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Questions about USMLE

Applying, Scheduling, and Rescheduling

  1. How do I apply for USMLE?

  2. What is the cost of the USMLE exams?

  3. Is there a fee for changing my appointment?

Preparing for USMLE

  1. How do I prepare for the test? Is there a review book for USMLE?

  2. Where can I obtain a copy of the USMLE Bulletin of Information?

Updating information

  1. How do I update my contact information (email, mailing address, phone number) or register a name change?


  1. What should I do if I have a disability that requires test accommodations?


  1. Is there a limit on the number of times Steps can be taken?

  2. Do the Steps have to be taken at particular points during my medical education and career?

  3. If a physician currently holds a license in one state and has not taken USMLE, is it necessary to pass USMLE to seek licensure in another state?

  4. I am a graduate of a medical school outside the United States and Canada. How can I get information on what is required to enter graduate medical education and/or practice medicine in the United States?

  5. I am a MD/PhD candidate and the state board where I am applying for licensure requires applicants to complete all three Steps within seven years. Is there an exception to this policy?


  1. What are the rules regarding retakes?

  2. Can I retake a Step that I previously passed?


  1. What is ERAS?

  2. How do I report a problem related to my testing administration?

  3. What are the rules regarding what I can and cannot bring into the secure areas of the testing center?

  4. Who is on the Composite Committee?

Biometric Enabled Check-In System

  1. What biometric information is collected from a USMLE® candidate?

  2. How long will my biometric information be stored?

  3. Who will have access to my biometric information?

  4. I would like to read the Biometric Enabled Check-In System Privacy Notice.

Practice Materials

  1. Where can I get sample test materials to practice taking a test?

  2. Can I use the USMLE practice materials on a Mac?

  3. Who can I talk to if I have trouble installing or using practice materials?


  1. When will I get my scores?

  2. Why does it take three to four weeks to score a computer-delivered examination?

  3. What are the passing scores for the three Steps?

  4. What are the current pass rates for the Steps?

  5. What are the group pass rates by medical school for the Steps?

  6. Can I retake a Step that I passed to raise my score?

  7. How can I request a transcript of my USMLE scores?

  8. How is the Step 2 CS exam scored?

  9. How do I request a score recheck?

  10. What is the minimum passing score, and is it always the same?

  11. Who else sees my score report?

Step 1

  1. If I received a 3-digit score on my Step 1 examination, will my 3-digit score be visible on paper and ERAS transcripts after Step 1 outcomes are reported as pass/fail?

  2. How can I compete with others who have a numeric score when I only have pass/fail?

  3. When will the policy change of reporting Step 1 as pass/fail only occur (why is there no exact/precise date)?

  4. Will my Step 1 result be reported only as pass/fail after the policy change based on my test date or score report date?

  5. What kinds of pharmacology items will examinees see on the Step 1 exam after the exam is updated in October 2020?

  6. What new content will appear on Step 1 exams administered after the exam is updated in October 2020?

Step 2 CS (Clinical Skills)

USMLE Step 2 CS is Temporarily Suspended

  • Testing at CSEC centers for Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) is suspended until at least June 1, 2021. All Step 2 CS results from exam administrations prior to the suspension (March 2020) will be reported on USMLE transcripts. Due to the Step 2 CS suspension, a significant number of individuals applying for residency in the 2020-2021 cycle will not have a Step 2 CS result or an opportunity to retest after a Step 2 CS failure. Information on the timing of this suspension will be clearly communicated to residency programs through ERAS. While Step 2 CS is suspended, the ECFMG has posted requirements for Certification for the 2021 residency Match, available here.
  • The USMLE program is also working with the medical education and regulation community to mitigate the impact of this testing disruption.
  • Read about a new Comprehensive Approach to Gather Perspectives about Clinical Skills
  • Listen to a podcast for insights into the decision making process, alternative delivery options that were explored, and next steps for the USMLE program to consider. (June 10, 2020)
  • Read an announcement about the continued suspension of Step 2 CS to determine the optimal approach to clinical skills assessment without compromising the health and safety of examinees and test center staff.(May 26, 2020)

Practice Materials

  1. Why do the videos depict reenactments by actors of actual examinee performances excerpts and not the entire encounter?


  1. Why does the USMLE include a clinical skills component?

  2. What studies support this need?

  3. If assessment of clinical skills is so important, why was it absent from the USMLE until 2004?

  4. Why isn't my passing grade on clinical skills exams in medical school sufficient for the licensing board?

Exam Design

  1. How are licensing boards involved in the USMLE and Step 2 CS?

  2. How does the USMLE program decide what cases will be presented in Step 2 CS and what skills are assessed?

  3. What evidence is there that the design of Step 2 CS is sound?

Pass Rate and Impact

  1. How many people pass Step 2 CS?

  2. Will I be able to learn how I performed on specific areas of the exam?

Number of Testing Sites

  1. Why are there so few testing sites for Step 2 CS?

  2. Why doesn't the USMLE program use some of the excellent clinical skills facilities at universities to expand testing sites?

Registration and Scheduling

  1. How far in advance do I need to register and schedule to find available appointments at the test center of my choice?

Patient Notes

  1. How are the patient notes scored?

  2. Examinees are required to type patient notes on a computer. Should I also be prepared to handwrite a patient note?

  3. How much text will I be able to type in the patient note fields?


  1. How do I interpret the performance profile on my score report?

  2. I did not pass the Communications and Interpersonal Skills (CIS) subcomponent. How do you ensure that the standardized patient provided you with accurate feedback upon which to base my score?

  3. I did not pass the Spoken English Proficiency (SEP) subcomponent of the exam, and yet I passed the Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS) subcomponent. How is this possible?

  4. Why does it take so long to score Step 2 CS?

  5. How does the CS score recheck process work? Are videos used in the process?

Computer-assisted Patient Note Scoring

  1. Why is USMLE implementing computer-assisted scoring?

  2. How is computer-assisted scoring being used in the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills exam?

  3. Are the scoring criteria for the patient note changing as a result of implementation of computer-assisted scoring?

  4. Will computer-assisted scoring understand different methods of formatting, phrasing, and abbreviations?

  5. How will computer-assisted scoring impact the cost of the exam?

  6. Will computer-assisted scoring change how long it takes to deliver scores?

  1. How will foundational (basic) science be assessed on Step 2 CK administered after the exam is updated in November 2020?

  2. Will examinees who test before the exam is updated in November 2020 see different amounts of content in categories such as Diagnosis, Management, or Organ Systems compared with examinees who test after that date?

  3. What new content will appear on Step 2 CK exams administered after the exam is updated in November 2020?

Score Report

  1. Why have the Step examination score reports changed and how was the new format developed?

  2. How do I interpret my score?

  3. What is the minimum passing score, and is it always the same?

  4. How is my performance compared to others?

  5. What is the standard error of the estimate (SEE), and what does it tell me about my performance?

  6. What happened to the performance profile section? I want to know how close my performance is in a topic area compared to borderline performance.

  7. How do I interpret my Relative Strengths and Weaknesses?

  8. In the relative strengths and weakness section of my score report, all the boxes for every content area are the same as my overall performance. What does this mean?

  9. One topic area is higher than the others. Does this mean I don’t have to study it?

  10. How much of each content area appears on the examination?

  11. What is the best remediation strategy if I did not pass a Step examination?

  12. Who else sees my score report?

  13. I took my Step exam and received a score report before the new format was available. Can I get an updated copy of my score report in the new format?

  14. What if I tested before implementation of the new score report (before January 14, 2019)?