Background: Prior to the Registering for the USMLE Step1
The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE: https://www.usmle.org) provides a direct route for primary licensure of all graduates of LCME (Liaison Committee on Medical Education)-accredited medical schools within the United States, Canada, and all international medical graduates of accredited osteopathic medical schools.
Successful completion of the USMLE Step 1 and the USMLE Step 2 CK is required for ECFMG Certification by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (https://www.ecfmg.org), officially verifying that an individual possesses the minimum clinical skills and knowledge for the unsupervised, general practice of medicine. The USMLE Step 2 CS was suspended in March 2020 due to the pandemic. On January 26, 2021, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), co-sponsors of the USMLE, announced the end of efforts to relaunch a modified Step 2 CS. For details, see: https://www.usmle.org/announcements/
There are no plans to bring Step 2 CS back. Instead, both organizations will work with others to find new ways to incorporate these essential skills into the education and licensure system. For their part, the ECFMG has expanded the pathways system for the 2022 Match. For details, see: https://www.ecfmg.org/news/2021/01/26/ecfmgfaimer-will-offer-expanded-pathways-for-2022-match/
State licensure boards utilize the USMLE to provide independent, valid, and reliable assessments to support their responsibilities for granting primary licenses to practice medicine. Additionally, undergraduate medical schools use USMLE results for curriculum assessment and graduation decisions. USMLE results are also leveraged during the residency selection process. International graduates must pass Step 1 and Step 2 CK of the USMLE for ECFMG certification.
Prior to Register for USMLE Step 1 one most establish eligibility
To be eligible, according to the USMLE, you must be in one of the following categories at the time you apply AND on the day of your examination:
If you have been dismissed or withdraw(n) from medical school, you have forfeited your ability to sit for the USMLE. More details may be found here: https://www.usmle.org/bulletin/eligibility/
Note that U.S. law limits interactions between U.S. organizations and entities in specific countries/regions, including Crimea, North Korea, and Syria. If you customarily reside in any of these locations, you cannot continue with this application.
The Step 1 examination determines if an applicant comprehends and can apply the basic scientific concepts to the practice of medicine, with particular emphasis on principles and mechanisms underlying health, disease, and modes of therapy. The Step 1 examination ensures an applicant’s mastery of the foundations as a competent medical practitioner knowing the fundamental principles necessary for lifelong competency.
The Step 1 examination is divided into seven 60-minute blocks and administered in one 8-hour testing session. Practice materials, including Sample Test Items (PDF) and web-based Tutorial and Practice Test Items, are available at the USMLE website: https://www.usmle.org.
Go to The ECFMG website at https://www.ecfmg.org and select “Online Services” as below:
If you have never obtained an ECFMG/USMLE Identification Number, click on the appropriate option, as above. An important page of instructions for the ECFMG Online Authentication Process will appear next, which you must carefully read in its entirety. You must check both the box confirming that you have “read the above information and instructions” and the box certifying that you have “read, understood, and agree to the ECFMG Privacy Notice.” The next page then asks whether you have ever applied for ECFMG Certification or examination to the ECFMG. After confirming your answer, you will next arrive at the request form itself.
The instructions contain warnings against making incomplete or inaccurate entries. There are also special situations that may apply to you, so you need to be aware of them. If you have completed the form accurately as instructed, you should expect to receive an email confirmation with your ID number in five business days. Failing to follow the instructions correctly may lead to your request not being processed, in which case you will NOT be notified. If that happens, after a waiting period of a minimum of five business days, you will need to apply again, correctly, to obtain a USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number.
Among the other details, note that it is essential to provide the spelling of your name exactly as it appears on your current, unexpired passport, or you will be required to complete additional documentation for a name change. Once you receive your USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number, the information you provided while obtaining it will become a part of your permanent ECFMG record.
Your Identification Number will arrive with your online services password, which you can change.
Go back to the IWA login page and click “here” to establish an account, as shown below:
Return to the IWA login page and log in using your USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number and your password, where shown below:
There will be another window where you click on “Begin New Application.” Fill out the application form taking care that all information is correctly entered.
