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When you apply for Step 1 or Step 2 CK, you must select a three-month period, such as January-February-March, February-March-April, etc., during which you would like to take the exam. This three-month period is referred to as your eligibility period. If you apply for Step 1 and Step 2 CK at the same time, you can select the same eligibility period for both Step 1 and Step 2 CK, or you can select a different eligibility period for each exam. You must take the exam during the eligibility period assigned to you. You can take the exam on any day that it is offered during your assigned eligibility period, provided there is space available at the test center that you choose.
When choosing your eligibility period, remember that: Prometric test centers are closed on major local holidays; Step 1 and Step 2 CK are not available during the first 14 days of January; and the busiest testing times in the United States/Canada testing region are May through July and November through December. Your eligibility period will not be adjusted to compensate for dates when the exams are not available.
To obtain a specific eligibility period:
Example: On May 3, an applicant selects the May-June-July eligibility period for Step 1 and submits her application. The processing of the application is completed by ECFMG on May 23. The applicant is assigned the May-June-July eligibility period that she selected on her application.
Keep in mind that delays or interruptions in postal service may delay delivery to ECFMG of materials needed to complete your application.
If you are a medical school graduate whose medical education credentials have been primary-source verified by ECFMG; a graduate of a medical school that does not participate in EMSWP and your medical education credentials have not been primary-source verified by ECFMG; or a student enrolled in a medical school that does not participate in EMSWP, it typically takes three weeks from receipt of a complete exam application for ECFMG to complete the processing of your application.
If you are a graduate of a medical school that participates in EMSWP and your medical education credentials have not been primary-source verified by ECFMG or if you are a student enrolled in a medical school that participates in EMSWP, ECFMG cannot complete the processing of your exam application until your medical school verifies your graduate/student status through EMSWP. ECFMG will make your record available to your medical school and request verification typically within three weeks of receipt of a complete application. The time needed to complete the processing of your application is contingent upon your medical school’s response to the EMSWP verification request.
For all applicants, although you can select an eligibility period as late as the 24th day of that eligibility period, there is no guarantee that you will be assigned that eligibility period, since the processing of your application may not be completed by the 25th day of the eligibility period. If the processing of your application is not completed in time to assign the eligibility period you select, you will be assigned to the next available eligibility period, based on the date your application is processed. The eligibility period assigned to you will be listed on your scheduling permit. You must read the editions of the ECFMG Information Booklet and the USMLE Bulletin of Information that pertain to the eligibility period in which you take the exam.
Example: On July 23, an applicant selects the July-August-September eligibility period for Step 2 CK and submits his application. The processing of the application is completed by ECFMG on August 12. The applicant is assigned the next eligibility period, August-September-October.
As shown in both examples above, you will be able to obtain an eligibility period that has already begun, or that will have begun by the time you are registered and your scheduling permit is issued. Your assigned eligibility period will not be adjusted to compensate for days that have already passed.
Eligibility Period Extension
If you are unable to take Step 1/Step 2 CK during the three-month eligibility period assigned to you, you may request a one-time extension. You may extend your eligibility period only through the next, contiguous eligibility period (the next eligibility period that does not overlap with your original eligibility period).
Example: An applicant’s original eligibility period is April-May-June 2013. The eligibility period may be extended only through July-August-September 2013.
You may request an extension on-line using IWA. If you take the exam during your original eligibility period or if you do not take the exam, you will not receive a refund or credit of the eligibility period extension fee.
You may request an extension of your eligibility period only once for each exam registration. You may request an extension of your eligibility period only after your eligibility period has begun. The processing of your request must be completed by the published deadline or your request will be rejected. For specific information on deadlines, refer to IWA. ECFMG cannot complete the processing of your request until your medical school verifies your graduate/student status.
Additionally, you must continue to be eligible to take the exam during the extended eligibility period (you must still be officially enrolled in a medical school located outside the United States and Canada that is listed in IMED and the “Graduation Years” for your medical school must be listed as “Current,” or you must be a graduate of such a medical school and your graduation year must be included in the school’s IMED listing). See Eligibility for Examination.
If your eligibility period is extended, NBME will issue a revised scheduling permit reflecting the extension. You must access this revised scheduling permit using IWA and bring it to the test center on the date of your exam.
If you have a scheduled appointment during your original eligibility period and need to cancel and reschedule the appointment for your extended eligibility period, you must contact Prometric to cancel or reschedule that appointment. Requesting an extension of your eligibility period does not cancel a scheduled appointment. A fee may be charged if you change your appointment, depending upon how much notice you provide when making the change. See Rescheduling in Scheduling the Examination.
If you do not take the exam during your original or extended eligibility period or you are unable to extend your original eligibility period, you must reapply, including payment of the appropriate fee(s), to take the exam.
Last updated: September 12, 2012
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