If you are a medical student or graduate who wants to pursue a career in the United States, you will need to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1. The USMLE Step 1 is a computer-based test that assesses your basic science knowledge and its application to clinical scenarios. It is one of the most important and challenging exams in your medical journey, as it determines your eligibility for residency programs and influences your specialty choice. In this article, we will guide you through the steps for USMLE Step 1 registration, from obtaining an identification number to scheduling your test date. We will also provide some tips and resources for preparing for the exam and achieving your desired score.
Before we delve into the registration process, it’s essential to understand what the USMLE is and why it holds such significance in the medical field. You can find a detailed guide on the USMLE and its importance on What is USMLE? A Detailed Guide.
Step 1: Request a USMLE/ECFMG identification number and create an online account for USMLE Step 1 Registration
The first step for the USMLE Step 1 registration is to request a USMLE/ECFMG identification number from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) website. The ECFMG is the organization that certifies international medical graduates for entry into US residency and fellowship programs. You will need a USMLE/ECFMG identification number to apply for the exam and access other ECFMG services.
To request a USMLE/ECFMG identification number, you can visit the https://www.usmle.org/apply-exams to apply online. On this page, you will need to provide some personal information, such as your name, date of birth, gender, email address, and mailing address. You will also need to agree to the ECFMG policies and procedures. Once you submit your request, you will receive an email with your USMLE/ECFMG identification number and instructions on how to create an online account with a password
You can request a USMLE/ECFMG identification number through the Interactive Web Applications (IWA) on the ECFMG website. If you are a first-time user, you will need to click on Request a USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number and follow the instructions. If you already have a USMLE/ECFMG identification number, you can log in with your existing number and password.
Step 2: Complete the Application for ECFMG Certification
The next step for the USMLE Step 1 registration is to complete the Application for ECFMG Certification, which is a requirement for international medical graduates who wish to take any of the USMLE exams. The Application for ECFMG Certification consists of two parts: submitting a notarized Certification of Identification Form (Form 186) and verifying your medical education credentials.
The Certification of Identification Form (Form 186) is an agreement between you and ECFMG that confirms your identity and authorizes ECFMG to verify your credentials and release your exam results. You will need to complete this form online through the IWA on the ECFMG website and print it out. Then, you will need to sign it in the presence of a notary public and mail it to ECFMG along with two recent passport-sized photographs.
The verification of your medical education credentials is a process that confirms that you are enrolled in or have graduated from a medical school that is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools. You will need to submit copies of your medical diploma, transcript, and student status letter (if applicable) through the IWA on the ECFMG website. Then, ECFMG will contact your medical school directly to verify the authenticity of your documents.
If your documents are not in English, you will need to provide an English translation along with the original documents. The translation must be certified by an official translator or by your medical school. You can find more information about the translation requirements on the ECFMG website.
Step 3: Apply for the USMLE Step 1 exam
The third step for the USMLE Step 1 registration is to apply for the exam through the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) website. The NBME is the organization that administers the USMLE exams in collaboration with ECFMG and other entities. You will need to log in with your USMLE/ECFMG identification number and password and select the exam type, eligibility period, testing region, and payment method.
The eligibility period is a three-month window in which you can take the exam. You can choose any eligibility period within the next 12 months from the date of your application. The testing region is the geographical area where you plan to take the exam. You can choose any testing region that has Prometric test centers that offer the USMLE exams. The payment method is either credit card or electronic check. The application fee for the USMLE Step 1 exam is $940 as of 2023.
You can apply for the USMLE Step 1 exam through the IWA on the NBME website. You will need to complete the online application form, which includes providing your personal information, medical school information, exam information, and payment information. You will also need to agree to the USMLE policies and procedures.
Step 4: Wait for your scheduling permit email from ECFMG
The fourth step for the USMLE Step 1 registration is to wait for your scheduling permit email from ECFMG, which will contain your eligibility period and instructions on how to schedule your test date with Prometric. The scheduling permit email will be sent to you after ECFMG has processed your application, received your Certification of Identification Form (Form 186), and verified your medical education credentials. This may take several weeks or months depending on various factors.
