What is USMLE Step 1 Exam?

USMLE stands for United States Medical Licensure Examination.

Each medical school graduate should pass all steps of the USMLE to get a license to practice medicine in the United States of America and its territories.

USMLE is divided into three steps: Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 3:


USMLE Step 1


Step 1 tests important concepts of basic sciences with focus on the principles of health and mechanisms of disease and therapy.

Step 1 examination is a one-day test, divided into 7 blocks, each block is timed for 60 minutes with a total of 8-hour session including a 15-minute orientation and a 45-minute break time in addition to the 7-hours for the 7-blocks.

The number of questions varies in each block but the total can NOT exceed 280 multiple choice questions.

Eligibility for the USMLE Step 1

To be eligible for the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK, you must be a medical student enrolled in, or a graduate of a medical school program leading to the MD or DO degree in the United States or Canada.

It you are enrolled in, or a graduate of a medical school outside the United States or Canada, your medical school must be listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools to be eligible to take the USMLE test.

Test Locations and Scheduling

There are several test locations in the United States and other countries as well. They are also called Prometric centers and you will find more details during the process of scheduling. A valid email and phone number are required for application beside the paper work listed on the scheduling process.

Due to COVID-19 Pandemic, some dates can change or even cancelled in some test centers. You must need to read the instructions very carefully before you attend your test center to avoid any delay or cancellation.

Test Content

USMLE Step 1 test consists of multiple choice questions designed to assess basic sciences and application of them on the health and diseases of all systems of the body.

Step 1 content includes general principles in about 12-16% of the test. Individual organ systems are included in the majority of the questions. Each system ranges between 5 and 10% of the test. Behavioral sciences, biostatistics, epidemiology, social sciences and interpersonal skills are included in about 15% of the test.

About 60-75% of the test covers pathology and pharmacology.

You can find more specifications and range of questions at the Official USMLE Site.

Step 1 Practice Materials

There is a lot of Q Banks for USMLE Step 1 available to practice online. They are in the same format as the real test which provides interactive testing experience.

UWorld, Kaplan and NBME are the famous ones and must go through them to guarantee higher possibility to pass.

Some free websites also offer Repeated USMLE Questions and Review.

Later, I will go through more information in the USMLE and free practice materials.

Check this Review Book for Step 1

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