USMLE Step 1 prep courses
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Fast facts about the Boards—and your USMLE® prep
- The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a four-step exam that assesses whether or not you’re ready to practice medicine.
- Each of the four Steps are taken at different points in your medical career and require different levels of USMLE prep. Consider each USMLE Step its own individual exam that you’ll need to prepare for.
- The USMLE Step 2 CK tests the application of your medical skills under doctor supervision; plan to spend 4-6 months of USMLE review on it. The exam contains patient-centered scenarios with a series of questions and topics presented randomly. Although, like the USMLE Step 1, it’s multiple choice, you’ll be asked to move from topic to topic seamlessly. The Step 2 CK includes about 318 questions, broken down into 8 one-hour blocks of 40 questions each.
- For the USMLE Step 2 CS, you’ll travel to one of five testing centers located across the U.S. During the exam, you’ll encounter 12 standardized patients to test your ability to be patient-centered, properly communicate with patients, and to document encounter with patient note. For IMGs, it is especially important to demonstrate good bedside manner and communicate fluently in English throughout the exam. Plan to spend 6 weeks of USMLE review on this exam. The Step 2 CS is a pass/fail exam.
- The USMLE Step 3 is the home stretch of medical practice licensure, and is often taken by U.S. medical students after acceptance into a residency program. International medical graduates may find it helpful to take Step 3 pre-residency. The USMLE Step 3 exam assesses your ability to evaluate a patient’s medical history and physical exam information, order diagnostic tests, select initial therapies, and manage the patient. While it’s not an exam that requires months of prep, it is good to be familiar with the ins and outs of the Step 3. It is a two-day computerized exam with approximately 413 multiple-choice questions, as well as computer-based case simulations (CCS).
- The content on the USMLE is based not only on your skills, but how you react to real-life, patient-centered scenarios.
- The USMLE Step 1 emphasizes basic health sciences; plan to spend between 6-9 months of USMLE review on it. A one-day computer exam, the USMLE Step 1 is typically taken by U.S. medical students at the end of their second year of medical school, or international medical graduates who are already licensed doctors in their home countries, but wish to practice medicine in the United States. Step 1 consists of 280 multiple-choice questions, broken down into 7 one-hour blocks of 40 questions each.