United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE) Requirements


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.


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 USMLE Step I, Step II CK and Step II CS Policy

Any failure of Step I, Step II CK or Step II CS will be brought to the attention of the Progress Committee and the student's academic advisor.  In general, a student in good standing will be allowed three attempts to take and pass each of these examinations.  The timing of the repeat exams should be determined in consultation with the academic advisor.  If a student fails an exam three times, the Progress Committee will review the student's overall academic progress.  Under extraordinary circumstances the Progress Committee may permit a fourth attempt, but barring that permission, the student will be dismissed from the medical school.

If a student who fails one of these exams is also experiencing other academic difficulties, including issues related to unprofessional behavior or failure to progress through the clinical clerkships, or is already on academic probation, the Progress Committee will review the student's overall academic progress.  The Progress Committee will then determine how many times and under what circumstances that individual may be permitted to repeat these exams, which may be fewer than three times. 

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.