USMLE Step 1 Exam Dates in 2023: What You Need to Know

Whether you’re a first-time test taker or a seasoned pro, you need to know the ins and outs of the USMLE Step 1 exam dates in 2023.

In this article, we’ll answer all of your most pressing questions so that you can make the best possible decision about when to take your exam.

We’ll cover everything from eligibility requirements to exam registration fees, and we’ll also let you know what to do if you need to change your test date.

So whether you’re just starting to study or you’re counting down the days until test day, read on for all the information you need about the USMLE Step 1 exam dates in 2023!

When Can I Take the USMLE Step 1 Exam in 2023?

You can take the USMLE Step 1 exam any day of the year except for Sundays. In 2023, the exam will be offered on the following dates:

January 16, January 30, February 13, February 27, March 12, March 26, April 9, April 23, May 7, and May 21.

You must take the exam before December 31 of the year you registered.

Note: The week of January 2 is closed for registration.

So mark your calendars and start planning! The sooner you start preparing for the exam, the better.

Eligibility to Take Step 1?

Are you wondering if you are eligible to take the USMLE Step 1 exam? Wonder no more! The eligibility requirements are listed below for your convenience.

In order to be eligible to take the Step 1 exam, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. or Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or have met the requirements to be an international student.

 

  • You must have completed a course in a U.S. or Canadian medical school that is deemed equivalent to the first year of a U.S. or Canadian medical school curriculum.

 

  • You must have completed at least one year of clinical training in a U.S. or Canadian hospital or institution accredited by the ACGME or LCME (this clinical training must be completed by the time you take Step 1).

How to Register for Step 1?

You can register for the Step 1 exam by visiting the USMLE website. You will need to create an account on the website and provide some basic information.

Once you have created your account, you can register for the exam by clicking on ” Register for a Test.” You will then be prompted to provide information about your test center, test date, and payment information.

You can also register for the Step 1 exam by completing the paper registration form and mailing it to the USMLE Secretariat. The address is included on the form.

You should register for the Step 1 exam as far in advance as possible, as space is limited at test centers, and availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.

CanadaQBank is here to help you prepare for your exams.

How Far in Advance Can I Schedule My Step 1 Exam?

Planning ahead is key when it comes to the USMLE Step 1 exam, and you can schedule your exam up to six months in advance. This means that if you’re planning on taking the exam in 2023, you can register for a date before the end of 2022! To do so, all you need to do is go online and key in your information. Once you’ve registered, you’ll be able to access your personalized timeline and keep track of important dates, such as when your application was received or when your results will be released. Keeping these dates (especially the exam date!) in mind will help ensure you have plenty of time to prepare.

How Much Does It Cost to Register for Step 1?

Alright, so the big question: how much does it cost to register for Step 1? The answer is it depends! USMLE registration fees vary depending on the country and test center. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay a standard fee of around $600-700 USD. If you’re taking your exam outside of North America, you may need to pay an additional international test delivery surcharge.

Don’t worry if you find out you can’t afford the registration fee—plenty of resources are available to help minimize costs. You may be eligible for a discounted cost or even a fee waiver if you satisfy certain criteria. Either way, feel free to reach out to your medical school or the NBME website for more information on these programs.

How Can I Change My Step 1 Exam Date?

If you decide to change your Step 1 Exam date, you can do so after your registration is complete. You may request a change in date up to 30 days before the day of your planned exam. You will need to contact the USMLE Step 1 testing center and inform them that you would like to make a change. When making the request, be sure to provide any applicable supporting documentation.

You can expect that any associated fees or charges related to the change will be applied at the discretion of the testing center. Depending on when you make the request and if there is availability on other dates, it’s possible that no additional fee will be required. Be sure to check with your testing center for their specific policies around changing Step 1 Exam dates.

When Will I Get My Step 1 Results

Now, you’re probably wondering when you’ll get your Step 1 results. Once the exam is over, your scores will be reported to the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) and available to you within four weeks. If you’ve taken your exam during the pandemic, NBME officials are working to speed up the process, so your results may arrive sooner than usual.

NBME will then send an official notification to whatever medical schools and residency programs you have registered with. In most cases, they will be able to view your scores within two days of NBME obtaining them. Be aware that it can take up to five business days for programs to officially receive scores in their systems, depending on their location.

