Thursday, December 8, 2016

How to apply for USMLE exams


Many medicowesomites have asked about how to apply for their USMLE exams. Finally, here is the procedure. Sorry this took so long

I have answered all the queries in the end.

If you have any more questions, comment in the commments section below and I'll try to reply :)

Step 1: WDOM listing
You will be asked to confirm that you are officially enrolled in a medical school / graduate of a medical school  located outside the United States and Canada that is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools (World Directory). Search your med school here:
Question #1: What if my  school isn't listed?

Obtain a USMLE Identification Number also called USMLE ID or ECFMG ID by going to this web page:
After you enter your information such as name, email, address, etc they will send you an email giving you your ECFMG ID (8 digits number) and a password. You should receive this in one week.

What is this number?
This number is included in all communications, applications, medical education credentials, request forms, and payments that you send to ECFMG. You will also need your USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number to use ECFMG’s on-line services.

DO NOT FORGET YOUR ECFMG NUMBER AND PASSWORD. Mail a 100 copies to yourself and your family. Back it up everywhere. Question #2: I forgot my number / password. Now what?

Step 3: ECFMG certification using IWA application
Using your ECFMG ID and password you can log into IWA and begin the application process.

This is explained in detail here:
You'll be asked to pay 65$ at this step.

Then you will be asked to fill out online forms (Be very careful while filling these) and if for any reason you are stumbled upon a question that you don't know the answer immediately, you can save the application and log out and come back to at a later time. Then, you will be asked to print out some forms that you have to fill by hand and then send by mail to ECFMG.
Question #3 : My expected graduation date might change due to electives / delay. What should I do?

Step 4: The forms

Form 345:
It is medical school release request. You are allowing ECFMG to obtain your information from your medical school. You can see what it looks like here:

Form 183 or Form 186: These are forms that let ECFMG make sure that you (Your name and your photo) are in fact existent and that this is your signature and this is your ECFMG ID.
Question #4: Can you tell me more about Form 183 and Form 186? I can't view it on the website.

These forms may have to be signed by your medical school official and/or by a notary public, for detailed information about these forms please read The Complete Guide to ECFMG Forms.

Who should send the forms?
If your Form 186 or Form 183 has a medical school official signature then all your forms (including form 344, 345 and 187) and your other documents (Like the copy of the Diploma, copies of transcript, credit transfer, photographs, ...etc) should be sent directly from your medical school to ECFMG. YOU SHOULD NOT SEND THEM YOURSELF. Note that if your form requires notary public signature then you have to sign it in front of the notary public then send it to your medical school to sign the other part of it.
Question #5: My medical school does not take the responsibility of sending forms to Philadelphia. What should I do?

Step 4: Send them to ECFMG and wait
ECFMG will tell you by email and by mail that they have received your forms and documents. Then they will send forms to your medical school asking them to verify your medical school credentials and also requesting your final medical school transcript (if you are a graduate) from them.

Step 5: ECFMG to Medical School Forms
You do not have access to it. They will send one copy of your 345 to tell the school that you allowed them to ask about you.They will also send your diploma (That you initially sent to them see step 4 above) and they'll ask the school to authenticate it. They will also send a form called (Verification of Medical Education) the questions in that form are these - what was the requirements before you entered the school, how many weeks of school you completed, degree was awarded (if you are a graduate), asking to verifying the attached diploma, dean or other authorized registration officer's signature, date, and name any interruptions or extensions in your medical education, disciplinary probation you had or currently have, professional misconduct that you have during your school years, negative reports about you in the school, limitations or special requirements by you.

Step 6: Medical School to ECFMG
Your medical school would have to respond to these forms and should also send your final medical school transcript. The last two steps may take several months to few days.

Step 7: OASIS
Check your status by logging in to OASIS (using your same ECFMG ID and password). Here's the link:
When logged in look at the left hand side panel and click on "Medical Education Credentials and Standard ECFMG Certificate" and the status should be "Medical education credentials received and verified."

Step 8: Apply
Once you received that status you can now apply for any step you like using IWA or OASIS. Note that you are applying for an eligibility period not for exact exam date. You have to select a 3 month slot, after which you select your desired date. The fees for the exam has to be paid at this point.
Question #6: How much do these exams cost?

