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What Should I Bring to My USMLE at Prometric? (Including Snacks)

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by Alec Palmerton, MD in Plan
USMLE Test Day Snacks

Is your Step 1, Step 2 CK, or Step 3 approaching, and you’re unsure what to bring? Are you unsure what ID you need to get in? Do you need to know what kind of snacks you should have on hand? Do you need caffeine but worry about coffee making you need to get up and use the restrooms in the middle of your test?

If so, this is the article for you. In it, you’ll learn:

  • The things you need to bring in order to sit for your Prometric USMLE administration,
  • What kind of ID is required
  • The ideal USMLE test day snacks, especially for coffee-lovers,
  • Optional items, and
  • Much more

Table of Contents

Required – and Optional – Items to Bring to the Prometric Center

Here is a reminder of what you should bring to your USMLE. Included is a list of personal items that are allowed.

  • Copy of your scheduling permit (electronic or paper) and required identification (see below); you will not be permitted to test without them
  • Snacks
  • Earplugs (optional)
  • Personal items (see the complete list here):
    • Eyeglasses (without case)
    • Medications (unwrapped, not in a bottle/container)
    • Inhaler
    • Surgical face mask
    • Other items
What Kind of Identification Do I Need for My Exam?

You must present valid (unexpired) identification with your:

  • Photo
  • Name as it appears on your permit
  • Signature

Your name on your scheduling permit must match the name on your identification exactly. If the name listed on your permit is not correct, contact the organization that registered you for your examination immediately.

Acceptable forms of unexpired identification include:

  • Passport
  • Driver’s license with photograph
  • National Identity Card
  • Another form of government‐issued identification (for more, see this).

Source: https://www.usmle.org/pdfs/bulletin/QF_Examination_Day_and_Testing.pdf

What Kind of Snacks Should You Bring to Your USMLE?

Everyone will preference snacks for Step 1, Step 2 CK, or Step 3. Our recommendations are things that:

  1. Are high in protein, to limit sugar highs/crashes,
  2. Won’t make a big mess,
  3. Don’t have a lot of liquid, to prevent too many bathroom breaks

To that end, we recommend things like nuts in individual packages. For example, you can have individual plastic bags with mixed nuts in them. As a pro tip, make enough individual bags for each break you expect to take – and number the bag with which break it is. (E.g., “Break #1,” “Break #2,” etc.).

By pre-making/-labeling each snack bag, you don’t even have to think what/when you’ll eat each snack. Even better, since taking an 8+ hour exam can be disorienting, having labeled snack bags can help you keep track of how many exam blocks you have left.

USMLE Test Day Snacks

Mixed nuts – or similarly high-protein snacks – make great test day companions.

What is the Best Form of Caffeine to Bring to the USMLE?

Many of us use caffeine, either a little – or a lot! The benefits of reducing/eliminating caffeine notwithstanding, the time to quit one’s coffee habit would NOT be the day before your USMLE.

As such, what is the best form of caffeine to use for the USMLEs? On the one hand, coffee is excellent since it is cheap, portable, and (to many of us) tasty. On the other hand, however, it can cause us to use the restrooms more than we’d like because it is a liquid.

A tasty alternative to get caffeine on your Step exams is chocolate-covered espresso beans. Each bean has ~10 mg caffeine (a cup of coffee has ~100 mg). In addition, the beans aren’t liquid so they will require fewer bathroom runs. Plus, because each bean has a fraction of the caffeine of a cup of coffee, it is easier to titrate the amount necessary to keep you focused without getting too jittery/crashing later.

Do I Need Proof of Vaccination to Take My USMLE Exam?

It depends. However, it doesn’t appear that Prometric has company-wide vaccination requirements. Instead, they continue to follow local regulations.

Per the Prometric site:

A number of government guidelines and regional mandates are beginning to require candidates to present proof of vaccination at check-in in order to test. As of today, this only affects a small number of sites and candidates. However, we do understand that additional regions may take this step and there might be variations on what proof is required. Anyone testing in these centers should be prepared to present the documentation provided to you at the time of your vaccination, in whatever form your medical provider issued. For a complete list of sites currently requiring proof of vaccination, please visit: www.prometric.com/site-status

Want to Know About USMLE Break Time Strategy?

Unsure how best to approach breaks on your Step 1, Step 2 CK, or Step 3? Need to know the best strategy to ensure you’re at your peak on test day? Check out USMLE Break Time Strategy for Test Day.

Concluding Thoughts

The USMLEs are stressful enough without having to worry about what you need to bring to your exam. With this list, you can offload those worries so you can focus on your test-day marathon.

What do you think? Are there other things you’d bring to your test? Let us know in the comments!

Photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash

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Want FREE Cardiology Flashcards?

Cardiology is key for impressive USMLE scores. Master cardiology from a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist who scored USMLE 270 with these 130+ high-yield flash cards. You’ll be begging for cardio questions - even if vitals make you queasy.

Subscribe
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