It’s important to remember that even though you’ll get your results right away, you won’t be able to find out what score you got until after all medical schools have received it. So don’t start celebrating—or worrying—until all of the scores have been sent out!

FAQs about USMLE Step 1

Let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the USMLE Step 1 exam in 2023!

When can I take the USMLE Step 1 exam?

You can take the USMLE Step 1 exam any time between January and December 2023.

Who is eligible to take Step 1?

Any medical student who has completed the first two years of medical school is eligible to take the USMLE Step 1.

How do I register for Step 1?

To register for the USMLE Step 1, you must create an account on the official USMLE website, provide proof of eligibility, and complete a registration form. You will then be prompted to pay a registration fee and schedule your desired exam date.

How far in advance can I schedule my Step 1 exam?

You can schedule your Step 1 exam up to three months in advance.

How much does it cost to register for Step 1?

The cost of registering for the USMLE Step 1 is $1,295 USD as of March 2021.

How can I change my Step 1 exam date?

You may change your scheduled exam date up to two times without incurring additional fees.

Will my exams be affected by COVID-19?

Likely, many aspects of taking your USMLE exams, such as test centers or policies, may be modified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, please consult with your school’s administration or registrar office for specific information.

When will I get my results?

Your results will usually be available within four weeks after taking the test.

Conclusion

The USMLE Step 1 is one of the most important exams a medical student will ever take. It is the first step in becoming a licensed physician, and it is essential to prepare for the exam well.

Other dates for the USMLE Step 1 exam dates in 2023 are as follows:

  • July 15
  • July 29
  • August 12
  • August 26
  • September 9
  • September 23
  • October 7
  • October 21
  • November 4
  • November 18
  • December 2
  • December 16

The best way to prepare for the exam is to study hard and get plenty of practice questions. It is also important to stay calm and focused during the exam. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to speak with your mentor or instructor. Please take advantage of our QBank at CanadaQBank.

USMLE Step 1Good luck with your USMLE Step 1 exam!

How CanadaQBank Helps You Ace the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)

There are many exams you must pass to practice medicine in the US, and USMLE is one of them. The United States Medical Licensing Examination is a three-step examination meant for those in the United States who want to practice medicine. These exams test your knowledge of what you’ve learned in medical school and whether you can apply them to a patient in line with the medical standards of the US.

Graduates and foreign graduates who intend to practice medicine in the United States can take the USMLE. CanadaQBank can help you prepare by helping you break down the process of writing this exam and give you practice questions specifically made for USMLE.

The Requirement to Take the USMLE Exam.

For US Candidates:

Applicants must either be medical students or graduates of a medical school licensed by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

For Foreign Candidates:

The medical school you graduated from must be listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools.

What does the USMLE exam entail?

USMLE has three steps – Steps 1, 2, and 3. You must pass these three steps examinations before practicing medicine in the United States.

Step 1

This is the first exam ofthe USMLE and will take a single day. This step tests your basic knowledge to apply what you’ve learned in medical school to clinical medical practice. The exam consists of Multiple Choice Questions created by the USMLE committee.

The exam is divided into 7 parts, each taking 60 minutes, 40 questions per block, and overall, 280 queries.

The questions range from medical courses like anatomy, Immunology, pathology, pharmacology, biochemistry, and physiology. CanadaQBank has all these courses covered in its QBank.

You must take the ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) before taking the exam.

 

Step 2

This is the second exam for the USMLE, and it takes 9 hours. This step is divided into 2: Clinical Knowledge and Clinical Skills. The Clinical Knowledge is similar to the first step in terms of eight blocks with 60 minutes each and multiple choice questions. This step assesses your ability to apply clinical knowledge and skills to your patient.

Each block won’t have more than 40 questions, making the entire questions less than 318. You have 45 minute break time and 15 minutes of tutorial time.

Step 2 Clinical Skills differ from Clinical Knowledge as it’s not a written examination. You will need to see actual patients, assess them, take their history, and diagnose them appropriately during this step.

Step 3

This is the final step of the USMLE exam which is taken at the end of the first year of your residency. It lasts two days and will test your knowledge of patient management as well as ambulatory settings.

In this step, you have six blocks with 60 minutes each on the first day. The six blocks cover over 223 questions, and the exam lasts 7 hours.

On the second day, you also have six blocks but with 180 questions. The exam last for 9 hours. You will then proceed with 13 case simulations.

