United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE) Requirements
USMLE Step I
All students are required to sit for Step I of the United States Medical Licensing Examination for the first time by the end of December of the third chronological year, but students are strongly encouraged to take it before starting clinical clerkships in June of the third year. The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Steps I, II Clinical Knowledge, and III are computer-administered at Prometric Testing Centers. This system has given students considerable flexibility over choice of test time and place. Students should consult the USMLE web site for more information (www.usmle.org).
The Office of Student Affairs holds an informational session on USMLE Step I in January. You may apply for the USMLE online at the NBME (National Board of Medical Examiners) Interactive Website for Applicants and Examinees (www.nbme.org). Please click here for information on how to register for the USMLE examination.
Failure of Step I
If a student fails Step I, he or she may reschedule it at any time before May of the third year. Three failures of Step I will require consultation with the Progress Committee, and only in extraordinary circumstances will the student receive permission to take it a fourth time. In the absence of that permission, the student will be dismissed from the School of Medicine.
In some cases where a student may be having other academic problems, failing Step I once or twice will trigger consultation with the Progress Committee. In some unusual cases, students will not be allowed multiple retakes, for example, if the student is unable to progress satisfactorily in the clerkships or behaves in repeatedly or egregiously unprofessional ways. (see section on Progress Committee). If Step I is failed more than once, the student may be asked to discontinue clinical rotations until he or she takes and passes the exam. Any combination of failures to progress including failure of USMLE, failure of multiple qualifying exams and/or failure of clinical clerkships may result in academic probation or academic suspension. The Progress Committee may also decide to impose academic probation or suspension based on a single failure that it considers of sufficient magnitude or concern.
USMLE Step II
Passing USMLE Step I and both parts of Step II is required for graduation from Yale Medical School.
The written Step II exam is called Step II Clinical Knowledge (Step II CK). Step II CK must be taken by December 31 of the final year, and it is strongly recommended that students take it early in the 4th year immediately after completing the clinical clerkships when the information is fresh. Like Step I, this computer-based exam is administered at Prometric Test Centers throughout the world. Step II Clinical Skills (Step II CS) is a separate, required component of Step II and must be taken by December 31 of the final year as well, but again, it is to the student’s advantage to take it as close as possible to having completed the clinical clerkships. Utilizing standardized patients, this exam is administered at regionally located centers operating year-round. Please click here for information on how to register for the USMLE examination.
It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that both parts of USMLE Step II are scheduled and taken by December 31. Disregarding this requirement is considered an unprofessional response and may be considered by the Progress Committee in deciding whether a student has satisfactorily completed the requirements to graduate. If a student schedules the exams but then fails to take them as scheduled, the Progress Committee and the dean of the medical school will be notified. In addition, the student may be prevented from putting in a match list, or the residency programs to which the student has applied may be notified that the student, in addition to behaving unprofessionally, may be in jeopardy of not graduating on time to start residency.
Failure of Step II
The reason that USMLE Steps II must be taken before December 31 of the 4th year is to give anyone who fails it the opportunity to retake the exams and get a passing score back in time to graduate. In order to be certain that students have taken them or have plans to take them before that date, proof in the form of a score or a ticket will be required before the dean’s letter is sent out on October 1. Students may have three attempts to pass Step II before being dismissed from the medical school except under extraordinary circumstances to be decided by the Progress Committee and the dean.
Obtaining a Joint Degree
Students enrolled in a joint degree program or in a program to obtain a degree at another school must complete 3 years of medical school and pass Step I and Steps II of USMLE before beginning in the other program. A student who has not taken both parts of USMLE will not be permitted to start in the other program.