Students must take Step 1 in the June-July timeframe after the completion of the second year and prior to entering the clinical curriculum. Registration fees are usually around $600. For most current application rates, see: http://www.nbme.org/students/examfees.html
It is important that you work with your academic support team as you prepare for these exams. For Step 1, most students start studying 6-12 months out with a final push of 5-6 weeks before the exam. Preparation for Step 2 should also be a long term study plan, but may only take 2-3 weeks of intensive study.
Past performance of our students suggests that those, who have received a Fail grade in any of the first or second year courses, are at a higher risk of having difficulty on the examination. Students whose records fall within one of these categories should be working with their academic support staff to create study plans, including appropriate lengths of time and exam dates.
The current minimum passing score for Step 1 can be found at usmle.org/transcripts
The national test mean is 221 with a standard deviation of 23. In the past several years, the mean score on Step 1 for our students has been at about the national mean score. Our failure rate has ranged from 1-5%, compared with the national average of 6-10%.
Step 2-Clinical Knowledge (CK)
The School requirement is that this exam must be taken no later than the end of September of the fourth year. You should be well prepared to take the exam once you have completed the required third-year clerkships. You should plan to spend at least 2 weeks to prepare for the exam. Each year we have 4-6 students who do not pass Step 2-CK on the first attempt.
Remember that this is a School graduation requirement. You may run into some faculty and residents who question why you are taking Step 2 in the summer of your senior year and suggest you delay it until after your residency applications – this is bad advice and will have you out of compliance with the School’s requirement. The status of the Step 2 requirement is included in your Dean’s MSPE; if you do not meet the School’s timeline, this will be noted in your MSPE.
The current minimum passing score for Step 2-CK can be found at usmle.org/transcripts
Step 2-Clinical Skills (CS)
The School requirement is that this exam must be taken no later than the end of September of the fourth year. You should plan to schedule a date for the exam as early as possible so that you can get a reasonable date in Summer Quarter. Waiting to schedule the exam until the summer will greatly decrease your chances of finding a date before the deadline. There are only five sites nationally that offer the exam and the competition for test dates is extreme. You must plan ahead! If the exam is not taken by the end of September, your score will not be available in time to confirm your progress toward a June graduation date.. The current fee for the Step 2-Clinical Skills exam component can be found at: http://www.nbme.org/students/examfees.html. Additional funds will be needed for travel and hotel costs when taking this exam at one of five sites in the United States.
REMINDER: Scheduling Step 2-CK and Step 2-CS takes priority over fourth year elective scheduling and extracurricular programs and activities. Requests for delays beyond September 30th must be approved by Dr. Eacker and are granted only under exceptional circumstances. If either exam is not scheduled within the expected timeframe, the Dean’s MSPE will indicate the test date and consequences of it being out of compliance with the School’s requirement.