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USMLE: United States Medical Licensing Examination

I've recently learned some new information about the USMLE and the related resources we have available to our users, and I thought I'd put together a brief review to refresh our collective memory.

The Test

The USMLE (sometimes known as the "the boards") are a series of tests taken during and/or after medical school leading to the M.D. degree (and the D.O. degree, but that's a whole other story).

The USMLE is composed of three steps, some of which are further sub-divided:

  • USMLE, Step 1 "assesses whether medical school students or graduates understand and can apply important concepts of the sciences basic to the practice of medicine."
  • USMLE, Step 2 "assess(es) whether medical school students or graduates can apply medical knowledge, skills and understanding of clinical science essential for provision of patient care under supervision. US medical students typically take Step 2 during the fourth year of medical school."
  • USMLE, Step 2 - CK "assess(es) clinical knowledge through a traditional, multiple-choice examination. The subjects included in this exam are clinical sciences like Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Obstetrics & Gynecology."
  • USMLE, Step 2 - CS "assess(es) clinical skills through simulated patient interactions... . The examination is offered in five cities across the country (including Chicago)."
  • USMLE, Step 3 "assess(es) whether a medical school graduate can apply medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine. Graduates of US medical schools typically take this exam at the end of the first year of residency."

Resources for Preparing for the USMLE

In the past, we haven't actively collected test prep materials; however, we now have a strong collection, including:

  • Exam Master - includes content for Steps 1, 2 and 3. Online exams are presented in both a test simulation mode and a study review mode with correct answers and explanations accessible. Score reporting utilities provide immediate feedback and allow for targeted learning based on your test results.
  • Medical School Rotation books - a collection of books purchased with funding from the Medical School. Only available to medical students. See the maroon binder at the Ref Desk for a complete list.
  • Online books - E-Books > Examination and Test Prep
  • Print books - We own some regular collection test prep materials in print. Some review series worth searching for include: Board Review Series (BRS), Case Files, First AID, and Pre-Test. It can also be useful to search MNCAT by the step (i.e. USMLE and "Step 1").

Other Sources

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