USMLE Exam Pattern 2019
Shivani Bhatt, 09 Jan 2019
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USMLE Exam Pattern 2019: The USMLE 2019 Exam pattern of each step of the exam is different. This is mainly because each step aims to assess a different area of the aspirant as well as have different subjects and models of assessment. The USMLE 2019 Step 1 aims to assess the knowledge of concepts of science, Step 2 assess clinical knowledge and patient care process, and Step 3 covers application of foundational sciences and patient management ability of the aspirant.

USMLE 2019 application forms are filled up separately for each step. Candidates who qualify for USMLE Step 1 can apply to the further steps. While the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK can be taken all over the world, Step 2 CS and step 3 has to be taken at in designated centres in the USA.

USMLE Exam Pattern 2019- Step 1

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The Step 1 of USMLE 2019 will be covers approximately 18 medical disciplines and its inter-disciplines. This step aims to assess a test-takers knowledge of the concepts of science in terms of medical practice. The Step 1 of USMLE 2019 is an 8-hour exam conducted in a single day. The questions are primarily multiple-choice questions. The question paper of Step 1 contains seven 60-minute blocks. The highest number of question in each block will be less 40 or less. The total number of questions in the 8-hour exam should be 310 or less. 

Exam Pattern of USMLE 2019 Step 1:


USMLE exam Pattern


Step 1

Multiple-Choice Computer-based test with 310 MCQ questions

8 hours

The USMLE exam pattern 2019 for Step 1 covers the following disciplines:

Disciplines covered in USMLE Step 1



Behavioral sciences




Biostatistics and epidemiology


Further, the exam pattern of USMLE step 1 also covers the following inter-disciplines: 

Inter-disciplines covered in USMLE Step 1





Molecular and cell biology


USMLE Exam Pattern 2019- Step 2 

The Step 2 of USMLE 2019 will be conducted in two parts – Clinical Knowledge (CK) and Clinical Science (CS). The Clinical Knowledge (CK) is an MCQ-based paper. The questions can be Single-Item Questions or Sequential Item Sets. This step can be taken by aspirants in the country of origin. For the Step 2 USMLE – Clinical Science (CS), test-takers are required to travel to USA to take the test. The test assesses candidates through a simulated patient care process. The candidates have to take care of these standardised patients. Each test taker examines a total of 12 patients for which they are given 15 minutes each. The exam pattern of USMLE Step 2 CK includes approximately 18 areas. A few are listed below:

Disciplines covered in USMLE Step 2

Immune System

Skin & Subcutaneous Tissue

Blood & Lymphoreticular Systems

Musculoskeletal System

Behavioral Health

Cardiovascular System

Nervous System & Special Senses

Respiratory System

USMLE 2019 Exam Pattern for Step 2(CK and CS):


USMLE Exam Pattern


Step 2 CK

Computer-based test covering 350 MCQ questions.

9 hours

Step 2 CS

  • 12 patient cases with 15 minutes for each patient and 10 minutes to record each patient note.

  • Held across six test centers in the US

8 hours

USMLE Exam Pattern 2019- Step 3

The USMLE Step 3 is a two-day test conducted in USA. The exam is conducted across six centres. The Step3 USMLE exam covers Foundations of Independent Practice (FIP) and Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM). The USMLE Step 3 eligibility requirements are that the candidate should have cleared the USMLE step 1 and step 2 (CK and CS) are only eligible for the Step 3. Foundations of Independent Practice (FIP) includes the application of foundational sciences; understanding of biostatistics and epidemiology/population health among others, and assesses knowledge of basic medical principles. Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM) includes diagnosis, prognosis, health maintenance, and assesses the patient management ability of the candidate.

USMLE 2019 Exam Pattern for Step 3


USMLE exam Pattern


USMLE Step 3 (FIP)

260 MCQs grouped into six 60-minute blocks, each block contains approximately 44 questions

7 hours

USMLE Step 3 (ACM)

200 MCQs grouped into six 45-minute blocks, each block contains approximately 33 questions

9 hours

USMLE 2019 Scores

The scoring pattern of different Steps of USMLE 2019 are different. Candidates receive the USMLE scores of USMLE 2019 Steps to which they have applied. The scores for USMLE step 2 CS is released as Pass or Fail.

The minimum passing USMLE 2019 scores are as follows:


Minimum Scores Required

Step 1


Step 2 CK


Step 3


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