3.22: United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE) Requirements: Step 1 and Step 2 CK

To graduate, students must pass USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge). The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) sets the level for passing the steps of the USMLE.

Students must take Step 1 of the USMLE within 12 months of the start of their first clinical clerkship. Students may petition the Committee on Performance, Professionalism, and Promotion (CP3) should they need additional time beyond the 12 months to take the exam. Students appearing on the agenda of the CP3 as a result of academic deficiencies in pre-clerkship courses may be required to sit for the USMLE Step 1 prior to beginning clerkships. Exemptions to this policy must be approved by the CP3.

Students must receive an overall pass on Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge). Students should apply for Step 2 CK by November 1st of their last year and must sit for the examination no later than March 31st in order to ensure that test scores are received by the School of Medicine Registrar in time to clear students for graduation.

Failure to meet these requirements will result in review by the CP3. Passing an institutionally administered USMLE equivalency exam may, under certain circumstances and in the discretion of the CP3, serve to meet Step 2 CK requirements for the MD degree. Such institutionally administered USMLE equivalency exams do not, however, meet requirements for licensure to practice medicine.

The USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK are administered by computer at Prometric Test Centers. Testing occurs throughout the year, except for the first two weeks in January.

Up-to-date information on the availability of testing times at Prometric is posted at http://www.prometric.com

Scheduling permits for a practice test sessions: http://www.usmle.org

The NBME Self-Assessment Voucher Program is an optional resource made available by the School of Medicine to prepare for the USMLE Step 1 or the Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) exams. For more information on requesting vouchers, see NBME Self-Assessment Voucher Program.

To apply for USMLE Step 1, log into the NBME website to complete the online application. At the end of the online application, there are instructions for completing a “Certification of Identification and Authorization Form." Print and complete the form. Attach a photo. Submit the completed form electronically to medregistrar@stanford.edu for processing.

Applications for Step 1 exams, and in some cases Step 2 exams, require an online enrollment verification on the NBME website by the Registrar. The online verifications are automatically completed at least once a week.

updated August 2022