You Just Found Out Your USMLE Step 1 Score! Now What?
Congratulations! You did it! You took USMLE Step 1, the test you spent months studying for, and now you’re anxiously awaiting that email notification telling you that your Step 1 score is available. What are your next steps after the USMLE Step 1 score release?
When will I get my score?
Your Step 1 scores (as well as your USMLE Step 2CK and USMLE Step 3 scores) are typically available 2-4 weeks after you take your exam. Your Step 1 score release will most likely be the Wednesday 3-4 weeks after you sit for your exam.
However, sometimes scores may be delayed. If you are testing around any national US holiday, your Step 1 score release may be delayed 1-2 weeks. Occasionally, the Step 1 score release has been delayed up to 8 weeks.
On either the Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning prior to your Step 1 score release, you will receive an email from the NBME telling you that your score is pending, and within 24 hours you will receive an email on how to access the USMLE Step 1 score report, which will be available online for up to one year. We recommend downloading and saving your score report as soon as your receive it.
What happens if I fail?
The current score to pass Step 1 is 194. Students who fail Step 1, can retake USMLE Step 1 up to six times. You can take Step 1 a maximum of three times within 12 months after your exam, which means after your first failed attempt you may retake the exam twice within one year.
If you don’t pass Step 1 on your third attempt, you will have to wait six months following your most recent attempt and a year after you first took USMLE Step 1, to take your fourth exam.
You should also contact your medical school, as every school has different policies regarding students who need to retake Step 1.
Keeping these technicalities in mind is important when preparing to retake the exam. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that this is no reflection on your ability to become a phenomenal physician. Most students who fail Step 1 didn’t have the most effective study approach. However, creating a solid plan of action, often with the help of a test prep service or tutor, for your USMLE Step 1 retake is the key to success, and turning your Step 1 score release day into a day to be celebrated!
How soon after passing USMLE Step 1 can I take USMLE Step 2CK?
The next big exam after USMLE Step 1 is USMLE Step 2CK.
According to the USMLE website, most students take USMLE Step 2CK during their 4th year of medical school, and it is ideal to take Step 2CK before your ERAS submission. You should discuss this with your medical school as well, as many schools have their own policies regarding when students need to take USMLE Step 2CK.
However, you can take USMLE Step 2CK even earlier! The most important thing is that you take the exam when you feel ready and have dedicated sufficient time to learning the material.
USMLE Step 2CK and USMLE Step 1 have a lot of overlap in content, but Step 1 is more focused on basic sciences and Step 2 is focused more on clinical aspects. As long as you feel that you are taking an appropriate amount of time to study for each exam, you can take USMLE Step 2CK as soon after USMLE Step 1 that you want.
How do I report my score to a third party?
When you receive your Step 1 score report following the score release, it’s private and no score reporting will happen without your authorization. When you want a third party, such as residency programs, to receive your official USMLE Step 1 score, you request an official transcript by contacting the organization through which you registered for your examination (NBME, ECFMG, etc.). This official transcript will include your entire history on Step 1 and Step 2CK including all attempts (pass, fail, incomplete, etc.). If you’re unsure which organization to contact, the USMLE website can help determine which organization to request your transcript from and the fees associated with this.
To request your USMLE transcript for residency applications, you will go to myERAS and authorize the release of your USMLE transcript. Once your ERAS is submitted, the USMLE transcript will be sent. The NBME charges a one-time fee of $80 to send your USMLE transcript.
Final words of advice
These exams are just the first part of your medical journey and only a part of your residency application. Remember that as long as you are taking the time you need to prepare for these tests and preparing appropriately, you will succeed!