USMLE Step 1
USMLE Step 1 - As the term suggests, the USMLE Step 1 is the first step of the three-step USMLE 2020 examination for earning a medical license to practice medicine in the US. USMLE Step 1 is designed to evaluate a candidate’s understanding of and ability to apply basic science concepts to practice medicine. The USMLE 2020 Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS can be taken in any sequence; Step 3 however can be taken only after successful completion of other steps. USMLE 2020 Step 1 will be a computer-based test comprising around 280 multiple choice questions (MCQs) that will be administered at Prometric test centers around the world. Go through the rest of the article to learn the full details of USMLE Step 1 2020.
What is USMLE Step 1?
The USMLE Step 1 is an approximately eight-hour long computer-based exam that is conducted across Prometric test centers across the world. As can be understood by the terminology, it is also the first step in the three-step USMLE exam that is taken for earning a licence to practice medicine in the US.
The test seeks to test the candidates grasp of and ability to apply important concepts of the basic sciences to the practice of medicine, with special emphasis on principles and mechanisms underlying health, disease, and modes of therapy
USMLE 2020 will have the following steps:
Step 2, which has two components: Clinical Skills (CS) and Clinical Knowledge (CK)
USMLE Step 1 Dates 2020
There are no specific exam dates to take USMLE 2020 Step 1. Instead the applicant has to choose an eligibility period within which they can take the exam. The eligibility period however cannot fall in the first week of January or major holidays.
USMLE Step 1 Eligibility Period 2020
Eligibility period and scheduling test date
USMLE Step 1 Eligibility Criteria 2020
USMLE is a three-step test, with each step having its own eligibility criteria. So, if you are appearing in USMLE Step 1 2020, you need to meet the eligibility criteria of USMLE 2020 as elucidated in the table below.
Who can take USMLE Step 1 2020?
The candidate must be enrolled in, or a graduate of, a medical school that is located outside the US or Canada and is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools as meeting ECFMG eligibility requirements;
In addition, the candidate must also meet any other ECFMG criteria as may be mandated.
Sequence of examination:
Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS can be taken in sequence provided the candidate meets the eligibility of the step. Note that Step 3 is allowed only after completion of all other steps, i.e Step 1 and Step 2 components.
USMLE Step 1 Application Form 2020
The USMLE 2020 is a three-step qualification exam, where Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS can be taken in any sequence. Step 3 can be taken after completing other steps. The application form of USMLE is available separately for all the steps. So, when applying for Step 1, applicants need to fill USMLE 2020 Step 1 application form which is available in online mode via ECFMG on IWA (Interactive Web Applications).
USMLE Step 1 Registration Entity 2020
How to apply
For students / graduates of LCME-or AOA-accredited medical programs in the US or Canada:
Apply through NBME on NLES (NBME Licensing Examination Services)
For students / graduates of medical schools located OUTSIDE the US and Canada:
Apply through ECFMG on IWA (Interactive Web Applications)
USMLE Step 1 Exam Pattern 2020
Step 1 of the USMLE 2020 will be a computer-based test that will be held at Prometric Centers across the world. By consulting the USMLE 2020 exam pattern, candidates will learn about the exam format, test duration, and purpose behind the step.
USMLE 2020 Step 1 Exam Pattern
Step and purpose
It accesses a candidate’s
understanding of and ability to apply important concepts of the basic sciences to the practice of medicine, with special emphasis on principles and mechanisms underlying health, disease, and modes of therapy
There will be around 280 MCQs, split over seven 60-minute blocks
Mode of exam will be Computer-based that will be administered at Prometric test centers across the world
Single day test
Duration of test: Around
USMLE Step 1 Exam Centres 2020
Step 1 of USMLE can be taken at Prometric test centers across the world. The international applicant can choose a USMLE 2020 test centre for Step 1 in the country of their residence. To select a test centre, the applicant has to first get registered for the step upon which eligibility period and scheduling permit will be issued.
