News

New Practice Materials and Helpful Information for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK Exams Now Available

Updated practice materials are available for examinees planning to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1 exam on or after October 20, 2020 and for examinees planning to take Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) on or after November 11, 2020.  The updated materials reflect the previously announced Step 1 and Step 2 CK content distribution changes.

Read the full announcement on the USMLE website here.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable August 14-16

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Friday, August 14, 2020. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 16, 2020. All times are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

During this maintenance period, you will be unable to access most ECFMG on-line services, including the following:

  • IWA—Interactive Web Applications
  • OASIS—On-line Applicant Status and Information System
  • IAN—IMG Advisors Network
  • EMSWP—ECFMG Medical School Web Portal, and its programs for medical schools and other institutions:
    • Status Verification
    • Credentials Verification
    • Performance Data
    • EMSWP ERAS
    • GEMx SM for Partner Institutions
  • CVS ON-LINE—Certification Verification Service On-line
  • EVNet—Exchange Visitor Network (for staff of U.S. training programs that host ECFMG-sponsored exchange visitor physicians)
  • EPICSM—Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials
    • Physician Portal
    • Report Portal
  • GEMx on-line services for students
  • MyECFMG mobile app

The World Directory of Medical Schools also will be unavailable during this maintenance period.

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

Update on New Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match

ECFMG®|FAIMER® has established five pathways that will allow qualified international medical graduates (IMGs) who have not passed Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) to meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification. These pathways are available to eligible IMGs who plan to enter U.S. graduate medical education (GME) for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Since announcing the pathways in mid-June, ECFMG|FAIMER has been working aggressively to develop additional information and processes that will enable IMGs to use the pathways. In this announcement, we provide some important updates on these efforts:

Application for Pathways for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match Available by End of August

This week, ECFMG|FAIMER announced that the on-line application process for the pathways will be available by the end of August. Detailed instructions for using the application will be published in approximately mid-August, allowing potential applicants to preview the process and make advance preparations.

As published by the Association of American Medical Colleges, during the 2021 application season for the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®), residency programs may begin reviewing applications on October 21, 2020. This is approximately one month later than prior years. This delay, implemented as a result of the major issues facing applicants and training programs as they prepare for the 2021 residency application cycle, will allow IMG applicants additional time to meet pathway requirements.

Additional Resources

ECFMG|FAIMER has published a 20-minute webinar tailored to the needs of leaders in the U.S. GME community. The webinar provides additional details about the new requirements for ECFMG Certification for the 2021 Match and answers some frequently asked questions received from members of U.S. GME. The webinar is available from Resources in the Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match section of the ECFMG website.

ECFMG|FAIMER also has published an expanded set of frequently asked questions about the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine, the English language proficiency assessment that is required of all IMGs who pursue a pathway. ECFMG|FAIMER recently confirmed that IMGs pursuing a pathway must take OET Medicine by December 31, 2020 to help ensure enough time for ECFMG|FAIMER to determine applicant status and report that status to the National Resident Matching Program® by the NRMP® Rank Order List Certification deadline for the 2021 Match.

Preliminary Volume Indicators for IMGs in 2021 Match

ECFMG|FAIMER is the designated Dean’s Office for all IMGs who use ERAS to apply to first- and second-year (PGY-1 and PGY-2) residency positions in U.S. GME. To begin the ERAS application process, IMGs must obtain an ERAS Token from ECFMG|FAIMER. Through the end of July, ECFMG|FAIMER issued more than 11,400 ERAS 2021 Residency Tokens to IMGs, the same number when compared to last year at this time.

Pre-registration is available to IMGs who plan to take OET Medicine to satisfy the English language proficiency requirement associated with the pathways. As of this writing, more than 8,500 individuals have pre-registered to take OET Medicine.

Please continue to visit the ECFMG website, since additional resources and updates will be published as they become available.

Step 1 and Step 2 CK Content Distribution Changes

On May 15, the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program announced that content distribution changes on Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) would be delayed until at least September 2020 because of the impact COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has had on USMLE testing. Below is the current timetable for implementing these changes:

  • Beginning in October 2020, Step 1 will increase the number of items assessing communication skills.
  • Beginning in November 2020, Step 2 CK will increase the number of items assessing systems-based practice, patient safety, legal/ethical issues, and professionalism.

In mid-August, the USMLE program will provide updated practice materials and more information about the schedule for rollout of these changes, including the timeline for reporting scores. Examinees should monitor the USMLE website for the latest information.

USMLE Score Reporting Policy Updates

The following announcements provide details on new score reporting policies set by the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Composite Committee for the Step 1 examination and the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination. As a medical licensing examination, the USMLE program has a responsibility to produce transcripts that report a complete exam history for each examinee. The following announcements provide details on new score reporting policies set by the USMLE Composite Committee for the Step 1 examination and the Step 2 CS examination.

