Microbiology.

It was difficult, but not impossible to overcome if one is prepared to put up the effort and sacrifice. So, at the start of this year, I only had Behavioral Science and Biostatistics remaining, which I completed in two weeks, and then I expected to take my exam between July and September, my target being July, but I ended up taking it on September 7th, 2016! I’ll go into more depth about what I did throughout those three years down below.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

During the first two years, I used the following materials:

What materials did I use during the first two years?

  1. Anatomy: Kaplan Anatomy Video Lectures and book, High Yield Anatomy (Note: Kaplan also has Neuroanatomy, which I did not find to be High Yield)
  2. Physiology: BRS Physiology book and Kaplan Physiology Video Lectures.
  3. Biochemistry: Video Lectures and Book from Kaplan.
  4. Pharmacology: Video Lectures and Book by Kaplan Pharmacology.
  5. Pathology:  Audio Lectures and Book on Pathoma and Goljan (Rapid Review Pathology – Selected Topics Only)
  6. Behavioral Science: Kaplan Video Lectures and Book on Behavioral Science.
  7. Biostats:  Kaplan video lectures and book, as well as a UWORLD Biostats review.
  8. Microbiology: Kaplan Video Lectures and books make clinical microbiology laughably simple.
  9. Immunology: Levinson (just the immunology section) and Kaplan Video Lectures and book.

With that out of the way, I’ll go over everything I did over those three years in great detail, so if you thought the intro was long, your hippocampus might herniate by the time you finish reading this piece.

usmle step 1 test day experience

How did my journey last?

1st Year

As I already stated, I was unaware of all of this throughout the first six months of my first year, else I would have made different decisions.

In India, we tend to focus on minor details and overlook the big picture; for example, someone may recall the course of the vertebral artery through the transverse foramina on the side of the cervical vertebrates but overlook the branches of the arch of the aorta or the clinical features of brachial plexus lesions.

At least in my case, I lost sight of the big picture due to excessive detail, and this was true in all three areas — anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry.

I came upon the Kaplan Video Sessions during my second semester and began watching the physiology and biochemistry lectures.

I’d like to point out that at the time, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take the USMLE, so I only skimmed through them. I was pleasantly surprised by the logic and scientific reasoning provided in these lectures, whereas in my college, the teachers (with a few exceptions) simply read out facts without any reasoning.


I was able to see all three subjects once and take notes throughout this semester because I did not buy the books, but my approach was not aggressive enough, and I just tried to do the things examined in college from these lectures.

I focused entirely on my undergraduate examinations rather than the USMLE, which was not the best method, which I corrected in the second year. I received honors in physiology and biochemistry and near honors in anatomy (I don’t regret not receiving honors in anatomy because I didn’t focus on the big picture and instead sought to dazzle my teachers and peers with minute details that I’d forget anyway two weeks after the exam).

I’d like to thank Conrad Fischer, Robert Dunn, and Wazir Kudrath for helping me understand several key physiological ideas, as well as Lionel Raymon, David Seastone, and Sam Turco for helping me excel in biochemistry, as I received the top grades in college.

2nd Year

Although I received decent grades in college during my first year, I was dissatisfied with my knowledge base and did not want to repeat my mistakes of “not seeing the big picture and being mired down in minute details.” To circumvent this, I took two steps:

1a. I didn’t buy most of the books by local Indian authors that my peers did (most of the novels are poorly written and plagiarised from other foreign authors) – Later, just a few were purchased, and they were mainly for supplemental usage.

1b. I purchased well-known brands such as Katzung and Robbins (but only used them sparsely)

  1. I made my USMLE preparation resources my major resource for the following three semesters. While my peers were relying on private tuition, I was studying on my own for “the” test people take after passing MBBS after all the clinical subjects, and no one was there to guide me about it, but I found the method by which the lectures taught you somewhat appealing and continued with it, which later determined to be the right choice.

The second year was full of ups and downs as I began to consider taking the USMLE, but there was a significant obstacle in my way.

Knowing that if you try to do anything different in India, people would criticize you and offer you instances of people who have failed before you, I kept my thoughts to myself and didn’t tell anyone about it, which subsequently proved to be the right move.

When I told my family about the test, there was a lot of stress in the house, and the next year two seniors expressly warned me about receiving low grades on Step 1. I lost a lot of friends because of it, and I had to let close friends go who didn’t share my desire.

I stopped going to parties and hanging out with friends, and I erased my social media accounts. Although some may argue that I should have taken a different strategy at the time, I felt it was important and I did so. It still bothers me, but that’s life, I suppose!


This is the foundation of everything; don’t get me wrong, pathology will not be asked in 90% of the questions, but 90% of the things will require you to comprehend the pathology indicated in the question, and then they may ask about associated microbiology.

There is just one thing to do in pathology, and that is PATHOMA! Yes, Husain Sattar is the King of Pathology, and the videos and book are the “Bible of Pathology.” Every word in that book must be memorized and understood.

I repeat it, as well as taking enough notes from his videos in the book! During my second year, I did pathoma two or three times, and this was my primary pathology reference.

The most important element for USMLE is to connect Physiology with Pathology, thus always review the associated system from BRS Physiology before commencing a chapter on systemic pathology from Pathoma.

Now, when it comes to Sir Edward Goljan, he seems to be “GOD,” and his book Rapid Review Pathology seems to be “The Book,” but it’s not suitable for 2nd-year students. Indeed, it’s about medicine, not pathology, and it includes everything from biochemistry to biostatistics, so if you’re ever stranded on an island with only one book, choose this instead of Dorland’s Medical Dictionary, and by the time you’ve rescued, you’ll have

Unfortunately, I felt it to be overly thorough, and because there are no video lectures, completing the entire Goljan was too difficult for me.

Don’t get me false: you utilize Pathoma and have a high score of above 240, but you also value Rapid Review Pathology for Life, which I will use for my internal medicine and STEP 2 CK. 

Don’t use the complete Goljan for Pathology; nonetheless, there are several significant areas that are not covered in pathoma and require supplementation, such as Types of Shock, Dermatology, and Nephritic Syndrome.

I started with Goljan Audio Lectures after finishing everything (by this I mean physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, patho pathology,  pharmacology, and microbiology), which are still available on the internet.

I did this to combine my learning; he does an incredible job of integrating courses and having you think precisely like you should on a UMSLE test; however, don’t expect it to cover pathology completely; instead, do Pathoma and use this as a supplement once you’ve completed all of the subjects.

I relied primarily on Pathoma for college exams and vivas and only consulted Basic Robbins when I spotted a 12marks worthless question on “Types of Cirrhosis” (hope you get the sarcasm). In college, I received honors and was promoted to senior class assistant pathology.

usmle step 1 test day experience


Just one thing to say! That’s “Dr. Lionel Raymon,” his teaching style, his sarcasm, his hilarious comments, his French accent, his golden hair, everything, this man is indeed the “Pharma King,” he was with Kaplan during the 2010 classroom lectures but has since joined Becker, so you’ll have to rely on the old video to get him.

All you need is the Kaplan book to ace any pharma exam, wherever in the globe. There’s no need to study or reference Katzung or Tripathi (an Indian author).

I also did a prep manual, Shanbhag (Indian book) before my college examinations for the purpose of completion, which was concise but written in a non-scientific way, just a stack of data.

Without adding Dr. Steven Harris, who also performed a fantastic job on general pharmacology and toxicology, this review would be incomplete. In conclusion, Kaplan is sufficient for any pharm exam everywhere in the globe, and it helped me earn the top honors in pharma in my college’s final evaluation, as well as being chosen as the junior class assistant.


Well, microbiology is one of the most despised subjects among medical students, and believe me, I am not a fan. I learned microbiology from Mark Gladwin’s CMMRS, and this book is one of the best-written books I’ve ever read!

Every author should abandon the fact-based approach in favor of a storytelling approach when creating novels. The illustrations, charts, and mnemonics in this book are fantastic, and one will never forget the nasty bugs they learn from it.

Micro for college was challenging because in India, teachers like to know useless facts like which bugs give positive results in Methyl Red Test and another principle behind such tests that the clinician doesn’t need to know, so I used Nagoba(Indian book), a prep manual, to learn all of this nonsense.

