What is USMLE®:
The USMLE (stands for United States Medical Licensing Exam) is a joint effort of Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME®). USMLE is taken by medical graduates of any country as it is both, a qualifying exam for PG as well as Licensure exam to practice medicine in the USA. USMLE is conducted in 3 steps. Qualifying first two steps enables a medical student to apply for residency in US. Final step of examination can be taken during the residency, which gives a student, a License to practice medicine in the USA.
USMLE assesses medical graduates on their subject knowledge, application of the acquired knowledge, concepts, principles in real world scenarios. It also tests a graduate’s ability to demonstrate fundamental patient centered skills that are important in health and disease and that constitute the basis of safe and effective patient care. Each step of USMLE tests different skills and no step can stand alone as a validation point.
Typically USMLE is of three steps
Step 1 test covers Basic Sciences. Step 1 emphasizes the importance of principals underlying health, diseases and modes of therapy.
Interestingly step 2 is divided into two parts one theory (Step 2 Clinical Knowledge) and one practical exam (Step 2 Clinical Skills).
Step 2 CK assesses test takers ability to apply acquired medical knowledge & skills for the provision of patients, with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention.
Step 2 CS is a non scored, pass/fail practical exam with standardized patient encounters. CS exam, tests medical students and graduates on their ability to gather information from patients, perform physical examinations, and communicate their findings to patients and colleagues in standard formats.
Step 3, the final one of USMLE step is taken by medical graduates who are pursuing their residency. If a medical graduate is confident enough to take the test, he or she, can do so at any time during his residency program. This step assesses if the graduate is ready to handle responsibility of unsupervised practice. Testing a graduates Application of medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical sciences with emphasis on patient management is the objective of this step.