The Stepping Stone to USMLE 1

The NBME exam is designed to provide medical schools with effective evaluation tools and useful student performance data that can be compared with a large, representative group of students at the same stage of training. As a student,  you will need to take them and pass them to be able to take part in the USMLE  1 examinations.

The application for USMLE Step 1 will be signed by the Dean after a student completes all basic sciences courses from the curriculum (which means acquiring all credits and passing all required examinations) and also passes (according to passing USMLE Step 1 criteria) NBME Comprehensive Basic Science (CBS) examination which completes the basic sciences component in the University curriculum. The CBS exam will be scheduled after completion of all basic sciences courses. This means that for four years students the test will be administered at the end of second year, while for the six year students the test will be administered at the end of third year.

USMLE: Final Step

For those wanting to go back and do residency in the United States, this test will be very critical to your evaluation as an applicant for a future residency spot. Understanding what is expected of you in this examination is the best way to help you master the test. The general overview is that there are three separate steps to this examination. All three must be completed to become a fully licensed physician in the United States.

Step 1: The exam is roughly an eight-hour computer-based test taken in a single-day, composed of seven 46-question sections with a total of 322 multiple-choice questions. The following topics are focused on in this examination:

  • anatomy
  • behavioral sciences
  • biochemistry
  • microbiology
  • pathology
  • pharmacology
  • physiology
  • interdisciplinary topics, such as nutrition, genetics, and aging

Step 2 CK: The exam is a nine-hour single-day computer-based test composed of eight question sets with no more than 45 questions per set (340 to 355 multiple-choice questions in total).

Step 2 CS: The exam consists of a series of patient encounters in which the examinees must see standardized patients, take a history, do a physical examination, determine differential diagnoses, and then write a patient note based on their determinations. Over the course of an 8-hour exam day, the examinees complete 12 such encounters.

Step 3: To be eligible to take the USMLE Step 3 exam, the physician must hold an M.D., and successfully pass the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge exams. Most of the USMLE Step 3 exam (75 percent) consists of multiple choice questions, while the remaining 25 percent are clinical case simulations.

                How to apply for USMLE

To apply for USMLE examinations, you must submit an application through the appropriate organization. Step 1 and Step 2 applications must be submitted to the ECFMG if you are a student or graduate of a medical school outside the United States.


For more information, please visit http://www.usmle.org/.