turquoiseblue

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If one would retake USMLE's 1 and 2 after the 7 year limit, will programs still look at that person's initial USMLE's (which were very low) or at the new scores of the retaken tests (higher scores), or both?

Also, if the 7 year limit is passed, are a person's USMLE's considered invalid to be accepted into a residency program (For those states that have the 7 year limit only.)

Thanks.
 

Buzz Me

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If one would retake USMLE's 1 and 2 after the 7 year limit, will programs still look at that person's initial USMLE's (which were very low) or at the new scores of the retaken tests (higher scores), or both?
Any perceived benefit you might gain from retaking your Steps and scoring much higher the second time around (e.g. 195 --> 255) would most certainly be more than offset by the fact that you're now a VERY "old grad."
 

aProgDirector

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There are no official "time limits" on the USMLE. The USMLE itself does not declare that the exams need to be taken in any specific time frame, nor is there any rule that your scores expire.

Some states have set limits on the number of years to complete the USMLE. Often this is 7 or 10 years. Some states have no limits. If there is a limit, it means that you must complete all steps (time from first exam to last exam) within the timeframe to be eligible for a license in that state.

Residency programs do not have an "expire date" for USMLE exams. However, many residency programs do have limits on how far out from medical school graduation you are, and if your USMLE exams are >7 years out then you're probably over the graduation limit. Some programs do not have a limit.

Thus, if you complete the USMLE's in >7 years, nothing special happens. You (presumably) get a spot in a residency program and complete it. The problem begins when you request a full license in a state that has a USMLE limit. This could be because 1) you graduate from residency and then apply for a license somewhere, or 2) your state requires a full license for your PGY-3 (several states require this, most notably california).

When you apply for a license in a state that has a USMLE limit that you have exceeded, they review your license application. They could waive the USMLE limit and give you a license anyway. Or, they could require that you retake your first exam (to get all of your exam passes within the limit). If they require a retake, you get that in writing and then the USMLE allows you to take the step again.

So, your question never actually happens. Even if you are not in a training program, you can take Step 3 once you have passed Steps 1 and 2 and graduated from medical school. Even if you don't do this and your USMLE's become "old", you can't simply retake them. The USMLE will only allow a retake of a passed step if you have a letter requiring this from a licensing authority, which you can't get without doing a residency, which defeats the point of your question.

Complicated. If it doesn't make sense, post again.
 

turquoiseblue

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Thanks for the insight on this matter aProgDirector. It makes sense. I thought I could retake them, but I guess I can't until I complete residency. I'm glad I asked that question, because I did not know that part as I've never seen that stated anywhere. Much appreciated.

BTW Im not THAT old of a grad, although i am old..i grad in 2003. but i took my step 1 in 2000 so that I could start med school clinicals. Some people are lucky and get to take their USMLE after they grad. It makes them look better and they don't have that 7 yr limit problem as much.
 

aProgDirector

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Too late now (for you), but just to reiterate for others who may be reading -- you can take your Step 3 without starting residency. Hence, there is rarely any reason to allow 7 years to pass before passing all of the steps -- the exception being MD/PhD's where you usually take Step 1 after the first two years of medical school (while the material is fresh) and then go into the research years delaying Step 2. Some states allow 10 year timelines for MD/PhD's.
 

ROBINHO

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aprogramdirector...there are limits for foreigners.
The examining board ECFMG...strucks out any exams u wrote 7 years ago if u havent completed them.Well I remember reading that on the ECFMG booklet.
That means if he writes Step one today and decides to continue in 10 years time....ECFMG purposes he has 3 steps to go
 

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.......However, many residency programs do have limits on how far out from medical school graduation you are,.....
Hmm, interesting. Not that it applies to me but, what ARE the limits for that? (asking only out of genuine curiosity).

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gutonc

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Hmm, interesting. Not that it applies to me but, what ARE the limits for that? (asking only out of genuine curiosity).

Thanks.
Ranges from 1 year to never. With a median somewhere around 3 years.
 

aProgDirector

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aprogramdirector...there are limits for foreigners.
The examining board ECFMG...strucks out any exams u wrote 7 years ago if u havent completed them.Well I remember reading that on the ECFMG booklet.
That means if he writes Step one today and decides to continue in 10 years time....ECFMG purposes he has 3 steps to go
I didn't know that, and you are correct. So, if you don't complete Step 1/2CK/2CS all within 7 years and you're an IMG, you'd have to take a step over again. I guess if you did badly on a step, you could purposely delay steps beyond 7 years in order to take it again but this seems a bad choice. ECFMG does not include Step 3, so delaying that doesn't allow you to retake Step 1 or 2 (based on ECFMG cert needs).