USMLE Step 1– All you need to know

August 5, 2016

USMLE Step 1 is a multiple choice question examination conducted by the FSMB (Federation of State Medical Boards) and NMBE (National Board of Medical Examiners). The main objective of these examination is to test your basic medical knowledge and application of the basic ethical practice. It covers most of the first and second year of MBBS syllabus. 


Step 1 examination revolves around the basic medical knowledge which includes anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, physiology and also behavioral sciences, biostatistics and epidemiology. The initials 6 topics are covered in first and second year of MBBS, whereas for the later three; you will be expected to read psychiatry and preventive and social medicine, which are third year MBBS topics.


USMLE Step-1 one-day examination contains seven 60-minute blocks to be completed in one 8-hour testing session.  The number of questions per block can vary, but will not be more 40. The total number of questions in the examination will not be more than 280.


For a beginner in USMLE, the exam pattern will appear to be very different from regular examination. It mandates meticulous reading of the questions and formulating the answer in a quick span of time. Though I admit some questions will be one-liners too, but the bulk of the time in examination goes in the others more tedious questions.

The timeline for the examination is the most crucial point of the examination. Proper management of the time in each block and at the same time completing the examination is very vital for good score. For a novice, I advise meticulous preparation and practicing of USMLE type questions online or offline under a timeline.


Unlike other Indian exam, the USMLE examination are conducted round the year except on public holidays in Promteric centers all over India.


A lot of USMLE materials is available online in either paid or free format. Most of your seniors or your friends may give you their study materials. Also, copy versions are available online or some other places. 

However, I would like to tell you that the available version, be it free, paid and copy are all old and not update!  The USMLE board tends to change the questions and its pattern regularly. So my sincere advice would be to avoid all these malpractices, as they are not worth the hard work and effort you will be putting in the examination. You should not be ruing over the fact that you didn’t choose the right material while preparing.

Becker’s institute are considered now as the leader in the USMLE preparation materials. Their updated notes and online support have given them the edge over other online USMLE educators. Their notes are updated regularly depending on the changing exam pattern and feedbacks. Most importantly, they have a large online question bank with self explanatory answers, which I think will definitely be beneficial to the students.

Becker’s Institute is the leading training provider for the course of USMLE in United States. The vast knowledge and many year experience in USMLE preparation leave others far behind.  EduPristine has recently collaborated with Becker’s for the USMLE training program.

Feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments section below. All the Best!


About the Author

Mayur has completed his USMLE and is working as a radiologist in reputed private hospital in India. He has been accepted in a clinical fellowship program in radiology department in the one of the best cancer center in USA.

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