USMLE Step 1 – Frequently Asked Questions

I decided to write this post for those readers of my blog who aren’t a physicians in USA now, but just International Medical Graduates. I know that many of you still have questions on USMLE Step 1 exam and in next several paragraphs I’ll try to cover most frequently asked of them.

Let’s start from the very beginning.

What is USMLE ?

USMLE - is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the USA. You can’t work as a physician in USA without medical license, and that’s why you need to pass all USMLE exams.

What is USMLE Step I ?

USMLE Step I is the first part of USMLE. It’s an eight-hour computer-based exam taken in a single-day, consisting of 322 multiple-choice questions. All questions are divided into 7 sections.

Notice, that you will have only 1 hour for each section of questions.  Otherwise – no more than 1 min 15 sec for single question.

After completing each section you are allowed to have a small break. You have 45 minutes in total for all your breaks between sections. If you finish any section before the one hour time limit, all the unused time is added to  your break time total.

What Subjects  are covered by UMSLE Step I ?

Step I include questions from 7 subjects of Basic Medical Sciences:
  1. Anatomy
  2. Physiology
  3. Pathology
  4. Biochemistry
  5. Pharmacology
  6. Microbiology and Immunology
  7. Behavioral Sciences

Who can apply for USMLE Step 1 ?

To take the Step 1 exam you need to meet the eligibility criteria of the ECFMG. They are a bit different for medical school students and for medical school graduates.

If you are a Medical School Student:
  1. You must be officially enrolled in a medical school located outside the USA, and your school have to be listed in the International Medical Education Directory (IMED).
  2. Dean or other authorized official of your medical school must certify your current enrollment status.
  3. You must have completed at least two years of your medical school.

If you are a Medical School Graduate:
  1. Your medical school must be listed in IMED.
  2. Dean or other authorized official of your medical school must confirm you as a graduate.

What is the minimum passing score at USMLE Step I ?

USMLE Step I results are reported on two scales – 2-digit and 3-digit. Minimum passing score on 2-digit scale is 75, while minimum at 3-digit scale is 188.

How much does USMLE Step I cost?

Get ready to pay $820 if you are going to take Step I in USA.  Taking exam outside USA will require additional  International Test Delivery Surcharge (from $150 to $355 for different countries). Look here for more detailed information on Testing Regions and International Test Delivery Surcharges.

How to prepare for USMLE Step I ?

There are many methods, plans and schemes of preparation for this exam, which can be the most difficult exam in your life. Next few posts in my blog will be focused on preparation for USMLE Step 1 and I’ll try to cover the most important topics.

If you are ready to start your to start your big journey to the top of American medicine USMLE Step 1 preparation – look at my USMLE Step 1 Books Review.

Your questions are welcome in comments!

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