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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.



Step 2 CS videos available

Posted: November 05, 2018

Brief videos depicting reenactments by actors of actual examinee performances on the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination are now available. The names of the examinees and standardized patients have been changed. All videos are less than two minutes in length.

You can view them here. These videos provide examples of an actual examinee performance at an acceptable level, and may be helpful to individuals preparing to take the exam.


New score report format – USMLE Step 3 examination

Posted: October 03, 2018
Updated: October 23, 2018

The USMLE Step 3 examination score report has been redesigned to reflect both advances in the underlying science of assessment and changes to the USMLE program over time.  Examinees testing on or after October 1, 2018 will receive score reports in the new format.

The redesigned report features a chart showing an examinee’s performance compared with recent first-time takers from US and Canadian medical schools, the examinee’s performance in individual content areas relative to their overall Step 3 performance, and information about the allocation of items across each content area.

You can view the new score report here [Understanding Your Step 3 Score Report]. Click on the comment boxes for explanatory/informational text. FAQs about the score report are also available.

The USMLE program solicited feedback on the new design from a number of stakeholders, including examinees, medical school faculty, and residency program directors.

The new examinee score report format will be implemented for Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) examinations in early 2019. A new score report format for the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination is under development.

Questions or comments? Please send here.


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