Note: This is a dynamic guide and will be updated if any changes occur.
The process of applying for USMLE exam is extensive, exhaustive & time-consuming so you’d better follow these steps accurately.
Before you start your application, do the following:
Check if the medical school you graduated from is listed in the International Medical Education Directory (IMED) website: If it is listed, then you can apply for the USMLE. Currently, there are 21 Egyptian medical schools listed in the IMED.
1. Visit the publications page of the ECFMG website & download the most recent version of ECFMG information booklet & the USMLE bulletin of information. You’d better print them unless you like to read on the screen. Read them both very well & highlight the points you find important. I thought I knew everything about applying for the exam & found out that I was wrong in a few things just before I submit my application. Also download & print the following forms from the same page: Form 187, form 344, 345, 180
2. Open a bank account (e.g. NSGB or CIB) & get a valid active Credit Card or Visa Internet Card & put enough credit in it.
3. Get new photographs
4. Get your graduation certificate (الشهادة الكرتون)
5. Get an official English Translation of the Graduation certificate.
6. Get an English version of your final Medical School Transcript ( شهادة التقديرات أو الدرجات ). Again make sure you write your name exactly the same as it appears in the English translation of your final medical diploma. If your final medical school transcript is available only in Arabic, then get the Arabic version & have it translated to English.
7. Go to your medical school, Graduates’ affairs department & ask them about the following data: (بيانات طبيب)
- The date you entered medical school (بداية الدراسة في سنة أولي)
- The date you completed requirements for graduation certificate (انتهاء الدراسة في سنة سادسة)
- The date you graduated (تاريخ دفعتك)
- The date your graduation certificate was certified by the university council (it is always written on your graduation certificate)
- Your ID number if you have one
- The date you started your internship
- The date you finished your internship
8. Go to your medical school, Students’ affairs department & ask them to give you a copy of the clinical rotations (جداول الراوندات) you have had during your clinical years of medical school (4, 5, 6).
9. Get a Passport & make sure you write your name in English in its application form the same way it is written in the English translation of the your final medical diploma. Make sure you don’t leave the employers in the administration of passports to write your name their own way. Your passport serves as an acceptable form of Identification that you must present at the test centre so as to be allowed to take the exam provided that it meets the following conditions:
- It must be unexpired
- It must contain your name in English which must be exactly the same as that in your ECFMG record & the English translation of your final medical diploma
- It must contain your signature which also must be the same as your full name. You can sign your name on page 7 of your passport
- Your photograph in the passport must be recent (no more than 10 years earlier)
10. Obtain a USMLE/ECFMG ID Number
- To apply for the USMLE step 1 exam, you should first have a record in ECFMG & to have a record in ECFMG, you must have a USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number.
- When your are ready with the above things, go to the ECFMG website: & Click on IWA (Interactive Web Application) and then click on the last line reading “If you are a first-time user of ECFMG On-line Services, click here to establish an account.” this will lead you to the page that you use to create your USMLE/ECFMG ID number.
- The next page will have instructions on How to Provide the Required Information to Obtain a USMLE Identification Number. Read through it carefully, don’t try to be smart & skip it, you have already spent a month or more collecting papers, few more minutes will do you no harm. when you finish reading, check the box at the bottom of the page “I confirm that I have read the above instructions.” and click next.
- In the next page they will ask you if you have ever submitted an application to ECFMG. Check “No, I have never submitted an application to ECFMG for any examination” and click next.
- The next page is the form you should fill to get a USMLE/ECFMG ID number. It is divided into 3 main categories: your biographic information, your current/degree medical school & your contact information. I will emphasize on the name as it is very important to write it the right way.
Important concept to grab:
- In Egypt, we write our names in a chain: your first name then your father’s name then your grandfathers’ names.
- In Europe & US, they write names in another order, they write the family name alone & the rest of names including your first name together.
- For example, suppose your name is Jabber Saleh Zubair, to write it the American way in the USMLE Application form you have to divide it into 2 parts: Zubair, Jaber Saleh.
- Fill out the rest of the form & click submit at the bottom of the page.
- Check your email address every once & while for a message from the ECFMG online services. In no more than 5 days, you will get your USMLE/ECFMG ID number & a one-time temporary password.
- Go to IWA & log in, the next page will ask you to change the password to a new permanent one. When you do so, you can now start applying for the exam step you want.
- They take you through the application step by step, there are 23 main items that you should fill in the application & whenever there is something you don’t know or are not sure about, you can save your application & come back in a later time when you are ready. You can also change anything you have entered in your application as long as you haven’t submitted your application at the end.
11. Filling application
- Item 1: Select an Exam. Choose step 1
- Item 2: Eligibility period: choose a three-month period during which you would like to take the exam
- Item 3: Testing region. For Egypt, choose the middle east, not Africa
- Item 4: Examinees with Documented Disabilities.
- Item 5: Other Examination History and Applicant Number
- Item 6: Name of Applicant. They show you your name as you have entered it before in the process of obtaining a USMLE/ECFMG ID number & ask you: “Is the name above your correct and current legal name” check yes & click next.
- Item 7: Contact information: enter your address, your phone number, your Fax number (if you have one) & your email address.
