USMLE Licensing Exams

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) consists of three steps with four exams designed to assess a physician's ability to apply a broad spectrum of knowledge, concepts, and principles to evaluate the physician's basic patient-centered skills. Once the passing score for Step 1 or 2 CK is achieved, you cannot take the exam again for seven years if you wish to achieve a higher score. Therefore, it is very important to be prepared to achieve a high score the first time.

Step 1


The Step 1 exam is a multiple-choice exam designed to test how well the examinee applies basic, integral science concepts to clinical scenarios.

  • Minimum score to pass: 192
  • Number of questions: Approximately 325 multiple-choice questions, divided into seven 60-minute blocks. Test is administered on a computer.
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Additional Information: Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS can be taken in any order
  • Exam content: Anatomy, Behavioral Science, Biochemistry, Medical Genetics, Microbiology/Immunology, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Physiology

Step 2 CK


The Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) is a multiple-choice exam designed to determine whether the examinee possesses the medical knowledge and understanding of clinical science considered essential for the provision of patient care under supervision.

  • Minimum score to pass: 209
  • Number of questions: Approximately 340 to 355 multiple-choice questions, divided into eight 60-minute blocks. Test is administered on a computer.
  • Duration: 9 hours
  • Additional Information: Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS can be taken in any order
  • Exam content: Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Surgery, Neurology, Psychiatry, Public Health

Step 2 CS


The Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) is a separate "hands-on" exam that tests the examinee's clinical and communication skills through his/her ability to gather information from standardized patients, perform a physical examination, communicate the findings to the patient, and write a patient note.

  • Minimum score to pass: No score — Pass/Fail
    (Must pass Integrated Clinical Encounters, Communication and Interpersonal Skills, and Spoken English Proficiency subcomponents)
  • Number of questions: 12 standardized patients (11 scored)
  • Duration: 7-8 hours
  • Additional Information: Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS can be taken in any order
  • Exam content: Clinical Skills/Doctor-Patient Communication

Step 3


This two-day exam assess the examinee's ability to apply medical knowledge and the understanding of biomedical and clinical science essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine, with emphasis on patient management in ambulatory settings.

  • Minimum score to pass: 190
  • Number of questions: Day 1: 336 multiple choice questions on a computer; Day 2: 144 multiple choice questions on a computer, followed by 9 clinical case simulations on a computer
  • Duration: Two 8-hour nonconsecutive days
  • Additional Information: Most states require completion of 1 year of residency to be eligible to take exam, but several states do not have a residency requirement
  • Exam content: Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Surgery, Neurology, Psychiatry, Public Health

Hear it from our students:

“A great comprehensive course to wrap up what we learned in medical school. I was enlightened by the way various disciplines are connected.’

- Hussain Mansour Alhashem, Washington, D.C. Center