Pass your USMLE Exam with CanadaQBank!

Passing the USMLE is not easy, but worry not; CanadaQBank is here for you. With over 3000 classic simulated multiple choice questions for you to choose from, and 40 of the very best classic simulated Step 2 Clinical Skills cases, give you enough time and resources to prepare yourself.

It offers three modes that allow you to take the tests: timed, un-timed, and tutor. Not only that, but you also get answers and detailed explanations for each question.

CanadaQBank also allows you to review a detailed analysis of your test and your performance by subject category. You can also compare your scores with other users and get an upgraded exam interference for accurate simulation with normal lab values.

You can also choose how many questions you want to take in each block with your performance review by subject category. CanadaQBank updates its questions and explanation continuously to keep you updated with the latest information. Furthermore, you get access to our QBank 24/7 from anywhere worldwide.

For your step 2 Clinical Skills, the cases are written exactly the way they appear on tests, with each case covering a different topic from the subject areas tested. These cases also include brief questions and answers that could be asked for each patient scenario.

CanadaQBank ensures each step 2 CS case goes through an opening scenario, patient protocol, checklist, and write-up. Included in our QBank is a real template style for true simulation. Furthermore, the QBank for the USMLE Step 2 CS is free, and you can access it 24/7 from anywhere.

Passing your USMLE is guaranteed with CanadaQBank.

Subjects Covered in the USMLE exam by CanadaQBank.

Anatomy, Biochemistry, Embryology, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Ethics, Genetics, Histology/Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Immunology, Neuroscience, Pathology and Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychology.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about USMLE.

What is USMLE?

USMLE is the United States Medical Licensing Examination to test your ability to apply what you’ve learned in medical school to real-life scenarios in which you’re the attending doctor.

What does the USMLE consist of?

The USMLE consists of 3 steps. Step 1 is a computer-based exam that consists of multiple-choice questions.

Step 2 also consists of multiple choice questions but assesses your ability to apply clinical knowledge and skills to your patient.

Step 3 tests patient management and ambulatory settings.

What is the best way to prepare for the USMLE?

To prepare for the USMLE, more than simply studying for the exam which is really good, we recommend practicing test questions as much as possible. This will allow you to test and develop yourself before the exam. CanadaQBank allows you to practice with more than 3000 MCQs. We’ve collected questions on many possible scenarios that may present to you as the attending physician.

What is the USMLE passing score?

There is no fixed passing score for USMLE, as they can change the score anytime. Visit their website for any recent information.

Conclusion

Getting licensed to practice medicine in the United States shouldn’t be hard as long as you pass your USLME. But then, the USMLE is a tough nut to crack. But worry not; CanadaQBank got you covered. With over 3000 multiple choice questions made explicitly for USMLE and over 40 of the very best step 2 clinical skills cases, you are guaranteed the confidence to remain calm and prepared.

Let’s help you get licensed to practice medicine and make your dream come true. Click here to get the advantages of our QBank.

Everything You Need to Know About the USMLE exams

Everything You Need to Know About the USMLE exams

The USMLE exams are some of the most important exams a medical student can take. They are required for anyone who wants to become a licensed doctor in the United States. The exams test your knowledge of all things medical, from physiology and pathology to pharmacology and medical ethics.

The USMLE exams are offered in several different locations across the United States, so there is bound to be one that is close to you. And if you do not pass an exam on your first try, don’t worry, you can retest as many times as you need to.

USMLE Step 1: Overview

The USMLE Step 1 is the first of three tests that you will need to take to become a licensed doctor in the United States.

The Step 1 exam is designed to test your knowledge of the basic sciences, including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and pathology. It also tests your ability to apply this knowledge to clinical situations.

The test is eight hours long and consists of 280 questions. It is administered in a computer-based format.

You can find more information about the Step 1 exam on the USMLE website.

USMLE Step 2: Overview

The USMLE Step 2 exam is a required exam for all medical students who want to practice medicine in the United States. It is a three-step process that covers basic medical knowledge and skills.

 

  • The first step is an online assessment that tests your basic science knowledge.
  • The second step is a clinical skills exam that tests your ability to apply that knowledge in a clinical setting.
  • The third step is a Clinical Knowledge exam that tests your understanding of complex medical concepts.

