FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS RELEVANT TO
USMLE, MATCH & RESIDENCY
HOW TO APPLY (FOR IMGs):
Go to ECFMG website
Get your USMLE/ECFMG ID using the Interactive Web Application
Once you get the ID (in your email inbox), you can apply for the
You need not apply for a separate ID each time. The same ID
account will be used for all your exams, and for residency
application using ERAS. Multiple IDs are not permitted.
When you apply for the first time, you will have to submit a
printed form 183 or 186, after getting it verified from your medical
Form 183 will be used if you are still a medical student at the
time of applying,
Form 186 will be used if you have graduated
Once done with the application online and mailing (through
courier/physical mail), you will have to wait to get your eligibility
After you get the eligibility period and scheduling permit, you
have to go to the Thomson Prometric website
www.prometric.com and get the desired dates
Read carefully the information
websites, to avoid undue confusions at later stages!
WHEN TO APPLY?
If you can manage it with your studies, it is best recommended to
take the step 1 as early as possible, after you are eligible for it,
and have completed the relevant subjects in your medical college
curriculum. In the Pakistani System being currently practiced, the
best time is from the early days of final year to the mid of final
If you cannot manage, which is the case with most of the students,
keep reading standard books for the college studies. As soon as your
final professional ends, start preparing for step 1. Follow the
schedule for the preparation available
here, or make a similar
schedule for yourself, depending on your absorption powers. Some
people prepare and score well in as little as 3 months, and some may
take up to a year.
Legal Issues: Eligibility::
You become eligible for step 1 as soon as you get the result of
first professional (in the Pakistani System). The minimum
requirement is to have completed two years of education at a medical
college. Thus, legally you can take step 1 in 3rd Year.
Then why not take it then? Reason: Step 1 tests you in Anatomy,
Physiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Behavioral Sciences,
Microbiology and Pathology. In our system, we are taught only
anatomy, physiology and biochemistry by the end of 2nd Year. Which
means, though legally eligible, we are not prepared to take the test
after 2nd Year.
What are the costs involved in the
whole USMLE-Match-Residency Process?
|Step 2 CK
|Step 2 CS
|| $300 for 30 programs (increases with more no of
programs you apply)**
|Flight to US
|Local Travel in US
||$1000 [highly variable from person to person]*
|Food & Stay
||$1000-3000 [highly variable from person to person]*
|USCIS & Legal Processing (if applying for
*Costs for travel and stay, food etc can be saved if you have
** The first 10 programs cost $60 per program, 11-20 cost $8 per
program, 21-30 cost $15 per program, and from 31 onwards, each
program costs $ 25. A calculation made to clear the things:
10 progs=$60 (total)
20 progs= $140
30 progs= $290
40 progs= $540
50 progs= $790
(this is for one specialty... each sp will be counted separately...
ie; if u apply to 10 progs in IM and 10 in peds, u pay $120).
Note: These are just estimates. Actual costs may vary depending upon
the circumstances. Please refer to relevant websites before making
your final decisions.
What additional things should I do, to make a stronger resume?
1. United States
Clinical Experience, called USCE for short, is an important
factor, besides your step scores. With the rising competition in the
ERAS Match, Program Directors look for candidates who have exposure
to the US System of Health.
The best USCE is the elective experience,
which is a clinical rotation in any teaching hospital other than
your own medical school. In terms of USCE, electives are done in US
Hospitals. Read a detailed overview of electives
Other forms of USCE are: (in order of decreasing preference):
Externship, Observership, Research Experience.
For further details and state wise information on USCE, please see
2. Publications: If you perform some researches, try to get
them published in recognized journals. The more well reputed a
journal is, the more is the credit given for that publication.
Wasting time on research which doesn't get published is just a waste
3. Voluntary Activities/Extra Curricular
Activities/Participation in seminars and conferences: Usually, this
does NOT help in getting interview calls, but it does help you in
the interview, once you get a call.
I do not understand the scoring system. What's with the two digit
and three digit scores? How are they calculated? Which is more
The two and three digit scores are just scores. They are for step 1,
2CK and Step 3. Step 2 CS is just a pass/fail exam. No scores are
reported for step 2 CS. Few important points:
- Two digit score is not a percentile. It is not a percentage
either. It is just an arbitrary correlation score that correlates
the 2 and 3 digit scores. The correlation between the two scores
varies from time to time. Highest 2 digit score is 99. Two digit
score below 75 is reported as a failed exam.
- Three digit score is NOT the number of correct answers you give on
the exam. Again, it is an arbitrary scale, and only ECFMG knows how
it is calculated.
With the rise in competition in the recent years, three digit score
is gaining more importance - as one can get 99 on two digit scale
even with a three digit score of 236, while one with three digit
scores as high as 280+ is also given a two digit score of 99.
What are NBME Forms? How important are they?
NBME form 1-4 are 4 sets of sample exams for self assessment, each
exam comprising 200 mcqs (ie each form has 200 mcqs). Each of these
forms costs $ 45.
Is my college recognized for the USMLE ?
Students from all colleges listed in the
IMED, provided by
FAIMER are eligible to take the
USMLE Exams, provided the fulfill other exam requirements. For
details and to apply, see
Is house job a requirement for the
USMLE Exam? How does the house job help in the residency/match
House job is not a requirement for the Exam. Clinical Experience
within home country gives some edge over having no experience at
all, but still it is not so important as to risk your scores over