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USMLE Step 3

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When is Step 3 offered?
  2. What are the Step 3 fees?
  3. Can I apply before medical school graduation or issuance of my ECFMG certificate?
  4. Can I choose my Step 3 eligibility period?
  5. Do I have to submit a new Certification of Identity Form each time I apply?
  6. Why do I need to provide an email address?
  7. How can I monitor the status of my Step 3 application?
  8. Can I reschedule my appointment for Step 3?
  9. Does it matter where I take the Step 3 exam?
  10. Can I extend my 90-day eligibility period?
  11. How can I obtain sample questions or study materials for the USMLE Step 3?
  12. What if I lose my scheduling permit?
  13. What if my test is canceled due to inclement weather? 
  14. How soon will my scores be released?
  15. What do I do if I have a problem at the test center while testing?
  16. How do I notify USMLE of a change/correction to my name, address or phone number?
  17. Can I make a request for a recheck of the step 3 exam scores and how can I do this?
  18. I have seen FCVS mentioned, what is FCVS?
  19. What browsers should I use to complete the FSMB online applications?

Additional FAQs are available on the USMLE website at http://www.usmle.org/frequently-asked-questions 

 
 1.

When is Step 3 offered?

 

Step 3 is offered in the United States only. It is available year round, except during the first two weeks of January and on major holidays. The busiest testing times in the Prometric testing network in the U.S. are May through July and November through December. 

Test dates are provided on a first-come, first-served basis, and the USMLE program cannot guarantee the availability of test centers. Therefore, you should contact Prometric to schedule as soon as possible after receiving your scheduling permit. You should also schedule your test dates early in your eligibility period to provide flexibility in case you need to reschedule. 

 

 2.

What are the Step 3 fees?

 

The Step 3 application fee is $850 for eligibility periods ending in 2018.

 

 3.

Can I apply before medical school graduation or issuance of my ECFMG certificate?

 

No, as part of the USMLE requirements to take the Step 3, you can apply only after the date of graduation on your medical school diploma or the issue date of your ECFMG certificate. For recent medical school graduates, it can take up to six weeks to verify degrees before approval for Step 3. If you submit a Step 3 application prior to graduation from medical school or issuance of the ECFMG certificate your application will be cancelled and a portion of your fees forfeited.

 

 4.

Can I choose my Step 3 eligibility period?

 

Yes. When you apply for Step 3 you must select a three-month eligibility period in which to take Step 3, such as April – June or September – November. A scheduling permit with instructions for making appointments at a Prometric Test Center for both examination days will be issued to you after we process your application and verify your eligibility.  Please note that scheduling permits are not available more than 6 months prior to the start of your eligibility period.  

You may schedule Step 3 FIP (Day 1) and ACM (Day 2) on consecutive or non-consecutive days within your assigned eligibility period. Step 3 FIP must be taken first, followed by Step 3 ACM. Your exam days may be no more than 14 calendar days apart. You must schedule both test dates with Prometric at the same time and at the same center.

 

 5.

Do I have to submit a new Certification of Identity Form each time I apply?

 

No, the Step 3 CID form containing your notarized signature and photograph is valid for 5 years from the date of notarization. Once your Step 3 CID is on file with FSMB and it qualified you to sit for Step 3, it is not necessary to submit another CID if you must reapply. Please note that submission of the CID does not constitute an application for Step 3. You must complete and submit the online application and fees each time you need to apply.  

 

 6.

Why do I need to provide an email address?

 

An email address must be provided on your Step 3 application because it will be used to notify you of your Step 3 application processing status (e.g., incomplete documents) and approval, scheduling permit availability and score report release. You must make sure that you allow emails from usmle@fsmb.org to be received by your email address. Examinees that provide email addresses ending in an .edu and some free accounts will either reject the email notifications all together or will send the email to your spam or junk email folders. Non-receipt of emails will not be accepted to request eligibility extensions, partial refunds or transcripts of scores for the Step 3.

 

 7.

How can I monitor the status of my Step 3 application?

 

You can monitor your application status by visiting the Step 3 Candidate website, calling 817-868-4041 or emailing usmle@fsmb.org. It is your responsibility to know the status of your application at all stages. 

 

 8. Can I reschedule my appointment for Step 3?
 

If you are unable to keep your testing appointment on the scheduled date(s) or at the scheduled location, you may change your date(s) or center by following the instructions on your Scheduling Permit for contacting Prometric. You will need to provide your Prometric Confirmation Number when you cancel and reschedule. A fee may be charged if you change your appointment, depending upon how much notice you provide when making the change.  See the appointment change fee information posted on the USMLE website for detailed information.

Your rescheduled test date(s) must fall within your requested eligibility period.

 

 9.

Does it matter where I take the Step 3 exam?

 

No. You can take the exam at any Prometric test center in the United States or its territories.

 

 10.

Can I extend my 90-day eligibility period?

 

Yes, if you are unable to take the test within your eligibility period, a one-time contiguous 3-month extension to your eligibility period is possible. (Note: "Contiguous" means that the start date of the eligibility extension immediately follows the end date of your eligibility period.)  Your request can only be submitted after your original scheduling permit is available and must be received no later than 25 days after the end of your original eligibility period. See the Eligibility Extension instructions found here.   

