ECFMG Statement on USMLE Policy Changes

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program has announced three future changes to its examination program. One of these changes, a change in score reporting for Step 1 from a numeric score to a Pass/Fail designation, is designed to improve the transition of examinees from undergraduate medical education (UME) to graduate medical education (GME) programs (i.e., to residency programs). Two additional changes, a further limit on the number of times an examinee can take each Step or Step Component and the requirement that an examinee pass Step 1 before taking Step 2 Clinical Skills, will help to enhance exam security. Enhancing security is essential to maintaining the integrity of the examination, ensuring it remains an equitable assessment process for all examinees.

These changes are part of the USMLE program’s continuous process of improvement to ensure a high-quality assessment for all physicians who plan to train and practice in the United States. ECFMG is supportive of this process and of the thoughtful and inclusive approach employed by the USMLE program in arriving at these changes. ECFMG also supports the USMLE’s focus on the examinee experience and the goal of improving the transition from UME to GME—a transition that can present unique challenges for international medical graduates (IMGs) who seek to train in the United States.

ECFMG is a strong advocate for the role of IMGs in the U.S. health care system. IMGs comprise approximately 25% of the U.S. physician workforce and are vital to our ability to provide accessible, high-quality health care. Many IMGs who train in the United States stay to practice, frequently serving in primary-care specialties and in underserved areas. Others return home, where they benefit local communities by building physician capacity and providing care in much-needed specialties.

ECFMG is committed to the continued ability of IMGs to enter U.S. GME and offers programs that support IMGs along the continuum from international UME to U.S. GME and practice. ECFMG Certification is at the beginning of this pathway. The USMLE is an important component of ECFMG’s program of certification, the process by which IMGs demonstrate their readiness to engage in U.S. GME. An effective, high-quality assessment is essential for IMGs who wish to demonstrate their qualifications; compete for U.S. residency positions; and continue to contribute to the U.S. health care system through their talents, diversity, and international perspectives.

For more information on the upcoming changes, please read the USMLE program’s announcement at https://usmle.org/announcements/?ContentId=263. As more information on these changes becomes available, please monitor the ECFMG website for details on how these changes will affect IMGs who pursue ECFMG Certification and U.S. GME.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable February 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, February 14, 2020. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 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
  • Step 2 CS Calendar and Scheduling
  • 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
    • GEMxSMfor 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.

Potential Impact of Coronavirus on USMLE Examination Administrations

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program continues to monitor the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and is prepared to take appropriate measures as warranted to protect the health and safety of examinees and the public.

Whenever an examinee has a scheduled testing appointment, it is important to monitor the impact of illness, weather, or other conditions on USMLE administrations by going to the Prometric website (for Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 exams) and the CSEC website (for Step 2 Clinical Skills exams) for updates. Test centers may close at any time.

If you have been impacted by a test center closure related to the corona virus and need assistance with rescheduling your examination, please contact your registration entity.

It is also always important to monitor your own health. If you do not feel well on the day of your test, we strongly encourage you to reschedule your examination. If you become ill while taking any USMLE exam, inform a proctor promptly.

Please check the USMLE website for updates on the potential impact of coronavirus on USMLE administrations.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable January 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, January 17, 2020. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 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
  • Step 2 CS Calendar and Scheduling
  • 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
    • GEMxSMfor 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.

Step 1 – Delay in Score Reporting

If you need to receive United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1 scores before July 8, 2020 it is recommended that you take the exam no later than May 3, 2020.

Most Step 1 scores are reported within four weeks of testing. However, because of necessary annual modifications to the test item pool, there will be a delay in reporting for some examinees who test beginning the week of May 4, 2020.

The target date for reporting Step 1 scores for most examinees testing the week of May 4, 2020 through mid-June will be Wednesday, July 8, 2020. For examinees whose circumstances require that they receive Step 1 scores before July 8, 2020, it is recommended that they take Step 1 no later than May 3, 2020.

Examinees should monitor the USMLE website for the latest information.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable January 4

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 4, 2020. Services are expected to be restored by 11:00 p.m. on the same day. 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
  • Step 2 CS Calendar and Scheduling
  • 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
    • GEMxSM 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.

Fee Increases for 2020

Effective January 1, 2020, fees for the following ECFMG applications/service requests will increase:

  • The fee for Application for ECFMG Certification will be $145.
  • The examination fees for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) will be $965 for each exam registration.
  • The examination fee for Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) will be $1,600 for each exam registration.
  • The fee for an extension of eligibility period for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK will be $90.
  • The fee for a change of testing region for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK will be $85.
  • The fee for rescheduling a Step 2 CS testing appointment will be 0-$1,300 (depending on the date of cancellation).
  • The fee for a Certification Verification Service (CVS) request will be $55.
  • The fee for an application for J-1 visa sponsorship will be $350.

The new fees will be assessed for all applications/requests submitted to ECFMG on or after January 1, 2020 (Eastern Time in the United States).

For more information on the fees associated with applying for ECFMG Certification and for USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS, refer to the ECFMG 2020 Information Booklet and the Fees page of the ECFMG website.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable December 20-22

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 20, 2019. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 22, 2019. 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
  • Step 2 CS Calendar and Scheduling
  • 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
    • GEMxSM 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.

USMLE Review Focuses on Patient Individuality

Mitigating bias and eliminating unjustified patient stereotypes are important initiatives in teaching, learning and assessment. Concerns about bias have been raised in the academic literature, the media, among students and faculty at schools of medicine, and by patients.

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program remains cognizant of these topics. Characteristics of a patient such as age, sex, gender identity, and occupation are sometimes mentioned within the case vignettes in test items. Some patient characteristics may be important inputs into the diagnostic reasoning process. Others may lead to incorrect conclusions and misdiagnoses. Among the latter are characteristics associated with harmful patient stereotypes.

The USMLE program treats race as a social construct not linked to biology or susceptibility to disease. This is similarly true of ethnicity and “culture” or heritage. Ancestry, if known, may be biologically important, and thus may be relevant to factors relating to health and disease. In addition, when and if these characteristics are to be considered they should be considered on the basis of patient self-report, not the assumption of a health care provider. The USMLE program views patients as individuals, just as medical practice should and does.

Examinees should refer to the full announcement on the USMLE website.

USMLE Score Reporting Schedule

Scores for all United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step examinations will be released as regularly scheduled on Wednesday, December 18, 2019. Scores for all USMLE Step examinations will also be released on Tuesday, December 24, 2019.

Only Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) score reports will be released on Tuesday, December 31, 2019.

All USMLE scores will be released as regularly scheduled on Wednesday, January 8, 2020.

Examinees should monitor the USMLE website for the latest information.