What is USMLE Exam – Leverage Edu

The USMLE is considered one of the toughest exams in the world, which entitles you to practice the respected medical profession in the United States. USMLE is a 3 stage exam. If you want to enter the Prestigious Profession of Medicine in USA or MD in USA The USMLE exam is the only gateway to your career. For all the information about the USMLE test, definitely read this blog.

name of exam USMLE
sponsored by Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and National Board for Medical Examiners (NBME)
total stage 3
maximum number of attempts 6

What is the USMLE Exam?

The full form of USMLE is United States Medical Licensing Examination, which is required to clear to study medicine courses in USA. This test is jointly sponsored by Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and National Board for Medical Examiners (NBME).

Being one of the top medical entrance exams in USA, this test has three stages- Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3 in which Stage 2 is further divided into 2 stages – Stage 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge) and Stage 2. 2 CS (Clinical Skills). It is mandatory to clear all three steps to become a medical practitioner in the US. The candidates who fulfill the eligibility are given the freedom to choose the sequence of stages. However, Stage 3 can only be taken if you have completed the first 2 stages. USMLE Exam Stage is a computer based test for CS exam which is conducted in offline mode.

History of USMLE

The USMLE exam was first designed in the 1980s and started from 1992 to 1994. This program replaced the NBME Part Examination Program and the FSMB’s Federation Licensing Examination (FLEX) programme, which were widely accepted medical licensing examination programs up to that time. A clinical skills test in step 2 was also added to the USMLE exam in 2004 and started with medical school graduates in 2005. Now students are required to pass this step to get the license.

USMLE Exam Pattern

This exam is conducted in 3 stages. Step 1 and Step 2 exams are done while the student is in medical school. Step 3 is taken after his graduation.

step 1

USMLE Step 1 assesses students whether they understand and can apply basic science concepts to medical practice. Stage 1 includes subjects like Anatomy, Behavioral Sciences, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Nutrition, Genetics and Aging.


USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge is considered quite difficult. It assesses the student’s medical knowledge, skills and knowledge of clinical sciences which are essential for the provision of patient care under supervision. The USMLE exam covers subjects such as internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery.


USMLE Step 3 is the final stage of this exam. Medical school students can then apply the medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science required for the secure practice of medicine. It emphasizes on patient management. Students from US medical schools take this exam after graduation. In this, students will be tested on central nervous system, eye/ear/nose/mouth/throat, respiratory system, circulatory system, digestive system, emotional disorders, musculoskeletal system, skin tissue, endocrine and nutritional disorders, liver, reproductive system, pregnancy etc. But, it is done.

USMLE Exam Date

USMLE Exam Step-2 The exam for CK (Clinical Knowledge) will start from 1st July 2022 onwards. Passing scores for the USMLE exam can range from 209 to 214.

Exam Pattern for USMLE Exam

Along with knowing what the USMLE exam is, it is important to study its exam pattern carefully. Going through the format of the exam will help you understand how your question paper will look like on the day of the exam. Let us now have a detailed look at the USMLE exam pattern-

Stage 1

This stage assesses the skills of the candidates regarding health, disease, methods of medicine as well as application of various principles and mechanisms related to basic science.

step Format Duration
step 1 Average 280 MCQs One Day Test Session (Approx. 8 Hours)

Stage 2

The Stage 2 Clinical Skills (CS) Test assesses the candidate’s knowledge of how the candidate collects information about patients, applies physical examination and other concepts. Stage 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) assesses how efficiently candidates use their skills, knowledge and understanding of clinical sciences required for patient care.

step Format Duration
Step 2 CS 12 patient cases in which 15 minutes is given to meet the patient while 10 minutes is given for preparation of records for each patient. One Day Test (8 Hours)
Step 2 CK Approx 318 MCQs One Day Test (9 Hours)

Stage 3

This stage assesses abilities in relation to the various applications of medical knowledge to an understanding of the biomedical and clinical sciences with an emphasis on patient management.

step Format Duration
Step 3 Day 1 Foundation of Independent Practice (FIP) Approx 232 MCQs about 7 hours
Step 3 Day 2 Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM) Thirteen Computer Based Case Simulations about 9 hours

Eligibility Criteria for USMLE Exam

After understanding what the format of the USMLE exam is, let us now see what are the requirements to be followed in order to appear for the exam. Some of the important requirements for the USMLE exam are mentioned below:

Stage 1, Stage 2 for CS and CK

The key requirements for USMLE Stage 1 and Stage 2 are given below-

  • Candidates must be a graduate or enrolled in a medical school outside the US or Canada as mentioned in the medical school’s Wold directory.
  • Must satisfy the requirements under ECFMG (Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) criteria.
  • Students dismissed from any medical school are not allowed to appear in the examination.

for stage 3

The key eligibility requirements for USMLE Stage 3 are as follows-

  • Applicants registered under the World Directory of Medical Schools must have an MD degree or its equivalent from a medical institution outside the US and Canada.
  • It is necessary to qualify both the Stage 1 and Stage 2 parts.
  • Candidates should have ECFMG (Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) certificate.

