Step 3 is designed to assess the knowledge and skills of physicians who are assuming independent responsibility for providing general medical care to patients, with emphasis on patient management in ambulatory settings. It is the final examination in the USMLE sequence leading to a license to practice medicine without supervision. The examination material is prepared by examination committees broadly representing the medical profession. The committees comprise recognized experts in their fields, including both academic and non-academic practitioners, as well as members of state medical licensing boards.
Step 3 content reflects a data-based model of generalist medical practice in the United States. The test items and cases reflect the clinical situations that a general, as-yet undifferentiated, physician might encounter within the context of a specific setting. Step 3 provides a final assessment of physicians assuming independent responsibility for delivering general medical care.
The Step 3 examination devotes attention to the importance of assessing the knowledge and skills of physicians who are assuming independent responsibility for providing general medical care to patients. The first day of the Step 3 examination is referred to as Foundations of Independent Practice (FIP), and the second day is referred to as Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM).