6.5 USMLE Step 1 Examination (E19) Policy

E-19 Requirements, Procedures and Guidelines

Timeline and requirements to take Step 1

  • Students must take the UWSOM proctored National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) customized assessment near the end of Term 2 and the NBME Comprehensive Basic Science Examination (CBSE) during Term 3.
  • The deadline to take USMLE Step 1 is March 15th.
  • An early action Step 1 delay or formal request for deferral is required to move the USMLE Step 1 deadline after March 15th.
  • Remediation of any Foundations Phase required coursework must be successfully completed prior to taking USMLE Step 1.
  • Students must take Step 1 prior to the Patient Care Phase start date for their entry year unless they have an early action delay or approved deferral (see below).

Early action delay of Step 1 test date deadline (Delayed start of Patient Care Phase)
The performance of all students in the Foundations Phase will be evaluated by the ad hoc Foundations Phase Mastery Committee* during Term 3.  Overall performance in the blocks, threads, and courses; trajectory during the foundations phase; and extenuating circumstances will be weighed.  Scores on the NBME Comprehensive Basic Science Exam will be used as confirmatory. Students not demonstrating adequate mastery of the basic science curriculum will be recommended to delay sitting for Step 1.  This will result in delayed entry into the Patient Care Phase.

Delayed students will:

  • Enroll in a UWSOM 8 credit Comprehensive Basic Science Review course to be taken during winter term;
  • Complete self-administered Step 1 practice tests (CBSSA) to assess progress during the dedicated Step 1 study period in spring quarter;
  • Complete a final CBSSA exam at the end of the delay period (end of spring quarter).
  • Sit for the USMLE Step 1 exam by the end of spring quarter (in June) if the final CBSSA exam results are predictive of a passing score.

Students with final CBSSA scores not predictive of a passing USMLE Step 1 score will be placed on leave for summer quarter, and/or will participate in additional programming during summer quarter such as enrolling in an independent study course for additional dedicated study time. Students will be required to meet with the Student Affairs Dean to formalize a leave of absence or approval for additional programming, undergo expansion of their medical curriculum, and be dropped from their entire Patient Care Phase clerkships schedule. Taking Step 1 will be required to re-enter the curriculum and enroll in the Patient Care Phase.

Students who do not take Step 1 by the last day of autumn quarter (mid-December each year) will be referred to Student Progress Committee for review.

USMLE Step 1 Deferral
Student deferrals to take Step 1 beyond the March 15 deadline will be considered only for extenuating circumstances.  Students requesting a deferral must meet with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.  Students who are granted a deferral and fail to take USMLE Step 1 by the approved deadline will have their entire Patient Care Phase schedule dropped until they have taken the USMLE Step 1 exam. Delaying Step 1 will likely result in medical school expansion. Students who fail to pass USMLE Step 1 by the last day of autumn quarter following their Step 1 deadline (mid-December) will be referred to Student Progress Committee for review.

*The ad hoc Foundations Phase Mastery Committee will be comprised of learning specialists, Foundations deans, and members from Student Affairs, Curriculum, and Registration.

Related Policies: 

MD Program Graduation Requirements Policy 

Academic Requirements Policy