I was unaware of Sketchy at the time, so I was unable to test it, and I did not use Levinson for microbiology. When necessary, I supplemented CMMRS with Kaplan video lectures and books, particularly DO VIRUS, PARASITES, and FUNGI from the Kaplan video lectures for microbiology, which is lacking in CMMRS. I also received honors in microbiology and was chosen as the junior class assistant.


I’m making this a separate part since it deserves its own, and Indian microbiology authors should read international authors before producing their own books because what they write in the name of Immunology is complete nonsense that pushes students to memorize information.

“You will fail!” if you believe you can memorize immunology or anything else for the USMLE, “understanding is the key!” Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about what I did.

I used Kaplan video lectures for immunology, where Kim Moscatello attempted to simplify immunology with her animations, but that was insufficient for me as a beginner, so I complimented it with Levinson’s greatest Immunology book to date!

You will be untouchable if you use Levinson and Kaplan Immunology Lectures together; you will finally comprehend when interleukins are released and what the consequences are; likewise, Sattar provides a succinct recap of everything you need to know in the second chapter of Pathoma. When you combine all three, you have a comprehensive understanding of immunology.

Now we’ll get to the most important part of the second year!


I didn’t pay enough attention to Kaplan during my first year, or at least didn’t give it my all, so I had to go over the three giants again: anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry! You can never conduct evidence-based medicine without a “strong,” “logical,” and “scientific” foundation in these three subjects.


I eventually found that High Yield Anatomy (Ronald Dudek) does a great job of giving the big picture, but I also did Kaplan anatomy because of the radiological imagery and high yield spots they highlight in their films.

They teach in a more clinical manner, which means you don’t have to memorize facts. Pick Kaplan if you must choose between the two. I utilized High Yield later, just in my third year, when I didn’t have enough time to revise the full Kaplan course and needed a concise book.

I learned from this forum that High Yield Neuroanatomy is a popular choice among Step takers, but I didn’t find it high yield. Instead, Dr. James White in the Kaplan neuroanatomy section gives a very straightforward and top yield review with his strange emotionless style of speech; bear with him and take notes; it will come in handy later.

For neuroscience, Kaplan was sufficient. Neuroanatomy and neurophysiology are discussed separately in Indian colleges, and both departments frequently fail to understand and connect the two effectively!

I’d like to add one thing to this topic: it may be difficult for you to understand the pathology part of neuroscience, so do the Pathoma Neuro section first and then start the neuroanatomy section, or do neuroanatomy twice, as I did, before and after Pathoma because it’s highly volatile, high yielding, and tested frequently.

usmle step 1 test day experience


I used BRS Physiology instead of Kaplan Physiology for revision after studying it throughout the first year.

This is a monster of a book, and if you have to choose between Kaplan and BRS, go with BRS. It’s flawless, and unlike Indian authors or even certain well-known authors like Ganong, who purposely write their books in this manner, the writing is scientific.

As a result, it would be challenging for a “novice” student to comprehend concepts; clarification: Ganong is a good book, but not really for novice students; instead, do BRS Physiology (Linda Costanzo) and watch Kaplan videos for the parts you don’t understand, and use Ganong to look up important facts every now and then!

I’ll reiterate what I said in the pathology portion of this thread: The most important element for USMLE is to connect Physiology with Pathology, thus always reviewing the corresponding system from BRS before commencing a chapter on systemic pathology from Pathoma.


I went over all of the video lectures again.

With five honors, four class assistantships, and two subject top grades in my second year, I was still undecided about continuing.

With EYE, ENT, and Community Medicine, the third year is sometimes said to as the most relaxed year in the MBBS program (Preventive and Social Medicine). So this was my chance to present STEP 1, and I had to seize it by any means necessary!

3rd Year

The second year was lengthy and difficult, but I did my job well and, unlike the first, I was satisfied with my knowledge. Nowadays, virtually anyone can be honored, therefore it doesn’t matter; what matters is your knowledge base, on which you will practice medicine for the rest of your life.

This time I had nailed it, but I was unfamiliar with FIRST AID or UWORLD, and it was now my turn. Third Year will be the most comprehensive since these six months are the cherry on top, and believe me, the difference between 220 and 240 is much less than the difference between 240 and 260, so I wanted to step up my game, and here’s how I did it.

Biostatistics and Behavioral science (psychiatry)

Because these topics are not covered in the standard MBBS curriculum, I had to start from scratch. Because I had no idea how to distinguish between schizoid, schizotypal, and schizophrenia, I turned to the Kaplan Behavioral Science videos for help.

Sir Steven Daugherty is a genius; he makes this difficult topic seem simple! I finished watching the videos and reading the books, at least for the time being. Later this year, I plan to use the Uworld Biostats review and Conrad Fischer’s book “100 Cases” to cement my biostatistics and ethics knowledge.


Many people say to do UWORLD twice or three times, but I only did it once, with a 76 percent average in tutor mode and “heavy” notes, two fat notebooks – 800 pages total – (which I might share soon), many people say to do UWORLD twice or three times, but I only did it once, took a six-month subscription but only used it for two months, actually 50 days was enough, read the explanations, and everything written in the comments can be tested on.

Even if you read the explanations for the ones you answered correctly, we sometimes answer questions correctly for the wrong reasons. Read why the incorrect choices are incorrect and when they will be regarded as correct. 

In this manner, each question has about 5-6 possibilities, and you will have completed 2400 questions; however, by reading the explanations for each choice, you will have completed roughly 12000/15000 questions.

A cervical rib is discovered in a newborn. The seventh cervical segment takes on a thoracic identity. Which is true in the case of HOX gene mutation?

– A HOX gene is generally expressed exclusively caudally to C7.

If you don’t know what HOX (Homeobox genes) is, type “HOX usmle” into Google. Adding Usmle after the issue you want to search for eliminates all the irrelevant results, leaving only the relevant ones.

I would periodically examine my two notebooks, which contained 2400 questions, and it took me only two days to do so. So, should you do UWORLD twice or take the required notes the first time and then revise the full UWORLD in just two days (two large notebooks – 800 pages)?

This strategy allowed me to examine the pattern of questions shortly before the exam, and I edited my journals (800 pages in total) 3-4 times, meaning I did Uworld 3-4 times in two days.

I hope you understand. Some people include UWORLD notes in first aid, but I didn’t, and I’m glad I didn’t because taking appropriate notes saved me a lot of time later and let me to revise the questions and answers more quickly.


Initially, reading First AID, which is essentially a collection of facts, was tedious, so I skimmed through it, did what I thought was necessary, and moved on to NBME 12 and 15, but this proved to be a mistake because every word of FIRST AID can be tested, and when I say “every word,” I mean “EVERY WORD,” and you will be astounded by the book’s detail.

I did two thru the passes, the first of which took me 10 days with 60 pages each day and involved searching the internet for facts I didn’t understand. I used the same technique as before, typing “Sturge Weber Syndrome usmle” into google and reading the first few results, and this forum and other related forums helped me to understand the disease.

Knowing the facts in first aid isn’t helpful; those facts are posted there to remind you of the story you learned in class about a certain sickness.

If you haven’t heard of “Oncocytoma or Peyronie’s disease,” be proactive and google “Peyronie’s disease usmle” and browse through the top 5/6 results, forming a tale in your brain about the clinical presentation rather than memorizing facts, which you will forget.


I took four of them online and completed the rest offline; NBME 11 to 18 completed all of them so that counts toward the number of questions you complete; I even re-did the online ones offline to verify whether I got the questions right by chance and to revise them; I even made notes this time.

Because the NBME does not publish the answers, I had to look them up on Google, however a simple search for “NBME 18 answers and explanations” well enough, or you can look into the specific questions. I will post my NBME results later.


UWORLD Self Assessment tests are inexpensive, but they frequently overestimate scores, as mine did. However, they are worthwhile to take because the questions on the USMLE are challenging, similar to those on the NBME, but the length of the questions matches that of the UWORLD.

I used them in an unusual way: I bought both USWA 1 and 2 and took them on the same day. I intended to excite my “Autonomic Nervous System” with a test-like experience, so I sat at 8 a.m. and did eight blocks one after the other till about 5 p.m. (the actual exam is seven blocks, plus one extra just in case to test my stamina).

