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USE CAUTION IN SELECTING REVIEW COURSES: Orientation, Practice, and Self-Assessment Materials Available through USMLE, NBME, and Third Parties

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program recognizes the importance of providing all examinees the opportunity to learn about the design and content of its examinations and to have some exposure, before examination day, to samples of testing formats and materials. USMLE provides orientation and practice materials for all USMLE Steps and Step Components. These materials, which are available at no cost on the USMLE website, include:

  • Informational materials on the overall USMLE program and content descriptions for each of the USMLE examinations,
  • Tutorials that illustrate the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), Step 3 multiple-choice question software and the Step 3 computer-based case simulation (CCS) Primum® software,
  • Sample multiple-choice test questions with answer keys for each Step,
  • Sample Step 3 CCS cases with feedback, and
  • Orientation materials for Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS).

In addition, the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®) provides, for a fee, self-assessment services to help the examinee evaluate his or her readiness to take USMLE. These services help individuals become familiar with questions like those that have appeared on USMLE and provide performance feedback on the individual’s areas of relative strength and weakness. See to obtain additional information and to purchase self-assessment services.

Beyond these USMLE and NBME services, there are a variety of commercial test preparation materials and courses that claim to prepare examinees for USMLE examinations. Examinees who are considering using such services should fully understand the nature of these services, the sources of any content being used, and the basis for any claims being made. None of these third-party materials or courses are affiliated with or sanctioned by the USMLE program and information on such materials and courses is not available from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), NBME, USMLE Secretariat, or medical licensing authorities.

Please note that it is unlawful for any test preparation program or any individual to use, disclose, distribute, or provide access to questions or answers from actual USMLE exams. An examinee who is involved with any enterprise that disseminates USMLE content should be aware of the consequences, which include the possible cancellation of USMLE registration and/or testing, the withholding or cancellation of scores, and the imposition of additional sanctions.

IMGs Participating in 2015 Match Should Apply for Step 2 CS Now
April 8, 2014
Filed under: 2015 Match, ERAS 2015, Step 2 CS

To participate in the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) Main Residency MatchSM, international medical students/graduates must have passed all exams required for ECFMG Certification. If you plan to participate in the 2015 Match (in March 2015) and need to pass Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS), you must take Step 2 CS by December 31, 2014, to help ensure that your result will be available in time to participate in the 2015 Match.

If you need to pass Step 2 CS to participate in the 2015 Match, you should register for the exam now (provided you meet the eligibility requirements). If you do not register now and schedule soon, it is possible that you will not be able to obtain a test date in 2014.

Test dates throughout 2014 are available now at all test centers. If you register and schedule now, you can change your scheduled testing appointment (subject to availability) at no cost, provided you give more than 14 days’ notice.

Detailed information on the results reporting schedule for Step 2 CS is available on the ECFMG website.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable April 12
April 7, 2014
Filed under: General, Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services will be unavailable from approximately 7:30 a.m. through approximately 5:00 p.m. on April 12, 2014. All times are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

During this maintenance period, you will be unable to access the following:

  • IWA—Interactive Web Applications
  • OASIS—On-line Applicant Status and Information System
  • IMED—International Medical Education Directory
  • Step 2 CS Calendar and Scheduling
  • IAN—IMG Advisors Network
  • EMSWP—ECFMG Medical School Web Portal
  • CVS ON-LINE—Certification Verification Service On-line
  • EVNet—Exchange Visitor Network
  • EPICSM—Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials Physician Portal
  • EPICSM—Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials Report Portal
  • GEMxSM—Global Education in Medicine Exchange on-line services for schools (accessed through EMSWP)
  • GEMxSM—Global Education in Medicine Exchange on-line services for students
  • MyECFMG mobile app

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work to maintain high-quality on-line services.

USMLE Takes Action Against Individuals Found To Have Engaged in Irregular Behavior

The USMLE Committee for Individualized Review (CIR) meets periodically throughout each year to review cases involving allegations of irregular behavior by applicants and/or examinees.

At its recent meetings, the CIR heard multiple cases involving the following:

  • falsified information, including the creation of falsified score reports
  • soliciting and/or seeking to obtain unauthorized access to examination materials
  • communicating about specific test items, cases, and/or answers with another examinee
  • applying and/or attempting to take an examination when ineligible
  • making notes of any kind on anything other than materials provided
  • failure to follow test center instructions, including writing past the ‘end patient note’ announcement

Actions taken by the CIR at its recent meetings included annotating the individual’s USMLE record with a finding of irregular behavior, barring access to USMLE for periods ranging from 0-3 years, and reporting the finding of irregular behavior to the disciplinary data bank of the Federation of State Medical Boards. State medical boards routinely query this data bank as part of their licensing processes.

