Are you a doctor who wants to pursue your dream medical career overseas? We are covering the routes you need to take to work in some of the most popular overseas destinations. Whether it's the United Kingdom, USA, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand - here's the first steps you need to take to make your dream a reality. This blog post covers all you need to know about USMLE to be able to practice medicine in the US.
With travel restrictions easing all over the world, more doctors are thinking about pursuing their dream medical careers in other countries. Popular choices include the United Kingdom, USA, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. One of the obvious appeals is that these countries are English speaking, but another is the clear pathways which are set out to determine your route to working there.
We have recently covered some of the most popular routes to live and work in the UK:
Route to the UK: PLAB
Route to the UK: Postgraduate Qualifications
Route to the UK: MTI
In today’s blog, we are covering the United States Medical Licencing Exam which is one of the routes that American and international medical graduates need to complete to practice medicine in the US.
What is USMLE?
The United States Medical Licencing Exam (also known as USMLE) is a three-step exam taken by American and international medical graduates to be able to practice medicine in the US. The steps are spread across several years and are designed to assess knowledge and clinical skills. If you are applying to take USMLE from outside of the US, your medical school must be listed on the World Directory of Medical Schools.
How do I apply to USMLE?
For graduates of medical schools located outside of the US and Canada, you will need to apply through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
Each step of the USMLE exams has a unique objective and monitors different skills and knowledge. You’ll need to successfully complete USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 before being eligible for the final stage. Once you have passed the first two stages, you’ll receive a standard ECFMG certificate. You will need that certification to apply for the Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM) programme and completion of one to three years in GEM is required to practice medicine. USMLE Step 3 is usually taken after the first year of GEM.
USMLE Step 1 Exam (Basic Sciences)
USMLE Step 1 examines your basic understanding of the sciences behind Medicine. It covers a range of topics including anatomy, biochemistry, behavioural sciences, immunology and pharmacology. It is a one-day examination, divided into seven 60-minute blocks and administered in one 8-hour testing session. The number of questions per block on a given examination form may vary but will not exceed 40. The total number of items on the overall examination form will not exceed 280.
USMLE Step 2 CK Exam (Clinical Knowledge)
USMLE Step 2 assesses whether you can apply medical knowledge and clinical science to patient care. Similar to Step 1, it is a one-day examination, divided into eight 60-minute blocks and administered in one 9-hour testing session. The number of questions per block on a given examination will vary but will not exceed 40. The total number of items on the overall examination will not exceed 318.
There was previously a clinical skill assessment USMLE Step 2 (Clinical Skills), but this is no longer part of the step exam process. Steps 1 and 2 must be successfully completed before being able to sit for step 3.
USMLE Step 3
USMLE Step 3 assesses whether you can apply medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine, with emphasis on patient management in ambulatory settings. It is the final examination in the USMLE sequence leading to a license to practice medicine without supervision. It tests your knowledge of patient management and how diseases evolve.
This is a two-day exam. Day one is a seven-hour multiple-choice test similar to Steps 1 and 2. It is divided into six 60-minute blocks, with 45 minutes of break time. It tests knowledge of medical diagnosis, interpersonal skills and understanding of scientific abstracts and pharmaceutical adverts.
Day two tests your knowledge of patient management and how diseases evolve. This is divided into 198 multiple choice questions, and 13 computer-based care simulations each lasting 10-20 minutes. This exam is nine hours long, divided into six 45-minute blocks. This day assesses your knowledge of diagnosis, care management and medical decision-making.
How can I prepare for my exams?
USMLE has a preparation hub available on the website for Parts 1, 2 and 3 which you can access here.
How much does USMLE cost?
Effective January 1, 2022, fees for the following ECFMG fees will apply:
- The fee for Application for ECFMG Certification will be $160.
- The examination fees for United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) will be $985 for each exam registration.
- The fee for an extension of the eligibility period for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK will be $100.
- The fee for a change of testing region for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK will be $90.
- The fee for a Certification Verification Service (CVS) request will be $66.
- The fee for an application for J-1 visa sponsorship will be $370.
At this time, we are unable to facilitate placements in the United States. We are able to support doctors who are looking to live and work as a doctor in the United Kingdom. If you would like more information about moving to the UK or support applying for the next step in your career, register with A&E Agency or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are also able to review a selection of the jobs we are recruiting for here.
2022. [online] Available at: https://www.ecfmg.org/news/2021/12/23/fee-increases-for-2022/ [Accessed 14 Jun. 2022].
www.usmle.org. (n.d.). Prepare for Your Exam | USMLE. [online] Available at: https://www.usmle.org/prepare-your-exam [Accessed 14 Jun. 2022].
lauram (2016). USMLE. [online] The Medic Portal. Available at: https://www.themedicportal.com/application-guide/studying-medicine-in-the-usa/usmle/.