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.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable November 16-17

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 16, 2019. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 17, 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 Step 1 and Step 2 CK Content Changes Scheduled for Mid-2020

Beginning in mid-2020, the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) examinations will include an increased number of questions assessing communication skills, system-based practice and patient safety, and legal/ethical skills and professionalism. The length of the testing days for Step 1 and Step 2 CK will not change.

Decisions about the balance of content on USMLE examinations are the responsibility of two groups: the USMLE Composite Committee and USMLE Management Committee. Both are composed of educators, practicing physicians, members with experience on state medical licensure boards, and public members. These committees approved the increase in the number of test items assessing the important competencies listed above.

Timetable:

  • Beginning in May 2020, Step 1 will include additional questions assessing communication skills.
  • Beginning in June/July 2020, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge will include additional questions on systems-based practice, patient safety, legal/ethical issues, and professionalism.
  • No changes to the Step 3 examination are planned during this timeframe.

Sample test items illustrating assessment of communications skills, systems-based practice and patient safety, and legal/ethical skills and professionalism are provided in the Step 1 Content Description and General Information booklet (pp. 7-11) and in the Step 2 Clinical Knowledge Content Description and General Information booklet (pp. 8-11).

The practice materials available on USMLE.org will be updated in early 2020 to reflect these changes in the distribution of exam content across content categories on Step 1 and Step 2 CK.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable October 18-20

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 8:00 p.m. on Friday, October 18, 2019. Services are expected to be restored by 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 20, 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.

ECFMG’s IWA Unavailable October 16

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA) will be unavailable beginning at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. Services are expected to be restored by 8:00 p.m. on the same day. All times are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

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

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable September 24

Due to required updates, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable for a brief period beginning at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24, 2019. Services are expected to be restored by 7:00 p.m. on the same day. All times are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

During this update 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 update period.

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

Certain ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable September 20-21

Due to scheduled maintenance, certain ECFMG on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 8:00 p.m. on Friday, September 20, 2019. These services are expected to be restored by 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 21, 2019. 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

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

Step 1 and Step 2 CK – Score Delays in 2020

Most Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) scores are reported within four weeks of testing. However, because of necessary annual modifications to the test item pools, delays occur for examinees who test at certain times of the year.

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) has announced that examinees testing during the following dates may experience delays in score reporting:

  • Step 1 examinees testing early May through early July 2020 – more specific information will be posted January 2020
  • Step 2 CK examinees testing late June through late August 2020 – more specific information will be posted March 2020

Why is this important to know?

If you need to receive a score before a certain date, plan to take that exam before the projected score delay windows to avoid missing deadlines.

Examinees should monitor the USMLE website for more information.

ECFMG’s 2020 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and Application Materials Now Available

ECFMG’s 2020 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and the 2020 exam application materials are now available on the ECFMG website. The ECFMG Information Booklet is the definitive source of information on ECFMG Certification and is required reading for applicants.

For the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1/Step 2 CK, you can use the 2020 materials to apply for:

  • available USMLE Step 1/Step 2 CK eligibility periods ending in 2019 (September 2019-November 2019 and October 2019-December 2019) and
  • all USMLE Step 1/Step 2 CK eligibility periods ending in 2020, beginning with the November 2019-January 2020 eligibility period.

For USMLE Step 2 CS, you can use the 2020 materials to obtain a 12-month eligibility period that begins on the date that the processing of your application is completed. You will be notified once ECFMG has processed your application.

Please monitor the ECFMG website, and follow ECFMG on Facebook and Twitter, for updates and important information.

(posted August 8, updated August 28)