As evidenced by the sanctions listed above, a finding of irregular behavior carries significant potential impact. USMLE applicants and examinees are reminded to read the USMLE Bulletin of Information carefully, follow the rules of conduct during testing, and refrain from any pre- or post-examination conduct that might constitute irregular behavior. Specific examples of conduct deemed to be irregular behavior can be found in the Bulletin of Information.

The USMLE is committed to maintaining the integrity of its examination so that state medical boards may continue to rely upon it as an integral part of their decision-making process for licensure.  Applicants and examinees are advised to observe all USMLE policies and procedures to avoid the potentially significant implications arising from a finding of irregular behavior.

USMLE encourages you to provide information about cheating and other activity of which you are aware that may compromise the security and integrity of USMLE. Please use the contact form on the USMLE website to report such information.

ECFMG Policies and Procedures Regarding Irregular Behavior

ECFMG also regularly reviews allegations of irregular behavior in conjunction with its programs and services. ECFMG programs and services include but are not limited to, registering international medical students and graduates for USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS; ECFMG Certification; ERAS Support Services at ECFMG; the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program; the ECFMG International Credentials Services; and the Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials.

If the ECFMG Medical Education Credentials Committee determines that an individual engaged in irregular behavior, a permanent annotation to that effect will be included in the individual’s ECFMG record and will be provided to third parties in certain reports.

If it is determined that an individual engaged in irregular behavior, the individual also will be subject to serious sanctions. These sanctions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Barring the individual from future examinations;
  • Barring the individual from ECFMG Certification and/or other ECFMG programs; and
  • Revoking the individual’s Standard ECFMG Certificate.

Individuals who apply to ECFMG programs and services should be familiar with the ECFMG Policies and Procedures Regarding Irregular Behavior, which define irregular behavior and outline possible sanctions. Representative examples of allegations of irregular behavior and actions taken by the ECFMG Medical Education Credentials Committee are also available on the ECFMG website.

IMG Performance in the 2014 Match
April 3, 2014
Filed under: 2014 Match, ECFMG Certification, ERAS 2014

For the twelfth consecutive year, the number of first-year (PGY-1) residency positions offered through the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) Main Residency Match® increased. A total of 26,678 first-year positions were offered in the 2014 Match. This represents an increase of 540 positions compared to last year and an increase of more than 6,000 positions since 2002.

The number of IMGs who matched to first-year positions increased by 106 compared to 2013. Of the 12,482 IMGs who participated in the 2014 Match, 6,357 (50.9%) matched. In the 2013 Match, 6,251 (49.3%) IMGs were matched to first-year positions. (The preceding data include a small number of Fifth Pathway applicants who participated in the 2013 and 2014 Matches; for 2014, these data include 15 Fifth Pathway participants who are not represented in the data below for non-U.S. citizen and U.S. citizen IMGs.)

Of the 7,334 IMG participants who were not U.S. citizens, 3,633 (49.5%) obtained first-year positions. The number of non-U.S. citizen IMGs who obtained positions in 2014 increased for the third year in a row, this year by 77.

Of the 5,133 U.S. citizen IMG participants, 2,722 (53.0%) were matched to first-year positions, an increase of 31 over last year. This is the eleventh consecutive year that there has been an increase in the number of U.S. citizen IMGs matching to first-year positions.

The total number of IMGs who will fill PGY-1 positions for the 2014-2015 academic year may be higher than the number obtaining positions through the 2014 Match. Although the majority of PGY-1 positions in the United States are filled through the Match, in past years a significant number of IMG applicants obtained positions outside the Match. For example, while 4,886 IMGs obtained PGY-1 positions through the 2012 Match, 7,117 IMGs entered PGY-1 for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Beginning with the 2013 Match, the NRMP introduced an “All-In” policy. This policy requires that, to participate in the Match, programs must register and attempt to fill all of their residency positions through the Main Residency Match, or through another national matching plan. Programs must place all positions in the Match or no positions in the Match. This policy has been a factor in the higher numbers of both positions offered through, and IMGs participating in, the Match for the past two years. Compared with 2012, the year preceding the introduction of the All-In policy, the number of positions offered through the 2014 Match increased by 2,672 (11.1%), and the number of IMGs participating in the 2014 Match increased by 1,348 (12.1%). The All-In policy has also, presumably, reduced the number of positions available outside the Match. For more on the NRMP’s All-In policy, visit the NRMP website and Ask the Experts: The NRMP’s New “All-In” Policy, a resource of the ECFMG Certificate Holders Office (ECHO).

