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Attempt limit for USMLE examinations

Posted: June 20, 2012

Examinees who have made six or more attempts to pass a Step or Step component, including incomplete attempts, should be aware that all applications to register for additional attempts will not be processed unless they are submitted on or before December 31, 2012. This limit was first announced in August of 2011.

The effective date for the six-attempt limit depends upon whether an examinee has taken any Step or Step Component (including incomplete attempts) before January 1, 2012.

 Examinees who had NOT taken any Step or Step Component before January 1, 2012
If you did not take any Step or Step Component before January 1, 2012, the six-attempt limit went into effect for all exam applications that you submitted on or after January 1, 2012.

Example 1: On January 15, 2012, Examinee A submits his application for his first attempt at any Step or Step Component. The six-attempt limit is effective at that time for all Steps and Step Components and Examinee A will be allowed to take each Step or Step Component no more than six times, including incomplete attempts.

• Examinees who have taken any Step or Step Component before January 1, 2012
If you have taken any Step or Step Component (including incomplete attempts) before January 1, 2012, the six-attempt limit is in effect for all exam applications that you submit on or after January 1, 2013.  After that date, all attempts at a Step or Step Component will be counted toward the limit, regardless of when the exams were taken.

Example 2: Examinee B’s application for a seventh attempt at a particular Step or Step Component is received on December 15, 2012. For this examinee, the six-attempt limit will not prevent the seventh attempt, since the application was submitted before January 1, 2013.  However, if Examinee B fails the exam, he will not be eligible to submit an application after January 1, 2013 to retake that Step or Step Component.

Example 3:  Examinee C attempts to submit an application for a seventh attempt at a particular Step or Step Component on or after January 1, 2013. The application will not be processed, since all exam applications submitted on or after January 1, 2013 will be subject to the six-attempt limit.


Please refer to the 2012 Bulletin of Information for more complete information on time and attempt limits.



Step 2 CK - Schedule for score reporting and change in number of items

Posted: May 19, 2015

The USMLE program usually reports Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) scores within four weeks of testing.  However, because of necessary modifications to the test item pool, there will be a delay in reporting for some examinees who test between the week of July 13th through late August.  The target date for reporting Step 2 CK scores for most examinees who test during this time period will be Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

 If you need to receive a Step 2 CK score before September 16, we recommend that you take Step 2 CK no later than Friday, July 10, 2015.

During the period July 13 through late August, the number of items per block on a given examination form will vary but will not exceed 44 items. The number of items in a block is displayed on the screen at the beginning of the block.  Please note this information and pace yourself accordingly. 

The total number of items on the overall examination form will not exceed the current 350 items. The length of the testing day will not change. The test day will continue to be divided into eight 60-minute blocks, administered in one nine-hour testing session.  The variation in number of items per block will not impact scoring.


2016 schedule for reporting Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) results is available

Posted: April 07, 2015

The 2016 schedule provides examinees, and others who rely on Step 2 CS results, with guidelines regarding when a result will be reported for a given exam date. Click here to view the schedule.


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