The cost of the USMLE Step 2 exam is $620, and the deadline to register is one month prior to the test date. You must be a licensed medical doctor in order to take the exam.

USMLE Step 3: Overview

The USMLE Step 3 is the final exam in the USMLE sequence. It is a multiple-choice exam that covers all core medical subjects.

The exam is administered in a computer-based format at test centres around the world. It is offered year-round, and results are released within four weeks.

You must pass all three steps of the USMLE in order to receive your medical license. The cost of the Step 3 exam is $395.

How to Become Eligible for the USMLE

In order to become eligible for the USMLE, you must meet certain requirements. You must have completed a course of study at an accredited medical school, and you must have a valid license to practice medicine in the United States.

Additionally, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills needed to pass the USMLE exams. The best way to do this is to take one of the many prep courses offered by USMLE. You can also take advance of CandaQbank’s services and get access to hundreds of prep materials.

How to Register and Schedule the USMLE

You can register for the USMLE exams by visiting the official website. The website provides all the information you need to know about the exams, including the cost, steps to write the exams, how to become eligible for the exams, and how to schedule and reschedule the exams.

It is important to note that the registration deadlines are pretty strict, so be sure to register well in advance. You don’t want to miss your opportunity to take the USMLE!

How to schedule your USMLE exams

Now that you know what the USMLE is and what it entails, it’s time to learn how to schedule your exams.

The first step is to ensure you are eligible for the exam. Once you qualify, you can schedule your exams through the NBME website.

Keep in mind that you can only schedule your exams up to six months in advance. If you need to reschedule, there is a fee of $75 per exam. Also, make sure you plan your exams accordingly and give yourself enough time to study for them.

Tips for Taking the USMLE

To get the most out of your USMLE experience, follow these tips:

  1. Study hard and review often. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll do on the exam.
  2. Take practice exams to get a sense of what the real exam will be like.
  3. Get plenty of rest and eat healthy foods in the days leading up to the exam.
  4. Arrive at the testing center early so you can relax and get comfortable before starting the exam.
  5. Pace yourself and answer questions accurately and completely.

Conclusion

You need to be completely prepared before scheduling your USMLE exams. This involves understanding the costs, knowing what is expected of you on the exam day, understanding the scoring system and knowing how to prepare. You should also be familiar with the different steps of the USMLE, so you know what is expected of you. It is important to start preparing early and to seek help if you are struggling.

Schedule your exams well in advance and make sure you are familiar with all the rules and regulations, so there are no surprises on exam day. We wish you the best of luck on your journey to becoming a licensed physician!

Prepare for the USMLE with CandaQbank

The USMLE may seem like a difficult exam to pass but with adequate preparation from CanadaQBank, it will be a breeze. The question bank has more than 3,000 simulated MCQs. All the MCQs cover different important areas in USMLE, and the answers all come with detailed explanation to ensure you retain information and thoroughly understand the concepts.

The tests at CanadaQBank are timed to simulate an examination system. What is even better is that you can access this question bank from anywhere in the world at any time. Our question bank is also upgraded and updated with changes in the curriculum and new information to ensure we provide only the best services.

Overview of USMLE Step 1

Overview of USMLE Step 1

Becoming a doctor in the United States is no small feat, there are a number of exams you have to pass like the MCATs and USMLE before you can practice medicine legally there. The process to write the USMLE is a little complex but that is why we are here to break it down for you. The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the U.S. meant to assess a physician’s ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles and demonstrate fundamental patient-centered skills.

It is usually done by med students as well as graduates from foreign and local universities who wish to exercise their medical skills in the United States of America.

Step 1- Basics

The USMLE Step 1 exam is the first element of the USMLE. This exam is meant to assess the basic science knowledge of the student and requires the students to apply these basic science principles in clinical medical practice. Step 1 consists of multiple-choice questions (MCQs), that you will have to answer. These MCQs were created by USMLE committees that have recognized prominence in their respective fields.

However, the majority of questions require the examinee to interpret graphic and tabular material to identify gross and microscopic pathologic and normal specimens. These examinees also have to solve problems through the application of basic science principles.

Application Process

Before applying to ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) for examination, international medical students/graduates must obtain a USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number via ECFMG’s online services (an Application for ECFMG Certification), including the notarized Certification of Identification Form (Form 186).

