USMLE Exam 2021


United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is considered to be one of the toughest exams in the world qualifying which you will be entitled to practice the esteemed profession of medicine in the United States of America. Jointly sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Board (FSMB) and National Board for Medical Examiners (NBME), USMLE is a 3 step examination.  If you aspire to enter the reputable profession of Medicine or pursue MD in USA, the USMLE exam is the only gateway to your career aspirations. For those willing to explore the insights of this test, here is a blog which aims to elucidate the essential elements regarding it.

Name of the Exam  USMLE
Sponsored By FSMB and NBME
Total Stages  3
Maximum Number of Attempts  6

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What is USMLE Exam?

Being one of the top medical entrance exams, there are three stages in this USMLE such as stage, stage 2, stage 3 wherein the stage 2 is further subdivided into 2 phases namely, stage 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge) and stage 2 CS (Clinical Skills). Its is mandatory to clear all the three steps to become a medical practitioner in the states. Candidates meeting the eligibility will be given the flexibility to choose the order of steps. However, step 3 can only be taken once you clear the first 2 steps. USMLE exam is a computer-based test expect for the step CS test which will be conducted in offline mode. 

USMLE Exam Eligibility Criteria

After understanding what USMLE examination is composed of, we must now have a look at what are the necessary requirements one must abide by for appearing in the examination. It is compulsory to fulfil each and every mentioned eligibility criteria, failing which the candidates will be exempted from taking the test. Following are some important stepwise prerequisites of the USMLE exam:

For Step 1, Step 2 CS and CK 

  • Candidates must be a graduate or enrolled in a medical school outside the US or Canada which are mentioned in the Wolrd Directory of Medical School 
  • Must meet the requirements under ECFMG criteria 
  • Those who are dismissed or withdrawn form any medical school are not allowed to appear for the exam 

For Step 3

  • Applicants must possess an MD degree or its equivalent from a medical institution out of US and Canada registered under the World Directory of Medical Schools 
  • It is necessary to qualify Step 1 and both the parts of step 2
  • Candidates must possess an ECFMG certificate

Note: The above-mentioned conditions are for indicative purposes, applicants must check the entire eligibility on the official website.

Exam Pattern for USMLE Exam

It is vital to carefully study the exam pattern before you go on with the preparation. Observing the exam format will help you get a better understanding of what will be the face of the question paper on the final day. Now let us take a detailed look at stepwise inclusions of the USMLE exam:

Step 1

Candidates’ skills regarding the usage of various principle and mechanisms related to health, disease, modes of therapy along with basic sciences which will be required to practice the medicine:

Step   Format  Duration 
Step 1 On an Average 280  MCQs  One day test session (approximately 8 hours)

Step 2 

The Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination will gauge the candidate’s knowledge regarding how the candidates will gather information about patients, perform physical examinations and other concepts.

Whereas the Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) will assess how efficiently the examiners will use their skills, knowledge and the understanding of the clinical science required for the provision of patients’ care:

Step   Format  Duration 
Step 2 CS 12 patient cases in which 15 minutes to encounter patient whereas 10 minutes to draft records for each patient will be given  One day test (8 Hours)
Step 2 CK  Around 318 MCQs  One day test (9 hours)

Step 3

Abilities regarding the various application of medical knowledge about the understanding of the biomedical and clinical science with an emphasis on patient management:

Step   Format  Duration 
Step 3 Day 1 Foundation of Independent Practice (FIP) Approximately 232 MCQs  Approximately 7 hours 
Step 3 Day 2 Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM) Thirteen computer-based case stimulation  Approximately 9 hours   


Is Usmle exam difficult?

USMLE Step 1 is considered to be more difficult than other USMLE exams but it is also an important step towards your medical career.

What is the Usmle exam?

USMLE is a 3 step medical entrance exam to practice medicine in USA. It assesses the knowledge, principles, fundamental skills and experiences for becoming a physician.

How much does it cost to do Usmle?

USMLE Step 1 and 2 costs $940 and the next exam on Clinical Skills costs $1580.

How many Usmle exams are there?

There are 3 main steps in USMLE exams.

These were all the essentials of the USMLE exam! If you want to pursue medicine from abroad or looking for overseas education amid the outbreak of coronavirus, register at Leverage Edu for an e-meeting with our world-class mentors. 

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