USMLE full form stands for the United States Medical Licensing Examination. It is a sequence of four screening tests candidates takes to get a license to practice medicine without supervision in the USA. The four exams in USMLE consist of:
1. USMLE Step 1
2. USMLE Step 2 CK and USMLE Step 2 CS
3. USMLE Step 3
The USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 are taken when the candidate is in the medical school, and Step 3 is generally taken after the graduation. For non-USA students, an ECMFG certification is required to appear for the USMLE test. ECMFG stands for Educational Commission For Foreign Medical Graduates. Apart from this, there is no difference in test pattern or scoring system for the USA and non-USA students.
If you are studying Medical in India, and want to practice in the USA, or simply want to study in the USA and become a doctor, here is the all you need to know the guide on how to approach USMLE preparation for Indian students.
How long will it take to prepare for USMLE?
The timeline for the preparation changes from individual to individual, and subject to subject. Each candidate possesses different strength and weakness, and additionally, the soft skills change, too. Therefore, there is no fixed timeline that ensures a complete success rate. Candidates have to analyze themselves and prepare accordingly. The normal preparation time for the USMLE exam is, 6-12 months for USMLE Step 1 Preparation; 4-7 for USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge) and one or two months for USMLE Step 2 CS (Clinical Skills).
You should not rely on the experience on the past test-takers, as the level of an examination go up year after year and the competition more and more challenging. Therefore, more than passing, it is important to score well. Multiple attempts do not fare well with the selection procedure, neither your best.
Remember, the study timeline or timetable will depend a lot, on how you approach the preparation, time available with you, how much do you want to score, how well you know your subjects, and along with all that, how is your English matters a lot.
When to Take the USMLE Exam?
Sooner the better. When you complete your basics, you should go for the USMLE Step 1 exam. However, have a look at the curriculum are taught, and the one you will be assessed for.
If you think what you are taught is different from what is going to be asked in an examination, then take your time for the preparation. Duration of USMLE Step 1 Exam is 8 hours. Practice how the examination will be when it will go for 8 hours online. To get the idea of how the exam is going to be, along with the right preparation will give you confidence.
There is a misconception that taking exams in certain months will get you good marks, which is false. As said earlier, USMLE is universal for both US and non-US candidates. No external factor makes any difference in the scores.
Important Points to be Considered:
> The Electronic Residency Application starts by mid-September. Make sure you finish your exams before that.
> Even if you are already practicing medicine, it is advisable to give the exams in the sequel.
> USMLE Step 2 CK will require a good knowledge of clinical skills, English language and the Residency you are applying for. Communication and Interpretational are the most important skills to have.