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I've noticed that many of our International Medical Graduates members in the forums and also several of my friends firmly believe that taking the exam in a certain Calendar months makes significant difference compared to taking it in other months.

Their argument is based on the assumption that if you take the exam during the season when US medical students take the step 1 exam for example (late Summer) then you are likely to compete with a higher number of "good students" and you are probably going to score less! Others say that if you take the exam in California you will be compared to California takers and if you take it in Hawaii you will be compared to Hawaiian examinees!

Although the exam mechanism by which the NBME and the FSMB calculates the USMLE score is still largely unknown (as I eluded to this here), nevertheless, In my opinion, I think this is not true and it's a public myth.

Here's what I base my opinion on:

1) Who said US Medical students score higher than IMGs? If at all there is a difference then it's in the passing percentage not in the score level.
2) The USMLE official website states that the exam is standardized in a way so that the same student (with the same level of preparation and knowledge) would score the same if he/she takes the exam at different times, +/- 5 points on the three digit scale.
3) The USMLE official website did not mention that the exam is competitive. They did not say that your score is calculated in the context of other students' scores. They just set the standard and everybody is scored according to the same standard curve, not according to what other students have scored.
4) If you think that they are doing it but they are not disclosing the fact, then this means that 75% of students taking the exam in a single testing day should fail the test, while that's not the reality.
5) The reason why different three digit scores correspond to the same two digit score is not the level of achievement of others, it's the variation in difficulty of the questions across different exam sessions.
6) Exam dates and timing is not uniform. It can be taken at 8 AM Eastern Time and it can be taking at midnight ET (if the exam is conducted in Japan for example), if they were to compare students with each other, they should have at least synchronized the timing.

So bottom line, I believe that it does not matter when or where you take the exam in September or in January, in California or in Europe. It's still the same standardized scoring system and your chances are equal.

Let me know your thoughts about this
 

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Yes, steptaker... I am an IMG and failed my step 1 last year. Now I have booked it for August. My friends were saying the same thing before... not to take the exam in late summer and to do it during the winter months coz I would be compared against the American grads. I never thought it would make a difference. I mean, it doesn't matter where you are in the world and when you take it. It's always a random exam and it depends on your prep.
It's good to read your post. makes me more comfortable in taking it in the summer.
thanks :)
 

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thank you

Thanks alot its good to know that:)
 

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The best month to take usmle exam.

YES, I agree, there is no BEST MONTH or time to take usmle. It simply depends on what an examinee's output at exam.
 

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I have seen that people who took the exam when the US prometric centres are busy like in May-July, Nov-Dec end up with lower scores than expected. Has anyone else noticed this pattern happening to their score when taken in these periods.
 

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standard exam

I have taken my step 1 in Late June this year and i scored 99, I agree with steptaker and the the clue for that is your NBME score, the idea that your NBME score is reflective of your real score means than the exam is standardized and whenever you take the exam you will get almost the same score +/- few digits.
 

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thanx for these valuable information...
and yes i think that i know many student thats has been taken the exam in Egypt and Dubai and there score was high 99. 98 yes
so am agree with u ...
 

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No!! I too had the same dillema when i was scoring low on my Nbmes so thought of taking my exam in US as im a IMG, but my seniors who aced the exam said it never made any difference.
Goodluck anyways!
 

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step 2 CS difference???

Hi,

I am planning to take step 2 CS in April and wondering is there any difference in test centers around USA. Preliminary I have registered in Philadelphia for April 14 but head from my friend that it is the busiest center in the USA and standardized patients are more tired and annoyed, which eventually may lead to lower chance to pass the exam. If you heard anything about it or if you took step 2CS in different centers, could you please share the opinion?

Thank you in advance for consideration and help,

Sincerely,

Jacob
 
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