I took breaks in between and it was a fantastic experience because it provided me an idea of when I should have my caffeine, after two blocks or three blocks, and how frequently you want to pee in such a condition:P, Jokes aside, the experience was rewarding and gave me a lot of confidence.

usmle step 1 test day experience

The X-Factor – (things that will help you get a score of above 240)

The X-factors are the extra things I did to gain a better understanding of the disease and increased my confidence in certain areas (these are often not mentioned in the other USMLE experiences you are going to read in this or some other forum, but I found them useful)

  • First Aid Questions and Answers for USMLE  Step 1: Highly under-appreciated, this is an amazing resource that everyone should use. It contains 363 examples, you can perform a set number of cases per day, and the facts correspond to those in the First Aid book.
  • USMLE-Rx: After taking NBME 15(245), I discovered that, despite having taken UWorld once, I didn’t yet have a firm grasp on how to answer each question since I had done UWORLD in tutor mode, thus I had to select between USMLE Rx and Kaplan Qbank.

Rx is better in that it shows the first aid page with an explanation; I completed 50% of this Qbank, only hard and medium questions, avoiding the easy ones; I received 82 percent and it predicted a score of 262; I took notes, but this time did it in Random mode, which helped me a lot

  • First Aid for USMLE Step 1: Yes, I include First Aid for USMLE Step 1 on this list again since one can grow sick of studying first aid if they start reading from the beginning of the book with biochemistry and biostatistics, YUCK!!! I did something different.

I started from the last topic, the Respiratory system, and worked my way to the first page; the book is 600 pages, and I covered it cover to cover twice; skimming it before UWORLD was a mistake; one should remember every page of this book; one should try to create a photographic memory of every page of this book. If you work hard enough, you can finish first aid in 5 days, 120 pages per day, as I did on my second attempt.

  • Conrad Fischer’s 100 cases: “Ethics” isn’t my cup of tea, but I’m sure you can tell from reading my writing style:P, however, I did this book once, and it was fine; I didn’t earn a perfect score in ethics on the real exam, but I did well. This book, together with the Kaplan video lectures, is more than enough for me.
  • Revised Full Pathoma video lessons two days before the exam; the videos can be viewed at 1.7x speed and will take around two hours to complete (20 hours, will post a detailed hour scale of each topic below). Do this since you don’t want to combine forms of necrosis the week prior!
  • Med bullets: google it, amazing site, under-appreciated review material, free of charge, even includes some UWORLD-style questions in the free account, I gave many disciplines a reading, including GI, Respiratory, and Dermatology, and there’s no need to upgrade! You can use this website to learn about First Aid facts that you don’t comprehend.
  • Search up “Tuberous Sclerosis Usmle” on YouTube and watch the videos.
  • Kaplan QBook: I took Biochemistry and Psychiatry from this, and these subjects help you develop a solid foundation.

These resources I didn’t use

I’m going to list some resources that I’m aware of (and that most people use), but that I haven’t used.

  1. Pathology Rapid Review – Focus on a few topics and rely on pathoma for the rest.
  2. Najeeb Lectures – Simply too thorough for me; if you are a first-year student, go ahead and try them; otherwise, don’t waste your time.
  3. Kaplan Qbank – I didn’t utilize it because I had previously completed Uworld and wanted to focus on USMLE Rx and First Aid.
  4. Don’t buy the Kaplan Pathology Book!
  5. Kaplan High Yield Course – this course isn’t for overseas students, it’s significantly less detailed, and it wasn’t designed for a novice like me.
  6. Sketchy Pharm and Micro – I had no idea about this, so I can’t comment; but, what I did worked, so maybe this will as well.
  7. Becker Course and Qbank – I only trust the trailer and tested, but they now have Robert Dunn, Steven Daugherty, and Lionel Raymon, which is unfortunate.
  8. High Yield Neuro/Embryology and Biostatistics – too detailed, waste of money; you could look at HY neuro’s CT scans, but Kaplan and UWorld should be enough!
  9. DIT – I didn’t utilize it; instead, I used Kaplan; it’s fine; go for it.

If you enjoy a particular resource, keep with it, in my opinion.

The day and week before the test day

Let’s discuss the days and weeks before the USMLE Step 1 test day experience.

I prepared this list during my second reading of first aid, the things that I usually forget (there is a list by ex-moderator of this forum Rasheed, but I am unique and so are you, so make your own!) I revised pathoma in two days and Full Uworld notes in the next two days and gave some topics of first aid a brief look.

I studied the topics on the list and began exercising in the last 2/3 months, primarily by playing football alone while listening to music for half an hour each. You need to get some exercise; you can’t just sit and study for 10-12 hours a day without doing anything else.

I also watched a lot of TV shows, such as House MD (this always gives me hope). Perhaps there is still some science left in medicine, and we can heal disease by correctly diagnosing it rather than only treating the symptoms).

I played FIFA 16 and GTA 4 and 5, saw some new movies, and kept myself almost secluded for the final six months, with no hanging out no parties, and no 21st-century socialization.

Anyway, things didn’t go as planned the day before the exam. I planned to sleep for around 8 hours and then take the exam the next day, but I stayed awake the whole night.

It was terrible, but the ANS reserve kicked in the next day, and I was alright. On test day, take plenty of food and drinks with you; I made tea and carried a few bars of Snickers (chocolate) to keep my blood sugar up, and I took many breaks (for about 2/3 minutes virtually after every block).

First, 10/15 questions were almost impossible to complete owing to anxiousness, but the reduced amount of things made it possible (now 40 per block). After each block, I got 10-12 minutes to review the marked questions from that unit.

I made five stupid mistakes, simple questions, and second-guessed myself; I’ll be sorry for a few more years. I got about 1-2 WTF questions, but they appeared experimental because no logic seemed to apply to them, and the last block had 28 items, so the day went well for someone who hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before. DO NOT STUDY THE DAY BEFORE, AS IT WILL MESS WITH YOUR MIND! I studied morning and evening, and the rest is history!

Final thoughts

Is this USMLE Step 1 test day experience long? Reading all of what Dr. Arjun Chatterjee shared may take time, but we think that is worth it. Besides sharing his experience, he has also given readers much advice that will surely help you a lot during your preparation for USMLE Step 1 as well as the test day.


How To Pass Step 1 USMLE: Road To Success 2022

There are some checkpoints along the way to getting your Doctor of Medicine degree, in which there is USMLE Step 1. This post covers tips on how to pass Step 1.

June 15, 2022

To earn a license in the United States, all physicians must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). 

The USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 exams are taken before you apply for residency, and the USMLE Step 3 test is taken during your first year or two of residency. A good performance on the first steps can have a significant influence on your residency placement.

With so much depending on your exam results, it’s critical that you prepare well. That’s why we gathered some professional tips on “how to pass Step 1” for your preparation. 

What exactly is USMLE?

The USMLE, or United States Medical Licensing Examination, is a three-part exam. This exam is required for practicing medicine in the United States. The USMLE exams are sponsored by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). To practice medicine in the United States, doctors with an MD degree must pass this exam.

To earn medical practice licensing, you must pass all three phases of the USMLE test.

how to pass step 1

What is the USMLE Step 1 examination?

USMLE Step 1 (sometimes known as “Step 1”) is the first of three stages required to get a medical practice license in the United States. Step 1 consists of a one-day test broken into seven 60-minute sections. The entire Step 1 test takes eight hours to complete.

Each block will have 40 test items, with a total of 280 questions throughout the exam. After their second year of medical school, American medical students take this exam. It generally occurs after the fundamental scientific curriculum has been completed.

The test measures the candidate’s knowledge of fundamental sciences and ability to apply key principles to patient care. It ensures competence, conceptual mastery, and scientific principles understanding.

Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS tests come after the Step 1 exam. The Step 2 CS test is no longer available.

How to pass Step 1?

Step 1 has become more challenging when there was a change in it. The decision by the NBME and FSMB to alter USMLE Step 1 to Pass/Fail score reporting by January 1, 2022, was one of the most significant changes to medical licensure in recent years.

Decades of tradition and advice for future residency candidates were thrown out the window with this shift. 

