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Question: What U.S. or Canadian national licensing exams are accepted by the Board? 
Answer: The exams are: 

  • United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
  • National Board of Medical Examiners exam (NBME)
  • National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners exam (NBOME)/COMLEX
  • Federation Licensing Examination (FLEX)
  • Approved combinations of the USMLE, NBME and FLEX
  • Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC)
  • National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners (NBPME) / American Podiatric Medical Licensing Examination (APMLE)

Q: I did not take any of these exams. The exam I took was developed by the state that licensed me. Will you accept that exam? 
A: See requirements/guidelines below:
  • This is acceptable if your average weighted score is AT LEAST 75
  • State exams for Alaska, Florida, and Hawaii are NOT ACCEPTED
  • Most states ceased administering these exams around 1970

Q: What are the exam requirements for podiatrists? 
A: Podiatrists must successfully pass Parts I, II, and III of a licensing exam administered by NBPME. Part III may be waived for podiatrists who graduated before January 1, 2001, and is either licensed in another state or is board certified.

Q: Within how many attempts must I pass USMLE Step 1, 2, and 3? 
A: See requirements below: 
  • USMLE Steps 1 and 2 - there is currently no limit to the number of attempts.
  • USMLE Step 3 must be passed within four attempts

Q: I have exceeded the attempt limit for USMLE Step 3; can I request a waiver? 
A: Any applicant who fails a third attempt on Step 3 must do one of the following:
  • Successfully complete one full year of Board approved training prior to making a fourth attempt
  • Obtain current certification by a specialty board recognized by the ABMS or the AOA-BOS

Q: In what period of time must I complete USMLE Steps 1, 2, and 3? 
A: All three Steps of USMLE must be passed within seven years.

Q: I have exceeded the 7-year limitation for passing USMLE Steps 1, 2, and 3; can I request a waiver? 
A: A waiver may be requested/granted if the applicant:
  • Participated in a combined MD/PhD or DO/PhD program
  • Attended continuous postgraduate training with the equivalent number of years to an MD/DO/PhD program
  • Suffered from a documented, personal illness which by its severity would necessarily cause a delay in medical training
  • Has current certification by a specialty board recognized by the AOA-BOS
  • Has experienced other extenuating circumstances that do not indicate an inability to safely practice medicine as determined by the Board.
If you request a waiver you will be required to submit evidentiary documentation and your file may have to be reviewed by the Administrative Affairs Committee (AAC). This may significantly change your deadline dates and may delay your application process.

Q: What is the SPEX exam and do I need to take it? 
A: The SPEX exam is essentially a competency exam that tests “general" medical knowledge.
  • You may be required to take and pass the SPEX exam if:
  • You have ceased the practice of medicine for longer than 12 months
  • You have NOT been board certified/recertified by the ABMS or AOA-BOS in the last 10 years
  • You have not completed an accredited training program within the last 10 years
  • Once your application is processed, your Online Status Report will indicate whether or not you are required to take and pass the SPEX exam prior to licensure.
Q: Can I request a waiver of the SPEX exam? 
A: Physician may request a waiver based upon submitted CME documentation for the last 3 years; however, you will be expected to take and pass the SPEX exam if you do not request a waiver. All waiver requests are reviewed on a case by case basis, may be reviewed by the AAC (please refer to AAC deadline dates listed above), and may be denied. 

Q: What if I ceased the practice of medicine for longer than two years? 
A: This is a subject that the Board takes very seriously. If you have not practiced medicine for two years or longer you should be prepared to submit a plan for re-entry into the medical profession. The plan you submit should be very detailed and comprehensive for review by the Board (and/or a subcommittee of the Board) during a quarterly meeting. The Board will review all application materials as well as the re-entry plan which may be amended, accepted, or denied. 

Re-entry plans should address how and who will evaluate your current medical knowledge/skills; how you will address any deficits observed in the evaluation; how, when, and where you intend to obtain training, etc. Below are examples of what may be included in the plan: 
  • Evaluation and training with the Center for Personalized Education for Professionals (CPEP) program
  • Completing a structured training program such as an internship or residency
  • Take and pass the SPEX exam
  • Board certification/recertification in an approved specialty/sub-specialty recognized by the ABMS or AOA-BOS
  • The Board must review and approve all re-entry plans prior to the applicant actually starting the plan.