Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
MD Education

Overview of USMLE Requirements

Feinberg Exam Performance and USMLE Step 1

AWOME conducts regular evaluations to measure how well the Feinberg curriculum prepares students for the USMLE Step 1. Correlational analyses have consistently shown a significant link between student performance on module exams and later performance on the USMLE Step 1. A recent analysis of the Step 1 performance of the Class of 2019 reconfirms these findings. There continues to be a strong correlation between exam performance and Step 1.

This data suggests that students who are mastering the ability to study effectively for module examinations will continue to do so for boards.  Additionally the knowledge gained from the Phase 1 curriculum goes far beyond preparing you for boards. It gives you the foundation for effective critical thinking, synthesis and application to the patient with complex disease.  This will not only be critical for outstanding performance in the clerkships, but will also be necessary to effectively care for your patients.

Feinberg USMLE Requirements

In addition to your course, clerkship and teaching selective requirements, eligibility for graduation from the Feinberg School of Medicine is contingent upon recording a passing score on the licensing examinations of the National Board of Medical Examiners, as follows:

  • All students will be required to take and record a passing score on the USMLE Step 1 examination. Step 1 must be taken prior to starting the clinical clerkships. A student who receives a failing score on Step 1 while enrolled in a clerkship may complete that clerkship. The student may not proceed to the next clerkship until Step 1 has been re-taken. Students who fail Step 1 need to take adequate time off to prepare for retaking the exam.

  • All students will be required to take and record a passing score on the USMLE Step 2 – CK (clinical knowledge) examination by the end of December. This will allow the scores to come to the school and be part of the documentation necessary to certify you as eligible to graduate. Your eligibility for graduation is approved by the Student Promotions Committee, then presented to the Dean's Council for final approval.

  • All students will be required to take and record a passing score on the USMLE Step 2 – CS (clinical skills) examination by November 1.

  • Please be aware that many residency programs want to see both Step 2 CK and CS results before ranking. Look closely at the individual program requirements. We would also urge you to start apply for both of these exams as soon as possible. We have learned that the exam dates are filling up quickly. There have also been many questions about withholding the release of your Step 2 CK scores. If you take the exam and your score is available before the opening of ERAS on Sept. 1 you will not have the option to withhold your Step 2 CK score. It will automatically be released.
  • Please note: Some residency programs are looking for Step 2 CK scores as they rank applicants. Please check with the program about this before you schedule your examination.

Score Reporting

If the Step 1 exam is taken in April, scores reports are made available approximately 3-4 weeks after the exam date. If the exam is taken in May or June, score reports are usually made available in July.

Receiving the scores for Step 2 CK averages approximately 3.5 weeks after the exam date. Step 2 CS reports are significantly longer. Here is the reporting schedule for the current year:

2017-2018 Reporting Schedule - Step 2 CS
2017-18 Reporting Schedule - Step 2 CS

2018-2019 Reporting Schedule - Step2 CS
2018-19 Reporting Schedule - Step 2 CS

Please Note: In each scoring cohort, there will be occasional dates when individual test centers or the entire testing network are unavailable. These are typically known in advance, and the dates will be displayed as unavailable when examinees schedule appointments.

For each "Testing Period" in the above schedule, Step 2 CS scores are released every Wednesday over a corresponding four-to five-week "Reporting Period." It is expected that results for the vast majority of examinees who take the exam during the testing period will be reported on the first Wednesday of the Reporting Period. Results for 98 to 99 percent of examinees who take the exam during the testing period are reported by the third Wednesday in a Reporting Period. For a small percentage of examinees (1 to 2 percent), scoring and quality assurance may be not completed in time for these examinees to be reported by the first three reporting dates; these will typically be examinees who took the exam in the latter part of the testing period. Results for these examinees will be reported each week throughout the reporting period and should be reported no later than the last day of the score reporting period.

This schedule allows USMLE staff to enhance the quality assurance and data collection/scoring procedures performed prior to score reporting. Additionally, it provides examinees, as well as others who rely on Step 2 CS results, with guidelines regarding when a result will be reported for a given exam date. These guidelines allow examinees to plan their exam registration and scheduling in order to have their results in time to meet specific deadlines, such as those related to graduation or participation in the National Resident Matching Program, or "the Match."