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USMLE Step 1 Registration

Registration Information for USMLE Step 1

When should I register for the exam?

Register immediately if you are taking the exam during your first rotation. Register as soon as feasible if you are taking the exam after your first rotation. Usually in November or December.

Why do I need to register so early?

Unlike the SAT/ACT/MCAT/GRE, signing up for the USMLE Step 1 is not a registration so much as an application (involving both an online and a mail component) and cannot be completed in a day (or likely even a week). The application AND approval process must be completed BEFORE you can schedule a test date.

Alright, give me an overview of this process.

First, you need to read the official USMLE Bulletin. This is like the SAT/ACT/MCAT/GRE bulletins that give you general test and content information.

Next, you need to go to the NBME Licensing Examination Services website to get/activate your USMLE ID. Click on "First-time user?" to start the process. You will need your SSN or Canadian SIN to be confirmed and assigned an USMLE ID number. This step can take up to one day. Even if you are taking boards later in the year, you should at least complete this step and save the email with your ID number.

Once you have your USMLE ID and password, you can log into the site and begin the application process for taking the exam. This step involves (1) completing an online application as well as (2) mailing in a Certification of Identification & Authorization Form (bring this form to the SOM Registrar's office with a 2"x2" color photo). It takes time for the NBME to process your registration and verify your eligibility with Case after they receive your application materials. This step takes several days.

After confirming your eligibility, the NBME will send you a Scheduling Permit that will allow you to finally sign up for a test location and time.

But I don't know the day I want to take my exam yet! Can I even apply now?

When you apply, all you need to select is a three-month eligibility window during which you want to take the exam (if you're taking boards during your first rotation, you should already know the three month window). Of course the earlier you schedule your test date, the more likely you will get your first choice of test location.

So I want to take boards in December, but when I log onto the website to view available days and times, it says there are no dates available already! What's up with that?

Prometric, the company that runs the test sites, only schedules testing slots 6 months in advance. This means that everyone taking boards during the first rotation should be able to see and sign up for test days and times provided that (1) they went through the application process and have a Scheduling Permit and (2) spaces are available at their selected testing center for that day and time. Anyone else with a three-month window over six months away will just have to put a reminder on Google calender to check back later.

This information was contributed by Cindy Chang, SCME Rep, Class of 2014.