Furthermore, applicants are advised to read the detailed instructions for the application before they begin working on it. This is because these instructions contain information on how to complete Form 186 using NotaryCam. They also include resources that will help you plan the timing of your application and outline any necessary items (such as official signatures). Also, it is essential to note that the application for ECFMG Certification will not be considered complete until ECFMG receives and processes both the online part of the application and the notarized Form 186 from NotaryCam.

You can apply for USMLE Step 1 via ECFMG’s online services. To do this you should read the USMLE Bulletin of Information and submit an application through your registration entity; as there are different procedures to account for both foreign and differently-abled students. When applying for the examination, you must select an eligibility period during which you wish to test, and then a scheduling permit with your eligibility period will be issued via email. After obtaining the scheduling permit, you may visit the Prometric website to schedule a test date.

Prometric’s test centers are grouped into defined testing regions, and you can take the exam at any test center in your testing region that offers USMLE, provided there is space available on the date you choose. Note the test centers available for USMLE Step 1 are subject to change. Scheduling may not be available more than six months in advance. You are permitted to reschedule within your eligibility period though you will pay a fee if you make a change during the 30 calendar days before your scheduled appointment.

Examinees should also keep in mind deadlines imposed by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) and graduate medical education (GME) programs as it is solely your responsibility to complete the required exams in time to meet deadlines imposed by the NRMP and/or GME programs. Since the number of applicants seeking to complete these exams may exceed the spaces available in time to meet those deadlines, there is no guarantee that sufficient spaces will be available for all applicants to meet deadlines imposed, so

Fees

Application for ECFMG Certification: $160

Step 1: $975 + $180 (Surcharge fee for writing outside the U.S.)

The total number of attempts allowed per Step is four (4). If you have attempted a Step four or more times, including incomplete attempts, and have not passed, you are ineligible to apply for any Step in the USMLE exam sequence.

Benefits of CanadaQBank

The USMLE Step 1 exams are not easy. Practicing with CanadaQBank allows examinees to test and develop themselves against the main exam. The question banks familiarize you with the different systems of questioning, and you will see an increase in the speed and reasoning with which questions are answered. You will be compelled to tailor your study plan to its optimum state; a good study plan will help you perfect your skills and increase your knowledge about the field. Handling such an exam will be less of a burden.

CanadaQBank contains 3016 classic simulated USMLE Step 1 multiple-choice questions (MCQs), with each MCQ covering a different USMLE Step 1 topic from the subject areas tested.

It offers three different modes that allow examinees to take tests in timed, un-timed, and tutor modes. Answers and detailed explanations for all questions are provided to allow you to review your selections and know where you erred.

CanadaQBank offers examinees the ability to generate tests by subject category or any combination of categories and to choose how many questions you want to take in each block,

Review detailed analysis of previous USMLE Step 1 tests taken, compare your scores with other users, review performance breakdown from an overview to overall cumulative performance.

CanadaQbank receives continuous updates to the questions and explanations. So therefore it is revised with feedback from the most recent exams and has an upgraded MCQ interface for accurate simulation with normal lab values. Furthermore, it can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere in the world.

Subjects Covered

Anatomy, Biochemistry, Embryology, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Ethics, Genetics, Histology/Molecular Biology, Microbiology & Immunology, Neuroscience, Pathology & Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychology

CanadaQbank is an efficient and affordable way to practice the questions with ease under simulated exam conditions. There are different subscription prices tailored to whatever your need is. The prices are:

  • $95 – 1 month
  • $135 – 2 months
  • $ 175 – 3 months
  • $250 – 6 months
  • $335 – 9 months
  • $395 – 12 months

Avoiding Burnout when Studying for the USMLE Step 1

USMLE Step 2 Test Prep

As a student who is studying to obtain your USMLE Step 1 qualification, chances are that you already know how demanding medical school is – especially if you’re working at a part-time job as well. Although the amount of time spent in classes and studying certainly doesn’t leave much time for anything else, it’s important that you take some time out so that you can avoid reaching burnout stage.

Below are some tips that will help you get the most out of each day without becoming totally overwhelmed:

Prioritization is Crucial

Learning to prioritize what is most important will help you achieve as much as possible each day. Although you’re currently studying, keep in mind that while your studies are important, they should not be your only focus. In fact, your main priority should be to look after yourself. If your mind and body are over-tired, you won’t be able to study properly anyway.

