Program Overview: 

The UC San Diego USMLE Step1 Preparation Program is a certificate-based program designed to prepare newly graduated international physicians for the USMLE Step 1 Exam. The program also provides research and clinical knowledge and experience.

All Scholars participate in didactic coursework aimed at preparing them for the USMLE Step 1 Exam, acculturating them to the healthcare system in the US, introducing them to The Match process, and introducing them to clinical research. Each scholar also receives personalized career mentorship from a UC San Diego Health Sciences faculty member.

Each scholar undergoes a detailed assessment of skills and knowledge based on the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) standards at the start of the program. The data are used to create their personalized roadmap for the program. Based on the data, each scholar receives a customized schedule for participating in:

  • Live lectures and structured didactics

  • Study and exam-taking skills courses

  • Guided online learning (videos, Qbanks, etc.)

  • Practical clinical skills courses

  • Problem/team-based learning activities

Prospective Candidates:

Recently graduated international physicians seeking guidance on getting into residency training programs in the United States and who need to take the USMLE Step 1 Exam.


Program Goals:

By the completion of the program, scholars will have:

  • Prepared for and passed the USMLE Step 1 exam

  • Enhanced their English language fluency (spoken and written)

  • A clear plan for the next steps in the matching process (Step 2 Prep, applications, etc.)

  • Enhanced clinical skills and knowledge through simulation, standardized patient experiences and clinical work with faculty instructors as it relates to basic science

  • Enhanced study skills and teamwork experience and research skills

  • Developed a professional relationship with the faculty advisor of their small group as well as with clinical instructors




The USMLE Step 1 Preparation Program is 12-months.

Program Benefits: 

Scholars in the Step 1 Preparation Program will have prepared for passing the exam with a competitive score while being immersed in a leading University academic medical center environment. Scholars who achieve excellent Step 1 Exam results will be eligible to participate in our Bridge to Residency/USMLE Step 2 Exam Prep program that has a match rate of nearly 90% each year.


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