Step 3 USMLE Format
The USMLE Step 3 is composed of approximately 480 multiple-choice questions. These are administered in groups of 30 to 50 in testing periods that last between 45 and 60 minutes. Of these questions, approximately nine will be computer-based case simulations, which must be completed within 25 minutes.
The entirety of the Step 3 exam is administered over the course of two eight-hour days.
Step 3 USMLE Content
The content of the USMLE Step 3 can be broken down from two perspectives: physician task and clinical encounter frame.
From the perspective of physician task, 8-12% of the exam focuses on obtaining a patient history and performing a basic physical examination; 8-12% on using laboratory and diagnostic studies; 8-12% on formulating the most likely diagnosis; 8-12% on evaluating the severity of the patient's problems; 8-12% on applying scientific concepts and an understanding of the mechanisms of disease; and 45-55% on managing the patient. This last content category includes legal and ethical issues, the maintenance of health, clinical therapeutics, and clinical intervention.
From the perspective of clinical encounter, 20-30% of the exam focuses on initial care; 50-60% on continued care; and 15-25% on emergency care. It is easy to see how these two perspectives on the content of the USMLE Step 3 can coexist. Questions regarding initial care, for instance, will generally involve obtaining the patient history and performing the physical examination, while emergency care will more often involve formulating a diagnosis, evaluating the severity of the patient's problems, and managing health.
USMLE Preparation information provided by Morrison Media LLC.
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