3.22: United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE) Requirements: Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS

To graduate, students must pass USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge), and must have taken the Step 2 CS (Clinical Skills). The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) sets the level for passing the steps of the USMLE.

Students must take Step 1 of the USMLE within 12 months of the start of their first clinical clerkship. Students may petition the Committee on Performance, Professionalism, and Promotion (CP3) should they need additional time beyond the 12 months to sit for the exam. Students appearing on the agenda of the CP3 as a result of academic deficiencies in pre-clerkship courses may be required to sit for the USMLE Step 1 prior to beginning clerkships. Exemptions to this policy must be approved by the CP3.

NOTE: In response to COVID-19 and Prometric testing center closures, for all students who began clerkships prior to March 31, 2020, the deadline to sit for Step 1 is March 31, 2021.

Students must receive an overall pass on Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge). Students should apply for Step 2 by November 1 of their last year and must sit for the examination no later than March 30 in order to ensure that test scores are received by the School of Medicine Registrar in time to clear students for graduation.

Failure to meet these requirements will result in review by the CP3. Passing an institutionally administered USMLE equivalency exam may, under certain circumstances and in the discretion of the CP3, serve to meet Step 2 CK requirements for the MD degree. Such institutionally administered USMLE equivalency exams do not, however, meet requirements for licensure to practice medicine.

Students must take the USMLE Step 2 CS (Clinical Skills) examination prior to graduation. A passing score is not required for graduation but is required to sit for Step 3; passing Step 3 is required for licensure in California and virtually every other state. Note: Students not intending to enter the residency match may qualify for an exemption. A letter co-signed by the student and advisor must be submitted to the CP3 for approval. The student must have passed the school’s CPX exam before requesting the Step 2 CS exemption.

NOTE: In response to COVID-19, as of May 26, 2020, the USMLE has suspended Step 2 CS test administrations for the next 12-18 months. Therefore, the requirement to take Step 2 CS will be waived for students graduating in June 2021 (or before).

The USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK are administered by computer at Prometric Test Centers. Testing occurs throughout the year, except for the first two weeks in January.

Up-to-date information on the availability of testing times at Prometric is posted at http://www.prometric.com

Scheduling permits for a practice test sessions: http://www.usmle.org

NBME Self-Assessment Services: https://www.nbme.org/taking-assessment/self-assessments

Step 2 CS testing center locations: https://www.csecassessments.org/test-centers/

To apply for USMLE Step 1, log into the NBME website to complete the online application. At the end of the online application, there are instructions for completing a “Certification of Identification and Authorization Form." Print and complete the form. Attach a photo. Submit the completed form to the School of Medicine Registrar’s Office for completion.

Applications for Step 1 exams, and in some cases Step 2 exams, require an online enrollment verification on the NBME website by the Registrar. The online verifications are automatically completed at least once a week.

updated June 2020