You should check your email regularly and make sure that you do not delete or lose your scheduling permit email, as it is required for scheduling and taking the exam. You should also print out a copy of your scheduling permit and keep it in a safe place.
In some cases, you may find that your original eligibility period for the USMLE Step 1 exam does not align with your preferred test date due to unforeseen circumstances. ECFMG provides an option to extend your eligibility period under certain circumstances. If you need to extend your eligibility period, you can find detailed instructions and requirements on how to do so on How to Extend the Eligibility Period for USMLE Step 1. This can be particularly helpful if you need more time to adequately prepare for the exam.
Step 5: Schedule your test date with Prometric
The fifth step for the USMLE Step 1 registration is to schedule your test date with Prometric, which is the company that provides the computer-based testing services for the USMLE exams. You will need to log in to the Prometric website with your scheduling number, which is a unique number that is assigned to you and included in your scheduling permit email. Then, you will need to select your preferred testing center location, date, and time from the available options.
You should schedule your test date with Prometric as soon as possible, as seats are limited and fill up quickly. You can reschedule or cancel your test date up to 30 days before the scheduled test date without paying an additional fee. However, if you reschedule or cancel your test date within 30 days of the scheduled test date, you will have to pay a fee ranging from $50 to $604 depending on how close you are to the test date.
You can schedule your test date with Prometric through their website or by calling their toll-free number. You will need to provide your scheduling number, eligibility period, testing region, and an unexpired, government-issued form of identification. You will also need to confirm your name, date of birth, and email address.
Step 6: Prepare for the exam
The sixth and final step for the USMLE Step 1 registration is to prepare for the exam by reviewing the detailed instructions in the USMLE Bulletin of Information, the ECFMG Information Booklet, and the Policies and Procedures Regarding Irregular Behavior. These documents contain important information about the exam content, format, scoring, reporting, policies, and procedures that you should be familiar with before taking the exam.
You should also familiarize yourself with the Biometric Enabled Check-in System (BECS) used at Prometric test centers. This system uses your fingerprint and photograph to verify your identity and monitor your breaks during the exam. You will need to provide your fingerprint and photograph at least twice: once when you check in at the test center and once when you start the exam.
In addition to reviewing these documents, you should also study hard for the exam by using various resources, such as books, question banks, practice tests, online courses, and study groups. You should also practice your time management, test-taking strategies, and stress management skills. The USMLE Step 1 exam is a challenging and high-stakes exam that requires a lot of preparation and dedication.
You should plan your study schedule well in advance and allocate enough time for each subject area. You should also review the topics that are most relevant to the practice of medicine in the United States. You can find more information about the exam content outline on the USMLE website.
You should also take advantage of the practice materials provided by ECFMG and NBME, such as sample questions, practice tests, tutorials, and self-assessments. These materials can help you familiarize yourself with the exam format, question types, difficulty level, and scoring system. You can access these materials on the ECFMG website and the NBME website.
We hope that this article has helped you understanding the USMLE Step 1 registration and what steps you need to take to achieve your goal. The USMLE Step 1 exam is a crucial milestone in your medical career that can open many doors for you in the United States. However, it is also a demanding and competitive exam that requires a lot of planning and effort.
Therefore, we advise you to start your application process early, follow the instructions carefully, and study diligently. We also wish you good luck and success on your exam day and beyond.
After taking the exam, you will receive your score report within three to four weeks from ECFMG via email. You can also access your score report online through the ECFMG website or the NBME website. Your score report will include your three-digit and two-digit scores, your pass/fail status, and a graphical performance profile that shows your strengths and weaknesses across the exam content areas. Your score report will also indicate whether you have met the minimum passing score, which is 194 as of 2023. You can find more information about the score report and the scoring process on the USMLE website or the ECFMG website.
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