Pick your 3 month slot carefully. Why? Because if you are unable to take USMLE Step 1/Step 2 CK during the eligibility period assigned to you, you may request only a one-time extension. Example: An applicant's eligibility period is April-May-June. The eligibility period may be extended only through July-August-September. You need to pay for this. After this, you can't extend your eligibility and the exam fees you paid is wasted.

Here are some FAQs:

Question #1: What if my school isn't listed?
Email WDOM and ask for the procedure. Don't panic :)

Question #2: I forgot my number / password. Now what? 
I know you are panicking. Chill. You can obtain it by accessing IWA or by contacting ECFMG. Use the contact information for General Inquiries on the Contact ECFMG page of the ECFMG website.
I don't know the exact procedure, but one of my seniors forgot her password and she called them up and they resolved it :)

Updated on 20/12/16: Awesomite who forgot his password sent me this -
Q. If you've forgotten your ecfmg password and you can't even get your personal questions right (the default procedure they have for forgotten passwords, when you click on forgot password on the site)

A. Don't panic. It's very easy, just call them up on the number mentioned on the site. It's an automatic press this and that thingy, where they'll ask you to type in your ECFMG ID, and then a representative will attend to you. Tell him your problem, he'll mostly ask you to send an email at, with the subject being Password Request, with nothing in the content. Remember you have to send this mail from your registered email id ( the one you've registered with ecfmg ). In less than 2 hours, they'll send you a mail with your original password in it.

Happy ending :)

Last I checked the number was - By telephone: (215) 386-5900 (Telephone assistance is available between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time in the United States, Monday through Friday.)
If you are making an international call, the country code is +1
So the number will be +12153865900

Question #3 : My expected graduation date might change due to electives / personal delay. What should I do?
I had to write my expected graduation date because my med school wouldn't approve of a later date. I don't know if the changed graduation date has an impact on the application.

Question #4: Can you tell me more about Form 183 and Form 186? I can't view it on the website.
In order to obtain a Certification Statement (Form 183) or Certification of Identification Form (Form 186), you must first complete the on-line part of an exam application using ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA).

The Certification Statement (Form 183) is the paper certification required by ECFMG for applicants who are students enrolled in medical schools that do not participate in the ECFMG Medical School Web Portal (EMSWP) Status Verification program. The Certification of Identification Form (Form 186) is the paper certification required by ECFMG for applicants who are medical school graduates or are students enrolled in medical schools that participate in EMSWP Status Verification.

After you have completed the on-line part of your exam application, IWA will automatically generate the appropriate form (Certification Statement or Certification of Identification Form). You will then be able to print the form through IWA.

If you have already completed the on-line part of an IWA exam application and need to reprint your Certification Statement or Certification of Identification Form, access IWA.

I panicked back in 2014 because I didn't print the form immediately and someone told me they're accessible only once. Lol kids.

Question #5: My medical school does not take the responsibility of sending forms to Philadelphia. What should I do?
A friend of a friend asked the courier pick up service to come to her medical school office and collect the forms. She paid for the courier. If the senders address isn't your college name and address, I have heard that the office rejects your forms.

Question #6: How much do these exams cost?
Application for ECFMG Certification costs - $65
Step 1 and step 2 CK each cost $880 + International Test Delivery Surcharge, if testing outside the United States and Canada
Step 2 CS costs $1,535

That's all!

I did these procedures in 2013 - 2014 for Step 1. It was very different back then and I barely remember stuff.

 I re-read the procedure from the 2016 Booklet though for awesomites who wanted me to guide them through it :)

I hope this is accurate or close enough.

Anyway, reread things before you apply. This was just a over view of how things go.



  1. Thanks for the info!! :-) Is the USMLE Id valid forever?

  2. So, I have to apply for ecfmg certification first and then after I verify through OASIS, only then I can apply for step 1 right

  3. Is my graduation date the same as the day I finished my internship?

  4. I think you have to pay the exam fee before you can be able to get the form 186/183...No?

    1. Yes, you do have to pay like 900$ or so

    2. But it's written that the fees should be paid at step 8

  5. My passport has my entire name but my medical transcript has my initial in abbreviated form. What should I do now?


This is express yourself space. Where you type create something beautiful! <3
Wondering what do I write? Well...
Tell us something you know better. You are a brilliant mind. Yes, you are! ^__^
Ask about something you don't understand @_@?
Compliment... Say something nice! =D
Be a good critic and correct us if something went wrong :|
Go ahead. Comment all you like here! (:

PS: We have moderated comments to reduce spam. ALL comments that are not spam will be published on the website.