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Overview of USMLE Requirements

Feinberg Exam Performance & 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 2021 reconfirms these findings. There continues to be a strong correlation between exam performance and Step 1.

These data suggest 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 retaken. Students who fail Step 1 need to take adequate time off to prepare for retaking the exam.
  • All students will be required to sit for the USMLE Step 2 CK examination by the end of November of the academic year in which you will graduate. Sitting by the end of November will allow additional time for planning and communicating scores with programs.
  • Please note that 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.
  • We urge you to apply for Step 2 CK as soon as possible, as exam dates fill up very quickly.
  • If you take Step 2 CK and your score is available before the opening of ERAS on Sept. 15, you will not have the option to withhold your score. It will automatically be released.
  • Feinberg does not approve of unauthorized sharing of protected intellectual property. It is university policy that no member of the Northwestern community engage in any activity that violates federal, state or local laws with respect to intellectual property rights. Please review the Northwestern University policy on file sharing.

Score Reporting

All Step 1 exams taken after January 25, 2022 will be reported as pass/fail. If the Step 1 exam is taken in April, scores reports are made available approximately three to four weeks after the exam date. If the exam is taken in May or June, score reports are usually made available in July. Scores are released each Wednesday except for the months of May and June and the first two weeks of January, when no scores are released. 

Receiving the scores for Step 2 CK averages approximately three-and-a-half weeks after the exam date.

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.