USMLE Examinations

Policy 540.70

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States. It is administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). Please visit their website for complete information. Students must pass the expected USMLE Step examinations to be certified by the medical school for the National Residency Match Program (NRMP).

Policy Statement

All students must pass USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK examinations to graduate.

Policy Elaboration

  1. The USMLE Step 1 exam may only be taken after the successful completion of all Foundations Level courses and academic requirements. Designated study time is provided during the Foundations Level Capstone course to prepare for the exam. Students are expected to take the USMLE Step 1 exam prior to advancing to the Clerkship Level of the curriculum.
  2. Students may request to delay the USMLE Step 1 examination for the first time or to retake a failed USMLE Step 1 examination after the Clerkship Level curriculum. The student requesting such a USMLE Step 1 examination delay or retake must:
    1. Discuss the academic implications of this decision with the Associate Dean for Students (or designee) and
    2. Discuss the financial implications of this decision with the Assistant Director of Medical Student Financial Services and
    3. Request permission and receive approval from the Advancement Committee to delay or retake the examination.
  3. All students must take the USMLE Step 1 exam prior to beginning any Advanced Integration Level clinical rotation. If a student has taken the exam and has not received a score from the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) by the Advanced Integration clinical rotation start date, the student will be permitted to begin the Advanced Integration clinical rotation. If a student is notified of a failing score on a first or second exam attempt during their Advanced Integration rotation, they will be allowed to complete that clinical rotation, however, will not be permitted to continue into subsequent Advanced Integration clinical rotations until they have passed the exam.
  4. Students planning to participate in a residency match program in the same year of their graduation must take the USMLE Step 2 CK exam by January 1 of their graduation year. It is strongly recommended, however, that students take these examinations prior to September of their Advanced Integration year to ensure results and scores are available to residency programs for timely review and residency consideration. Passing scores on USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 examinations are required for residency selection and graduation, therefore the timing of score reports must be considered when scheduling these exams.
  5. Students may attempt to pass each Step examination three times before being subject to dismissal by the Advancement Committee, any additional attempts are contingent upon review and approval by the Advancement Committee. The USMLE Program limits the total number of times and when an examinee can retake USMLE examinations.

Applicability of the Policy

All Medical Students

Related Larner College of Medicine Policies

Related University of Vermont Policies

Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) Standard(s)

  • 7.0 Curricular Content
  • 9.6 Setting Standards of Achievement


  • 7/16/2013 Policy Adopted/Affirmed [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 5/24/2016 Policy Revision [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 12/20/2016 Policy Revision [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 3/21/2017 Policy Edit [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 5/15/2018 Policy Revision [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 9/18/2018 Policy Revision [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 2/16/2021 Policy Revision [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 7/19/2022 Policy Revision [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 9/18/2023 Policy Revision [Medical Curriculum Committee]

Policy Oversight

Associate/Assistant Dean for Students (Director of Academic Achievement)

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