USMLE Success


What is USMLE? USMLE is the well-known, challenging, three step exam sequence that is required for anyone who wishes to practice medicine in the U.S. USMLE scores are important because they are a primary indicator of readiness for residency. Many medical schools do require that their students complete Step 1 in order to graduate. Along with that, scores from the first two steps play a key role in assessing a student for residency. It is critical to be well prepared for any given Step exam to increase your chances of landing a residency spot. Although many students pass the USMLE Step exams on their first attempt, there are many with more than one attempt on a USMLE Step exam. According to USMLE, about 94% of U.S. grads and about 73% of IMG's pass Step 1 on their first attempt. While this is worrisome to some, it is certainly not the end of the world.

The truth about USMLE attempts is that many programs will overlook having a failed attempt. If a program accepts a failure, odds are that that program will be fine with multiple USMLE failures. Usually only the strictest programs will hold candidates responsible for having a failure on an exam. However, if you work hard on your ERAS application, then many programs will be willing to make an exception and overlook the failed attempt. Therefore, failures can be easily overcome if the rest of your application is solid enough for programs to consider you as a candidate. Your personal statement should be specialty-specific, short and concise, and very well-written. You should also have recent LOR’s from any U.S. clinical experience you have had. These along with a complete, error-free CV, will greatly help your chances when it comes to programs overlooking your failed attempt.

Among the many filters that ERAS provides residency programs for candidates application intake, there is no specific filter for the number of USMLE attempts one can have. Although a failed attempt may seem like a catastrophe to some, if you work hard on your ERAS then you should still be able to find success during Match Season.