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How to Prepare for the USMLE Part 3 (Final Section on the United States Medical Licensing Exam)

Updated on January 23, 2012

The USMLE Part 3 is the final part of the United States Medical Licensing Exam. It requires the ability to apply scientific knowledge unsupervised. The exam emphasizes the care of patients in an ambulatory setting.

All physicians who have made it to Part 3 of the USMLE will be familiar with the format of this part. It is the standard multiple-choice question that requires you to choose the best answer. Unlike Part 2, there is no clinical skills portion. This is strictly a written medical licensing test. However, there are computer-based case simulations for Part 3 instead of the live mock patients encountered in Part 2.

Start to get ready for this final step in the licensing exam process by accessing the USMLE Part 3 exam content outline. You can see a link to it in the Resources section at the bottom of this article.

Up-to-date textbooks that cover the material in the content description should be used by test takers to prepare for the exam. The knowledge required to pass Part 3, like the other tests, is the knowledge necessary for competent practice as a general practitioner. Thus, the more general textbooks used in medical school would be appropriate for learning the content described in the outline for Part 3.

Caution: Keep in mind that, at this point, you may have already begun specialized training. However, you are to give the answers on Part 3 within the context of diagnosing and treating patients as a generalist.

The USMLE website also has some tutorials and practice tests for Part 3. In the link below, you will see instructions to access these USMLE Part 3 preparation tools. Do a pretty thorough review first and then test yourself out with some practice questions. to gauge your progress. Go back and study as needed, returning periodically to the practice questions until you feel you are ready to ace the USMLE Part 3.

Prometric, the exam administrator, also allows one practice session for this final part of the United States Medical Licensing Exam. This will help you as far as the exam format and getting comfortable with the testing environment.

Refer to the "Announcements" page on the USMLE website to get updated information on new tools and tips for preparing for Part 3 of this medical licensing test.


USMLE Part 3 Exam Content Outline

USMLE Part 3 Practice Tests and Other Preparation Materials and Tools


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