What is the USMLE?

The United States Medical Licencing Examination is referred to as the USMLE.  In order to practice medicine in the United States, international students must pass a three-part medical licensing exam.

Who owns the USMLE?

Two entities own the USMLE:

State medical boards are represented by the 

  1. Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) that issue medical licenses.
  2. National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME): Develops and administers the USMLE examinations.

Who can take the USMLE?

Medical graduates outside the USA and Canada can take the USMLE. Registration is done through ECFMG's online services on the official USMLE website.

What does the USMLE assess?

The USMLE assesses the physician characteristics required for patient care, including:

  • Medical knowledge
  • Skills
  • Values
  • Attitudes

How many steps are there?

There are three steps in the USMLE:

  • USMLE Step 1: Assesses basic science knowledge and principles.
  • USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge): Assesses the application of medical expertise in patient care.
  • USMLE Step 3: The final assessment for physicians assuming independent responsibility in delivering medical care.

Where can I take the USMLE?

  • Prometric test centers are located in major cities across the world and offer USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK.
  • USMLE Step 3: Must be taken in the US.

Documents needed for the Exam

  • USMLE scheduling permission
  • A valid photo ID from the government, preferably a passport

USMLE Attempts:

Number of exam attempts: Reduced from six to four for each USMLE Step.

Match in USMLE

Match is the process by which medical students match with Residency programs. Match is based on the results of the USMLE, as well as other factors such as letters of recommendation, personal statements, etc.

Overview of the USMLE Step Exams 

Candidates must report to the testing center at the assigned time on the day of the USMLE Step examinations. Multiple-choice questions make up the Exam, and applicants have a set amount of time to finish each block of questions. It is crucial to read and understand the instructions provided by the testing center and manage time effectively during the Exam.

Prometric Centre for USMLE Exam

The USMLE Step 1 and 2 exams, including India, can be taken at Prometric test centers worldwide. There are over 150 Prometric test centers outside of the United States and Canada, and 8 USMLE test centers in major metro cities in India: Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Allahabad, Mumbai, and New Delhi. The testing company that administers the USMLE tests is called Prometric. The USMLE exams are computer-based tests (CBTs) that Prometric organizes at Prometric USMLE test centers. You can take the Step 1 and Step 2 exams without being physically present in the United States. However, your country must have a Prometric test center. You must be physically present in the United States to take the USMLE Step 3 exam.

Importance of the USMLE for Medical Professionals

The USMLE plays a major role in the medical profession as it is a standardized assessment tool for medical professionals seeking licensure in the United States. It guarantees that medical professionals possess the know-how and abilities to give patients high-quality care. Additionally, a high score on the USMLE can enhance a candidate's residency application and increase their chances of securing a desirable residency program. Furthermore, passing the USMLE is a requirement for international medical graduates (IMGs) to receive the certification from (ECFMG) the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates required to practice medicine in the US. 

What is ECFMG certification, and why is it important?

ECFMG certification stands for Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates certification. It is a requirement for international medical graduates (IMGs) to obtain before they can practice medicine in the United States. ECFMG certification is necessary to participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), which matches medical graduates with residency programs. It ensures that IMGs meet the standards to provide quality healthcare in the United States.

What is the NBME and its role in the USMLE?

The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) creates and administers the USMLE. NBME develops the exam content, sets the standards, and scores the exams. They play a significant role in ensuring the validity and reliability of the USMLE. The NBME also provides valuable resources and practice exams to help candidates prepare for the USMLE effectively.

What is Form 183, and what is its significance in the USMLE process?

Form 183 is an essential document in the USMLE process that is required for international medical graduates (IMGs). It is used to verify the candidate's medical education credentials and is submitted to the ECFMG as part of the application process. Form 183 is essential for establishing eligibility to take the USMLE exams and obtain ECFMG certification.

USMLE 2023 Results:

  • NBME electronically determines and releases score reports for all 2023 steps via ECFMG's OASIS platform. No paper copies are mailed.
  • Expect results within 3-4 weeks of your exam date.
  • ECFMG emails international students/graduates when Step 1 2 CK reports are available. FSMB handles Step 3 notifications.
  • Scoring: Scores range from 0-300 on a 3-digit scale. USMLE Step 1 score reporting: Transitioned from a numeric score to pass/fail only for exams taken on or after January 26, 2022.
  • Pass Marks:
Step 1 Step 2 CK Step 3
Pass 206 196

These minimum scores are for passing, but pass rates vary across medical schools—performance data: 2023 examinee performance data available at www.usmle.org/performance-data.

Strategies for preparing and studying for the USMLE

Preparing for the USMLE is a marathon, not a sprint, and requires dedication, a strategic plan, and the right resources. Here's a roadmap to guide you through the process:

  • Understand the Exam: Familiarize yourself with the USMLE format. There are three steps: 
  • Step 1: Covers anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, and other basic sciences. Primarily multiple-choice questions.
  • Step 2 CK: Assesses clinical knowledge, reasoning, and problem-solving skills through case presentations and multiple-choice questions.
  • Step 3: Examine your capacity to use your medical knowledge and abilities in a clinical setting under supervision.
  •  Craft a Study Schedule: Start early: Aim for at least 6-12 months of dedicated studying, adjusting your learning style and pace.
  • Divide your time effectively: Allocate sufficient hours for high-yield topics and weaker areas.
  • Schedule regular breaks: Avoid burnout by incorporating breaks and activities you enjoy.
  • Choose High-Quality Resources: Moksh Academy can be valuable for your USMLE preparation, particularly for Step 1 and Step 2 CK. Comprehensive Curriculum: Moksh Academy offers extensive video lectures covering all high-yield topics for Step 1 and Step 2 CK. The content is well-organized, concise, and delivered by experienced faculty.
  • Question Bank and Explanations: The platform provides access to an extensive database of practice questions with detailed explanations, which helps test your understanding, identify knowledge gaps, and improve test-taking strategies.
  • Interactive Learning Tools: Moksh Academy offers interactive live lectures and solving sessions to enhance your learning experience and reinforce critical concepts.
  • Flexibility and Accessibility: The online platform allows you to study at your own pace and from anywhere with an internet connection. Making it a good option for students with hectic schedules or those who would rather study alone
  • Practice questions: Regularly incorporate practice questions to identify knowledge gaps and improve test-taking skills.
  • Seek Support: Establish a study group and contact knowledgeable Moksh Academy Mentors who can help you set and achieve study objectives to prepare for the USMLE exam phase-by-phase. It is an excellent resource for students requiring extra exam preparation assistance.
  • Take care of yourself: Prioritize sleep, exercise, and wholesome eating practices to preserve one's physical and emotional wellness.
  • Simulate the exam environment: Take practice tests under timed conditions to get accustomed to the pressure and pacing.
  • Examine your errors using a weakness rectifier to help you get fully prepared.
  • Stay positive and motivated: Remember your goals and celebrate your achievements.

Remember, preparing for the USMLE is a journey, not a destination. Be patient and persistent, and trust your ability to succeed.