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The following content is from the official USMLE website at www.usmle.org and is offered to you here as a courtesy.
In the United States and its territories, the individual medical licensing authorities ("state medical boards") of the various jurisdictions grant a license to practice medicine. Each medical licensing authority sets its own rules and regulations and requires passing an examination that demonstrates qualification for licensure. Results of the United States Medical Licesning Examination (USMLE) are reported to these authorities for use in granting the initial license to practice medicine. The USMLE provides them with a common evaluation system for applicants for initial medical licensure.
The USMLE is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, Inc. (FSMB), and the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®).
The USMLE assesses a physician's ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles, and to demonstrate fundamental patient-centered skills, that are important in health and disease and that constitute the basis of safe and effective patient care. Each of the three Steps of the USMLE complements the others; no Step can stand alone in the assessment of readiness for medical licensure. Because individual medical licensing authorities make decisions regarding use of USMLE results, physicians seeking licensure should contact the jurisdiction where they intend to apply for licensure to obtain complete information. Also, the FSMB can provide general information on medical licensure.