The United States Medical Licensing Exam (also known as USMLE) is a multi-part professional exam that is required by doctors holding a M.D. degree in order to practice medicine. The USMLE consists of 3 parts, known as Steps, spread across a number of years and taken at specific times during a doctor's medical education.

Step 1Edit

The USMLE Step 1 is the first part to obtain a medical license. It is taken during the second year of medical school. The results of this portions affect what residency program a doctor will take.

Step 2Edit


Alex receiving his results from USMLE.

The USMLE Step 2 is the second part to obtain a medical license. It is taken in the third or fourth year of medical school. There are two exams that are taken on different days. One test is for clinical knowledge and the other for clinical skills. Colloquially, these are referred to as Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS.

Should a medical student fail this portion of the exam, a hospital, like Seattle Grace Hospital, can grant a one-time four-month extension to re-take the exam.

Step 3Edit


George re-taking his Intern Exam.

The USMLE Step 3 is the final part to obtain a medical license. This test is also known as the Intern Exam, and is taken at the end of an internship. Passing this exam allows a doctor to practice unsupervised medicine at the resident level.

The American Board of Surgery is responsible for this portion of licensing, presumably for surgical internships.

Notes and TriviaEdit