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October 25, 2022

What is the USMLE Step 1 Exam and Why Does It Matter to Our MSMS Programs?

Why the USMLE Step 1 Matters to Our MSMS Programs

There are many post-bacc programs out there that claim to be able to help get you into medical school. The Tiber Health Master of Science in Medical Sciences program can help you feel more confident that you’re going to succeed in medical school, too. That’s because our program’s curriculum is the first-year curriculum of our LCME-accredited medical school, course by course, test by test, offered as a one-year master’s degree. By comparing how the master’s students do versus the MD students, we can project how the master’s students will perform on the USMLE Step 1 exam given at the end of the second year of medical school.

In this article, we’ll explain what the USMLE Step 1 is and why we focus on producing a predicted score for our students. 

What Is the USMLE Step 1?

“USMLE” stands for “U.S. Medical Licensing Examination”. It’s a three-part series of tests medical students and graduates take to become licensed to practice medicine in the United States. 

Residency programs—the post-graduate training doctors complete after finishing medical school— also consider USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 performance as part of their criteria for matching new medical school graduates with their programs.

The three steps break down as follows:

USMLE Step 1

Step 1 is typically taken at the end of the second year of medical school, after a medical student completes coursework but before he or she starts clerkships and clinicals. This step of the exam consists of multiple-choice questions that cover:

  • Anatomy, physiology, and health science concepts (how the body is organized, how illness and injury affect it)
  • Physician tasks and competencies (what physicians are responsible for doing as they care for patients)
  • Discipline-specific questions (specific questions about pharmacology, microbiology, and other topics)

The exam takes eight hours to complete and is administered on computers at test centers.

USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK)

Medical students usually take the USMLE Step 2 in their fourth year of medical school. The Step 2 focuses on testing how well students understand and apply clinical knowledge appropriate for an emerging physician practicing under supervision. Most questions offer a clinical case and then ask students to choose a diagnosis, prognosis, best next step in medical care, or an underlying cause of the disease. 

Like Step 1, Step 2 consists of multiple-choice questions and is administered via computer at specific test centers. It takes nine hours to complete.

USMLE Step 3

The USMLE Step 3 is the final exam new medical school graduates take to achieve licensure as doctors in the U.S., usually during the first or second year of their residency. It is administered over two days. The first day covers “Foundations of Independent Practice” (FIP), testing students’ knowledge of patient care and health science through seven hours of multiple-choice questions.

The second day of Step 3 covers “Advanced Clinical Medicine” (ACM) and consists of a multiple-choice section followed by computer-based case simulations. It takes nine hours to complete.

Why We Predict Your USMLE Step 1 Outcomes

We want our students to have a detailed understanding of their academic strengths and weaknesses throughout their MSMS year with us. We also want them to become confident that the knowledge they are gaining will help them succeed in medical school. 

By using our analytics to predict USMLE Step 1 pass/fail outcomes, we help students understand where they excel and where they need to devote extra time in their studies. Watching your predicted Step 1 performance evolve as you progress through the MSMS program can help you feel more confident in your ability to thrive during medical school.

The PHSU MD Admissions Committee uses the predicted USMLE Step 1 pass/fail system to evaluate MSMS students and graduates applying to the MD program. Other med schools across the country are also interested in using this predicted Step 1 pass/fail system.   A strong USMLE Step 1 prediction offers medical schools a data-driven method when evaluating applications from MSMS graduates.  MSMS coupled with our analytics technology provides students with an alternative path into medicine after missing GPA or MCAT targets as undergraduates.  Between the predicted Step 1 Pass/Fail outcome and the strength of the MSMS curriculum, students can demonstrate they have what it takes to enter medical school — and go the distance to become physicians. 

Find the Program That’s Right for You

Interested in pursuing an MSMS that gives you insight into how you can perform in medical school—every step of the way? Find a Tiber Health MSMS program near you today! 

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