You will be asked to select an eligibility period, typically of three months. For January through March of 2021, due to the pandemic, the eligibility period is greater than three months, during which you can choose to schedule your test. Ensure that the eligibility period selected is appropriate for your purposes and situation.
When applying for USMLE Step 1, selecting a suitable testing location to sit for the exam is vital. There is a list of where testing sites have been at https://www.ecfmg.org/fees/usmle-surcharge.html. However, the availability of the testing centers may change without notice. Select your testing region only after visiting the Prometric website, or more specifically, https://www.prometric.com/test-takers/search/usmle or contact Prometric to ensure you have the most up-to-date information regarding availability and testing center locations for Step 1.
You must pay the USMLE Step 1 examination fee at the end of the form, currently $975. If you select any testing region other than the United States or Canada, you will be subject to paying the additional international test delivery surcharge of $180 for USMLE Step 1. There is no international surcharge for test delivery for the United States and Canada testing regions.
With the payment process complete, a link will appear to request verification of your status as a currently enrolled student or graduate directly from your medical school. ECFMG must receive this verification before you can be registered for the USMLE. ECFMG will issue the request using its preferred method, either electronically through the ECFMG Medical School Web Portal (EMSWP) Status Verification program or on paper with the Certification Statement Form 183. If your medical school completes status verification requests electronically, you will be notified at the end of the online application process. If your medical school completes status verification requests via paper form, you will be provided with Form 183 at the end of the online USMLE application process in ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA). Detailed instructions on how to complete and submit the form are also provided with the form.
Should your school require a paper form, Form 183 looks like this:
Form 183 USMLE- Before an applicant can be registered for USMLE, ECFMG must receive verification of the applicant’s status as a currently enrolled student or graduate directly from his/her medical school. ECFMG will request status verification from your medical school via the school’s preferred method, either electronically through the ECFMG Medical School Web Portal (EMSWP) Status Verification program or via a paper form, the Certification Statement (Form 183). If your medical school completes status verification requests via paper form, you will be provided with Form 183 at the end of the on-line USMLE application process in ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA). If you have already completed the on-line part of an IWA exam application and need to download/reprint your Certification Statement (Form 183), access IWA.
The instructions describe in detail how to print, sign, and date paper Form 183. You then mail it to your medical school to be certified by an authorized official, who must then send it directly from their office at the school to the ECFMG to be accepted.
Any additional documents may be submitted to ECFMG via mail at the address below, or you may submit them via the MyECFMG mobile app.
3624 Market Street, 4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2685
ECFMG must receive the online part of your application, the Certification Statement Form 183, and all required documents to process your application.
Exam applications are usually processed within two weeks of receipt of the online part, verification of your status from your medical school, and any other required documents. Eligible applicants are registered for USMLE after the processing of their application is completed.
When you receive the permit by email, make sure that everything is accurate. You will be required to bring the scheduling permit with you on Exam Day. This is the final step in your USMLE Step 1 application, but there is still more to do regarding completing registering for USMLE Step 1
To schedule your USMLE Step 1 Examination, you must set an appointment using Prometric, the testing service that conducts all USMLE exams. Go to: https://www.prometric.com/, select the Search box and enter USMLE or go directly to https://www.prometric.com/test-takers/search/usmle
Once you accept the disclaimers provided by Prometric, you will be brought to a screen to set your appointment. You will need your Scheduling Number (from the Permit) and the first four characters of your last name. Click “submit.” Once confirmed, you will have the opportunity to select your test during your eligibility window. Ensure you bring a copy of your USMLE ID number and scheduling permit to the test center.
Best of luck with your Exam!
RESOURCES: Register for USMLE Step 1
ECFMG 2021 Information Booklet: https://www.ecfmg.org/2021ib/2021ib.pdf
Testing Regions and International Test Delivery Surcharges for USMLE Step 1:
Certification and Examination Fee Schedule: https://www.ecfmg.org/fees/index.html
IMGprep is not associated with the NRMP® or the MATCH®