Caribbean Medical Schools

Exam Details for USMLE Step 3

The basics of USMLE Step 3:

The main focus of Step 3 is to ensure that physicians can carry out the practice of medicine without supervision. Most of the questions presented, but not all, deal with ambulatory care. The most common, "high-impact" cases are tested. Step 3 is generally considered to be the "easiest" of the exams, but this assumes a strong internship and good preparation for steps 1 and 2.

USMLE Step 3 Question Formats:

There are three question formats on this step: Single Item, Multiple Item Sets, and Cases.

The Single Item questions are the standard "multiple choice" single best answer questions. There are generally 4-5 answers to select from.

The Multiple Item Sets questions are multiple choice, single best answer questions, all based on a single patient vignette. Again, each question has a single correct answer (although other answers may be "partially correct"). The questions are designed to be answered by themselves - the order in which do the questions is not important.

The Case-based questions are designed to be answered in sequential order. Skipping questions can be bad news: the cases often progress in an orderly fashion, and each question may rely on information given in preceding questions. Again, these are multiple-choice, single best answer questions.

For more information on Step 3 question formats visit:

Step 3 Eligibility

According to the FSMB and NBME, the eligibility requirements (directly quoted from: are:

  • meet the Step 3 requirements set by the medical licensing authority to which you are applying,
  • obtain the MD degree (or its equivalent) or the DO degree,
  • pass Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS (if required based upon rules referenced on page 2), and
  • obtain certification by the ECFMG or successfully complete a "Fifth Pathway" program if you are a graduate of a medical school outside the United States and Canada.

USMLE Step 3 Passing Score:

As of April 2004, the minimum passing score for step 3 is 184. This is up from the previous passing score of 182.

Further information is available at:

USMLE Step 3 Test Prep

USMLE Step 3 Preparation

USMLE Step 3 Q-Bank

General USMLE Step 3 Resources

For more information: - step 3, COMLEX Level 3.

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