What does this imply for you individually? So, if you’re taking your test after the effective date of this change, you won’t have to wonder, “How high should I strive to score on Step 1?” You only need a passing score! While the passing score fluctuates from year to year, it is usually kept within a narrow range.

The passing score for Step 1 in 2018 was 194, according to the NBME/FSMB, with nearly 60% of all questions successfully answered.

If you’re taking Step 1 after the Pass/Fail system goes into effect, you’ll need to figure out your goal score while studying for Step 2 CK. Because of the Pass/Fail grading, many residency programs will want to see your Step 2 CK score when your application is due and will utilize it in the same way that they used Step 1 scores to rank applicants.

Why is the first step so important?

The importance of USMLE Step 1 can’t be overstated.

  • The USMLE Step 1 exam determines whether you comprehend and can apply key scientific topics that are fundamental to medical practice. The concepts and mechanisms underpinning health, sickness, and treatment options are given significant attention. It is vital to pass this test on your first try since it indicates a medical student’s mastery of basic science knowledge and their ability to solve issues using those concepts.
  • The score on Step 1 is an important consideration for medical residency program directors when choosing candidates for the program. The use of Step 1 scores to screen candidates has drawn much criticism. However, this does not diminish the significance of the Step 1 test.
  • If a student has previously passed the test, he or she cannot repeat it for better results. Any unsuccessful efforts at Step 1 are also logged indefinitely. These are the reasons why Step 1 is so important.
  • Currently, a candidate’s three-digit score after finishing Step 1 is crucial. It influences the specialty and location of the candidate’s residency.

Multiple-choice questions make up the majority of the eight-hour exam. The passing threshold for the USMLE Step 1 was changed in January 2022, moving to a pass/fail score system. A passing score is now 196 or higher out of 300 potential points. The USMLE Step 2 test is still a numerical assessment, and residency program directors are likely to emphasize this score throughout their application evaluation.

Let’s look at how a candidate can ace this test now that we’ve seen why Step 1 is so important.

How do you prepare for the USMLE Step 1 exam with 7 Tips?

You’ll hear a lot about this test throughout your first two years of medical school. Because the material might be daunting, we’ve broken it down into seven key components to consider as you prepare for Step 1.

#Tip 1: Learn about the syllabus and the testing process

The first step in beginning your USMLE Step 1 preparation is to familiarise yourself with the USMLE Step 1 syllabus and testing method. The Step 1 examination covers subjects such as:

  • Pathology
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Nutrition and Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Embryology and Gross Anatomy
  • Cell Biology and Histology
  • Psychological Sciences
  • Genetics

The licensing authority may update this list of specialties at any time. As a result, staying current with the curriculum is essential. Changes in test delivery software, Step 1 exam dates, and access to new practice materials are all announced on the official USMLE website. As a result, frequent visits to the USMLE website are recommended.

#Tip 2: Begin studying as soon as possible

It’s not the type of test you want to cram for at the last minute when it comes to USMLE preparation. Because of the extensive material covered in this part of the test, preparing for Step 1 might take a long time due to the curriculum. It is an eight-hour test that covers a wide range of topics. It will take as much time as you have to prepare for such an undertaking.

The USMLE Step 1 is normally taken near the conclusion of the second year of medical school, although it’s a good idea to start studying early.

Keeping your USMLE Step 1 preparation top of mind as you work through those courses might be beneficial. Step 1 will be testing you on the stuff you’re supposed to master over those first couple of years of medical school. Studying USMLE materials while taking core classes gives you a different perspective on the content and helps you prepare for the test months before you start studying.

Specific resources will differ depending on your medical school’s student support services, although some schools provide students with USMLE study materials. SGU, for example, provides many prominent USMLE prep question banks to its students, some of which are integrated into the course curriculum. These can assist students in determining which topics they have comprehended and which may require further attention.

Setting aside time each day to study for the USMLE exam can help you grasp the information well before the exam, allowing you to do a USMLE Step 1 review before your exam. Running a review like this can assist you to figure out your strengths and weaknesses.

how to pass step 1

#Tip 3: Make use of the appropriate resources

As you progress through your USMLE Step 1 preparation, you’ll come across a variety of suggestions for books to read, study plans to follow, and more. However, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution that will work for everyone.

Since each student’s learning style is different, you must first figure out how you best absorb new information. Some kids, for example, get into academic problems because they believe they learn best on their own.

You can examine a variety of study guides and other resources on your own, but we recommend joining a peer study group if you discover that you work best with some assistance or in the company of others.

Resources with a high yield boost the chance of succeeding

In the context of USMLE preparation, high yield information refers to any material that is most likely to appear on the test. Your professors and mentors are excellent sources of high-yield information. They have the necessary knowledge to identify high-yield information since they have previously gone through all of these procedures.

Aside from that, there are high-yield books that may assist you. One such book for the USMLE Step 1 is First Aid for the USMLE Step 1. Learning high-yield material aids your test performance and enables you to better serve your patients with the knowledge you’ve gained.

You should make a list of high-yield information resources and use them during your preparation.

Multiple online review packages are available to help you pass the USMLE. Students studying for the USMLE tests have usually used Kaplan, USMLE Works, Pass Program, and Beker, among other proven programs. These tools frequently include practice questions, and experts advise that you take the USMLE within 3 to 4 months of finishing your review course.

#Tip 4: Discover and improve your learning style

Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetic are the four learning modes suggested by the VARK model.

According to a survey published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, most first-year students are auditory learners, whereas final-year students and postgraduates favor kinesthetic learning.

Not everyone will benefit from the same learning technique. Determine your learning type and tailor your study time appropriately. This knowledge will aid you in learning how to study for the USMLE Step 1 exam.

You’ll also need to hunt for materials that will assist you in correctly comprehending topics.

Flashcards, question banks, and 3D atlases, for example, can aid in preparation.

#Tip 5: Effective preparation is critical

Making a schedule and adhering to it can help you finish your supplies list. However, if you are unable to remember knowledge well, it will be useless. Effective preparation necessitates your whole concentration on the subject at hand.

Because the USMLE Step 1 covers the topics you’ll learn in your first two years of medical school, your academic achievement will be a direct reflection of your overall understanding of the material. If you are having academic difficulties, you should get help as soon as possible.

As your exam day nears, consider how you will use your time. Too many distractions may cause you to lose concentration on your last preparations. The following are some suggestions for doing so.

  • Avoid becoming distracted when studying.
  • Taking pauses in between studying sessions might help you stay focused.
  • To add to the preceding tip, avoid taking too many or too long breaks.
  • Self-care is essential for staying focused.

#Tip 6: Take USMLE practice exams

Taking practice examinations is one of the most efficient USMLE preparation techniques. This is the most accurate technique to imitate the actual procedure. Many medical students and professors advocate taking the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) practice examinations, which are designed to the same requirements as the USMLE assessments.

It is recommended that you devote a significant amount of time to studying a particular field before taking a practice exam. There are several practice test materials accessible.

It’s worth noting, though, that your score on a practice exam can be a little overstated. When students take the practice NBME tests for Step 1, I usually advise them to deduct 15 to 20 points from the marks they earn at home or in their apartment.

It’s worth noting, though, that your score on a practice exam can be a little overstated. When you are taking the practice NBME tests for Step 1, we advise them to deduct 15 to 20 points from the marks they earn at home or in their apartment.

Analyze the outcomes of each practice exam to determine your weak spots. You can then concentrate more on your weak areas. This procedure will also assist you in becoming acquainted with the testing procedure. It also aids in preventing nervousness at testing centers.

#Tip 7: Recognize and avoid exam prep burnout

Burnout is a psychological phrase that describes a state of being overwhelmed and exhausted by particular situations. Exhaustion, lack of excitement, increased pessimism, lower performance, and other symptoms are common.

It’s critical to recognize burnout and solve the problems before they have a negative impact on your preparedness.

Because of the quantity of content that must be studied, USMLE Step 1 preparation might be difficult. The balance between USMLE preparation and medical school might be difficult for those preparing while in school. Learning how to study for the USMLE Step 1 is critical.

You must first determine your objectives and the level of work required. It will assist you in avoiding being overwhelmed. Then, as previously indicated, create a study plan and begin studying.