- Item 8: US Social Security Number (leave it blank) and/or National ID Number (enter yours)
- Item 9: Date and Place of Birth
- Item 10: Gender
- Item 11: Native language (write Arabic)
- Item 12: Other Languages Spoken (voluntary to provide)
- Item 13: Citizenship: at birth (Egypt), upon entering medical school (Egypt) & now (Egypt)
- Item 14: Ethnicity (voluntary to provide)
- Item 15: present employment
- Item 16: The ECFMG Reporter (don’t read, click next)
- Item 17: Medical education status (choose graduate)
- Item 18: Medical school information:
a. Medical School that Awarded your Degree > Medical school country: choose Egypt > then click “select” & wait a moment until a list of Egyptian medical schools is generated then choose your medical school from which you graduated
b. Identification number assigned to you by this medical school
c. Dates of Attendance:
d. Date you entered medical school:
e. Date you completed requirements for the final medical diploma:
f. Number of years attended: 6
g. Graduation date: (تاريخ الدفعة)
h. Date medical diploma issued: the date when the university council certified your graduation certificate
i. Title of Medical degree: MB ChB (mostly) choose different according to your university.
j. Internship: check “yes” under the statement “I was required to complete an internship prior to receiving my medical diploma” & enter the dates you started & finished your internship year
k. Government/Social Service: check “no” under the statement “I was required to complete government/social service prior to receiving my medical diploma”
- Item 19: Other medical school(s) attended
- Item 20: other institution(s) attended
- Item 21: clinical clerkships. add all the clerkships you have had during your clinical years of medical school (4, 5, 6)
- Item 22: Medical Diploma. Choose that option: I have graduated from medical school and am enclosing, with my Certification of Identification Form (Form 186), the ECFMG Medical Education Credentials Submission Form (Form 344); two copies of the Medical School Release Request (Form 345); two photocopies of my medical diploma with an English translation (if required); and a photograph”. Then enter your Name on Medical Diploma.
- When you click next, you get the following message: At this time, you can also apply for Step 2CK & Step 2 CS. If you only want to apply for Step 1 , click “Continue” to proceed with the current application.
- Item 23: Certification By Applicant
12. When you click next, this will bring to your vision a summary of all the items you have entered in your application with a sign next to the items you can change. At the bottom of this page you will find a summary of the fees you should pay for your exam. Revise the items very well & when you are sure of everything, print a copy of it for your own record & submit it.
13. Pay for the USMLE Exam:
- By now you have completed the online part of the application. You can now pay for the exam using your Credit Card or Visa Internet Card or you can choose to save your application & pay in a later time, but keep in mind your application will be saved for only 14 days.
- 14. Print & fill form 186 provided to you now.
- 15. Ask your medical school to send
- Form 186 certified from your medical school,
- Form 344 filled by you,
- 2 copies of Form 345 filled by you,
- 2 photocopies of your final medical diploma which is originally in Arabic,
- Official English translation of your final medical diploma certified from your medical school,
- 2 photocopies of the English version of your final medical school transcript to ECFMG. Y
ou are not required to send them to ECFMG by yourself.
16. ECFMG Address to send documents to:
3624 Market Street, 4th floor,
Philadelphia, PA 19104- 2685,
17. What to Expect After Applying?
- It typically takes 3 weeks from receipt of a complete application for the ECFMG to process the application.
- You can check the status of your medical education credentials (your final medical diploma & your final medical school transcript) using OASIS website (Online Applicant Status and Information System).
- After the ECFMG verifies your medical education credentials with your medical school, the ECFMG will forward your registration information to the NBME which will issue your scheduling permit within 2 weeks.
- Your scheduling permit is issued in electronic format. Once your scheduling permit is available, the ECFMG will send a message to your email address which will include instructions for accessing your electronic permit using IWA.
- You must print a copy of your scheduling permit & bring it to the test centre on your exam date.
18. Scheduling your Exam:
- As soon as you have your scheduling permit, you’d better schedule your testing appointment with the Prometric immediately through its website.
- Testing appointments are available on a “first-come, first-served” basis. So, the earlier you get your scheduling permit, the earlier you can schedule & the better your chance is to schedule a testing appointment that is most suitable for you.
- To schedule a testing appointment, you must select a test date & centre (1) your test date must fall within your assigned eligibility period, (2) your test centre must fall within your assigned testing region which is the middle east for Egyptians. There is only one test centre in Egypt, the address of which is: AMIDEAST, 23 MOSADDAK STREET, DOKKI, CAIRO, Phone: +202 333 20440, Site Code: 8708. Exams in Egypt are held every Tuesday.
- When you schedule, you must provide the scheduling number listed on your scheduling permit. you will receive your Prometric confirmation number which you should keep.
- You can take the exam on any day that it is offered during your assigned eligibility period, provided that there is space at the test centre that you choose. Keep in mind that the Prometric test centre is closed on major local holidays & that USMLE exam is not offered during the first 2 weeks of January.
- If you are unable to keep your testing appointment on the scheduled date, You can change your test date (reschedule) for free through the Prometric website. you will need to provide your Prometric Confirmation number when you reschedule. To avoid a rescheduling fee, you must reschedule your testing appointment al least five business days before your scheduled appointment.
- On the exam day, you should arrive at the Prometric test centre 30 minutes before your scheduled testing appointment & you must bring both your scheduling permit & acceptable identification (your passport or your ECFMG Identification Card).
Good luck for your exam, and tell us below how it went!