The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step exam medical doctors are required to pass before practicing medicine in the United States. It is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners.
- Step I of the USMLE assesses a student's ability to apply basic sciences to the practice of medicine. The eight-hour test consists of 350 multiple-choice questions. Students are required to take USMLE Step I by December 31 of the third chronological year.
- Step II is divided into two exams, which tests clinical knowledge and clinical skills. Both must be taken by December 31 of the fourth year, although we recommend you take both exams early in the fourth year, immediately after finishing clerkships.
- Step III, also a two-day exam, assesses whether a medical school graduate can apply medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science for the unsupervised practice of medicine. This exam is typically taken at the end of the first year of residency.
Passing Step I and both parts of Step II is required for graduation from Yale Medical School. Students who fail Step I may retake it before the end of May of the third year. Students must complete both parts of Step II before December of the fourth year.
Scheduling and logistics
The three USMLE tests are computer-administered at Prometric testing centers. This gives students flexibility over where and when to take the test. Go to www.usmle.org for more information. You may apply for the USMLE online at the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), at www.nbme.org.
To schedule USMLE Step I:
- Ensure the following are completed before submitting your form to the Office of Student Affairs. We will certify your enrollment and mail the application to the NBME for processing.
- Please write your name on the back of the picture
- Securely adhere your picture to the form
- Check off the first box and sign the bottom of the form
- Indicate in which three-month period you would like to take the exam. Within six weeks, you will receive an electronic ticket with an identification number.
- When you receive your identification number, call any Prometric test site to schedule a test day within the designated three-month block.
The written Step II exam is divided into two parts: Step II Clinical Knowledge (Step II CK) and Step II Clinical Skills (Step II CS).
The clinical skills test uses standardized patients and is given at regionally located centers. Test sites include Philadelphia, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. Step II CS costs do not include travel or hotel expenses.
- Note: Any student who cannot afford this expense should speak to the associate dean for student affairs as early as possible. Financial hardship is not an excuse for failure to meet the deadline for taking the Step II test.
We recommend you schedule a test date as early as possible. Go to the USMLE website at www.usmle.org.