Know your limitations and take pauses when needed. You can enhance productivity and lessen the danger of burnout by understanding your limits. Taking a day off and looking after oneself is equally important.

When you’re having trouble with your preparation, seek advice from your peers or mentors. Also, be prepared to make lifestyle modifications to accommodate test preparation.

Because of its sheer size, the syllabus might be intimidating to look at. You’ll be able to ace the exam if you plan ahead and put in the necessary hours. As previously said, all you need to do is familiarise yourself with the curriculum, make a study program, continue to learn, take practice exams, and enhance your preparation technique. To avoid burnout, remember to take pauses and manage your schedule.

The bottom line

The vast amount of knowledge covered on the USMLE might make studying for it appears burdensome. It is, however, possible if you know what to study and how to prepare for the USMLE Step 1 and have a thorough understanding of the topics tested. What’s more, with our 7 study tips on how to pass Step 1, the preparation for your exam is no longer daunting.

Don’t forget to take our free USMLE practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the USMLE exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!


Which Exam To Become A Doctor You Need To Take 2022

Before deciding whether or not being a doctor is right for you, ensure you know each step of the process. The steps and exam to become a doctor are shown below!

June 14, 2022

A doctor, often known as a physician, is a medical professional who is in charge of their patients’ health. A doctor examines a patient’s health, makes a diagnosis based on that information, then prescribes treatment to help them recover their health. Doctors must also collaborate with a team of nurses and helpers to provide appropriate treatments, procedures, and drugs as needed.

So, how to become a doctor, and which exam to become a doctor do you need to take?

exam to become a doctor

It might take a decade of training and examination to become a doctor. A doctor must first complete a four-year university education that includes courses in math, biology, and chemistry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical school admission is tough, and students in college should work hard to get excellent marks. Prospective doctors must do a hospital residency after graduating from medical school to learn from seasoned experts.

In addition to completing undergraduate education, there are exams doctors must take. In this post, we will discuss “what test do doctors take” as well as the process to become a doctor.

What does a doctor do?

A doctor meets patients and examines their symptoms. Once the doctor gets a complete list of the patient’s symptoms, they will go over probable diagnoses and make a decision based on the patient’s symptoms. They also collaborate with assistants to manage office operations by ensuring that patient appointments and medical information are properly documented.

A doctor might refer a patient to another doctor or prescribe medicine to treat their medical issue if they require additional consultation. Doctors must also keep up with current medical technology and research in order to provide the best diagnosis and treatments for their patients.

The following is a list of the various types of doctors:

Family physician

A family physician treats children and adults with common illnesses. If you are unwell, the first doctor you should see is a family physician. A family physician can spot serious health issues, do tests, and refer patients to experts.

Internal medicine physician

Only adult patients are seen by an internal medicine physician for primary care issues. Their primary experience is in a hospital setting, but if they wish to create their own practice, they can specialize in other areas.


Pediatricians look after children’s medical requirements. They include yearly physicals, immunizations, and treatment for minor ailments such as a sore throat or the flu.

OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist)

An OBGYN is a reproductive and women’s health expert. They look for a woman’s medical requirements during her pregnancy, including supporting her through labor and delivery. They also address issues concerning women’s health, such as contraception and infertility.


A surgeon removes damaged organs and toxic tissues from patients. They arrange the procedure’s steps to ensure that it goes smoothly. Before performing procedures on patients, a surgeon must have over a decade of medical experience.

Which medical exam to become a doctor for?


Those interested in attending medical school must first pass the Medical College Admission Test. The multiple-choice exam assesses a potential doctor’s critical thinking capabilities and problem-solving abilities.

Physical and biological science, as well as verbal thinking, are the three types of questions. The essay section of the test contains a writing prompt. Almost all medical schools in the US demand applicants to submit scores that are no older than three years.

USMLE Step 1

A medical student must take the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 at some time during medical school, generally before entering the third year.

The musculoskeletal, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems are among the primary bodily systems examined. To discover solutions to the medical doctor exam’s 322 multiple-choice questions, the test taker must study graphs and other data. Students can enter clinical clerkships after completing the test. The USMLE divides the exam into seven one-hour sections.

USMLE Step 2

A student must pass the USMLE Step 2 test before graduating from medical school. Step 2 is divided into two components, one assessing clinical skills and the other assessing clinical knowledge. 

A 352-question multiple-choice test covers topics including normal human development, sickness, and patient management in the knowledge section. The exam is divided into eight 60-minute parts. Students engage with simulated patients in the second skills section to demonstrate their ability to build rapport and acquire medical histories, and other data.

USMLE Step 3

A prospective doctor must pass the USMLE Step 3 after graduating from medical school and entering residency. The test is divided into two portions and takes 16 hours to complete.

Test takers must complete 480 multiple-choice questions and observe virtual patient simulations in order to make acceptable treatment decisions.

Human development, disease diagnosis, physical examinations, and general patient care are all included. Students can take the test at any time during their residency, but they must pass it to become qualified doctors.

exam to become a doctor

How To Become A Doctor With 8 Steps

Becoming a doctor is a long and arduous process that includes multiple phases. After high school, the complete procedure usually takes 11 years; however, it may take longer depending on the medical specialization you choose.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, general practitioners in the United States earned an average of $186,044 in 2008, while specialists earned an average of $339,738.

The next paragraph describes how doctors prepare for their jobs in 8 steps.

Step 1: Complete an undergraduate education and earn your bachelor’s degree

A bachelor’s degree is required for becoming a doctor. All applicants to medical schools must have earned bachelor’s degrees from authorized colleges and universities. You do not need to concentrate on a certain specialization throughout your undergraduate studies, although pre-medical or biology degrees might help you get on the appropriate academic track.

To get into competitive programs, it is essential that you perform your best in math and science classes in high school. It is also encouraged that you participate in extracurricular or volunteer programs to strengthen your undergraduate and medical school applications. These programs can provide you with practical experience in both an academic and professional environment.

Step 2: Pass the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test)

You must register for and take the Medical College Admission Test during your junior year of undergraduate study (MCAT).

The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice medical test to become a doctor used by medical school admissions committees to determine a candidate’s chances of success in their program.

The test is made up of multiple-choice questions that assess your problem-solving and communication abilities. The MCAT is used to determine admission to medical school, thus you must do well.

To improve your chances of getting a better score, study areas like biology, chemistry, and physics. Because you may take this test up to three times every year, it’s better to start early to ensure a positive result.

Because most medical schools begin evaluating applicants a year in advance, the optimal time to take the exam is in April of your junior year of college.

Step 3: Submit an application to medical school

There is no set application deadline for medical school. The application process usually begins in the summer after a student’s junior year of college; however, some students opt to wait until they have completed their undergraduate degrees before applying.

The American Medical College Application Program (AMCAS), a centralized application processing service run by the Association of American Medical Colleges, is used by the majority of medical schools in the United States. Students choose their preferred medical schools and apply to AMCAS, which distributes the application to each institution.

Admission Requirements for Medical School

Admissions committees at medical schools accept individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, places, and undergraduate programs. While admissions standards differ for every school, curriculum and testing requirements are typically the same. The following is a list of typical medical school prerequisites.

  • Standardized Testing: Students must take the Medical College Admissions Test and submit their results (MCAT).
  • Pre-Medical Coursework: Students, particularly in the sciences, must finish a sequence of preparatory courses. The sorts of classes necessary for entrance are listed below in general:
BiologyOne year with the laboratory8
ChemistryOne year with the laboratory8
Organic ChemistryOne semester with the laboratory4
BiochemistryOne semester4
CalculusOne semester4
StatisticsOne semester4
PhysicsOne year with the laboratory8
HumanitiesEnglish, history, political science, and other classes24
  • Recommendation Letters: Two letters from professors, one from a science discipline and the other from a non-science field. Also useful are letters from college advisors and companies.

Step 4: Complete medical school training

Medical school, which typically takes four years of full-time study after undergraduate degrees, is the first step toward becoming a physician. Students learn practical skills in numerous areas of medicine through clinical rotations, which are separated from classroom-based science training.

