Implications if Examination is Failed

Students who do not pass the USMLE examinations are reviewed by the Student Progress Committee. Students are expected to develop a study plan for retaking Step 1, and should retake it as soon as possible before continuing in the clinical curriculum. Generally, if a student is not having academic difficulty in the curriculum, she or he is permitted to attempt the examination again. If a student has had difficulty in the Foundations Phase, the Student Progress Committee may recommend dismissal if Step 1 is failed multiple times.

If a student fails Step 1, s/he should contact Dr. Anne Eacker and Academic Support staff to discuss the timing of retaking the examination in relation to her/his clinical schedule. With the Step 1 examination being given essentially year-round, the student is usually permitted to complete the clerkship in which s/he is currently enrolled. Most students find that having completed a clerkship helps in preparing for the retake of Step 1.

For students who are having difficulty both in the curriculum and with the USMLE examinations, the Student Progress Committee will take a more active role in the determination of the student's academic program. In instances in which a student is having serious academic difficulty, the Student Progress Committee may require the student to develop an independent study program of three to six months in duration.

If either component of Step 2 is failed in the summer of the senior year, the student’s clinical schedule needs to be modified to allow time for studying and retaking the exam within a timeframe that allows a passing score to be reported prior to the student entering his/her residency rank order list. The status of completion of either component of Step 2 is included in the Dean's MSPE. If Step 2 is failed a second time and if the student has had difficulty in the curriculum, the Student Progress Committee may recommend dismissal.

If either Step 1, or either component of Step 2, is failed three times, the Student Progress Committee will consider a dismissal recommendation. In rare cases, the Committee may allow a fourth test administration upon petition by the student and with assurances that the student will spend adequate time in preparation.