Limits on Number of Attempts and Time for Completion of USMLE Step Exams

Friday, July 11, 2014
By Catherine T. Hollis, J.D., The Health Law Firm and George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

According to the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) 2014 Bulletin of Information, individuals are permitted to attempt the same Step Exam or Step Exam Component a maximum of six times.  All attempts, including incomplete attempts, are counted toward the limit, regardless of when they were taken.  The USMLE Program itself does not limit the length of time in which all Steps Exams or Step Exam Components must be completed.

Each state's medical licensing board sets the requirements for initial medical licensure, including placing limits on the number of USMLE exam attempts and time limits.  You can review the requirements for each state on the Federation of State Medical Boards' website by clicking here.

State Mandated USMLE Attempt and Time Limits.

The USMLE Program recommends that state licensing boards require all Step Exams and Step Exam Components be completed within seven years. It also recommends no more than six attempts to pass each Step or Step Component.  Some states permit as few as two attempts per Step or Step Component and some states have different attempt limits for each Step or Step Component.  Others, including Florida, have no attempt limit on any Step or Step Component.

It may be possible to be allowed a seventh attempt at an examination by petitioning a state medical licensing board to intervene on your behalf with the USMLE Program to allow one additional attempt.  However, there is no guarantee that this would be successful.  The decision whether to intervene on an applicant's behalf is completely up to the discretion of the particular state's medical licensing board.

The majority of states follow the USMLE Program's suggestion and require that all USMLE Steps and Step Components be completed within seven years, but there are several states that allow ten years.  A handful of states, including Florida, have no time limit for completion of the USMLE exams.

Preparation for Your USMLE Testing.

It is important to know the attempt and time limits for the particular state in which you intend to practice, and strive to complete your USMLE exams within those requirements.  You must diligently and properly prepare for each Step or Step Component so that you increase your chances of passing each one the first time.  There are a multitude of test preparation options available, both through the USMLE Program and through other commercial test preparation companies.  To see a previous blog about careful and proper test preparation, click here.


What is your opinion of the UMSLE testing attempt limits? Have you ever had an issue with these specific testing limitations? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to medical students, residents, interns and fellows in academic disputes, graduate medical education (GME) hearings, contract negotiations, license applications, board certification applications and hearings, credential hearings, and civil and administrative litigations.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at.

About the Authors: Catherine T. Hollis is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

Tag Words: United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), medical license, licensure, doctor, registered nurse, physician, medical student, medical school, medical exam, USMLE rules, USMLE regulations, Florida, healthcare, health, USMLE attorney, USMLE lawyer, USMLE defense lawyer, The Health Law Firm, health law, medical resident, Committee for Individualized Review (CIR), USMLE preparation, USMLE hearings, USMLE appeals, defense attorney, defense lawyer, legal representation, medical student lawyer, medical student attorney, medical resident lawyer, medical resident attorney, medical intern lawyer, medical intern attorney, how to prepare for a USMLE hearing, what to expect from a USMLE hearing, medical administrative hearings, administrative law

"The Health Law Firm" is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. - The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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