About the USMLE Step 3

The USMLE Step 3 is the final exam leading to a license to practice medicine without supervision. This two-day computerized exam currently has about 500 multiple-choice questions as well as computer-based case simulations (CCS).

Frequently asked questions

What is the USMLE Step 3?
The USMLE Step 3 exam assesses your medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science in managing patients in an unsupervised setting. The exam also includes computer-based case simulations (CCS). The CCS patient encounters assess your ability to evaluate history and physical exam information, order diagnostic tests, select initial therapies, and manage the patient.
What is tested on the USMLE Step 3?
The USMLE Step 3 focuses on patient management (45-55% of questions). Other topics include history and physical; lab and diagnostic studies; diagnosis; prognosis; and pathophysiology—each consisting of about 8-12% of the exam questions. Each question falls into one of 3 clinical encounter frames: initial workup; continued care; and emergency care.
When should I take the USMLE Step 3?
Before you can take Step 3, you need to have taken and passed Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS of the Boards during medical school. The USMLE program recommends applicants take Step 3 after completing (or when they are close to completing) at least one postgraduate training year in a U.S.-accredited graduate medical education program that meets state board licensing requirements.
How many blocks are in the USMLE Step 3?
Step 3 is a 2-day examination. The first day of testing is divided into 6 blocks of 38-40 items; 60 minutes are allotted for completion of each block of test items. The second day of testing is divided into 6 blocks of 30 items; 45 minutes are allotted for completion of each block of test items.
How many questions are in the USMLE Step 3?
This 2-day computerized exam currently has about 500 multiple-choice questions.
How long is the USMLE Step 3?
There are approximately 7 hours in the test session on the first day and approximately 9 hours in the test session on the second day.
Thinking about becoming a doctor in the U.S.?
Thinking about becoming a doctor in the U.S.?