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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone:),

I'm planning to give Step 1 in the latter half of 2011 (around September/October). I'd be extremely grateful if you'd help me clearing some doubts regarding the same.
  1. How are 3-month exam slots divided?
  2. Which 3-month slot is the most hectic in terms of number of people giving the exam, so that I can book my place beforehand?
  3. In general, how early one apply for a chosen 3-month slot ?
  4. When should I apply for, say, October 2011? And what would be the last date for applying?
Cheers:)
 

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hi ill try to help u with questions 3 & 4:

u should start to apply for ur exam date 6 months prior to the date/time u plan to take the exam (oct 2011). there is no last day to apply (some have done it a month before) but if u wait too long u might miss out on the time u planning to take the exam (oct 2011). plus the process might take a while (with the snail mail involved of aliasing with ECFMG).

u can start applying for the exam starting january next year (so that in case u are not ready in oct, u can postpone it till january 2012). also applying early can be beneficial in case all the good seats (dates that u plan to take the exam) are taken up.
 

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@ Cassiopeia, here's some answers

Three Month Slot!

The USMLE exams (except Step 2 CS) are conducted by Prometric Testing Centers.

These centers are available in USA and several other countries.

When you choose your eligibility period and then your application get accepted by ECFMG, they'll send you what's called "scheduling permit" which you can use to schedule your exam with Prometric.

You can take your exam in any working day during that three month eligibility period.

Seats are available round the year and there's no specific peaks. These testing centers do not only provide USMLE they provide other tests for example here in US they also provide GRE, SAT, MCAT, and other professional qualification tests. Therefore, it's not related to the medical student seasonal cycle or things like that.

The Prometric seats availability depend on the locality and how many students are using that particular center in that geographic area.

When to schedule your exam?
Typically six months before your intended date of exam. By the way the ECFMG won't allow you to ask for an eligibility period that's beyond the six month period. For example you cannot ask for October-November-December in January.

How about the CS?
The CS is conducted by specialized exam centers that are available only in USA and in five cities only. These are Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston, and Los Angeles.

Scheduling the exact date after getting the scheduling permit?
There's a nice article that teaches you a trick on how you might possibly schedule your test even one week before the exam!

PS- the links in the above text will take to more details.

Hopefully I didn't forget to answer any of your questions, nevertheless, please free to ask more should there's something that you need further elaboration about.
 
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