There is no such thing as a perfect medical school student. Medical students come from a variety of backgrounds, although the majority enter just after completing their bachelor’s degrees. Their undergraduate educations differ; some major in the sciences (for example, biology), while others specialize in the humanities (e.g. English).

Medical schools are looking for applicants that will add diversity to the industry, are passionate about serving others, and have an unwavering interest in medicine. Candidates should be analytical thinkers who can solve problems effectively. They should be good communicators who can build relationships with people and make difficult judgments under duress.

In the United States, there are two types of medical school programs: allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO). Both programs use a similar educational approach. Osteopathic curricula, on the other hand, place a stronger focus on holistic and therapeutic therapy methods.

What courses are covered in medical school?

  • Testing and Diagnostic Tools

Students will learn about diagnostic techniques used in pathology, radiology, laboratory medicine, clinical epidemiology, and other fields in this course. Students learn how to analyze diagnostic data and establish systematic methods for patient treatment.

  • Human Development and Structure

This course serves as a basic introduction to human anatomy, laying the groundwork for comprehending the fundamental ideas of physical function. The neurological and endocrine systems, as well as the digestive and articular systems, are all studied.

  • Cells and Molecules’ Foundations

Students learn about the connections between pharmacology, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and genetics as they study the principles of life science.

  • Clinical Epidemiology

This course challenges students to solve a clinical question using research literature, while also teaching them how to assess research articles and debate medical facts in the context of practicing evidence-based medicine.

  • Critical Care

This session provides students with hands-on experience treating and caring for critically sick patients, as well as an educational review of clinical principles of care.

exam to become a doctor

Step 5: Pass the Step 1 and Step 2 of the Medical Licensing Examination in the United States (USMLE)

Passing the USMLE is the next step in the process of becoming a doctor. The test is broken into three parts; however, you must finish the first two while in medical school.

Students must pass Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination in order to progress to year three of medical school. This exam verifies that students have grasped the scientific basics needed to practice medicine competently.

Clinical rotations in primary and specialty care settings are completed during the final two years of medical school. Clinical rotations allow students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world, supervised interactions with patients. Students must also pass Step 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination in order to graduate and begin residency. The candidate’s medical knowledge and clinical science skills are assessed in Step 2.

Step 6: Select a specialty and start your residency program

You must decide what you want to specialize in when taking the USMLE in your third and fourth years of medical school. Knowing your specialty will make tailoring your application for a residency program much easier. 

Internships and residencies are supervised work in teaching hospitals. The National Resident Matching Program will connect you with an open residency post (NRMP).

You’ll be able to make notes about your preferences, but you won’t have the final say over your matches. You pretty of have to take what the NRMP gives you after they put you up.

Your residency program will last at least three years, but it may last longer depending on your specialty. You’ll be recognized as an intern your first year and will be at the bottom of the totem pole—but not for long.

You must also pass your final license exam during your residency (USMLE-3). During your first year of residency, you will take the third and final license test. It assesses your ability to use your medical knowledge and give treatment in an unsupervised context, which is what a licensed physician must do.

As a resident, you’ll get paid, but it won’t be much. The typical resident makes around $48,000 per year, which should be enough to meet your living expenses as well as your minimal medical school loan payments.

Step 7: Pass the USMLE Step 3 test and receive a medical license in your state

The USMLE’s final section tests your ability to practice medicine efficiently and prioritize patient care. It occurs throughout your residency program and permits you to obtain a medical license in your state. Each state’s board of medicine has its own procedure, so do your homework ahead of time.

Step 8: Apply for Doctor Jobs

Getting a job is the last stage in becoming a doctor. Many doctors start their search while still in residency. Residents frequently go into full-time employment when their residencies are completed. Some physicians, on the other hand, opt to look for work on the open market. Recruiters may contact other physicians to fill a post.


When is the best time to pick your specialty?

By your third and fourth years of medical school, you should have narrowed down your options so you can focus on the kind of courses and clinical work you want to pursue.

To become a doctor, what doctor exam test must I pass?

To be eligible to enter medical school, you must pass the MCAT exam during your junior year of undergraduate study. After that, you must pass the USMLE in all three parts. The first two sections must be passed while in medical school, and the last portion must be completed during residency. You can practice medicine full-time after passing these examinations and receiving your state license.

What is the greatest income a doctor can earn?

As a doctor, you may earn up to $450,000 per year, with higher earnings potential if you’re a surgeon or work in another in-demand specialty.

What is the best approach to gain experience so that I may increase my chances of being accepted into a good program?

Participate in volunteer and internship programs while in high school and while pursuing your bachelor’s degree. You are invited to contact physicians and other working professionals at the following locations:

  • Medical offices
  • Medical colleges
  • Hospitals

An informative interview may help you narrow down your job options, the specialty you want to practice, and the experience you need to develop your career.

Key Takeaways

This is a great deal of information to take in at once, especially if you’re just starting out or are undecided about pursuing a career in medicine.

To summarise, there are eight key phases to becoming a doctor:

  1. Complete an undergraduate education and earn your bachelor’s degree.
  2. Pass the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test).
  3. Submit an application to medical school.
  4. Complete medical school training.
  5. Pass the Step 1 and Step 2 of the Medical Licensing Examination in the United States (USMLE).
  6. Select a specialty and start your residency program.
  7. Pass the USMLE Step 3 test and receive a medical license in your state.
  8. Apply for Doctor Jobs.

It’s also vital to remember two key points:

  • You don’t have to decide to become a doctor right when you start college (although it does make it easier to fulfill pre-med requirements). The road to becoming a doctor isn’t entirely clear, especially if you’re interested in other biological or physical science fields.
  • You don’t have to consider all of these stages at once. Once you’re in medical school, your classmates will be thinking (and worried) about the same things you are—you won’t forget anything!


Becoming a doctor is not for everyone—getting into medical school is extremely difficult, and even when you graduate and pass the exam to become a doctor, you still have a lot of training to do. But, if you do decide to pursue a career in medicine, you now have the knowledge you need to get started!

Don’t forget to take our free USMLE practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the USMLE exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!


USMLE vs MCAT: What is The Difference? [Fully Explained]

USMLE is another important exam a student will need to pass before being able to practice as a doctor. Read on to know the differences between USMLE vs MCAT.

June 14, 2022

It takes a lot of effort to get into the medical field. And many years of studies. It can be a very lucrative and rewarding endeavor, but it can also be extremely difficult. It’s challenging enough to get into a top medical school. In order to become full-fledged doctors of medicine, prospective medical doctors must also pass a variety of qualifying and licensing exams.

The MCAT and USMLE are two of the most important tests that aspiring doctors must take. What are these tests, though? Is USMLE harder than MCAT? And what are the differences between USMLE vs MCAT? Follow this article to find out the answers.

usmle vs mcat

Definition of USMLE Exam vs MCAT

Let’s start by defining these two medical exams so we can better understand why they’re both required to become medical professionals.

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a computer-based standardized exam for candidates applying for admission to medical schools in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Caribbean Islands. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) manages it.

On the other hand, the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), is an exam for medical licensure in the United States sponsored by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB).  This exam is required for physicians who wish to study medicine in the United States.

Purpose of The USMLE vs MCAT Exams

The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) developed and administers the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). It’s a multiple-choice exam designed to examine your problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and knowledge of pre-medical topics. This is the exam you must pass before applying to medical school. Your MCAT score is a significant part of your medical school application, along with your undergraduate GPA, essays, and letters of recommendation.

USMLE (the United States Medical Licensing Examination) is a three-part exam for medical licensure in the United States. These tests are given during your medical training (medical school and residency) and assess a physician’s ability to use what they’ve learned to treat patients. The first USMLE exam, also known as USMLE Step 1 or Step 1 for short, is taken at the end of medical school’s second year. The second part of the USMLE tests, USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, is normally taken in the fourth year. Finally, towards the end of the intern year of residency, the last USMLE, USMLE Step 3, is taken. You could apply for a medical license after passing this third exam.

Exam structure

The MCAT and the USMLE are very different in terms of how they are administered and constructed.

The MCAT is completely made up of multiple-choice questions and is divided into four sections, each of which is scored separately. Each section has 50 to 60 questions and takes 90 to 95 minutes to complete. The exam will last approximately 7.5 hours, including the time spent between sections. Students take the exam on a computer at a testing center in one day.

