USMLEUnited States Medical Examination

What is USMLE?

USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) is a licensing exam to practice, do residency and fellowships in USA. It consists of 3 Steps that are USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CS, USMLE Step 2 CK and USMLE Step 3. After completing the MBBS, if the candidates want to practice medicine in the United States, they need to clear USMLE exam. The first two steps of the USMLE exam are typically taken when the students are still in medical college/university & the third step takes place after completing their graduation.

Who can take USMLE?

Clearing all 4 tests of the USMLE exam is required for any doctor to get a license to practice medicine in the U.S. The eligibility to take the USMLE exam must be in one of the following categories at the time the candidates apply and on the day of their USMLE exam:
  • Eligibility to take USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS: The candidate should be a medical student who is officially enrolled in, or a graduate of, a U.S or Canadian medical college leading to the MD degree (LCME accredited), OR who is officially enrolled in, or a graduate of, a U.S medical college leading to the DO degree (AOA accredited), OR who is Officially enrolled in, or a graduate of, a medical college outside the U.S and Canada listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools as meeting ECFMG eligibility requirements; and meet other ECFMG criteria.
  • Eligibility to take USMLE Step 3: Before submitting the application, the candidates must get an MD degree (or its equivalent) OR a DO degree from a U.S. or Canadian medical college that is accredited by the LCME or the AOA, and they must clear Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS.

Is there any age limit for USMLE?

No, there is not any age limit for USMLE exam. The candidates should be officially enrolled in, or a graduate of, a medical college outside the U.S and Canada listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools as meeting ECFMG eligibility requirements.
How long does it take to complete USMLE?
According to our working experience with international medical graduates, preparation for the Step 1 exam takes 6 to 12 months, Step 2 CK takes 4 to 7 months, and Step 2 CS takes 1 to 2 months. As every candidate is unique with different strengths and weaknesses, so the time will vary as per their study style, available time, score goals, fluency in English and current foundation of knowledge in the subjects. Once the candidate clears the exam, they can’t repeat the exam to attempt a higher score. Programs will also see how many times the candidate attempted the exam & eliminate the candidates with multiple attempts. Therefore, it is essential to pass the exam & do extremely well on the first attempt.
How much does the USMLE cost?
The international students and graduates who will apply through the ECFMG need to pay $895 for the USMLE Step 1. The U.S or Canadian medical students and graduates need to pay $610. The candidates can extend the eligibility period of Step 1 by paying $70.
  • Step 1: $610
  • Step 2 CK: $610
  • Step 1 and 2CK: $70 Eligibility Period Extension
  • Step 2 CS: $1,285 For completed applications received
If the candidate wants to change the appointment for the USMLE Step 1 above 31 days before the first day of the scheduled test date, he/she does not need to pay anything. If the candidate wants to change the appointment for the USMLE Step 1 scheduled test 6 days to 30 days before the scheduled date, he/she needs to pay $50.
Can I Write USMLE after MBBS?
USMLE exam has clearly defined the medical courses after MBBS to be completed in USA. After MBBS the USMLE exam needs to be cleared with high marks (230+) to practice medicine in the U.S. The candidates can give USMLE-2 CK exam in India to qualify for their Residency in the US.
Is USMLE exam difficult?
The USMLE Step 1 is the difficult exam that candidates can give in their medical college & the performance of the candidates on USMLE exam will define their residency process. So, it is necessary to do well on this exam.
Can you practice medicine in USA without USMLE?
No, the candidates cannot practice medicine without passing all three steps (1, 2CK+CS, and 3) of the USMLE. The candidates need to pass parts 1 and 2 of the USMLE exam in order to get the MD degree from a US medical school.
Which countries accept USMLE?
USMLE program supports medical licensing authorities in the U.S through its leadership in the development, delivery, & continual improvement of high-quality assessments across the continuum of preparation of physicians for practice. It is valid in UAE, New Zealand, Israel, Dubai Health City & Qatar.
Does MBBS marks matter in USMLE?
MBBS marks of the candidates are not checked at this step. Once they pass Step 1, they will register with ECFMG & before they are certified by ECFMG to apply to US residency programs, ECFMG will verify their educational credentials including their MBBS marks.
What happens after passing USMLE?
The candidate gets license to practice medicine in USA and wait for their match as per their option and requirement. The license is valid for five or seven years and they need to get admission for PG in that stipulated time period.
How can an Indian Student apply for USMLE?
Indian student can apply for USMLE from the following steps:
  • The candidate needs to create an account of the ECFMG website
  • Fill all the details and submit form.
  • Go to ECFMG website and fill the USMLE Step 1 application form
  • Fill all the details & make the payment.
  • When the candidate has made the payment, he/she will find a link in the same window which is for the form 183 USMLE Step 1 application
  • The candidate needs to send Form 183 to IWA, ECFMG, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-2685 USA
  • The candidate needs to wait for the scheduling Permit
  • Then book a date at Prometric whichs is the testing service that conducts all USMLE exams.
  • The candidate needs to go to the Prometric Website.
  • Then select USMLE & select their testing location and preferred date of exam within their eligibility period.
How many USMLE exams are there?
USMLE is classified into 3 steps as below:
  • USMLE is a one-day test that includes multiple-choice questions. Most of the students prefer to give at the end of the second year of their MBBS course. It focuses on the knowledge of basic sciences such as anatomy, biochemistry, behavioral sciences, pathology, pharmacology, immunology, physiology, and microbiology.
  • It is a two day test that will be given by the MBBS students in the fourth year of their MBBS course. This exam is further classified into two stages such as:

    • CK Exam: Here, the students have multiple choice questions on clinical sciences like surgery, obstetrics, gynecology, & pediatrics, and internal medicine.
    • CS Exam: Here, the students have to examine & diagnose the patients. They have to travel to one of the five testing centers across the country for step 2 CS medical.
  • It is also a two-day test that students generally prefer to five once they complete the first-year residency. Day 1 Test of Step 3 is known as the Foundation of Independent Practice (FIP) which is an MCQ format test. Day 2 Test is known as Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM) in which students need to attempt about 180 MCQs and 13 computer-based case simulations.
How Indian Doctors can work in USA?
Indian doctors need to pass the USMLE exam with high marks (230+). During this period, the students can give USMLE-2 CK exam in India to qualify for the Residency in USA. The doctors can then apply for work visa in USA when they get the residency confirmation.

Dr Vinit Kumar is a Educational Consultant for India & Abroad with more than 18 Years of Experience. He has an extensive background guiding & assisting medical students to find the best university as per their budget. ✔3500+ Students ✔15 Countries ✔MBBS, MBA, PG, UG ✔100% Commitment ✔Education Loan ✔Job Placements

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