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USMLE to limit test attempts as of July 1, 2021

Next month, the USMLE policy on attempts to take the test will change. As of July 2, 2021 an examinee’s total number of allowable attempts will be reduced from six (6) attempts to four (4) attempts per Step exam, including incomplete attempts.

  • The policy change is effective for applications submitted on or after July 1, 2021. Examinees who have attempted any USMLE Step tests four (4) or more times and have not passed will be ineligible to apply again.
  • Prior to June 30, 2021 at 11:59 pm, ET, examinees with four (4) or five (5) attempts at an exam who meet all eligibility requirements may apply.  

The USMLE Composite Committee, the governing body of USMLE, voted to change the number of allowed attempts to protect the integrity of the exam and to more closely match the USMLE attempt limits imposed by the majority of state medical boards. It is uncommon for individuals with more than four repeated attempts to complete the examination sequence successfully.

To learn more about this change, please review the FAQs on the USMLE website. If you have questions about how this change impacts you, please email the Office of the USMLE Secretariat at