About the Match

The annual NRMP Match is the system by which applicants are matched with available residency positions in U.S. graduate medical education (GME) programs. Participants submit to the NRMP a list of residency programs, in order of preference. Ranked lists of preferred residency candidates are likewise submitted by U.S. GME programs with available positions. The matching of applicants to available positions is performed by computer algorithm. The Match results announced in March of each year are for GME programs that typically begin the following July.

Additional Resources on the Match and Match Results

The preceding Match data are based on the Advance Data Tables: 2014 Main Residency Match® compiled by the NRMP. These tables provide detailed information on the positions offered and filled by the Match in 2014 and prior years. To access these tables, or to obtain further information on the NRMP, visit

Late each year, JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association traditionally publishes an in-depth analysis of graduate medical education in the United States. This analysis includes the number of IMGs entering and continuing in U.S. GME programs and a breakdown of IMG resident physicians by specialty and subspecialty. Visit your medical school’s library or

Announcement Regarding ERAS 2014 Token Issuance
April 2, 2014
Filed under: ERAS 2014, General

Please note that you can no longer use ECFMG’s OASIS to request a Token for the ERAS 2014 season. If a program requests you to submit an ERAS application for the 2014 season and you do not already have a 2014 Token, please call (215) 966-3520 to reach an ERAS Support Services representative to request a 2014 Token.

If you plan to apply to a residency position that starts on July 1, 2015, you can request a 2015 Token via ECFMG’s OASIS starting in early July 2014.

Technical Difficulties with ECFMG Phone System – UPDATE: Service Restored
March 27, 2014
Filed under: General

UPDATE: Phone service has been restored.

ECFMG is currently experiencing technical difficulties with our phone system. As a result, you may not be able to reach us at our various service phone numbers. An update will be posted to this website as soon as the issue has been resolved.

Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve this issue.

Review of USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) Minimum Passing Performance
March 27, 2014
Filed under: Exam Preparation, Step 2 CK

The USMLE program recommends a minimum passing level for each Step examination. The USMLE Management Committee is responsible for establishing and monitoring these standards, and is asked to complete an in-depth review of standards for each examination every three to four years.

An announcement on the USMLE Management Committee’s review of the minimum passing score for the USMLE Step 2 CK examination has been posted on the USMLE website. Examinees should read the full announcement and monitor the USMLE website for the latest information.

USMLE Step 1 Score Reporting
March 27, 2014
Filed under: Exam Preparation, Step 1, USMLE Score Reporting

Most score reporting of Step 1 results occurs within four weeks of testing. However, because of necessary modifications to the test item pool, there will be a delay in reporting for some examinees testing beginning the week of May 12th. The target date for reporting Step 1 scores for most examinees testing the week of May 12th through late June will be Wednesday, July 9, 2014. For examinees whose circumstances require that they receive Step 1 scores before July 9, it is recommended that they take Step 1 no later than Friday, May 9, 2014.

Examinees should monitor the USMLE website for the latest information.

ECFMG Releases the MyECFMG Mobile App
March 25, 2014
Filed under: ECFMG Certification, General


ECFMG is pleased to announce the release of the MyECFMG mobile app, a free, downloadable tool that enables applicants for ECFMG Certification to access their ECFMG account information, view important status updates, and more. Wondering about the status of your USMLE® exam application? Check it right from your phone! Wondering about the status of your medical education credentials? Check it right from your phone! Need to make a quick payment to your ECFMG financial account? You guessed it… do it right from your phone!

ECFMG created this app as a convenience for applicants to its certification program, providing on-the-go access to information that typically would be accessed through other means. Use of the mobile app is voluntary and does not replace any functionality of ECFMG’s existing on-line services. Applicants who do not wish to download/use the MyECFMG app can still access the same information and perform all of the same functions using the ECFMG website, ECFMG On-line Services, and by contacting Applicant Information Services by phone at 215-386-5900 (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time in the United States, Monday through Friday) or by e-mail at

MyECFMG requires a login. To use the app, you must have an assigned USMLE/ECFMG identification number and an established ECFMG On-line Services password.

For more information on what you can do with the MyECFMG app and a link to download it for free to your iPhone or Android phone, visit

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