Top 5 Facts about the Medical Licensing exam - medtigo


Top 5 Facts about the Medical Licensing exam

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After obtaining a degree in medicine, an individual can’t legally advertise themself as a doctor unless they successfully clear the medical licensing exam. It doesn’t matter if you are a domestic or an international graduate; you must participate in the medical licensing exam to practice medicine in an unsupervised setting. The low medical licensing exam pass rate signifies how difficult it is to clear the exam. Here are some facts that aspiring licensees must know about the US medical licensing exam.

The Governance Body

The USMLE is governed by a committee that includes members of the Federation of State Medical Board (FSMB), the National Board of Medical Exam (NBME), and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), and the public.

The committee’s primary responsibilities include identifying and approving procedures for exam scores and deciding pass/fail standards that eventually determine the medical licensing exam pass rate. Also, the committee is responsible for directing the program.

The USMLE Test committee has a representation of educators and biomedical scientists from all the regions of the United States.

Requirements to sit in the exam


The physicians with MD or DO are eligible to sit in the exam. The Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA) is typically for physicians with a DO degree.

Graduates and physicians trained outside the US also must attempt the same exam to practice in the US. However, the states’ medical boards set the number of attempts for all the candidates. Further attempts are permitted if the physicians are referred to additional training before retaking the exam.

Steps of the test

The medical licensing exam consists of three stages. To practice medicine in the US, physicians require to pass all the stages of the exam. These stages are called steps. 

Step 1 is a multiple-choice exam that tends to check the basic and integral science concepts. Step 2 has two exams; the first is a multiple-choice exam, and the second is a written exam. The former is all about testing clinical knowledge, while the latter tests clinical understanding and communication skills. It also involves performing a physical examination, telling the findings to the patient, and making a patient note.

Step 3 is again a multiple-choice exam that checks the examinee’s ability to use medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science for the unsupervised practice of medicine.

The medical licensing exam pass rate is low because examinees tend to fail in one of the other steps, and it is necessary to clear all three stages to pass the exam.

One National Examination

Before the USMLE, there were many examinations offered by different states to get a medical license. The process was quite hectic and time-consuming for physicians to apply in different states.

Thus, there was a need for a single common medical licensing exam for both the national graduates and the international graduates.

Exam pass rate

Traditionally the pass rate of the medical licensing exam was quite less. But, for the last few years, the medical licensing exam pass rate has been increasing steadily. Also, it has been observed that a larger percentage of international examinees tend to fail the exam.

2 Responses

  1. Medical graduates aged 58years having a bachelor’s degree MBBS from LUMHS Pakistan passed in 1991 completed one-year house job 1991 to 92 can be eligible to appear infor USA medical licensing examination. Kindly email

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