Your studies should be next in line after your physical and mental wellbeing, and work should come after that. Students who put their physical, mental and emotional needs before that of their studies usually find it easier to get through their studies than those who focus on the books alone.

Ensure that Everything is Scheduled

Putting a schedule together that contains everything you need to do will help ensure that there is enough time to get through it all each day. Many individuals often don’t know that there is a degree of free time in their days until they see it on a planner page.

Purchase a daily planner and write in the events that cannot be rescheduled first. This can include aspects such as work shifts, classes and other appointments that might come up. Once this is done, start filling in your study time slots – ensure that they are evenly spaced throughout each week. Leave room in your schedule for some down time each day as well, preferably in the last hour or so before going to bed.

Lastly, you’ll be able to see where you can fit time in to socialize and spend time with friends. Perhaps you’re free on a Sunday and can spend time with friends or family then or have a drink at the bar with some fellow students one evening.

Knowing your Limits is Important

Knowing when to say “no” is extremely important where your mental and emotional wellbeing is concerned. As such, you need to give a considerable amount of thought to whether you’ll be able to cope with full-time classes and part time work if necessary.

If you feel that you’re already doing as much as you can comfortably cope with, refrain from taking on additional responsibilities – especially if you’re going to be sacrificing sleep to do so. If you want to preserve your physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing while studying towards your USMLE Step 1 qualification, the phrase, “everything in moderation,” is key – especially where time-management is concerned.

What Are the Hardest USMLE Topics to Study and Learn?

USMLE Step 2 Test Prep

The United States Medical Licensing Exam, known as the USMLE or simply “board exam,” is by far one of the most difficult examinations in existence today. It covers several years’ worth of highly complex information that you must know in order to become licensed in your field. The following USMLE topics are widely regarded as the most difficult, so familiarize yourself with them early on and perhaps give them some special attention, too. 

Biochemistry 

Biochemistry is truly a paradox among medical students. It’s absolutely fascinating to explore the various chemical processes that keep human beings alive, but as part of gaining a firm understanding of the subject, there’s a lot – a lot – of memorization involved. You’ll find yourself learning about metabolic pathways, enzyme design and structure, and much, much more, so without a solid understanding of terms and their meanings, it’s difficult to understand much of anything. The sheer complexity of biochemistry makes it the most difficult topic on the USMLE according to the majority of medical students. 

Many doctors (who were once in your shoes) recommend that you take the time to study up on the basics of biochemistry whenever you have a chance. Simply understanding basic terms and processes will make everything to come much simpler for you. 

Microbiology

Medical students also agree that microbiology is the second most difficult topic you’ll find on your USMLE. In fact, it’s difficult for many of the same reasons as biochemistry. It’s the study of all living organisms that are small enough to require a microscope to see them, and that encompasses thousands upon thousands – even millions – of different organisms. The volume of information that students must retain in order to understand even the simplest concepts in microbiology is staggering. 

Getting a head start on microbiology basics (much like doing the same for biochemistry) can benefit you here, as well. The more of the basic concepts you learn now, the easier it will be for you to learn the more complex ones down the line. 

Pathology

Though it isn’t quite as difficult as microbiology or biochemistry, the topic of pathology presents challenges to most medical students at some point in their education. Pathology is a bridge between science and medicine, and to put it as simply as possible, it’s the study of diseases. There are more than 100,000 identified diseases across the globe, so it’s easy to see why so many students struggle with this particular topic. Fortunately, medical students also tend to find pathology interesting, which can make things a bit simpler. 

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a difficult pathology course involves reading your course syllabus and obtaining as much of the recommended material as you can early on. The more you can read and understand about pathology before your course even starts, the more the lectures, your textbook,  and other materials will make sense. 

Biochemistry, microbiology, and pathology are the three most difficult topics on the USMLE according to medical students from around the world. In all three cases, the complexity lies almost solely in the volume of information you’ll need to retain and very little on actual comprehension issues. As such, start studying these topics as soon as you can and consider scheduling some extra study time for them as needed, too.

Important Things to Know Before Taking the USMLE Step 1 Examination

USMLE Step 1 Examination

If you are preparing to take the USMLE Step 1 exam, you may be feeling stressed out, apprehensive, or even terrified of failure. One of the best things you can possibly do is educate yourself as thoroughly as possible, and the following bits of information are sure to help you do just that.