Meanwhile, the USMLE is very fragmented in that it must be taken several times throughout medical school and residency. Unlike the MCAT, the exam is divided into three parts and includes both computer-based tests and practical exams. Step 2, Clinical Skills, in particular, requires students to demonstrate their understanding of examining and diagnosing patients by encounters with standardized patients.

Step 1 is an 8-hour sit-in multiple-choice exam taken during the second year of medical school. Step 2 is a two-part exam taken during the fourth year of medical school. The first part, Clinical Knowledge, is a nine-hour multiple-choice and computer-based case simulation exam. The second part, as previously noted, is a hands-on exam called Clinical Skills.

The USMLE Step 3 exam, which is also a two-day exam, is taken during the first year of residency. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and computer-based case simulations.

Content of the Exams

Test takers will notice that the MCAT and the USMLE have significantly different topics. The MCAT is divided into three sections: biological sciences, reasoning skills, and physical sciences, including chemistry. The content is not especially medical science specific. To further illustrate, here is a breakdown of the MCAT content in the following table:

SectionNo. of QuestionsMinutes
Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems5995
Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills5390
Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems5995
Psychological, Social & Biological Foundations of Behavior5995

In contrast, the USMLE content is highly medical-specific.

  • In USMLE Step 1, the students will encounter topics such as biochemistry, anatomy, and pharmacology. 
  • In USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, graduates are tested on their understanding of particular medical procedures, like internal medicine, psychiatry, obstetrics, surgery, and, pediatrics. 
  • The second part of USMLE Step 2, Clinical Skills, focuses on the student’s ability and knowledge in acquiring patient information, diagnosing the patient, and reporting their results
  • Finally, the last USMLE test, Step 3, will contain questions on organ systems, prognosis, diagnosis, patient management, pathophysiology, and emergency care.


You will obtain a scaled score for both of these types of exams and will not see your raw score. The raw score is converted to a scaled score to account for small differences in question tests and examinations.

MCAT Score

Your MCAT score is determined by the number of correct answers. Wrong answers receive the same score as unanswered questions and have no effect on your total score. The MCAT examination is not graded on a curve, either. The MCAT exam is scaled and equated such that your score has the same meaning regardless of when you take it or how other examinees performed.

Each section of the MCAT will be given a score. With a midpoint of 125, these scores might range from 118 (lowest) to 132 (highest). You’ll also obtain a total score based on the sum of these four sections, which will range from 472 to 528 with a mean of 500.

For example, a student’s total score would be 508 if he scored 129 on Chem/Phys; 127 on Bio/Biochem; 127 on Psych/Soc, and 125 on CARs, their total score would be 508.

Your MCAT score will also be provided a percentile rank. The AAMC updates the percentile ranks every year with three years of data. Based on the MCAT percentile ranks for 2021-2022, a score of 508 is in the 72nd percentile. A score of 490 is in the 17th percentile, 500 is in the 45th percentile, and 520 is in the 92nd percentile. The AAMC website has percentile ranks for each section as well as an overall score.

usmle vs mcat


The USMLE raw score is converted to a three-digit scaled score, just like the MCAT. Furthermore, analyses are conducted to identify any testing candidates who had an aberrant score pattern, and these students may be requested to explain their testing behaviors.

The USMLE Step 1 test will be passed/failed from January 26th, 2022. Examinees previously received a score between 1 and 300, even though most testers fell between 140 and 260. To pass, you needed a score of 194. Prior to the change to pass/fail score on the USMLE Step 1, a medical student’s Step 1 score was an important element in residency applications.

In the same way, USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge scores range between 1 and 300. The passing score, though, is higher than the USMLE Step 1 score. The USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge passing score is 209. Since USMLE Step 2 is not a pass/fail exam as of 2022, it’s possible that the emphasis on Step 1 scores for residency application evaluation will be shifted to USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge.

Examinees receive a score between 1 and 300 on the USMLE Step 3 exam, with a passing score of 198.

When to take the exams USMLE VS MCAT

A student should take the MCAT in April or May of the year before he or she decided to begin medical school. So, if the goal is to be a first-year medical student in the 2023 school year, the MCAT must be taken in April or May of 2022.

The multi-step USMLE exam is administered over the period of a person’s medical education. Step 1 is taken at the end of a medical student’s second year. The test is available all year and must be scheduled through a Prometric test center.

The USMLE Step 2 exam is usually taken close to the end of a student’s fourth year of medical school. Step 2 Clinical Knowledge is similar to Step 1 in that it is available year-round and can be planned with the exam center. Step 2 Clinical Skills, on the other hand, is only available at five testing centers in the United States, therefore confirming test dates with one of the testing centers is essential.

After a physician’s first year of residency, Step 3 of the USMLE is usually taken. The exam is also available throughout the year, however, a scheduling permit is required to choose a test date.

How Long Does It Take to Get USMLE and MCAT Score?

How Long Will It Take to Get My MCAT Score?

Scaling and equating raw MCAT scores to scaled scores takes about 30-35 days, according to the AAMC website. Students may also express any concerns about exam questions or testing conditions within these 30-35 days. By registering onto your AAMC account after 30-35 days, you will receive your MCAT score.

How Long Will It Take to Get My USMLE Score?

All USMLE tests take 3-4 weeks to complete following your test date. However, delays might occur for a variety of reasons, leading to a delay of up to 8 weeks. You will be informed through email that your USMLE score report is available, and you will be able to access it. This report will be available for up to 365 days after you have finished the exam.

The Bottom Line

When comparing USMLE vs MCAT, all four exams (MCAT, USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and USMLE Step 3) can seem overwhelming when you’re just starting out on your journey to becoming a doctor. However, with the correct kind and amount of preparation, these exams can be quite successful. Remember to set starting with the highest time to study and memorize the material, and focus your review on high-yield content. In addition, do enough practice questions and practice exams because this is one of the finest ways to practice for exams like these. Finally, make use of all of the study resources available to you, and don’t be afraid to seek assistance when necessary.

Don’t forget to take our free USMLE practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the USMLE exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!


USMLE Exam For Foreign Doctors [2022 Comprehensive Guide]

In this article, we provide you with all the beneficial information you require related to the USMLE exam for foreign doctors in 2022. Let's get started!

June 14, 2022

You will need to undertake the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) if you are applying for a Post Graduate Medical Residency Training program or seeking licensure in the United States. In this article, we provide you with all the beneficial information you require related to the USMLE exam for foreign doctors in 2022.

Let’s get started with our free USMLE practice test to enhance your chance of passing your actual exam with a high score on your first attempt.

usmle exam for foreign doctors


The USMLE, or United States Medical Licensing Examination, is the exam that must be passed in order to obtain a medical license in the United States. The USMLE was created by two non-profit organizations, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), to provide a single national examination for allopathic physician licensure that could be used by all state medical boards. (Osteopathic physicians should use COMLEX-USA.) This guarantees that all practicing allopathic physicians, regardless of their previous training or the state in which they practice, have met the same assessment standards.

The USMLE’s purpose is to provide a uniform standard of testing for medical licensing in the United States. It is a requirement for graduates who earned their certifications both in the United States and abroad. Those who had their training outside of the United States are assessed to the same requirements as United States medical school students and graduates, ensuring that all physicians, regardless of their previous training, have met the same standards.

The USMLE is designed to evaluate essential skills for providing safe and effective patient care. It tests your patient-centered skills and focuses on your ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles.

The exam is formed of three multiple-choice tests, including Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and Step 3, which are covered in more detail in the format section below.

Requirements for foreign doctors in the US

As an international medical graduate, you must be certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).  To become certified, you must pass the USMLE Steps 1 and Step 2, meet the ECFMG’s eligibility requirements, and ensure that your teaching institute is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools.

After that, you can apply for a position in Post Graduate Medical Residency Training (residency). This can be done either before or after passing the USMLE Step 3 test. Because obtaining residency is competitive, some applicants choose to complete Step 3 first to improve their chances of acceptance, while others wanted to wait if their Step 1 and Step 2 scores are good. The third step is usually completed after the first year of your graduate residency program.

