The Three Step Exams of the USMLE

The United States Medical Licensing Examination is a certification program that all professions of the medical world need. Passing this certification will grant the candidate the freedom to practice medicine in the United States without any supervision or restriction. Anyone in the field of medicine is eligible to take this certification, be it a medical student or graduate. For a candidate to receive this certification, he or she must pass three exams, or Steps, which will be the focus of this article.
Step One
    The first exam will test the candidate’s understanding and application of key concepts of the basic sciences of the practice of medicine, with emphasis placed on the principles and mechanisms that focus on health, disease and different modes of therapy. Step 1 will test two things: the candidate’s mastery of the sciences that provide a basis for safe and competent practices of medicine, and mastery of the scientific principles needed for constant competence through lifelong learning.

Step Two – CK and CS
    Step 2 tests the candidate’s ability to apply their medical knowledge, skills and understanding of clinical science, which is essential to provide patient care under supervision. This includes emphasis on promoting health and preventing diseases. This step makes sure that the candidate will pay attention to both the principles of clinical sciences and the basic patient centered skills that serve as the basis for safe and competent medicinal practice.

    The Step 2 exam is split into two categories: Clinical Knowledge(CK) and Clinical Skills(CS). The CK portion will be based on clinical science material that go along two particular dimensions: physician tasks and disease categories, while the CS portion will be a more simulated based on gathering information about their patients, performing examinations on said patients and sharing your findings with them and your fellow practitioners.

Step Three
    Step 3 is the last exam needed to pass for the USMLE certification. This step will test the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science, which are the most essential sciences needed to be able to practice medicine unsupervised, placing importance on patient management in ambulatory environments. It essentially tests if the candidate knows what needs to be known to practice medicine independently, as well as be able to adapt in different situations. For a candidate to take the Step 3 exam, he or she must first complete the exams for Steps 1 and 2.

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