As one of the core elements to the residency application, the impact USMLE scores have on a candidate’s journey to residency is immense. As a result, it is crucial for applicants to have a strong understanding of the exam and each of its steps. Here, we give a brief breakdown of the USMLE and some advice on how to succeed on each section:

Step 1

The initial part of the exam is a one-day test taken on a computer usually after completing the second year of medical school. Comprised of no more than 280 multiple choice questions, this Step covers basic sciences such as anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, pathology, and more.

Step 2 CK

Over the course of two days, Step 2 is broken up into Clinical Knowledge (CK) and Clinical Skills (CS). Step 2 CK includes multiple choice questions that cover subjects spanning from surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, and more.

Step 2 CS

The second half of Step 2 requires students to travel to one of five testing centers around the U.S. and diagnose actors pretending to be patients. This serves as a sort of simulation that gives examiners a better idea of how the students would react in a real residency program. For this reason, the scores given on each half of Step 2 hold a lot of weight when considered by program directors.

Step 3

The final assessment covered by the USMLE is also a two-day test that focuses on the diagnosis of patients. The purpose of Step 3 is to judge whether a student is able to practice general medicine in an unsupervised setting. Similar to Step 2, Step 3 combines both multiple choice questions and simulated diagnosing.

In order to effectively prepare for the USMLE and each extensive step, personalized tutoring can help you develop strategies and habits so that you can succeed. Tutoring has endless benefits with long-term effects on your journey to residency and the programs you will consider. To meet our highly qualified tutors, click here!