By Live Dr - Sun Nov 09, 1:04 pm



What Does the CBT Format Mean to Me?

The significance of the CBT to you depends on the requirements of your school

and your level of computer knowledge. If you hate computers and freak out

whenever you see one, you might want to face your fears as soon as possible.

Spend some time playing with a Windows-based system and pointing and clicking

icons or buttons with a mouse. These are the absolute basics, and you won’t

want to waste valuable exam time figuring them out on test day. Your test taking

will proceed by pointing and clicking, essentially without the use of the keyboard.

The free CD is an excellent way to become familiar with the test interface.

For those who feel they would benefit, the USMLE offers an opportunity to

take a simulated test, or “CBT Practice Session at a Prometric center.” Students

are eligible to take the three-and-one-half-hour practice session after

they have received their fluorescent orange scheduling permit (see below).

The same USMLE Step 1 sample test items (150 questions) available on the CD

or USMLE Web site, www.usmle.org, are used at these sessions. No new items

will be presented. The session is divided into three one-hour blocks of 50 test

items each and costs about $42. The student receives a printed percent-correct

score after completing the session. No explanations of questions are provided.

You may register for a practice session online at www.usmle.org.

How Do I Register to Take the Exam?

Step 1 or Step 2 applications may be printed from the USMLE Web site.

The application allows applicants to select one of 12 overlapping three-month

blocks in which to be tested (e.g., April-May-June, June-July-August). The

application includes a photo ID form that must be certified by an official at

your medical school to verify your enrollment. After the NBME processes

your application, it will send you a fluorescent orange slip of paper called a

scheduling permit.

The scheduling permit you receive from the NBME will contain your USMLE

identification number, the eligibility period in which you may take the exam, and

two unique numbers. One of these is known as your “scheduling number.” You

must have this number to make your exam appointment with Prometric. The

other number is known as the “candidate identification number,” or CIN. Examinees

must enter their CINs at the Prometric workstation to access their exams.

Prometric has no access to the codes. Do not lose your permit! You will not be

allowed to take the boards unless you present this permit along with an unexpired,

government-issued photo identification with your signature (such as a driver’s

license or passport). Make sure the name on your photo ID exactly matches

the name appearing on your scheduling permit.

Once you receive your scheduling permit, you may call the Prometric tollfree

number to arrange a time to take the exam. Although requests for taking

Keyboard shortcuts:

A-E–Letter choices.

Enter or spacebar–Move to

next question.

Esc–Exit pop-up Lab and

Exhibit windows.

Alt-T–Countdown timers for

current session and overall


Ctrl-Alt-Delete are the keys of

death during the exam. Don’t

touch them!

Test scheduling is on a “firstcome,

first-served” basis. It’s

important to call and schedule

an exam date as soon as you

receive your scheduling



the exam may be completed more than six months before the test date, examinees

will not receive their scheduling permits earlier than six months before

the eligibility period. The eligibility period is the three-month period you

have chosen to take the exam. Most medical students choose the April-June

or June-August period. Because exams are scheduled on a “first-come, firstserved”

basis, it is recommended that you telephone Prometric as soon as you

have received your permit. After you’ve scheduled your exam, it’s a good idea

to confirm your exam appointment with Prometric at least one week prior to

your test date. Prometric does not provide written confirmation of exam date,

time, or location. Be sure to read the 2006 USMLE Bulletin of Information

for further details.

What If I Need to Reschedule the Exam?

You can change your date and/or center by contacting Prometric at 1-800-

MED-EXAM (1-800-633-3926) or www.prometric.com. Make sure to have

your CIN when rescheduling. If you are rescheduling by phone, you must

speak with a Prometric representative; leaving a voice-mail message will not

suffice. To avoid a rescheduling fee, you will need to request a change before

noon EST at least five business days before your appointment. Please note

that your rescheduled test date must fall within your assigned three-month eligibility


When Should I Register for the Exam?

Although there are no deadlines for registering for Step 1, you should plan to

register at least six months ahead of your desired test date. This will guarantee

that you will get either your test center of choice or one within a 50-mile radius

of your first choice. For most U.S. medical students, the desired testing

window is in June, since most medical school curricula for the second year

end in May or June. Thus, U.S. medical students should plan to register before

January for a June test date. The timing of the exam is more flexible for

IMGs, as it is related only to when they finish exam preparation.

Choose your three-month eligibility period wisely. If you need to reschedule

outside your initial three-month period, you must submit a new application

along with another application fee.

Where Can I Take the Exam?

Your testing location is arranged with Prometric when you call for your test

date (after you receive your scheduling permit). For a list of Prometric locations

nearest you, visit www.prometric.com.

Testing centers are closed on

major holidays and during the

first two weeks of January.

Register six months in

advance for seating and

scheduling preference.


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