Step 1 Exam Content


Step 1 assesses whether you understand and can apply important concepts of the sciences basic to the practice of medicine, with special emphasis on principles and mechanisms underlying health, disease, and modes of therapy. Step 1 ensures mastery of not only the sciences that provide a foundation for the safe and competent practice of medicine in the present, but also the scientific principles required for maintenance of competence through lifelong learning. Step 1 is constructed according to an integrated content outline that organizes basic science material along two dimensions: system and process.

Step 1 is a one-day examination. It is divided into seven 60-minute blocks and administered in one 8-hour testing session. The number of questions per block on a given examination form may vary, but will not exceed 40. The total number of items on the overall examination form will not exceed 280.

The examination also includes a minimum allotment of 45 minutes of break time and a 15-minute optional tutorial. The amount of time available for breaks may be increased by finishing a block of test items or the optional tutorial before the allotted time expires.

Practice materials, which include an interactive testing experience and tutorial, and sample test items in a PDF document, as well as other informational materials, are available. Examinees must also read the USMLE Bulletin of Information.

Please visit the USMLE website often to view announcements, regarding changes in test delivery software, and to access updated practice materials. You must obtain the most recent information before taking any USMLE examination.