 

 11.

How can I obtain sample questions or study materials for the USMLE Step 3?

 

Free software resembling the actual test delivery system is available on the USMLE website. It is important and recommended that you acquaint yourself with the software before testing. It is important to take advantage of this opportunity prior to the exam, as practice time cannot be accommodated on the test day.

 

 12.

What if I lose my scheduling permit?

 

You can print another copy of your permit by going to the Step 3 Candidate website.

 

13.

What if my test is canceled due to inclement weather? 

 

If your test center is closed due to inclement weather and you are not able to test, you must do the following:

  • If you have not opened the exam at all (not yet taken Day 1), send an email to FSMB at usmle@fsmb.org
  • If you have opened any part of the exam (e.g., started or completed Day 1), send an email to USMLE Test Admin at testadmin@nbme.org
  • The email should include: your full name, USMLE ID, test center location, brief summary of the issue (e.g., center closed due to inclement weather) and the ticket number from Prometric, if provided

Your center closure will be verified directly with Prometric. This can take several business days. Once the closure is verified, you will be contacted via email with detailed information for rescheduling your test date(s). A free extension of your eligibility period will be provided, if needed, to allow you time to reschedule.

 14. How soon will my scores be released?
 

A single score (with graphical performance profile information) and a single pass/fail outcome will be reported following completion of both examination days (Step 3 FIP and ACM).  Scores are released each Wednesday. Generally this includes scores for examinees who completed both examination days within the previous 3-4 weeks. However, there are many factors that may delay an individual score release. Usually these will be quickly resolved and the score released in the next week cycle. When your score is available, the FSMB will send an e-mail notification to the address you provided on your application. Follow the instructions in the e-mail notification for accessing your USMLE score report from the Step 3 Candidate website. Upon logging in to the Candidate website, you will be able to view, download, and print your score report. If you do not receive an email notification of your score report availability within 8 weeks of your last test day, you should check the Candidate website or contact us at (817) 868-4041 or usmle@fsmb.org to determine the status of your score report.

Your score report will remain available for 120 days (until midnight, Eastern time zone) from the date of your e-mail notification. Once the score report is removed from the website, your scores will be provided to you only in the form of an official USMLE transcript. Note: Graphical performance profiles, which are included on your original score reports, are not included in your USMLE transcript. 

 15. What do I do if I have a problem at the test center while testing?
 

If you experience a computer problem or any other problem during the test, notify test center staff immediately. The testing software is designed to allow the test to restart at the point it was interrupted. In most cases, your test can be restarted at the point of interruption with no loss of testing time. However, it is possible that a technical problem may occur that does not permit you to complete your examination. In the rare event that this occurs, please send a written description of the incident via email to test administration staff at testadmin@nbme.org and to the FSMB at usmle@fsmb.org within two weeks of your test date. Include your scheduled testing dates, the test center you are scheduled to test at and your USMLE ID number. Your problem will be thoroughly investigated, and if necessary, arrangements will be made to allow you to test at a later date.

 16. How do I notify USMLE of a change/correction to my name, address or phone number?
 

All requests for a change of name must be submitted in writing using the name change/correction authorization form. You must also include evidence that substantiates the name change/correction (e.g., copy of the marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order) AND; evidence to demonstrate that the new name is being used consistently. (e.g., copy of a non-expired, government issued form of identification bearing the new name, signature, and photograph). Address, phone and email changes must be made through the Step 3 Candidate website.

 17. Can I request for a recheck of my Step 3 scores and, if so, how?
 

Standard procedures ensure that the scores reported for each examinee are an accurate reflection of the responses recorded by the computer, and a change in score based on a recheck is an extremely remote possibility. In a recheck, staff will take an examinee's computer record and, using an independent scoring system, check to verify that the originally reported score is accurate. The recheck is not processed manually and it is not a reassessment of the correctness of your answers. If you wish to proceed with a recheck, you must send a completed Score Recheck Request Form and an $80 fee for each score you want rechecked. The recheck request will not be processed until the appropriate fees are received in full. The recheck request form and fees must be received in our office within 90 days of your score report being released.  Score rechecks can take up to four weeks to be completed.

 18. I have seen FCVS mentioned. What is FCVS?
 

The Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS) is a uniform process for state medical boards to obtain a verified, primary source record of a physician's core medical credentials. FCVS obtains primary source verification of medical education, postgraduate training, examination history, board action history, board certification and identity. This repository of information allows physicians and physician assistants to establish a confidential, lifetime professional portfolio with FCVS that can be forwarded, at the physician's request, to any state medical board that has established an agreement with FCVS, as well as to any hospital, health care organization or other entity. [More on FCVS]

 19. What browsers should I use to complete the online Step 3 application?
  All FSMB online applications, including the Step 3 application, may be completed using Internet Explorer Version 7 or higher, Safari Version 5 or above, Google Chrome Version 22 or above, or Mozilla Firefox Version 16 or higher. All supported browsers must allow cookies and have JavaScript enabled. All features may not be fully supported or available through other browsers. Send additional questions to usmle@fsmb.org or call (817) 868-4041.