The USMLE Examination
The USMLE examination began in 1992, and was a created to
replace two earlier examinations, the NBME certification
examination and the Federal Licensing Examination. Presently, it is the only examination system for students
seeking medical licensure in USA. Both US medical students as well
as international medical students who want medical licenses in United States must take this
The USMLE examination is a computer-based test, which is
comprised of three main steps. As a student seeking a medical
license in the United States, you must meet the basic eligibility requirements. In case you are a US citizen,
the first eligibility criteria is that you must be a medical student enrolled in a graduate program in the US or
Canada, which will give you a MD degree that is accredited by the Liaison Committee. Otherwise, you must be a
graduate from a US medical school holding a DO degree that is accredited by the American Osteopathic
Association. In case you are an international medical graduate, you
must be eligible for certification conducted by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical
Goals of the USMLE
The USMLE examination assesses your ability as a physician
to apply your knowledge and skills in a variety of health issues and it checks whether you are capable of
providing care to patients in a safe, effective and efficient manner. To obtain a medical license, you need
to complete all the three steps of USMLE within seven years.
system used in the USMLE test is unique. It gives two scores to the
examinees – one is a three digit score, which is more descriptive, and the second is a two digit equivalent of
the score obtained on the three digit scale. The minimum passing
score on the two digit scale is 75. Most medical organizations
consider only the two digit score for hiring purposes. On a three
digit scale, currently the national mean score is 221, and with a standard deviation of 23. Based on the latest
scoring system, the passing score on the three digit system is 188.
Because there is no negative marking for wrong answers in
this examination, it is suggested that if you’re not sure of an answer it’s best to go with your best possible
guess, rather than not answering the question at all.
Eligibility Based on the USMLE
Most residency programs consider the USMLE score for the
selection of candidates. Because the examination is standardized, it is one of the best ways to compare medical
students from the United States and international students.
Apart from becoming eligible for residency programs after
passing the USMLE test, passing examinees also become eligible for fellowships in United States. This is
applicable for both US students as well as foreign students having a recognized post-graduate qualification.
Thorough, in-depth preparation for the examination is a must, if you are serious about obtaining your medical
license at the earliest opportunity.
There are a number of ways to prepare for the
exam. There are classroom programs and on-line
programs. The USMLE Tutor offers one-on-one training that is
customized to meet your particular needs. This method has been
shown to be very effective and to reduce preparation time, because no time is taken to deal with areas where
you are well prepared.