USMLE 2020 Step 1 - Test Centres and Surcharge
Location of Prometric Testing Centers
Step 1 Surcharge
Step 2 CK Surcharge
United States and Canada
Test centers are located in every U.S. state, as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Test centers are located in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.
Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda
(For centers in Egypt, select Middle East testing region.)
Bangladesh, Malaysia, Nepal, People’s Republic of China (For Hong Kong, select Asia testing region. For centers in other available cities in the PRC, select China testing region.), Philippines, and Singapore
(For centers in India, select India testing region.)
Australia and New Zealand
People’s Republic of China
(For Hong Kong, select Asia testing region. For centers in other available cities in the PRC, select China testing region.)
Armenia, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela
Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates
(For centers in Israel, select Europe testing region.)
USMLE Step 1 Syllabus 2020
Questions that are asked in USMLE Step 1 can be grouped into 18 core areas. These areas cover basic concepts and principles of the organ-systems or within individual organ-systems. The Step 1 of the USMLE covers topics related to traditionally defined disciplines as described in the table below:
Disciplines covered in USMLE Step 1
Biostatistics and Epidemiology
The following interdisciplinary areas are also covered in the USMLE 2018 step 1:
Molecular and Cell Biology
Molecular and Cell Biology
USMLE Step 1 Syllabus
General Principles of Foundational Science
15% – 20%
1. Immune System
2. Blood & Lymphoreticular System
3. Behavioral Health
4. Nervous System & Special Senses
5. Skin & Subcutaneous Tissue
6. Musculoskeletal System
7. Cardiovascular System
8. Respiratory System
9. Gastrointestinal System
10. Renal & Urinary System
11. Pregnancy, Childbirth, & the Puerperium
12. Female Reproductive & Breast
13. Male Reproductive
14. Endocrine System
60% – 70%
1. Multisystem Processes & Disorders
2. Biostatistics & Epidemiology
3. Population Health
4. Social Sciences
10% – 15%
55% – 60%
Principles of Therapeutics
15% – 20%
10% – 15%
USMLE Step 1 Physician Competencies
Medical Knowledge/Scientific Concepts
55% – 65%
Patient Care: Diagnosis
20% – 30%
Patient Care: Management***
Health Maintenance/Disease Prevention
Practice-based Learning and Improvement
USMLE Step 1 Result 2020
NBME will declare the result of USMLE 2020 Step 1 and also issue score cards. Once Step 1, reports are available, ECFMG will send an e-mail notification to international medical students/graduates notifying them about availability of the result.
USMLE Step 1 2020 Score Reporting
Examination data is sent electronically to NBME
The points accumulated after scoring correct responses is converted into a raw score
The raw score is then converted to a 3-digit score
Candidates behavior is examined, with those with aberrant behavior asked to give an explanation
Final quality assurance done to ensure accuracy
The score report is shared with organisations like NBME, ECFMG, or FSMB, with whom you registered for the exam, who send the report to you.
How long does it take to get USMLE Results for a specific Step?
Score of USMLE Steps 1 2020 will be released within three to four weeks from the test date.
Sometimes however delays may occur, so it is recommended to give oneself a eight week window from test date to receipt of score.
The applicant must follow the instructions sent to them in the result notification (email) to access the USMLE 2020 scorecard.
The USMLE scorecard or report card is available for download for a period of 365 days post the email notification.
USMLE transcript: After expiry of the 365 days, the scores will be available in the form of official USMLE transcripts, which will be obtained after payment of a fee.
USMLE Step 1 Cutoff Score 2020
The USMLE result 2020 for Steps 1, as well as for 2 CK and 3 are reported on a 3-digit scale. To qualify in USMLE 2020 step 1, the applicant has to score at least 194 marks.
USMLE 2020 cut-off scores for Step 1, 2 CK and 3
Step 2 CK
Note: USMLE 2020 result for Step 2 CS is reported simply as pass or fail.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) - USMLE Step 1
Question: When can a candidate take the USMLE Step 1 2020?