Note: The above conditions are for indicative purposes, applicants must check the complete eligibility on the official website. You Leverage Edu You can also take help of experts.

Test Centers for USMLE Exams Worldwide

The list of USMLE exam centers across the world is given in the table below-

test area Prometric Test Center Location surcharge
Canada Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan $0 $0
United States of America and its territories All US states and Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands $0 $0
Asia Bangladesh, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Philippines and Singapore $150 (INR-11.12 thousand) $170(INR-12.60 thousand)
Australia Australia and New Zealand $150 (INR-11.12 thousand) $170(INR-12.60 thousand)
Africa Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda $150 (INR-11.12 thousand) $170(INR-12.60 thousand)
China People’s Republic of China $150 (INR-11.12 thousand) $170(INR-12.60 thousand)
India India $150 (INR-11.12 thousand) $170(INR-12.60 thousand)
Indonesia Indonesia $150 (INR-11.12 thousand) $170(INR-12.60 thousand)
Latin America Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela $150 (INR-11.12 thousand) $170(INR-12.60 thousand)
middle east Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates $150 (INR-11.12 thousand) $170(INR-12.60 thousand)
Thailand Thailand $150 (INR-11.12 thousand) $170(INR-12.60 thousand)
Taiwan Taiwan $185(INR-13.71 thousand) $210(INR-15.57k)
Europe Armenia, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK $185(INR-13.71 thousand) $210(INR-15.57k)
Korea Korea $185(INR-13.71 thousand) $210(INR-15.57k)
Japan Japan $365(INR-27.06 thousand) $410(INR-30.40k)

for clinical science

There are a total of 6 centers available in the US for Stage 2 Clinical Science, which are as follows-

  • atlanta
  • Chicago
  • houston
  • Los Angeles
  • philadelphia

Any interested candidate can apply through ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates).

USMLE Exam Centers in India

Chennai Kolkata
Hyderabad Mumbai
Ahmedabad Delhi
Bangalore ,


The COMLEX and USMLE are almost identical exams, both of which test students on the fundamentals of medicine. The main difference is that in COMLEX questions are also asked on osteopathic manipulatives, medicine. The general differences between the two are mentioned below:

There is a long test consisting of 400 questions divided into 8 blocks. USMLE has 280 questions divided into 7 blocks.
Allows you only a 10-minute break time after completing blocks 1 and 2, a 40-minute lunch break, and a 10-minute break after completing blocks 5 and 6. You have to complete 2 blocks at once In USMLE you can take a break after each block if you wish. USMLE allows a break time of 45 minutes with rollover time if you finish a block faster than a given time.
Gives you less time per question because you are allowed one hour for each 50-question block In USMLE you are allowed one hour for each 40-question block.
Focuses more on questions related to primary care pathology rather than evenly distributing its questions among all subjects like the USMLE. There is a different question style where it asks more ambiguous questions and students are asked to choose the “most correct” answer.

Number of Attempts for the USMLE Exam

The information related to the number of times you can appear in the USMLE exam is given below-

  • If you have attempted the same step at least several times, including multiple attempts, and did not pass, you are not eligible to apply for any of the stages in the USMLE test group.
  • The number of attempts in Stage 2 CS calculation is controlled towards the cutoff.
  • Several state clinical studies state that all stages in the USMLE trial group are effectively eliminated within a specific time period.
  • You cannot take the same step more than three times within a period of 12 months.
  • Your fourth attempt must be at least 12 months after your first attempt on that test and at least six months after your most recent attempt on that test.

Useful Books for the USMLE Exam

Given below are some of the best books, which can prove useful to score high marks in USMLE exam-


What is the USMLE Exam?

USMLE is a 3-stage medical entrance exam to practice medicine in the United States. This test assesses knowledge, principles, fundamental skills and experiences to become a physician.

Is the USMLE Exam Tough?

USMLE Stage 1 is considered more difficult than other USMLE exams. It is also an important step towards your medical career.

What are the types of USMLE exam?

There are 3 main stages in the USMLE exam.

USMLE is organized by?

The USMLE exam is jointly sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board for Medical Examiners (NBME).

Hope you have got all the information about USMLE exam in this blog. If you want to study medicine abroad then call on 1800 572 000 today and visit our Leverage Edu Book a free 30 minute session with our experts.

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