The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure
United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE) (https://www.usmle.org/) must be cleared by every student looking to become a licensed physician. There are three parts, commonly referred to as USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 and USMLE Step 3. Step 1 and Step 2 are usually taken while you are in medical school, while Step 3 is taken during your residency. USMLE is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB, https://www.fsmb.org/) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME, https://www.nbme.org/).
USMLE Step 1 is taken after completing Basic Sciences and before entering Clinical Sciences. It measures the student’s knowledge obtained in Basic Sciences and readiness to enter the Clinical Science component of the program. USMLE Step 1 is considered the most difficult of the three exams. In 2022, the exam changed from being scored, tosimply PASS/FAIL outcome. While some students have found that to be helpful, others have seen it as an obstacle when applying for residency in the United States. For Caribbean medical students, this is the biggest obstacle to completing the program and becoming a successful physician.
USMLE Step 2 is generally taken towards the end of the medical program and before applying for residency. The USMLE Step 2, also referred to as Clinical Knowledge Exam, is conducted in a testing center, focusing on knowledge of clinical medicine.
The student’s performance on the USMLE Exams, specifically USMLE Step 1 and Step 2, are critical when applying for residency. Because the USMLE Step 1 has transitioned onto the PASS/FAIL system, achieving a good score on the USMLE Step 2 is viewed as extremely important. This is because the residency program directors now have only one scored examination to review, whereas in the past there were three. For details on how the student has to perform to have a good chance when applying for residency, please see Pass and Success Rates page.
USMLE Step 3 is completed during the residency training and prior to obtaining the license