The journey to residency can begin as many as two years before your anticipated Match year. Although you could say your whole education is in preparation for the Match, the process starts to feel real with the USMLE exams.

Most students will begin preparing for the USMLE exams just under two years before they plan to submit their Match applications. For 2024 Match applicants, this point is just around the corner. But how do you know your USMLE eligibility status?


Your Point in the Process

While there is no formal application, your USMLE eligibility depends on your point in your medical education. However, with three exams, sequencing only matters when it comes to USMLE Step 3.

Check out the breakdown below:

USMLE Step 1 & Step 2 CK

The Step 1 and Step 2 CK exams can be taken in any order. Because the exams follow the trajectory of a typical medical education, students often take them chronologically. However, if you have clinical experience but are still refreshing your basic science knowledge, it is possible to take the Step 2 CK exam before Step 1.

To be eligible for Step 1 and Step 2 CK, you must be a medical student or graduate of any of the following:

  • a U.S. or Canadian medical school program that is LCME accredited
  • a U.S. DO program accredited by COCA, OR
  • a medical school outside the U.S. and Canada that meets ECFMG requirements according to the World Directory of Medical Schools

USMLE Step 3

Once you have passed Step 1 and Step 2 CK, you are another step (two steps??) closer to becoming eligible for USMLE Step 3. However, beyond passing scores on the first two tests, you must have obtained a degree from any of the programs outlined above.

In addition to the above, international medical graduates must also receive ECFMG certification before they can take USMLE Step 3. It is important to note that in 2024, ECFMG certification requirements will change for anyone who has not already started the certification process.

Learn more about USMLE eligibility here.

Ready to earn clinical experience to help you prepare for USMLE Step 2? Reach out to an AMO Advisor to learn more!