The USMLE 2020 Step 1 can be taken around the year, except in the first week of January or major holidays.
Question: Can I take USMLE Step 1 before Step 3, or other Steps?
The USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CS and Step CK can be taken in any sequence. However, Step 3 is allowed after completion of other steps.
Question: What is USMLE Step 1 eligibility period?
When registering for the exam, the applicant has to opt for an eligibility period (three months ) during which to take the exam. The candidate can select any test date in this period.
Question: Who will declare USMLE 2020 Step 1 result?
NBME will declare USMLE 2020 Step 1 result and issue score cards.
Question: When should I take the USMLE Step 1?
The test can be taken within a three-month eligibility period period, which is issued after successful registration for USMLE Step 1.
Questions related to USMLE
Do the rank of college matter in matchmaking process of usmle?
While matching your programme to Medical Schools or Hospitals, USMLE scores do matter. The factors that are considered for Matching are:
- High USMLE scores
- Board scores of other residents in the programme vs the no.of attempts
- Any Clinical experience in the US
- If the programme you are applying for is open to IMG Candidates
- How many years out of medical school are you
- Strong letters of recommendation
- Languages that you speak
And to get place in a good hospital, these are the factors that you need to look into. And ofcourse the rank of the college matters but your placement or matching to that college depends on the above mentioned factors.
Applied to enough IMG friendly hospitals
I am in second year of MBBS . i am not sure if I want to pursue further career in india or abroad. also , I need a bit briefing about usmle .
If you are planning to settle abroad do PG in abroad and make sure that MCI has approved it. The medical council of India has approved PG courses only from these 5 countries- USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand.
I can get from your question that you are willing to write the US Medical License Exam (USMLE). Since you are an international applicant you need to score higher than the average marks scored by the US applicants.
All the best.
iv completed my mbbs in march 2020. now im planning to do internal medicine in US in 2022. id like to know a timeline regarding the same
Thank you for your query. If you want to study in USA you need to first get through IELTS with a score of atleat 7-8 in academic overall. Then you have to pass the medical exam in USA which is required to being qualified to get for a course on Internal medicine.
All the best
I wish to become a Neurosurgeon, but first I wish to practice in the United States or Singapore for half of my career and to spend last half of my career in India. Whether my wish is a good one? Is it possible? Is my decision is correct? Kindly commend on my wish?
Raja, we have been discussing your career and aspirations for a while now and we appreciate that you want to take Career360's opinion on the matter of your career. So by now, you are aware of the fact what it takes to become a neurosurgeon and what it is to clear USMLE, practise as a resident in the US. We also have discussed the life style and the salary part. Now regarding the first half and later half of the career, we only wish we could predict our timeline on this planet. We do not which might be the first half or which might be the later part. But no wish is bad. If you want to achieve something, you should lest you regret for the rest of your lofe. Now to practise in the US, you may have to appear for USMLE, clear the step 1 and then practise as a resident before you can get the license to practise as a full time neurosurgeon. That is a long process that might take good 4-5 years. You study MBBS in India for 50 months and then complete the 1 year rotational internship and it takes you as many as 5 years. And appearing for USMLE and then working as a resident take another 4 years and so 10 years of your life are spent getting a valid license to practise in the US. And then lets say after 5 years you want to move to Singapore, that takes a whole different processing because you need to appear for their license exam. And you work in Singapore for lets say another 5 years and you come back to India. 15 years of your life are spent studying and getting licenses. But the beauty is within 15 years you can actually get license to practise in 3 countries. So you need to take a call. Or how about you finish MBBS in India, move to Singapore to study your MD/MS and plan on moving to the US? That way the transition is going to be smoother.
Are Neurosurgeons happy in San Francisco?
Well I guess they are because they get very good six figure salary and have a great job security although it's stressing but still they like their job cause they got into it knowing the stress it may carry. Neurosurgery is very much in demand and is a very great speciality in medical field.
I hope my answer helps.
All the best.