The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination program for students who want to get a medical license in the United States. USMLE is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board Of Medical Examiners (NBME) both are non-profit organizations, representing 70 state medical and osteopathic boards across the United States of America. Physicians with a Doctor of Medicine( MD) degree are required to pass the USMLE exam for medical licensure. However, Doctors with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree are required to take the Comlex-USA exam. If you are preparing for USMLE and have any confusion about preparation and looking for the right guidance then this is all the information you will need. In America.         

USMLE is managed by all the top organizations’ boards of members including members from FSMB & NBME and top international firms or organizations such as the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Medical Association (AMA), the Resident and Fellows Section of the AMA, the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS), the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), the uniformed services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.


USMLE exams are divided into three steps include USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK & USMLE Step 3.

Step 1

Step 1 of the USMLE's main goal is to confirm whether you can integrate the knowledge of mechanisms and principles basic to health, disease, and therapy. The USMLE Step 1 is a gateway exam and it allows access to a procedure upon successful completion of which, you reach the peak of the medical career.

Every Step in the USMLE has its own importance. USMLE Step 1 primary goal is to confirm whether you have the requisite comprehension of the mechanisms and foundation of medical science. This involves the modern concept of disease, treatment, and cure. It checks Students' caliber to continue the process of learning beyond the USMLE exam.

Step 2 CK

The main aim of Step 2 is ‘patient care under supervision. It measures the candidate’s ability to apply her knowledge, skills, & the principles of medicine to patient care. Step 2 CK arranges special emphasis on the promotion of health & prevention of diseases. This step is the main approach that is patient-centric.

Like Step 1, the exam pattern is divided into 8 sections with a total of 318 MCQs. For each section, the total time is 60 minutes. Also, You have a minimum of 45 minutes of break and a tutorial of 15 minutes. The minimum passing mark is 209 for step 2 CK.

The USMLE Step 2 CK check your Clinical Knowledge. If you are interested in Medical PG in the USA then you have to pass USMLE Step 1. Then, you must finalize a Clinical Green Book Rotation of two years from a major teaching hospital in the USA, accredited by ACGME.

Now, you are ready to clear the USMLE Step 2 Exam. This Step includes  2 main sections CK & CS. As an aftereffect of the COVID-19 outbreak, the USMLE Step 2 CS has become Step 2 CK.

The main intention of the USMLE Step 2 Exam has been to assess the comprehension of Clinical Science and the application of the knowledge of medicine. Certainly, a doctor and nursing faculties have to be patient-centric and this magnitude is exactly what the USMLE Step 2 Exam requires.

Now, USMLE Step 2 changes its original pattern after 2021-22. There is quite some speculation among interested firms & organizations regarding this. Most of the professionals are in favor of the discontinuation of USMLE Step 2 CS, there will be some alterations.

Step 3

This is the final step that provides you with the authority to apply for a medical license to practice medicine in the USA. Like Step 2 CK, Step 3 also appraises your skills & ability to patient care. However, this time around, it is unattended. The examination commission that sets the question papers is also separated from USMLE Step 1 & 2 paper setter commission. The members of Step 3 are mostly practitioners and members of the State Medical Licensing Boards. 

It is a 2 days exam. The 1st-day exam's total duration is 7 hours with the 45 minutes break and a 5 minutes tutorial routine. There are 232 MCQ-type questions. There is a distribution of these questions into 6 sections, each having 38-39 questions. The 2nd-day exam's total duration is 9 hours. There are 180 test questions distributed into 6 sections. Each section has 30 questions. The break-tutorial routine is the same 5 minutes.

The applicant appears in 13 computer-based case simulations (CCS) on the 2nd day. You have either 15 or 20 minutes for attempting each USMLE Step 3 CCS. They get extra 7 minutes for the tutorial section. The passing mark is 198 for the USMLE Step 3 exam.

The main motive of the USMLE Step 3 exam is to measure your ability & skills in handling patients independently. To put it in another way, it tests your command over the application of medical principles in an unsupervised setting. That is why, after clearing Step 3 USMLE, finally you get a license to practice medicine in all the major hospitals of the USA.

The committee that creates the test papers for the Step 3 USMLE exams has expert & professional representatives from the medical fields.

USMLE Exam Details – Eligibility Criteria

Every step of the USMLE exam comes with different eligibility criteria.

Criteria for Steps 1, 2 CK:

  • Should be a graduate of a Canadian or US medical school program or enrolled in a program leading to the MD qualification, as accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)
  • Should be a medical student enrolled officially in a US medical school, leading to a DO degree or a graduate of the same, per accreditation from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA).
  • A medical student with official enrollment or graduation from a medical school outside Canada or the US is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools.

Criteria for USMLE Step 3:

Below are some essential eligibility for International students :

USMLE Step 3:

  • Firstly students must clear USMLE step-1 & step-2 exams.
  • Students should have a certified or valid MD or DO degree from LCME, COCA-accredited Canadian or US medical schools, or any other recognized medical universities listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDMOS).

USMLE Examination Requirements

 Below are some essential requirements for foreign students:

  • When you submit your application, you will get a confirmation email with all the information about scheduling permit availability.
  • Applicants must visit the Prometric official site to schedule the examination date.
  • Applicants should safely secure & remember their scheduling permits for the examination.

 Students should carefully review the Rules & regulations of the Conduct body for the exam while following all instructions at the examination center and carrying copies of all the essential documents & identity cards/proofs. Students suggest that they came examination center solely no need to bring other family members or friends to the examination center.

Students are advised not to carry any illegal or prohibited material in the examination center. Students can carry only the stethoscope, black pen, and white laboratory coat.

Before visiting Candidate Identification Number (CIN) and starting the examination, they should never write on laminated note boards.

Students read proper instructions written on question papers like USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK can be attempted in any sequence, but USMLE Step 3 can only be attempted after completing the first two steps.