I’m Katelyn Sainz and I am the SGA president at Washington University of Health and Science, a top Caribbean Medical School, and I would like to talk about applying for the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), and Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS). I will also go over what your timeline should look like for taking the various steps.

While I was on break, following my MD3 semester at Caribbean Medical School (WUHS), I logged on to the ECFMG website and started researching the process for applying to take the USMLE. First off, you have to obtain an USMLE identification number. Using the ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA) you can request an USMLE ID. You will be asked to enter your personal information and school information. This information is reviewed and in a few days you will receive an email with your USMLE ID number, you CANNOT apply for the steps without it.

Once you have your USMLE ID you can start an application to take Step 1. You will need to create an account on IWA using your USMLE ID and then you can login to your account to apply for Step 1. Make sure you accurately enter everything into your application, one typo could lead to a rejection of your application. If you are a transfer student you will need to list the school you transferred from and all the courses you transferred. In IWA you will be selecting a 3 month period during which you would like to take Step 1, for example February to April. This is called an eligibility period. After your application is approved then you can actually register for a specific test day. You will also have the option to register for Step 2 CS and CK, I personally registered for all 3 at once but it is up to you. Once you have completed the application you will be directed to pay for the exam. Step 1 and Step 2 CK cost $880 each and Step 2 CS costs $1,535.

This form certifies your identity and that you will have completed the Basic Science curriculum by the start of your eligibility period. This form must be submitted by your school’s Administration Office directly, you do not submit this form. Administration will then login to the ECFMG and certify you online as well as an additional security measure. It takes about 3 weeks to hear anything back from the ECFMG after administration has submitted your Certification form.

Below I have created an optimal timeline for taking Steps 1 and 2 based on when you will complete MD4, this will not work for everyone and everyone’s circumstances are different. However, I will highly recommend that you do not start your clinical rotations until you have passed Step 1. You need to set aside at least 8 weeks to complete a Kaplan course and focus only on studying for Step 1. Step 2 CK and CS are less pressure and clinical rotations will help prepare you for these exams.



Katelyn Sainz
WUHS SGA President
Top Caribbean Medical School