The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States and is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). The USMLE assesses a physician's ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles, and to demonstrate fundamental patient-centered skills, that are important in health and disease and that constitute the basis of safe and effective patient care. Each of the three Steps of the USMLE complements the others; no Step can stand alone in the assessment of readiness for medical licensure.

The exam is currently an eight-hour computer-based test taken in a single-day, composed of seven 44-question sections with a total of 308 multiple-choice questions.[3] Beginning May 9, 2016, the NBME plans to shorten the test to seven 40-question sections.[4] One hour is provided for each section, allotting an average of a minute and eighteen seconds to answer each question.[5] Between test sections, the test taker is allotted a cumulative 45 minutes (during the test day) for personal breaks. (There is a 15-minute tutorial at the beginning of the exam, which the test-taker can choose to skip and have that time added to break time.) If the taker finishes any section before the allotted one hour time limit, the unused time is added to the break time total.[6] The test is administered at any of several Prometric computer testing sites.

Before you can apply for a medical license, you must pass a three-step test called the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), also known as the board exam.