Now that I’m nearing the end of my formal medical training, I wanted to look back and catalog the licensing exams I’ve taken (including my admissions exam for medical school) over the last decade. Note that the following costs do NOT include expenses accrued from various study materials (books, questions banks, etc) or flights/lodging associated with traveling to the exam. Also keep in mind that the fees and test structures may have changed since I took many of these exams.

During college, I took the MCAT:

  • Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
    • Date: January 27, 2007 (retook April 2007)
    • Cost: $210 x 2 = $420
    • Structure: 52 multiple choice questions for physical sciences (physics and general chemistry), 40 multiple choice questions for verbal (reading comprehension), and 52 multiple choice questions for biological sciences (organic chemistry and biology)

After taking a year off to teach MCAT preparatory courses, I applied to medical school in the summer of 2008 (click link to read the entire process). The application fee was $275. I achieved my dream of attending Baylor College of Medicine and proceeded to take the following licensing exams during medical school:

  • United States Medical Licensing Exam – Step 1
    • Dates: March 17, 2012
    • Cost: $530
    • Structure: 322 multiple choice questions spanning seven sections
  • United States Medical Licensing Exam – Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS)
    • Date: August 14, 2012
    • Cost: $1,230
    • Structure: 12 standardized patient encounters with history/physicals and questions
  • United States Medical Licensing Exam – Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK)
    • Dates: November 4, 2012
      Cost: $530
      Structure: 352 multiple choice questions spanning eight sections

During my categorical anesthesiology residency, I took the following exams:

  • United States Medical Licensing Exam – Step 3
    • Dates: June 8 – 9, 2014
    • Cost: $800
    • Structure: day 1 had ~ 320 multiple choice questions spanning seven sections, day 2 had 144 multiple choice questions spanning four sections and 12 electronic clinical case simulations
  • American Board of Anesthesiology – Basic Exam
    • Date: June 12, 2015
    • Cost: $775
    • Structure: 200 multiple choice questions
  • American Board of Anesthesiology – Advanced Exam
    • Date: July 28, 2017
    • Cost: $775
    • Structure: 200 multiple choice questions

During my critical care and cardiothoracic anesthesiology fellowships, I took the following exams:

  • American Board of Anesthesiology – Anesthesiology Applied Exam
    • Date: March 5, 2018
    • Cost: $2,100 (excluding flight/hotel in Raleigh, NC)
    • Structure: standardized oral examination and seven station OSCE circuit
  • American Board of Anesthesiology – Critical Care Exam
    • Date: October 13, 2018
    • Cost: $1,600
    • Structure: 200 multiple choice questions
  • National Board of Echocardiography – Examination of Special Competence in Critical Care Echocardiography (CCEeXAM)
    • Date: January 15, 2019
    • Cost: $1,000
    • Structure: 200 multiple choice questions with plenty of TTE/TEE videos
  • National Board of Echocardiography – Examination of Special Competence in Advanced Perioperative Transesophageal Echocardiography (PTEeXAM)
    • Date: July 15, 2019
    • Cost: $1,000
    • Structure: 200 multiple choice questions

That’s almost $11,000 worth of licensing exams! This doesn’t include actual applications for my physician licenses in Massachusetts and Texas, maintenance-of-certification fees, DEA applications, credentialing fees… it goes on and on. At the end of the day, it’s expensive to become a physician… but oh so worth it! 🙂

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