What is the USMLE step1? Purpose and benefits

What is USMLE Step 1 MedSmarter

To become a doctor in the US you need to take a number of tests. You have to qualify for the MCAT in order to get into medical school. After getting into medical school you need to know what is USMLE step1.

There are a lot of subjects you have to study to be prepared for this exam. So, read this article and get full information about this test with its purpose and benefits.

What do you mean by USMLE step 1?

After qualifying MCAT students get admission to medical school through the MD program and start their journey to become doctors.

In between the second and third year of college students have to take a USMLE step 1 exam which is otherwise known as the United States Medical Licensure Exam step 1.

Every student has to qualify for this exam since it’s mandatory for all. It consists of a total of three steps. That is, step 1, step2, and step3. Here we will be discussing step 1 only.

After doing all the course work this exam is taken place to test the scientific and practical knowledge of students.

Exam scheduling:

The scheduling of exams can be done online. US and Canadian students can schedule their exams via the National Board of Medical examiners(NBME), while students from outside of these two states can apply through the Educational committee for foreign medical graduates(ACFMG).

To schedule your exam according to your preference you have to apply early so that you can get the date of your choice.

After applying you will get An USMLE ID via email. This usually takes only one day. Once you get your ID, you can make a schedule for your exam.

Foreign students can apply through the Educational committee for a foreign medical graduate website or ACFMGW.

Preparation for the exam:

The USMLE Step 1 exam is the first step to becoming a doctor. So you need to score well on this exam. Hence it is recommended for you take your exam after finishing the 2nd year of your school.

Take at least two months to prepare for this exam in order to overlook all the things you have studied in 2 years. 

Go through all the materials like q-banks, U-world, and textbook to recall all your papers which will be enough for you to score well in the USMLE Step 1 exam.

Exam day:

The USMLE step 1 is a computerized exam that lasts for a whole day. So you have to be fully prepared for it.

You will be given a total of 6 breaks that last for 7 and a half minutes each. This exam is divided into seven sections.

As you are going to spend a whole day in the exam hall, you need to take snacks with you. You will not be getting any lunch breaks. So it will be better for you to take protein-rich foods like sandwiches, protein bars, and water bottles.

You cannot enter in exam hall wearing a jacket. Cell phones are not allowed. You can use earplugs to avoid disturbance from other people.

Subjects to be prepared for:

The USMLE step 1 exam is divided into 7 blocks, 60 minutes each. Including break time it takes 8 hours to complete the test. You can attain 15 minutes of tutorial from the beginning of the test. The watching tutorial is highly recommended for you. Don’t skip it.

Here are the lists of subjects from which your questions are expected to come.

General principles:

Blood and immune system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, behavioral health and nervous system, multisystem process and disorders, reproductive system, endocrine system, biostatistics and epidemiology or population health, social science: communication and interpersonal skills.

Body system:

Physiology, pathology, pharmacology, microbiology, biochemistry and nutrition, immunology, histology, cell biology, gross anatomy and embryology, behavioral sciences, and genetics.


Patient care: diagnosis, management, communicational and interpersonal skills, practical-based learning and improvement, medical knowledge: applying foundational science concepts.

Apart from these subjects, it is highly recommended for you read the “first aid USMLE step 1” book which is published by McGraw-Hill education. It is available online also. The subjects you can cover here are

  • USMLE Step 1 basics
  • Study materials
  • Timeline for studies
  • Biochemistry 
  • Immunology
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Public health science
  • Approaching the organ system
  • Cardiovascular
  • Endocrine
  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Muscular, skin, and connective tissue
  • Psychiatry
  • Respiratory system 
  • Renal and reproductive system etc.

You can practice q banks, and U world and use online tools for a better understanding of your papers. 

USMLE step 1 exam and results:

In this exam, you will either pass or fail. The average passing score is 194. It takes only one month to announce the result of the test.

You will get an email when your result comes. US and Canadian students can see their results on the NBME website, while non-US and non-Canadian students can see their results on the website of ECFMG.

If you pass the exam, you cannot retake this exam to increase your score like the MCAT exam. It is either you pass or fail. There is no retake.

If you fail to fail to secure a passing score in the USMLE Step 1 exam, there is nothing to be worried about. You will get up to 6 chances to pass your exam.

You can reattempt the step1 Exam three times within one year failing the test. For the fourth attempt, you have to wait for at least 1 year.

The cornerstone of effective tutoring is the quality of the tutor. At TheTuitionTeacher.com, we pride ourselves on a rigorous selection process that ensures only the most qualified and experienced tutors are part of our network.


Here is the full information about the USMLE Step 1 exam. We hope you do not have any doubts regarding this exam. Read the article thoroughly and you will be all clear about this test. That’s all you needed to know about the USMLE Step 1 exam. Make a schedule and follow it properly. Give your hundred percent in two months of preparation.

Keep in the know and maximize your preparation by choosing to succeed with the appropriate MedSmarter courses you need.