What is USMLE?
United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States. The test is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards and National Board of Medical Examiners. This examination tests a physician’s ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles. It examines if the practitioner is able to demonstrate fundamental skills that facilitate safe and effective patient care. Physicians with MD degree are required to pass this examination before start practicing medicine in the US.
Why is it so Important?
United States Medical Licensing Examination scores are very important for International Medical Graduates trying for residency programs in the United States. It is equivalent to international medical examination. USMLE step 1 scores examine if the graduates are more likely to match to their target medical specialty. It tests whether the examinees have basic foundational knowledge of scientific concepts. Step 2 focuses on if they can apply their medical knowledge within the clinical field. Each step complements the other. No single step can stand alone in the assessment.
United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) examines the basic knowledge of the subjects like Pathology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Anatomy, Behavioral Sciences, and inter-disciplinary subjects like nutrition, genetics and aging. There are three integral steps of this test. When a medical school graduate successfully crosses the hurdles of these three steps, he or she gets license to practice medicine in the US.
USMLE Step 1 assesses the basic knowledge of the medical graduates, if they understand and can apply important concepts of the basic sciences in practice.
USMLE Step 2 examines whether the graduates can apply medical knowledge, skills and understanding of clinical science for clinical care under supervision. There are two steps in this part- CK and CS. CK is assesses clinical knowledge through a multiple-choice examination. CS tests clinical skills through live patient interactions. Here the standardized patients are portrayed by actors.
USMLE Step 3 is the final exam where a medical graduate applies understanding of biomedical and clinical science in case of unsupervised practice.