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About the MCAT and USMLE Exams

Undergraduate students who have completed a pre-med sequence are required to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) in order to gain entry to a medical school. This exam is administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Students who have achieved a medical doctorate (M.D.) from a medical school are subsequently required to clear the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) in order to acquire a license to practice medicine in the United States. This exam is administered by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). Importantly, the MCAT is one prerequisite to the USMLE.

About the MCAT

The MCAT is a standardized exam used for medical school admissions that assesses a variety of skills relevant to the study of medicine. Learn more about the MCAT on the Official AAMC MCAT Page.

MCAT Exam Format

The MCAT Exam is divided into four sections, including Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.

MCAT Exam Scoring

The MCAT score report includes a score for each of the four sections of the exam, as well as the combined total exam score. Exam scores range from 472 to 528, and the scores for each section range between 118 and 132. Learn more about MCAT scoring.

About the USMLE

The USMLE is an exam required for medical licensing in the United States. It is focused on the knowledge, concepts, and principles that are integral to the role of physicians. Learn more about the USMLE on the Official USMLE Page.

USMLE Exam Format

The USMLE Exam is presented in three steps, spread out over a total of four days. Step 1 assesses the understanding examinees possess for concepts in science basic to medical practice, as well as their ability to apply them. Step 2 assesses the ability of examinees to apply their medical knowledge and skills to provide patient care while under supervision. Step 3 assesses the ability of examinees to apply their medical knowledge and skills to provide patient care without supervision.

USMLE Step 1
7 BlocksMaximum 40 Questions/Block60 Minutes/Block
TotalMaximum 280 Questions8 Hours

USMLE Step 2 - Clinical Knowledge
8 BlocksMaximum 40 Questions/Block60 Minutes/Block
Break45 Minutes + Unused Allotted Time
Optional Tutorial15 Minutes
TotalMaximum 318 Questions9 Hours

USMLE Step 3 (Day 1) - Foundations of Independent Practice
Multiple Choice6 Blocks, 38-39 Questions/Block60 Minutes/Block
Break45 Minutes + Unused Allotted Time
Optional Tutorial5 Minutes
Total232 Questions7 Hours

USMLE Step 3 (Day 2) - Advanced Clinical Medicine
Multiple Choice6 Blocks, 30 Questions/Block45 Minutes/Block
Simulations13 Case Simulations10-20 Minutes/Simulation
Break45 Minutes + Unused Allotted Time
Optional Tutorial5 Minutes
Optional CCS Tutorial7 Minutes
Total180 Questions + 13 Simulations9 Hours

USMLE Exam Scoring

The USMLE score report includes scores for each of the three steps. Currently, the passing scores for Steps 1-3 are 194, 209, and 198, respectively. The score report for the exam will indicate whether the result is PASS or FAIL. Learn more about USMLE scoring.

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