USMLE Step 3 Registration

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
Registration for Step 3 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination is a multi-step process that requires applicants to prove their eligibility before selecting a test date. Read on to learn more about these eligibility requirements and the procedures involved in signing up for the test.

USMLE Step 3 Registration: Eligibility Requirements

Before you can register for Step 3 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), which is the final stage of testing for medical licensure, you'll need to meet several educational and examination prerequisites. These eligibility requirements include an M.D. or D.O. degree and passing scores on the USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge and USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills exams.

Applicants who've completed medical school in a foreign country must also have earned certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). A Fifth Pathway certificate can be used as an alternative qualifier, but only up until December 31, 2016.

USMLE Step 3 Registration: Procedures

To register for the USMLE Step 3, you must fill out an application through the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). Along with providing proof of having met the educational and testing requirements listed above, you must:

  • Pay the $830 application fee via an approved credit card.
  • Submit a certification of identity (CID) form. This form must be notarized and include a photograph.
  • Provide an email address for communication.
  • Indicate a three-month eligibility period during which you plan to take the exam.
  • Review the official USMLE bulletin outlining exam format and testing regulations. It is available for download on FSMB's website (

Upon receiving the information listed above, the FSMB will confirm your eligibility and issue a scheduling permit, allowing you to sign up for your USMLE Step 3 at a Prometric testing location.

Changing Examination Dates

After scheduling your test, you may reschedule if need be, but be aware that this might incur an extra fee. Furthermore, if you are unable to take the exam within the three-month eligibility period indicated on your application, you may apply to extend that period for three additional calendar months. These requests, which cost $70, can be made up to 25 days after your initial eligibility period expires.

Retaking the USMLE Step 3

If you need to retake the USMLE Step 3, you may do so up to three times in one year. You must wait six months after your third attempt before taking the test for a fourth time. Your fourth retake must also be a year or more after the date of the first time you took the exam.

Additional Information and Test-Taking Tips

Before you register for the exam and request your three-month eligibility period, make sure you fully understand the content and structure of the exam so you can plan the appropriate amount of prep time and create a study guide for yourself. For tips, check out this short, video lesson on How to Make a Study Guide.

You might also consider using this lesson on Strategy for Multiple-Choice Questions to prepare for the types of questions you'll find on the test. The first day of the Step 3 exam takes seven hours to complete and includes about 260 multiple-choice questions, while the second day of the exam takes nine hours to complete and includes 13 case simulations and roughly 180 multiple-choice questions.

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