Step 1 is the first component of the three-series examination for medical students and graduates seeking to practice medicine in the United States. The Step 1 exam is structured to assess basic science knowledge with a strong emphasis on the application of basic science principles in the practice of clinical medicine.1 Step 1 is usually taken after completion of preclinical studies.

  • The one-day exam is computer-based and scheduled by appointment through Prometric testing centers.
  • The 8-hour testing session is divided into 7 one-hour blocks consisting of 44 questions per block, for a total of seven hours of testing time and a one-hour break.
  • The exam consists of 308 multiple-choice questions divided into 7 one-hour blocks of 44 questions each. Questions within a block are presented in a random order, not grouped by subjects. By design the exam structure forces you to switch from one thought to another—much like a practicing doctor.
  • The minimum passing score for USMLE Step 1 is 192.

Step 1 – Delay in score reporting and change in number of test items

Due to necessary modifications to the test item pool, as well as a change to new test delivery software, there will be a delay in reporting for some examinees who test beginning the week of May 9, 2016. The target date for reporting Step 1 scores for most examinees testing the week of May 9 through late June will be Wednesday, July 13, 2016. For examinees whose circumstances require that they receive Step 1 scores before July 13, it is recommended that they take Step 1 no later than May 7.