FAQs regarding STEP 3 application- Requirements/Which State to apply & give the test/ Application processing & result reporting time

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1. Requirements to apply for Step 3: ECFMG certificate for IMGs. To get the ECFMG certificate, you need to complete Step 1, step 2ck and cs as well as complete the verification of your Medical Education Credentials.

2. Can I take Step 3 before joining residency? Yes you can. Few States do not require you to have any USCE (PGY1)


3. Advantages of completing Step 3 early: a)Step 3 is essential to apply for H1b visa.


b) Your application might have edge over others with only step 1 and/or step 2 scores.


4. Is USCE essential before Step 3? If you have USCE, you might be able to answer better. But it is not essential. Many IMGs have got good scores in Step 3 without USCE.


5. How long does it take to process Step 3 application? Approximately 10 days (Might vary from State to state)


6. Should we give the test within the same state where we applied? You can give the test in any Prometric centre within the USA irrespective of the state medical board where you applied. Guess there are few centres outside USA too. Not quite sure.

7. Is Step 3 valid only in the State where we apply/ give the test? What if we got to start the residency in a State other than where we applied / give the test? Your Step 3 result is valid through out USA irrespective of the State where you applied / gave the test.

8. Which State medical board to apply for Step 3? Connecticut board is time-tested by IMGs. Most of the IMGs apply for Step 3 in Connecticut Board. It does not require PGY1. Also they process your application pretty fast.

9. How long does it take to get Step 3 result? Approximately 3-4 weeks.


10. In which website should I apply for Step 3? http://www.fsmb.org/m_usmlestep3.html


11. The year ends for step 3 by sept 1. Does it mean that if one needs to apply for 2009 match, he should apply before sept 1, 2008?
No. It is the academic year ending. If you apply after that deadline, you need to use the next year's application material. Other than that no big difference. You can take Step 3 through out the year except first two weeks of Jan.

12. How long does it take to get ECFMG certified once we pass STEP 1, STEP2 CK and CS?
Once you are eligible to get ECFMG certified (Medical Education credentials verification + STEP 1 + STEP 2CK + STEP 2CS), you will get ECFMG certified in a week or two.

13. Do we need to get the ECFMG Certificate (hard copy) in hand before we could apply for STEP 3?
No. You dont need the ECFMG certificate hard copy for STEP 3 application. You just need to be 'ECFMG certified' to apply for STEP 3.

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Comment by jojo on June 25, 2009 at 9:42am
do we need additional papers or documents when applying for step 3?
Comment by Tom on June 17, 2008 at 11:34pm
Hi D, do we have to wait again for two weeks after the CS results come to get ECFMG certified? I heard that ECFMG usually send the certificate (soft copy)immediately after all the steps (1, 2ck and 2 cs) are over.
Comment by Cyber MD on May 6, 2008 at 1:45am
I have no idea about NBME score correlation with real exam for STEP 3. Could you please elaborate. Step 3 is one exam where you just need to pass with 80's score. Since your residency is confirmed. Why worry? Take it when you feel you will pass it. But dont postpone. Remember, you wont get a better time to take STEP 3 after residency begins.
Comment by Eugene on May 6, 2008 at 1:15am
Just got a 340 on NBME... Can't believe how low the score is... Should I take it and take a chance or continue to study.. I start residency in July.. I just want to get the exam over... I have done usmleworld 3x and kaplan1x.. Any suggestions on what I can do to raise my score at least up to 400 or is 340 good enough?
Comment by Tom on April 16, 2008 at 10:17pm
Thank u very much.....D
Comment by Cyber MD on April 16, 2008 at 12:12pm
Yes. It is totally different from the one that you submitted to ECFMG. STEP 3 is coordinated by FSMB and rest of the Steps by ECFMG. So you need to submit a new one for Step 3. Having said that, dont worry, the formalities for Step 3 application are simple and you can do it in a day's time.
Comment by Tom on April 16, 2008 at 10:19am
Hi D, While applying for step 3, it seems we have to provide a certificate of identification. We already have provided one to ECFMG while applying for step 1. Is it enough for the step 3, or we have to get one more with the notary's stamp separately for step 3.
Comment by Cyber MD on March 9, 2008 at 11:05pm
Hi i have updated that question in the blog post itself. See FAQ#11 in the post above.
Comment by Tom on March 9, 2008 at 9:36pm
They say that year ends for step 3 by sept 1. Does it mean that if one need to apply for 2009 match, should he apply for step 3 before sept 1, 2008 or its ok even he applies after that cut off.

Why exactly such cut off dates are kept? Some programmes ask for step 3 during matching or inteerview time. So if we take step 3 in october or november 2008, will it be considered for 2009 match?
Comment by Waqas Qureshi on February 11, 2008 at 3:57am
here's what I thought about. I plan to take step 2 in june. Step 3 in august and USCE in september. Hope this seems fine?

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