April 19 2023
  Ahmed Umair

What Is USMLE Step 1? Everything you Need to Know

The USMLE Step 1 is a standardized test that evaluates a medical student’s ability to apply basic science fundamentals to medicine. It is one of three steps in the exam. Step 1 is taken after the second year of medical school. The NBME and FSMB are responsible for administering the test.

If you have inquiries regarding what is USMLE?, or like to learn more about step 1? The following are responses to frequently asked questions.

What is the Format of the USMLE Step 1 Exam?

The Step 1 exam is taken on a computer in one day for eight hours. It’s a multiple choice test with seven sections of up to 40 questions, totaling 280 questions. Each section has one hour allotted. On average, you have one minute and 30 seconds per question.

Breaks Duration

During the test, you have 45 minutes for personal breaks. If you finish a section early, you can add that time to your break. There are six breaks allowed. At the start of the exam, you can take a 15-minute tutorial, but it’s optional. If you skip it, you can add 15 minutes to your break time.

To ensure a smooth testing experience, please note that only soft foam earplugs are permitted in the examination room. Other items, such as bags, electronics, phones, and jackets, are not allowed. We recommend checking with the exam monitor beforehand for further instructions.

What is the Application Process for Step 1?

Individuals who have studied or graduated from medical schools in the USA or Canada are required to apply for the USMLE Step 1 exam through the NBME, while those who have studied or graduated from medical schools outside of the US or Canada must register through the ECFMG. The tests are available for administration by appointment throughout the year.

What is the Cost of the USMLE Step 1 Exam?

The cost of the USMLE Step 1 exam varies depending on several factors. As of 2021, the exam fee is $645 for students attending medical schools in the USA and Canada. However, international students may have to pay additional fees. Additionally, there may be extra costs associated with study materials, prep courses, and travel expenses for taking the exam at a testing center. It’s important to budget accordingly and research all of the expenses associated with the USMLE Step 1 exam before registering.

What Is USMLE Step 1? Everything you Need to Know

Starting in 2023, fees for the USMLE Step 1 exam will be $660 for students and graduates from the USA and Canada. 

There will be a rise in fees as of January 1, 2023, for various ECFMG filings and service requests. In particular, each exam registration will now cost $1,000 for the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK exams.

Included the Topics in the Exam

The USMLE Step 1 exam is a comprehensive test that covers a wide range of topics related to medical science. Some of the key subjects that are added in the exam include anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, physiology, and pathology. Additionally, the exam may also cover topics related to behavioral sciences, genetics, and immunology. To prepare for the exam, it is important to have a solid understanding of these concepts and to have a strong grasp of the scientific principles that underlie them. By studying diligently and practicing with sample questions, practice exams or get help from professional doctors or tutors at differential diagnosis, with the hard work and having professional guidance  can increase their chances of success on the USMLE Step 1.

The questions on the exam cover a range of topics, including the interpretation of graphs, identification of pathology and normal specimens, and application of concepts and principles relevant to various organ systems.

When to Take the USMLE Step 1 Exam?

When to take USMLE Exam?

The best time to take the USMLE Step 1 Exam is dependent on your own individual circumstances, such as how long you have been studying, what other deadlines you may have and what level of comfort you have with the material. Generally speaking, many medical students will wait until after their second year of med school to take Step 1. That way, the course material from each semester is fresher in your mind and you’ve had ample study time. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide when is the most appropriate time for your individual goals and capabilities.

What is the Minimum Score Required to Pass?

The minimum passing score for USMLE Step 1 exam is currently 196 out of a possible 300. However, it is important to note that achieving just the minimum score may not be sufficient for securing a desirable residency program. Medical students should aim to score as high as possible to increase their chances of being accepted into competitive residency programs.

When Will the USMLE Test Results Be Released?

Step 1 scores are released every Wednesday. It typically takes 2-4 weeks for results to be available. You’ll get an email from NBME or ECFMG when your results are ready. Your results will also be posted on their website. If you don’t receive an email within 2 months, it’s best to contact the registration entity directly.

What is the Grading System for the USMLE Step 1?

The USMLE Step 1 is evaluated as pass or fail without providing a numerical score. The scores for Step 1 can go from 1 to 300. Most examinees’ scores fall between 140 and 260. To pass, you need a score of at least 196. The national mean is around 232, and the standard deviation is approximately 19.

What is a Good USMLE Step 1 Score?

As a general rule, a USMLE Step 1 score ranging from 230-245 is considered good, and a score ranging from 245-255 is considered very good.

The ideal score can vary depending on the specialty you want to pursue, as highly competitive fields may require higher scores. It’s important to keep in mind that a good score is just one aspect of your overall application, and residency programs also consider other factors such as clinical experience, research, and letters of recommendation.

How to Extend Eligibility Period USMLE Step 1

If you need to extend your eligibility period for the USMLE Step 1 exam, you can do so by following these steps:

  1. Log in to your ECFMG account on the ECFMG website.
  2. Click on “OASIS” and then select “Application for Examination.”
  3. Select the exam for which you wish to extend your eligibility period (USMLE Step 1) and click “Continue.”
  4. Select “Extend” for the eligibility period and enter the new date range that you prefer.
  5. Pay the required fee using a valid credit card.

It’s important to note that you can only extend your eligibility period for the USMLE Step 1 exam once, and the extension period cannot exceed 12 months. If you need to extend your eligibility period beyond 12 months, you will need to submit a new application and pay the full exam fee again.

Is It Possible for Me to Retake the Exam Since I Did Not Pass on My First Attempt?

The retake policy states that you can only take an exam up to three times within a 12-month period. Your fourth attempt must be at least 12 months after your initial try and at least six months after your most recent attempt.

Differential DIAGNOSIS offers for USMLE Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 exams, as well as over 1600 questions for subscribers to access in order to prepare for the exams.

If you have any inquiries, feel free to ask them in the comments section. Best of luck on your USMLE Step 1 Exam.