Test Format

Familiarizing yourself with the test format can help you feel more at ease when it comes time to test, and fortunately, the first part of the USMLE is pretty cut-and-dry. It consists of seven sections made up of 40 multiple choice questions each, and you’ll have a total of eight hours to finish it. You’ll get a total of 45 minutes during the test session for breaks, but if you finish a section before the allotted hour is up, you can use that time to take a break, too. It’s always a good idea to participate in the optional 15-minute tutorial just before the exam that will help you feel even more at ease.

Application Steps and Cost

To apply for the USMLE Step 1, you will need to apply through the NBME, or National Board of Medical Examiners. If you are from a country outside of the US, you need to register with the ECFMG, or Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. You will be able to choose a test date from a number of available dates throughout the year, and as of 2018, the cost to take the USMLE Step 1 exam was $605.

The Best Time to Sit for the Exam

If you are curious about the best time to take your exam, it’s important to know that most students opt to sit for it sometime between their first and third years in medical school. You should be able to pass once you’ve passed all your basic medical science courses, and you should always take it before you start your clinical rotation. If you take it at this point, the things you’ve learned are still fresh, but you’ve also had the opportunity to take a couple extra months to study.

Passing Scores and Test Results

In order to pass the USMLE Step 1 examination, you will need to obtain a score of 192. As of 2016, the NBME reported that the average score among passing students was 225 with a standard deviation of about 20. The NBME releases scores to students each Wednesday of the year, and it takes about a month after you’ve taken the exam to get your scores. When they are available, you will receive an email advising you how to check your score online.

The USMLE Step 1 is an important step in obtaining a license to practice as a doctor in the US, and while it can be a stressful event, learning more about it will help you relax and obtain a better score. Remember that you can take this exam as many as six times in your lifetime, too. Study hard and do well in medical school, and you should have no problem obtaining the required score of 192.

How to Overcome a Bad USMLE Step 1 Examination Score

Bad USMLE Step 1 Examination Score

The US Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) is one of the toughest examinations in existence today. About 4% of students in these programs fail the USMLE Part 1 on their first attempt, and while this can be discouraging, it is certainly not the end of the line. It is possible to retake and pass this examination if you do not allow yourself to be overcome with disappointment, work hard, and try again.

Work with Faculty

If you failed your first attempt at the USMLE Step 1 examination, which is designed to test your knowledge of the material learned in the first two years of medical school, it is vital that you work with faculty and other education specialists to figure out where you need help. Then, once you have this information, you can utilize various study methods to better familiarize yourself with the content. Through diligence and the help of those who want to see you succeed, it is possible to obtain a passing score on your second attempt.

Don’t Fall Victim to the Stigma

Many students who do not pass the exam on the first attempt feel a great deal of shame, particularly when they are the only student among a group of peers to score poorly. However, it is worth noting that students are not ostracized from their study groups or peers in these cases. In fact, your peers who have passed the exam will likely extend their knowledge and tips to help you succeed on your next attempt. Focus on learning what you need to know to provide the best patient outcomes, and never let a perceived social stigma bring you down.

Utilize a Variety of Study Methods

Often, students who do not pass the USMLE Step 1 on the first attempt are those who utilize only one or two different study methods, which can sometimes prove detrimental. Different people learn in different ways, and while some can learn everything they need to know simply by reading the material, others need to repeat it, practice it, and put it to use. Try mock exams, online study tools, flash cards, study groups, and more to give yourself access to the material from every possible angle. Make note of which method seems to provide you with the best comprehension and spend more time with it.

Keep the Facts in Mind

Finally, rather than feeling discouraged, it’s important to remember that you are not the only student who received a bad USMLE Step 1 grade. A study published in Academic Medicine looked at 129,000 students who took the exam for the first time between the years of 1993 and 2000. Though some 6% failed on the first attempt, 90% of those students ultimately graduated medical school and obtained their licensure. This means that only a very, very small percentage of students who do not initially pass the USMLE Part 1 will ultimately fail to graduate medical school.

A bad grade on your first attempt at the USMLE Part 1 can certainly be frustrating, especially if you worked hard and studied. However, there are things you can do to improve your chances of passing on the second attempt – and more than 90% of students in your position do. Utilize these tips, work hard, and focus on the ultimate goal, which is providing the best possible patient care.