USMLE Step 1 Examination

Step 1 results will be reported as Pass/Fail no earlier than January 1, 2022. All scores for Step 1 exams taken prior to the date of the policy change will continue to be reported using the three-digit numeric score on all USMLE transcripts. The USMLE program does not retroactively alter transcripts.

USMLE Step 2 CS Examination

Step 2 CS was suspended in March 2020. All Step 2 CS results from exam administrations prior to the suspension will be reported on USMLE transcripts. Due to the Step 2 CS suspension, a significant number of individuals applying for residency in the 2020-2021 cycle will not have a Step 2 CS result or an opportunity to retest after a Step 2 CS failure. Information on the timing of this suspension will be clearly communicated to residency programs through ERAS. While Step 2 CS is suspended, the ECFMG has posted requirements for Certification for the 2021 residency Match, available here.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable July 17-19

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 19, 2020. All times are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

During this maintenance period, you will be unable to access most ECFMG on-line services, including the following:

  • IWA—Interactive Web Applications
  • OASIS—On-line Applicant Status and Information System
  • IAN—IMG Advisors Network
  • EMSWP—ECFMG Medical School Web Portal, and its programs for medical schools and other institutions:
    • Status Verification
    • Credentials Verification
    • Performance Data
    • EMSWP ERAS
    • GEMx SM for Partner Institutions
  • CVS ON-LINE—Certification Verification Service On-line
  • EVNet—Exchange Visitor Network (for staff of U.S. training programs that host ECFMG-sponsored exchange visitor physicians)
  • EPICSM—Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials
    • Physician Portal
    • Report Portal
  • GEMx on-line services for students
  • MyECFMG mobile app

The World Directory of Medical Schools also will be unavailable during this maintenance period.

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

ECFMG|FAIMER Research Finds Drop in Interest From Muslim-Majority Country Physicians

Applications for ECFMG Certification from citizens of Muslim-majority countries have decreased since 2016 which could exacerbate gaps in the U.S. physician workforce, according to an article co-authored by ECFMG|FAIMER executives and published July 6 in the JAMA Network Open, an on-line publication of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The article, Prevalence of International Medical Graduates from Muslim-Majority Nations in the U.S. Physician Workforce from 2009 to 2019, was authored by John Boulet, PhD, Vice President for Research and Data Resources for ECFMG|FAIMER; William W. Pinsky, MD, President and CEO of ECFMG|FAIMER; and Robbert J. Duvivier, MD, PhD of the Parnassia Psychiatric Institute in The Hague, Netherlands.

According to the article, citizens from Muslim-majority nations made up 4.5 percent of the U.S. physician workforce in 2019. Applications for ECFMG Certification from citizens of these countries increased from 2009 to 2015 but decreased considerably from 2016 to 2018, especially for citizens of Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

The article has generated significant coverage in the news media internationally, including articles in The Arab Weekly, Arabian Business, Free Malaysia Today, and The Daily Mail to name a few.

USMLE Program Kicks Off Comprehensive Approach to Gather Perspectives on Step 2 CS

To obtain stakeholder input on the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) assessment and how clinical skills would be ideally assessed for licensure in the future, the USMLE program will be contacting a wide group of medical educators, clinicians, patient advocates, examinees, and others over the next 2 weeks to gather insights and expertise regarding performance-based clinical skills assessment.

The information collected will help identify important characteristics of a performance-based exam for national licensure.

Read the full announcement on the USMLE website here, and visit USMLE.org/RevitalizeCS for more information and updates as the initiative progresses.

COVID-19 Update for the USMLE Program

Delayed Change to USMLE Attempt Limit Policy

In February 2020, the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program announced a reduction in the allowable number of exam attempts on each Step or Step Component from six to four that would go into effect no earlier than January 1, 2021. Due to the reduced testing capacity caused by COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the USMLE program is delaying the implementation of this policy change to no earlier than July 1, 2021.

Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) Refunds

Last week, NBME and ECFMG sent e-mails to examinees who were registered to take Step 2 CS and were unable to test due to suspension of the exam. These e-mails included information about the refund process and timeline.

Prometric

As the USMLE program continues its plans to expand USMLE testing, Prometric states that their testing capacity continues to increase as well. Since May 1, more than 21,000 USMLE examinees have tested. For examinees looking to secure a Prometric appointment, please continue to check the Prometric website for updated information, site openings/closings, and available appointments.

Examinees should continue to monitor the USMLE COVID-19 Resource Center, the USMLE website, and USMLE social media for updates.