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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 Bulletin of Information for more complete information on time and attempt limits.



USMLE scoring: An ongoing conversation

Posted: May 02, 2019

At the March 2019 Invitational Conference on USMLE Scoring (InCUS), stakeholders from organizations within the house of medicine discussed USMLE’s score reporting, both its primary use for licensure as well as secondary uses in undergraduate and graduate medical education. Read the latest update about the InCUS experience and timeline.


New videos: “Your USMLE Journey to Medical Licensure in the U.S.” and “Who is USMLE?”

Posted: April 19, 2019

Two new videos about the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program are now available for students, examinees, medical school faculty, and others.

Your USMLE Journey to Medical Licensure in the U.S.” looks at what is covered on each Step exam, using colorful scenes and visual elements.

Who is USMLE?”  features program volunteers and committee members who help develop the exams, discussing the perspectives and principles behind work on a licensure examination.. 

The new videos are a great way to quickly understand the   exams that comprise the three Steps of USMLE

In addition, the USMLE website now includes an easy to locate page for quick access to all videos and podcasts supporting program information.

Keep checking the USMLE Announcements section for news, videos, and podcasts to stay aware of program updates.


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