About USMLE Exam

USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) is an examination to earn a license for practising medical science in the United States. It is a three-step examination and the students have to clear all the three steps to be eligible for working as a doctor or medical expert in America.

  • Who can appear for USMLE?
  • Any MBBS graduate who has earned their degree from a recognised medical institution.
  • The test is for students of allopathic medicine who desire to be a Doctor of Medicine (M.D) in America and practice for the same.

USMLE Pattern


Step 1 :

Step 1 is a multiple-choice online examination which the students usually take after their second year of medical academics. It comprises 280 questions and the time allotted to complete the test is 8 hours. It is divided into 7 parts of an hour examination with 40 questions each.

The subject matter of this step includes basic science, anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, genetics, microbiology, pathology, etc.

Step 2 :

The students take this exam in the 4th year of their medical curriculum. Step 2 of USMLE is further divided into two parts. The first being Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge) and the second Step 2 CS (Clinical Skills).

Step 2 CK

This is a multiple-choice examination to test the capability of the students to apply their knowledge and abilities of clinical science for promoting health care and for the prevention of diseases. Step 2 CK includes about 320 multiple-choice questions divided into 8 parts of one hour each with each part comprising about 40 questions.

Step 2 CS

This part of the USMLE examines students’ spoken English proficiency and their interpersonal skills. Integrated Clinical Encounter (ICE) is also included as a subject. This step tests the ability of the students to gather information from patients, diagnose them and conduct various physical examinations under supervision accordingly. People pretending to be patients are involved in this process to give a more real-life exposure. The students need to travel to one of the five cities conducting this examination (Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Houston).

Step 3 :

Step 3 of USMLE analyses students’ capability to apply their knowledge of clinical science and biomedical on patients without supervision. Emphasis is laid on the treatment of patients. This is a 2-day examination comprising about 500 multiple-choice questions. It also includes computer-based case simulations.