School of Medicine

USMLE (Step 1 and 2) Preparation

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USMLE exams, Step 1 and Step 2 are well known and necessary components of your medical education and the Office of Student Affairs seeks to ensure that all BCM students are equipped with the necessary information to be prepared to register, prepare for and maximize their success in these exams. See below for more information on timelines for signing up, core resources to help you prepare and best practices from past students.

School of Medicine USMLE Guidelines

  • Successful completion of all National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) United States Medical Licensure Examinations (USMLE) is required to obtain a license to practice medicine. Successful completion of the USMLE examinations is one of the components of Academic Progress considered by the School of Medicine (SOM) MD Committee on Student Promotions and Academic Achievement (MDPC). Successfully passing USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK is a graduation requirement of Baylor College of Medicine, regardless of date of matriculation.
  • All USMLE examinations must be taken in a timely fashion in order to document academic progress. The following are the deadlines to sign up for and take these exams. 
  • Deadline to sign up for the exams: 
    • Step 1 - Dec. 31 of the third year of medical school 
    • Step 2CK - June 30 of the third year of medical school
  • Deadline to take the exams: 
    • Step 1 - March 31 of the third year of medical school 
    • Step 2CK - Sept. 30 of the fourth year of medical school

Deadlines do NOT apply to students in dual degree programs. Students who have taken USMLE Step 1 on a P/F basis are strongly encouraged to complete USMLE Step 2 CK in order to have a score available by Sept. 15 of the MS4 year.

USMLE Step 1 Registration Process

  1. Access the NBME site with your USMLE ID. Complete the online application and pay fees.
  2. Print and complete the Certification of Identification form (CIF), a How May We Help form, and a 2X2 picture. Submit all forms to the Registrar’s Office
    • Both forms can be dropped off in person or emailed to registrar@bcm.edu with a 2x2 picture
    • Please note: We will only submit the form directly to USMLE, not the student. Forms can be submitted via mail or email, but not both. 
  3. Registrar’s Office completes the remaining sections of the form and submits to USMLE via mail or email
  4. Allow four weeks for processing. Upon receipt, USMLE will reach out to BCM Student Affairs to verify your enrollment online through the NBME portal.
  5. USMLE will email your scheduling permit and you can schedule your exam through the Prometric website
    • BCM Deadline to schedule exam: Dec. 31

Please allow 2-4 weeks for processing. The NBME will contact students by email when their form is processed. 

Final reminders 

  • Submit the How May We Help form attaching the 2X2 photo. 
  • Be sure to include your handwritten signature, digital signatures are not accepted. 
  • Be sure to check the appropriate box on the CIF.
  • Return all forms to registrar@bcm.edu or DeBakey 210.
  • After NBME processes the form, Student Affairs (different than Registrar’s Office) will verify enrollment via the NBME portal. 

Sign up for your exam here

Resources/Support

As with many other components of medical school, one of the commonly cited challenges of Step 1 involves identifying key and/or core resources to guide your studies and sufficiently provide you with the foundational, high yield knowledge that will be critical to your success on test day.  See below for a few insights on how to prioritize and use some of the most popular resources that BCM students have historically found helpful in their preparation for the USMLE exams.

Note: this is not a comprehensive list of resources and it’s not uncommon that students will find success with resources that are not listed here. Whether you choose to exclusively use the resources listed or if you decide to incorporate other resources into your study plan, be careful not to overwhelm yourself and risking resource overload.
 

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Step 1

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Step 2CK

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Schedule an academic advising appointment

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For one-on-one meetings to discuss your plans for either of the Step exams students can reach out to Reggie Toussant in the SOM Student Affairs office or email the Academic Success Center

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Words of wisdom and best practices from other students

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I think an understated aspect of studying for Step 1 is to make sure you are making time for yourself. For me, this consisted of me protecting the amount of sleep I got each night, making myself exercise every day, and having time during the evenings that I was not studying. I made achievable goals every day that I felt I could reach, mentally allowing me to “win” the day and feel good going into the next one.” ~ Dylan Fall, c/o 2022

I started dedicated with a failing STEP score and was able to bring up my score to a point that I was happy with. At no point in my preparation did I think I was 100% ready to take the exam, but I did feel that I had studied what I could and I was OK with whatever could happen on test day which helped me perform well on test day. I scored 10+ points above my highest predicted score, so don’t always take to heart what your practice scores tell you.” ~ Alina Mohanty, c/o 2022

I varied the order of tasks I accomplished every day. If UWorld wasn't clicking, I did anki, and vice versa. If a certain subject was giving me grief, I went back to the basics to fill the knowledge gaps. I didn't try to push through something if I felt it wasn't working. On a similar note, I listened to my brain. If things weren't clicking, I took a break or a nap and came back to it. Usually this would work, but if it didn't, I called the day a wash and took it off (within reason, of course). I found it was unproductive to try and push through studying when my brain didn't want to cooperate, and usually a day of rest did the trick and things made sense the next day.” ~ Michele Cabeza, c/o 2022

Instead of focusing on score metrics, I would recommend using this as an opportunity to chase and fill your knowledge gaps. Do something serotonin-boosting each day for wellness. Good luck – have faith in your abilities!” ~ Anjay Batra c/o 2022