• Jul 28, 2023   MOKSH Academy

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Comparison between NEET-PG and USMLE

Do you dream of advancing your medical career through postgraduate studies? If so, you may be wondering which exam to take: NEET PG or USMLE. This is a major decision for any medical student, and it's essential to consider all of your options carefully. Read the blog to the end to learn about all the essential factors to consider when making a decision that aligns with your goals and aspirations

Introduction of global medical license exams:

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET PG) and the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) are two of the most important medical entrance exams in the world. Both exams are highly competitive and require a significant amount of preparation.

NEET PG is a national-level exam that is conducted by the National Board of Education (NBE) once every year. Medical graduates who want to pursue postgraduate medical courses such as MD or MS must pass this exam to gain admission to any private or government PG College in India.

USMLE is a licensure exam that is required for medical professionals who want to practice medicine in the United States. It is an international exam sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). The exam consists of three steps: Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3. So let us understand further:

At the outset, there are significant differences between the two career road maps of an MD in India and a residency in USA. After going through the table below, you will be surprised to know that preparing for USMLE is far better than NEET PG / NExT.

Comparison NEET PG USMLE
Competition 206,000 doctors for 23,000 Govt medical PG seats 35,000 aspirants globally for 14,500 IMG match
Match Success Ratio 10:01 2:01
Cost for private seats Cost range from 1-2 Cr Absolutely Free
Average attempts Average 2-3 attempts to get Govt Clinical seat Max 2 match cycle
Stipend INR 5-6 Lacs per annum INR 50 Lacs per annum
Exam Schedule Conducted once in a year Mon-Fri Round the year, Schedule when Ready
Specialization Based on NEET Rank Based on CV
Average age of MD 32 years 28 Years
Degree recognition India Global
Passing ratio 50 Percentile 94% of aspirants
Length of Exam All 19 subjects in one Day Pre and Para After 2nd Year, Clinical-After 4th Year
Prep starts 3rd Year 1st to 2nd Year

It is surprising to note that hardly 5% of the medical students prepare for USMLE from India in spite of 3 Lacs+ Indian doctors currently practising in the USA!

Comparison of Exam difficulty level between Neet PG vs USMLE

Is USMLE tougher than NEET PG? It is not true. 50% of the NEET PG questions do not require the application of knowledge, and USMLE MCQs are based on patient cases. NEET-PG is a single-day exam with a shorter duration. The questions are typically directly conceptual and can be solved quickly. With the latest regulation of zero percentile accepted by t private medical colleges for a PG seat, India is poised to produce doctors with extremely low clinical capabilities but rich backgrounds. The entire atmosphere among the students aiming for medical specialization is getting spoiled.

Exam difficulty

On the other hand, if you wish to be prepared as a professional and knowledgeable doctor in your career and are ready to take up the challenge of a comprehensive exam which tests your medical knowledge along with diagnostic skills, you should be aiming for USMLE. USMLE is a three-part exam with a longer duration. The questions are typically presented in the form of a clinical scenario with a brief history and some laboratory findings. These questions require you to put together multiple steps to have a differential diagnosis and then answer the question. This is about comparing the two examinations, giving you a complete preview of the future ahead. So, now you can decide what's best for you and crack the License examinations, which are your ultimate goal.

Compare Academics Neet PG and USMLE:

NEET PG exam does not involve a high level of application of the theoretical knowledge gained during your medicine course. It has more to do with memorizing concepts and details. The National Medical Commission (NMC) has recently announced the reforms in the industry, seeing this to change the entire system of medical education by introducing CBME. Further, it has introduced  NExT 1 and NExT2 exams in place of NEET PG for the students entering into medical colleges from 2024 onward.

USMLE needs purely patient-centred learning following competency-based medical education (CBME). Every MCQ asked checks your diagnostic skills developed while learning the theory. It also has a basic difference, such as the questions in the exam are based on Subjects as well as Systems! During the exam, as you solve more and more blocks, the difficulty level goes higher in the identified proficient subject and system. This way, they are looking for passionate doctors whose concepts are clear and whose application of the theory is well-developed.

Compare Cost Neet PG vs USMLE to get the residency:


Getting a government medical seat in India is very difficult, with a ratio of success limited to 10:1, which also includes non-clinical branches. The of a medical seat in India in a private medical college is extremely high, ranging from INR 1 Cr to 4 Cr depending on geography and the branch of your choice.

The fees during your residency in the USA are ZERO! On top of it, you get a stipend starting from INR 50 Lacs per annum. The total cost of preparing and appearing for USMLE Steps throughout your journey to get a medical PG in the USA is as follows:

MOKSH Academy (Step1 & 2CK) Call to MOKSH Counselor MOKSH Academy
Both Steps Exam Fees Rs. 200,000 NBME
Clerkship in US hospital Rs. 400,000 Hospital
US Travel (2 Visits) with stay Rs. 300,000 Travel agent
NBME Mock, UWorld Rs. 100,000 Respective resources
TOTAL Rs. 10,00,000 -

This full amount of Rs. 10,00,000 can be availed under an education loan subject to approval. Accordingly, you do not need to worry about the financial burden till you get the residency!

Compare Eligibility between Neet PG and USMLE:

There is absolutely no difference between the eligibility criteria required between India and the US regarding your academic qualification. The additional requirement is that a college or a medical school should be approved by ECFME. You can check the eligibility on www.wdoms.org and start your preparation immediately.

Comparison of prep timetable between NEET PG & USMLE:

Comparison of prep timetable between NEET PG & USMLE:

Generally, medical students start preparation for NEET PG from 3rd year / final year onward. Since NEET PG involves all 19 subjects, the portion to be covered goes on till the last day in college or online preparation mode.

USMLE is divided into three steps. Generally, medical students in India start their preparation for the USMLE Step 1 exam in their 1st / 2nd year and appear for the test at the end of the 3rd year of medicine. Further, while preparing for the clinical subjects in college, the student prepares for the USMLE Step 2CK during their 4th year and appears for the exam before or during the internship. This enables them to go for the elective clerkship before they graduate. This also helps them to get the J1 type of Visa for going to the USA for the clerkship under the student exchange visa type.

On the other hand, medical students studying abroad have a year's program with additional internships and the initial study pace at the colleges is slower than in India. They get the chance to access pre-med content, just like an American student preparing for the USMLE exam. Currently, MOKSH Academy prepares students for USMLE in India as well as abroad.  

Comparison of Indian MD vs American MD:

While NEET PG is to appear at the end of the medicine program, and in India, it takes an average of 4-5 attempts to get a government medical PG seat in your chosen branch. The exam is scheduled only once a year; accordingly, 4-5 years go by the time you can become a resident doctor in India.

However, in the case of USMLE, you are able to complete the formalities of USMLE Step 1 and Step 2CK along with the clerkship before graduation. The lower competition in USMLE leads to higher chances of success in your first match cycle, saving a huge amount of time in your career formation.

Conclusion on comparison :

  1. Further, the successful residents in the USA save at least 4 to 5 years in comparison with the MDs in India, making them financially independent far too early in comparison with the Indian doctors choosing to Prepare for NEET PG. In this five years additional saved, the US licensed physician, on average, earns around Rs. 10 Crores! 
  2. A huge difference in work-life balance exists when we compare India and the US healthcare systems. Whereas In India, Doctors have long working hours, on-call duties, and high patient loads are common.US: More predictable work hours and better compensation, but can vary depending on speciality and practice setting.
  3. The medicos who have prepared for the USMLE test during their MBBS course do far better in NEET PG in comparison with those who focused only on preparing for NEET PG.