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Do MDs have to take a general test before they can get their speciality credentials?


I mean is their one test that all MDs take like our PANCE?


It is my understanding that they all must take the USMLE I-II-III...

It has been said that Step II/III is pretty comparable to the "Old" PANCE/PANRE.


All three steps of the USMLE exam must be passed before a physician with an M.D. degree is eligible to apply for an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States. U.S. osteopathic medical school graduates are permitted to take the USMLE for medical licensure, which they can also obtain by passing the multi-part Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) professional exam. Students who have graduated from medical schools outside the US and Canada must pass all three steps of the USMLE to be licensed to practice in the US, regardless of the title of their degree.


USMLE Step 1 assesses whether medical school students or graduates understand and can apply important concepts of the sciences basic to the practice of medicine. As of 2007, it covers the following subjects, in both systemic (general and individual anatomical characteristics) and procedural (functional, therapeutic, environmental, and abnormality) themes:

  • Anatomy,
  • Physiology,
  • Biochemistry,
  • Pharmacology,
  • Pathology,
  • Microbiology,
  • Behavioral sciences,
  • Interdisciplinary topics, such as nutrition, genetics, and aging.

US medical students usually take Step 1 at the end of the second year of medical school. It is an eight-hour computer-based exam consisting of 322 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) divided into seven blocks each consisting of 46 questions.

USMLE Step 2 is designed to assess whether medical school students or graduates can apply medical knowledge, skills and understanding of clinical science essential for provision of patient care under supervision. US medical students typically take Step 2 during the fourth year of medical school. Step 2 is further divided into two separate exams.

Step 2-CK


USMLE Step 2 CK is designed to assess clinical knowledge through a traditional, multiple-choice examination. It is a 9 hour exam consisting of 8 blocks of 44 questions each. One hour is given for each block of questions. The subjects included in this exam are clinical sciences like Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Step 2-CS


USMLE Step 2 CS is designed to assess clinical skills through simulated patient interactions, in which the examinee interacts with standardized patients portrayed by actors. Each examinee faces 12 Standardized Patients (SPs) and has 15 minutes to complete history taking and clinical examination for each patient, and then 10 more minutes to write a patient note describing the findings, initial differential diagnosis list and a list of initial tests. Administration of the Step 2-CS began in 2004. The examination is only offered in five cities across the country:



USMLE Step 3 is the final exam in the USMLE series designed to assess whether a medical school graduate can apply medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine. Graduates of US medical schools typically take this exam at the end of the first year of residency. Foreign medical graduates can take Step 3 before starting residency in about ten U.S. states. Connecticut is frequently chosen for such purpose because it does not require simultaneous application for licensure, unlike New York.


Step 3 is 16 hour examination divided over two-days. Each day of testing must be completed within eight hours. The first day of testing includes 336 multiple-choice items divided into 7 blocks, each consisting of 48 items. Examinees must complete each block within sixty minutes.


The second day of testing includes 144 multiple-choice items, divided into 4 blocks of 36 items. Examinees are required to complete each block within forty-five minutes. Approximately 3 hours are allowed for these multiple-choice item blocks. Also on the second day are nine Clinical Case Simulations, where the examinees are required to 'manage' patients in real-time case simulations. Examinees enter orders for medications and/or investigations into the simulation software, and the condition of the patient changes accordingly. Each case must be managed in a maximum of 25 minutes of actual time.


Approximately forty-five minutes to one hour is available for break time on each of the two days of testing.


So the answer would be yes... since they generally take step III as PGY1s but don't get their "specialty credentials" until after they complete their specialty specific residencies (PGY3-5).

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And DO's can do USMLE just like MDs, but they can do COMLEX as well, which has essentially the same steps and schedules. I don't think any of the board certifications have separate credentialing processes for DOs vs. MDs, though.

I think there are osteopathic specialty boards just like licensing exams(usmle vs comlex). DO's are eligible for both md and DO specialty boards and md's can do md only.

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I think there are osteopathic specialty boards just like licensing exams(usmle vs comlex). DO's are eligible for both md and DO specialty boards and md's can do md only.


Yeah, I was just thinking that I should probably check my memory on that one... :-) Thanks for the correction.

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