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<p>We hope that you had a successful first year and are enjoying some well-deserved time off. We know that it’s early, but wanted to give you some information to help you plan for Step 1 next year. Included in this message: Information about the school-provided voucher practice exam. Information about the mandatory CBSE practice exam [&hellip;]</p>

Class of 2021: Details for vouchers, CBSE and Step 1 registration


We hope that you had a successful first year and are enjoying some well-deserved time off. We know that it’s early, but wanted to give you some information to help you plan for Step 1 next year. Included in this message:

  1. Information about the school-provided voucher practice exam.
  2. Information about the mandatory CBSE practice exam on January 7th.
  3. Information about registering for Step 1.

1) Information about the school-provided voucher practice exam

The school will provide a voucher, which will allow you to take a Comprehensive Basic Science Self-Assessment (CBSSA). This practice exam will give you immediate feedback and will give you an early assessment of your Step 1 preparation. This is formative feedback for you and the advising team. You are expected to take this assessment no later than October 31. You have breaks October 6-9 and toward the end of October between Renal and Respiratory and GI and Nutrition. We recommend using one of those times to take your CBSSA. Your Lead Advisor will send the voucher code to you after classes begin in the fall. This practice exam is approximately 5 hours long and can be taken on your personal computer at your chosen location.  Please share the results with your Lead Advisor so they can help you develop an individualized study plan for Step 1.

2) Information about the mandatory CBSE practice exam on January 7

The Comprehensive Basic Science Exam (CBSE) will be on January 7 from 8 am to 2 pm. This is a mandatory exam and all students are expected to be present on their campus for this exam. The projected session time is five hours and 30 minutes.

The following information is from the NBME website:

The CBSE uses multiple choice items based on information typically covered during basic science medical education courses. The content of the CBSE items resembles the content of those in Step 1.

The goals of the CBSE are

  1. To familiarize you with a Step 1-like testing environment – timed, no food or drinks, need for extended period of focus
  2. To familiarize you with question formats
  3. To allow you to identify areas of strength vs areas for improvement in your knowledge base approximately two months prior to your Step 1 exam – this will allow you and your Lead Advisor to update your Step 1 study plan accordingly

On the Canvas site, we have the results of the Step 1 Survey from 2018. You can find advice from students who took Step 1 this year. We also recommend you discuss your individualized plan with your Lead Advisor.

3) Registration information

Step 1 is a national examination needed for your graduation and eventual licensure.  Your score on this exam will be a major determinant in your competitiveness for residency. School policy requires that you take this exam prior to beginning your Phase 2 clinical rotations. The start date for Phase 2, Transitions 2 is Monday, April 8, 2019.  You need to schedule Step 1 on a date on or prior to April 6.  This deadline is all inclusive for all students regardless of subsequent Phase 2 schedule or transition to dual degree programs.

Registration steps

  • You can register for Step 1 by logging on to the National Board of Medical Examiners’ website. Click on the “Students and Residents” option, then the “Login to NBME Licensing Exam Services” link.
  • Unless you have previously applied for a USMLE examination, you should click on the “First-time User” link in the login text box and follow the instructions for accessing your USMLE ID number.
  • Part of the application for Step 1 is handled on-line, and part of the application process requires you to print a hard copy certification form off of the web-site for completion. You will need to affix a photograph to this hard copy certification form and have the form signed and sealed by a School official.
  • Students at a campus outside of Indianapolis should have this form signed and sealed by staff in their Directors’ offices. Indianapolis students should bring this form to the Registrar’s Office in the Medical Science Building, (Rooms 162) for certification.

Make sure to choose the correct campus

IU School of Medicine’s nine campuses are noted separately in the online application.  Make certain that you indicate the correct campus on your registration.  Indianapolis students should register under the general “Indiana University School of Medicine” option while other campuses will have their sites specifically noted.

When registering for Step 1, please make sure you select the correct campus under Medical School Information.  The screen will default to the Indianapolis campus, so please use the drop-down menu to select the appropriate campus.

Exam FAQs

The USMLE web site contains important information on the exam and sample questions and format information. Please read the USMLE Bulletin of Information for details on the exam and answers to frequently asked questions. You should also take advantage of the sample questions and tutorials that are available at this web site.

When you complete your application, designate a three-month period of time in which you plan on sitting for the exam. This is your “period of eligibility.”  Most students will want to designate March-April-May.  Step 1 is administered at commercial Prometric testing centers located throughout the state (and country).  A scheduling permit will be issued to students after their Step 1 application has been processed by the NBME, but no more than six months before the assigned eligibility period begins.  Students may schedule their test dates with Prometric after receiving their scheduling permits.

Should you have any questions about Step 1 registration, please direct your questions to the MSE email inbox  Your question will then be routed to the proper individual.  We are all here to support you, so please let us know how we can help.


Marti Reeser, EdD
Assistant Dean, Academic Records & Promotion Medical Student Education Indiana University School of Medicine
635 Barnhill Drive, Room 124
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Abigail F. Klemsz, MD, PhD
Assistant Dean, Academic Advising
Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Medical Student Education Indiana University School of Medicine
635 Barnhill Drive, Room 164
Indianapolis, IN 46202


The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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