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Frequently asked questions

  • What is the USMLE Step 3?

    The USMLE Step 3 exam assesses your medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science in managing patients in an unsupervised setting. The exam also includes computer-based case simulations (CCS). The CCS patient encounters assess your ability to evaluate history and physical exam information, order diagnostic tests, select initial therapies, and manage the patient.

  • What is tested on the USMLE Step 3?

    The USMLE Step 3 focuses on patient management (45-55% of questions). Other topics include history and physical; lab and diagnostic studies; diagnosis; prognosis; and pathophysiology—each consisting of about 8-12% of the exam questions. Each question falls into one of 3 clinical encounter frames: initial workup; continued care; and emergency care.

  • When should I take the USMLE Step 3?

    Before you can take Step 3, you need to have taken and passed Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS of the Boards during medical school. The USMLE program recommends applicants take Step 3 after completing (or when they are close to completing) at least one postgraduate training year in a U.S.-accredited graduate medical education program that meets state board licensing requirements.

  • How many blocks are in the USMLE Step 3?

    Step 3 is a 2-day examination. The first day of testing is divided into 6 blocks of 38-40 items; 60 minutes are allotted for completion of each block of test items. The second day of testing is divided into 6 blocks of 30 items; 45 minutes are allotted for completion of each block of test items.

  • How many questions are in the USMLE Step 3?

    This 2-day computerized exam currently has about 500 multiple-choice questions.

  • How long is the USMLE Step 3?

    There are approximately 7 hours in the test session on the first day and approximately 9 hours in the test session on the second day.