The purpose of Step 3 is to determine if a physician possesses and can apply the medical knowledge and understanding of clinical science considered essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine, with emphasis on patient management in ambulatory care settings. The inclusion of Step 3 in the USMLE sequence of licensing examinations ensures that attention is devoted to the importance of assessing the knowledge and skills of physicians who are assuming independent responsibility for providing general medical care to patients.
EXAM FORMAT AND LENGTH
Step 3 consists of multiple-choice items and computer-based case simulations, distributed according to the content blueprint. Step 3 is a two-day examination. The first day of testing includes 336 multiple-choice items divided into 7 blocks of 48 items; 60 minutes are allotted for completion of each block of test items. There is a maximum of 7 hours of testing on the first day. There is also a minimum of 45 minutes of break time and a 15-minute optional tutorial.
The second day of testing includes 144 multiple choice items, divided into 4 blocks of 36 items; 45 minutes are allotted for completion of each block of test items. Approximately 3 hours are allotted for these multiple-choice item blocks. The second day also includes a 15-minute CCS tutorial. This is followed by 9 case simulations, for which approximately 4 hours are allotted. A minimum of 45 minutes is available for break time.