Note on USMLE Exam Step 3

Note on USMLE Exam Step 3

After completing your medical studies , if you want to  practice medicine in US, you’ll have to clear the qualifying exams  called USMLEs – United States Medical Licensing Examinations. There are four exams in total – Step 1, Step2 CK, Step 2 CS and Step 3.

  • USMLE Step 1 – This exam is written after your third year. Step 1 exam is centered around the subjects learned during the first three years of medical school.
  • USMLE Step 2 CK – CK stands for Clinical Knowledge. This exam is based on topics learnt in the fourth year.
  • USMLE Step 2 CS – CS stands for Clinical Skills. This exam tests your practical skills as a professional doctor, communication and manners. This exam can be taken only in the USA at five Clinical Skills Evaluation Centers (CSEC), located in: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
  • Once Step 2 exams are passed, you will be certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and a certificate will be awarded to you.

USMLE Exam  Step 3 

Step 3 is the final examination in the USMLE exams series, and it leads to a license topractice medicine without supervision.  The basic purpose of the USMLE step 3 exam is to assesses whether students can apply medical understanding and knowledge of clinical science required for unsupervised practice. The emphasis is on patient management in emergency settings.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for USMLE step 3, the student must have cleared step 1 and step 2. The student should also be enrolled full-time at a medical college.

Test Pattern

One major difference between step 3 and other steps is that step 3 is a two day examination.

First day of testing –

The first day of testing includes 256 multiple-choice items divided into 6 blocks of 42 to 43 items; 60 minutes are allotted for completion of each block of test items. Items with an associated pharmaceutical advertisement or scientific abstract are included in each of these multiple-choice blocks. There are approximately 7 hours in the test session on the first day, including 45 minutes of break time and a 5-minute optional tutorial. Note that the amount of time available for breaks may be increased by finishing a block of test items or the optional tutorial before the allotted time expires.

Second day of testing –

Second day  of testing includes a 5-minute optional tutorial followed by 198 multiple-choice items, divided into 6 blocks of 33 items; 45 minutes are allotted for completion of each block of test items. The second day also includes a 7-minute CCS tutorial. This is followed by 13 case simulations, each of which is allotted 10 or 20 minutes maximum of real time. A minimum of 45 minutes is available for break time. There is an optional survey at the end of the second day, which can be completed if time allows.

Exam syllabus.

Here is link to content outline for the exam.

How to apply?

To register, you need to create a profile with this link  . Step 3 needs to be taken in the US, unlike step 1 and 2 which can be taken in outside USA.

Practice Material

USMLE exams are computer based multiple-choice questions. The practice materials are files available for download, which simulate the exact manner in which questions will appear on the day of exam. The download and practice these questions,visit the link