Either way, you can not take Step 3 of the USMLE until you have been certified by the ECFMG, so get that completed first. You can apply for a license to practice medicine in the state of your choice once completing your residency and pass Step 3.

If you are applying for a medical license to practice clinical medicine in an unsupervised setting (i.e. outside of postgraduate training programs), you will also need to obtain ECFMG certification after passing Step 1 and Step 2 of the USMLE and passing Step 3 of the USMLE.

USMLE Format

The USMLE consists of three multiple-choice exams, as said before: Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and Step 3. A Clinical Skills section was once included in Step 2, however, this has now been discontinued.

USMLE Step 1 Questions

  • Length / Time: One-day exam. Seven 60-minute blocks, totaling roughly eight hours including breaks.
  • The total number of questions: roughly 280 multiple choice questions.
  • Assessment area: Your ability to apply crucial basic science concepts to clinical scenarios, focusing on the underlying principles and mechanisms of health, disease, and modes of therapy.

USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge Questions

  • Length / Time: One-day exam. Eight 60-minute blocks, totaling roughly nine hours including breaks.
  • The total number of questions: is roughly 318 multiple choice questions.
  • Assessment area: With a focus on health promotion and disease prevention, your ability to apply your medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical science is considered vital for patient care.

USMLE Step 3 Questions

Step 3 is separated into two sections: Foundations of Independent Practice (FIP) and Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM), take two days to complete. It examines your ability to use medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science in ambulatory settings, with a focus on patient management.

Day 1 – FIP:

  • Length / Time: One-day exam. Six 60-minute blocks, totaling roughly seven hours including breaks.
  • The total number of questions: is roughly 232 multiple choice questions.
  • Assessment area: Your knowledge of basic scientific and medical principles is essential for effective care.

Day 2 – ACM:

  • Length / Time: One-day exam. Six 45-minute blocks (for the multiple choice questions) and thirteen stimulation blocks (each lasting no more than 10 or 20 minutes), totaling roughly nine hours including breaks.
  • The total number of questions: roughly 180 multiple choice questions and 13 computer-based case simulations (CCS).
  • Assessment area: Your ability to manage patients using your understanding of health and disease.

USMLE Timeline

Although there is no specific timeline for taking the various stages of the USMLE, there are several limitations and recommendations to keep in mind when deciding when to take each step.

Step 1 and Step 2 can be taken in any order, however, students in LCME-accredited medical schools are recommended to take Step 1 at the end of their second year and Step 2 in their fourth year.

Only after passing Step 1 and Step 2 of the USMLE could you take Step 3. Before trying Step 3, it is advised that you have completed, or be close to completing, at least the first year of postgraduate training in a recognized United States graduate medical education program.

Most licensing authorities require that you must complete Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 of the USMLE within seven years of passing the first step.


Prometric Centers administer the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and Step 3 computer-based examinations. Step 3 is only administered in the United States and its territories. You may find your nearest Prometric Center on their website.

The registration process varies depending on where you studied/graduated from and which stage of the USMLE you are taking. The different registration procedures are as follows:

usmle exam for foreign doctors

  • Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge:
  • Step 3:
    • All medical school graduates (who have passed Step 1 and Step 2) – apply through the FSMB website.

Regardless of where you studied/graduated from, the application and scheduling process for each element of the USMLE remains the same once you have registered through the appropriate route. The steps for you to take are as follows:

  • Select your eligibility period during which you want to test.
  • Check your emails for your scheduling permit that will be sent to you.
  • Visit the Prometric website to schedule your USMLE exam.


The USMLE fees for the different stages of the exam are as follows:

Step 1 & Step 2 Clinical Knowledge

The following are the USMLE fees for students/graduates of LCME or COCA accredited medical schools in the United States or Canada in 2021–2022.

Step 1645
Step 2 Clinical Knowledge645
Eligibility Period Extension70

For students/graduates of medical schools outside of the United States or Canada, the USMLE fees are as follows:

Application for ECFMG150
Step 1$975 + $180 international test delivery surcharge, if testing outside of the United States or Canada
Step 2 Clinical Knowledge$975 + $200 international test delivery surcharge, if testing outside of the United States or Canada
Eligibility Period Extension90
Step 1/Step 2 Testing Region Change$85 per region change

Step 3

For USMLE Step 3, the application fee is non-refundable and non-transferable from one application to another or from one eligibility period to another.

The fee for the exam in 2022 is $895.

The Difficulty of The USMLE

With three different examinations to study for (though not all at the same time) and the complexity of each element, passing the USMLE may be a long and difficult process.

Since post-graduate residency programs are so competitive, it’s crucial that you do well on the USMLE. When you consider the importance of the exam and how hard it is, you can see why you need to study well.

USMLE practice questions will be very useful in aiding your exam preparation. Including these in your study plan will help you get more familiar with the types of questions you’ll be asked at each step of the exam and give you opportunities to practice applying your knowledge and skills.

USMLE Pass Rate for International Students

For each step of the USMLE in the last two examination years, the number of candidates from non-United States or Canadian schools, as well as the percentage of candidates who passed, is shown below:

Step 1

Examinees from Non-US/Canadian Schools2020 Number Tested2020 Percent Passing2021* Number Tested2021* Percent Passing
1st Takers117420.87169520.82

* Data for examinees who tested in 2021 and reported through February 2, 2022.

** ‘Repeaters’ represents exams given but not the number of examinees.

Step 2 Clinical Knowledge

Examinees from Non-US/Canadian Schools2019 - 2020 Number Tested2019 - 2020 Percent Passing2020 - 2021* Number Tested2020 - 2021* Percent Passing
1st Takers91230.9124310.91

*Data for Step 2 Clinical Knowledge are provided for examinees who tested during the period of July 1 to June 30 whose scores were reported through February 2, 2022.

** ‘Repeaters’ represents exams given but not the number of examinees.

Step 3

Examinees from Non-US/Canadian Schools2020 Number Tested2020 Percent Passing2021* Number Tested2021* Percent Passing
1st Takers71920.998910.91

* Represents data for examinees who tested in 2021 and reported through February 2, 2022.

** Repeaters represent exams given but not the number of examinees.

USMLE Validity Abroad

Although the USMLE was created to assess medical licensure in the United States, it is only accepted in a few countries outside of the United States. If you’re considering working in a country other than the United States, check what exams and qualifications are required, as the USMLE may not be the best route, even if it is accepted. However, if you pass the USMLE and are unable to obtain a post-graduate residency or no longer choose to work in the United States, there may be other options available to you.

Jobs for Foreign Doctors without USMLE

As a foreign medical graduate, you cannot apply for residency in the United States without passing the USMLE (Step 1 and Step 2). Similarly, you will be unable to apply for medical licensure in the United States unless you complete all elements of the USMLE (including Step 3). All practicing physicians in an unsupervised setting (that is outside of postgraduate study) must have a license, which is required if you want to work in this capacity.

If you don’t want to complete the USMLE, you can still work in non-clinical roles. Your options will likely be limited, and you may find that some jobs still require medical licensure. Even if your objective is to work in a non-clinical role, passing the USMLE can help you land a job and broaden your career options.

Job comparison

As stated previously, without passing the USMLE, you would be limited to non-clinical positions. There are a variety of non-clinical job opportunities available, but they are generally competitive and need experience, additional training, or certification.

Research roles, pharmaceutical roles for unlicensed physicians, and business roles are some of the topics you might want to look into more. This will enable you to compare potential opportunities available without the USMLE to those available if you pass the exam and are eligible for residency and/or licensure.

Salary comparison

If you chose not to take the USMLE, the salary you can earn will be determined by the type of job you land and the level at which you’ll be working. If you’re thinking about going this route, do some research on the specific field you want to work in to find out what kind of salary you can expect.

In comparison, post-graduate training (residency) at a United States hospital is a paid job, with first-year residents earning around $45,000 USD on average.


This article brings you a lot of beneficial information about the USMLE exam for foreign doctors. You can apply for a license to practice medicine after passing each step of the USMLE – Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and Step 3 – with flying colors. This creates opportunities for you to practice in an unsupervised setting (i.e. outside of postgraduate training).

Don’t forget to take our free USMLE practice test to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the USMLE exam with a flying score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!