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United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE)

The United States Medical Licensing Program administers a series of examinations. Most states accept passing of these examinations as a means of obtaining licensure for the practice of medicine.

Successful passage of Steps 1 and 2 (Clinical Skills and Clinical Knowledge) of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examinations is a graduation requirement.

A. USMLE Step 1 Timing Requirements Policy

USMLE Step 1 Timing Requirements

  • Effective upon approval (4/4/16) for all students matriculating from August 2016 onwards (Class of 2020 onwards)
  • FOM 2 students will be required to take Step 1 prior to beginning their CCE year and to pass Step 1 before continuing in the CCE year. In addition to this, completion of all FOM 2 coursework is required for taking Step 1.
  • A student who fails three attempts at Step 1 will be referred to the Progress Board.
  • MD/PhD students will continue to be required to take and pass Step 1 prior to entry into Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, consistent with current practice.

Eligibility for USMLE Examinations for Students on Leave of Absence

  • Effective upon approval (4/4/16) for all current and future students
  • Students on leave of absence may be certified by the University of Massachusetts Medical School as eligible to sit for USMLE licensing exams.

This policy change applies to all students who matriculated in Fall 2016 and later (Class of 2020 and later).

Applicability: All students entering in the Fall of 2016
EPC Approval:  April 4, 2016

B.     USMLE Step 2 Timing Requirements Policy

  • Students are required to take the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) Examination no later than October 31st of their Advanced Studies year.
  • Students are required to take the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) Examination no later than December 15th of their Advanced Studies year.
  • Failure to take each of the Step 2 examinations by the specified deadlines will result in the student’s not being permitted to continue coursework (required or elective) until the examination is taken.

This policy change applies to all students graduating in the Class of 2018 and later, regardless of year of matriculation.

Applicability: All students graduating Class of 2018 and later
EPC Approval:  September 12, 2016

Step 1 and Step 2CK each consist of a one-day multiple-choice examination. They are taken at the student’s discretion, subject to scheduling arrangements made directly with Prometric Test Centers, the organization that administers the USMLE for the National Board of Medical Examiners. Most students will want to take the USMLE Step 1 Exam in April, after completion of the FOM2 curriculum. Step 1 encompasses material from the basic science curriculum. Details regarding USMLE Step 1 can be found at .  Step 2CK (Clinical Knowledge) is similar in format to Step 1 and is usually taken at the beginning of the fourth year of medical school. Step 2CK assesses competency in the clinical sciences, in the areas of physician tasks (medical knowledge, patient care diagnosis and management, disease prevention, communication, professionalism, systems-based practice/patient safety and practice-based learning) as well as the general principles of foundational science, biostatistics/epidemiology and interpretation of the medical literature.  Details regarding USMLE Step 2CK can be found at . Step 2CS (Clinical Skills) is an eight (8) hour exam in which students encounter standardized patients. Each student is evaluated based on their interaction with the standardized patients, as well as their skills with differential diagnosis and note taking.  Components of the exam include the Integrated Clinical Encounter (ICE), Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS), and Spoken English Proficiency (SEP).  It is recommended that students sign up for this exam no later than February or March of their CCE year to secure a spot prior to October 31 of their AS year as locations fill up quickly. Details regarding USMLE Step 2CS can be found at . Step 3 is taken during the end of the first year of residency training.

Applications for and complete information pertaining to the Step 1, Step 2CK and Step 2CS are available at the USMLE Web site: (  Students receive a report of their scores directly from the National Board. Scores are also sent to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and are kept in the Registrar’s Office as part of each student’s permanent academic record. A tabulated summary of the performance of the class for each examination, including average scores for each of the subject matters, is made available to faculty.

Please Note:
1.  Students must successfully meet the UMass Chan USMLE requirements for participation in the National Residency Match Program (NRMP). See: section Four IV above, National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).

2.  Students requesting to postpone a CCE for USMLE test preparation must due so at least four weeks prior to the start of the CCE. (See: Postponing a Required Core Clinical Experience).

This content is current to the 2021-2022 Student Handbook.