USMLE 2021: Retakes, Number of Attempts and Time Limits

USMLE 2021: Retakes, Number of Attempts, and Time Limits


An applicant is allowed to appear in the same step or component a maximum of three times in 12 months.

Further, the fourth and any subsequent attempt must be:

  1. At least 12 months from the 1st attempt
  2. At least 6 months from the most recent attempt.

If a candidate has passed a step, RETAKE is not allowed.


  1. To satisfy compliance with any requirement as mandated by the governing committee of USMLE.

Number of attempts and time limits

  1. Any candidate who has appeared in step six or more times, including incomplete attempts and notwithstanding when the exams were conducted, can’t retake the step.
  2. Most state medical boards also mandate that the candidate completes all the steps, i.e. steps 1 to 3, within a specific time.