USMLE Exam Fees: For Step 1, 2 & 3

Updated on 27 December, 2022
Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

About USMLE Exam

USMLE stands for the United States Medical Licensing Examination, which helps candidates obtain a medical license in the USA. The various medical licensing authorities utilize this examination to assess the candidate’s eligibility. 

The exam has multiple steps, and they all combine to assist aspiring medical students in becoming practicing doctors. The test confirms their capabilities to provide high-quality patient care and services. So, the results of USMLE are sent to licensing bodies to help their decision-making on medical licensure.

The examination is known for testing the candidate’s core medical and scientific knowledge. This article will discuss all the USMLE fees, registration process, and associated information.

What is USMLE?

USMLE is owned by two necessary medical authorities, the National Board of Medical Examiners and the Federation of State Medical Boards. Moreover, the exam is governed by a committee including members such as NBME, ECFMG, and FSMB. 

This committee makes all the decisions about the exam, like the scoring system, pass/fail rules, and associated procedures. 

The examination board consists of doctors, medical professionals, and educators from across the USA. They prepare the questions, analyze test items and make necessary modifications. Most importantly, the NBME prepares the assessments used for the evaluation of education, certification, and licensure.  

The USMLE program has three examination stages – 

  • Step 1 - It assesses whether candidates can apply basic scientific knowledge to medical practice.
  • Step 2 CK - The test analyzes whether candidates can apply medical knowledge and skills to treat patients under supervision. It includes multiple disciplines like internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, and gynecology.  
  • Step 3 – This is the exam's final stage, which examines if the candidate can apply chemical knowledge and biomedical understanding in tackling unsupervised medical practice, like emergencies. 

Therefore, extensive preparation is required to pass the USMLE to move ahead with one’s medical career. 

Why Take USMLE Exam?

The primary reason to take the USMLE test is to examine an aspiring physician's medical practice capabilities. Candidates can also assess themselves if they are eligible to provide safe and effective medical services.

Allopathic medicine students must take this exam to successfully obtain their MD degree. On the other hand, osteopathic medicine students can opt for USMLE or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination for their D.O degree.  

So, the USMLE test reduces the need for multiple complicated exams to assess a medical student.  

How to Register for USMLE Exam?

Candidates can register for the USMLE through three entities or channels – NBME, ECFMG (Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates), and FSMB.

The application process for the Step 1 and Step 2 exams is similar, where only NBME and ECFMG are involved. LCME or COCA-accredited medical program students in Canada or the USA must apply through the NBME channel for the Step 1 and 2 exams.

However, medical graduate students from outside the USA or Canada have to apply through ECFMG for Step 1 and 2 exams. Then, for the Step 3 exam, students must register through the FSMB channel.

Further, all aspiring candidates must be registered students of recognized medical institutes to initiate the registration process.

USMLE Exam Fees, Registration Expenses, and Other Costs

The USMLE fees and USMLE costs will differ according to the student’s academic background. 

For students belonging to medical institutes in the USA or Canada recognized by LCME or AOA, the expenses are as follows.

2022 Fee Structure

  • USMLE Step 1 exam fees – USD 645 USMLE Step 2 CK exam fees – USD 645
  • Eligibility period extension Step 1 & Step 2 CK - $70  

2023 Fee Structure

  • USMLE Step 1 exam fees – USD 660
  • USMLE Step 2 CK exam fees – USD 660
  • Eligibility period extension Step 1 & Step 2 CK costs - $70  

For International Students Outside the USA/Canada

The USMLE exam fees in India or other countries outside the USA or Canada are described below.

  • USMLE Step 1 exam fees – USD 985
  • USMLE Step 2 CK exam fees – USD 985
  • Eligibility period extension Step 1 & Step 2 CK costs – USD 100 
  • Region Change – USD 90/region
  • Score rechecking – USD 80  

Step 3 Exam Fees

The exam fees for Step 3 are USD 895 for 2022 and USD 915 for 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the process for applying for the USMLE program?

To apply for the USMLE, it is essential to keep an eye out for the Bulletin of Information. It contains all the vital information about the preparation, eligibility, application process, exam dates, and scoring. 

Q. How many times can a student attempt a step of the exam?

The maximum number of times a candidate can attempt the USMLE is four.

Q. Can a student retake the test?

Yes, the candidate of student can take the exam up to three times within a year. The fourth attempt must be 12 months after the first attempt and six months after the recent one.

Q. What is the general exam pattern of USMLE?

The exam consists of multiple-choice questions, where Step 1 has 280 questions. Step 2 has 318 questions, and Step 3 includes 412 questions. Students must clear Step 1 to be eligible for Steps 2 and 3.   

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