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.

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.

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.

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.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable June 19-21

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 19, 2020. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, 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
    • 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.

U.S. and International Prometric Test Centers Are Operating and International Medical Graduates Are Able to Schedule Appointments

Prometric has informed ECFMG that most international test centers are open with testing slots available for United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) examinees. Testing centers in the following areas are planned to open as follows:

  • Next week: Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, Lebanon, and Pakistan
  • Mid to late June: Rest of Europe, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates

There are some countries with governmental mandates preventing testing, including Qatar.

Prometric test centers in the U.S. are open in major markets. Due to the need to follow state and local regulations, some cancelations are still occurring. Testing center capacity is increasing overall as additional hours and days of the week are being added.

Please regularly check the scheduling system to check availability, as test centers are opening on a regular basis. In addition, refer to the Prometric Social Distancing Policies prior to taking the exam.

USMLE COVID-19 Update: A Phased Approach for Expanding Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 Testing

On May 15, the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program published a weekly COVID-19 update on its website. Topics include:

  • Expanding Testing Capacity for Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3
  • Delaying Step 1 and Step 2 CK Content Changes

Examinees should read the full announcement on the USMLE website.

On May 18, the the USMLE program published an announcement that a pilot will begin next week for phase one of the approach for expanding testing capacity: regional testing centers at U.S. medical schools.

On May 20, the USMLE program published an update on regional and event-based testing at U.S. medical schools.

Examinees should monitor the USMLE website frequently for updates.

(posted May 20, 2020; updated May 21, 2020)

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable May 15-17

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 15, 2020. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, 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
    • 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 Update on Resuming Testing

Resuming United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE®) testing remains the USMLE program’s top priority. Below, please read several key updates.

Status of Prometric Testing
Testing resumed at select Prometric centers on Friday, May 1 in accordance with state and local social distancing guidelines. Although hundreds of examinees successfully tested, the overall examinee experience is not meeting expectations. The USMLE program continues to exert pressure on Prometric to rectify all issues in a timely manner. The USMLE program is working daily with Prometric and they have dedicated resources to both resume USMLE testing and address the quality of the examinee experience.

The USMLE program understands that when Prometric test centers reopened, some examinees with confirmed slots traveled to test centers only to find them closed, leading to increased confusion during an already difficult situation. The USMLE program has been disappointed with Prometric’s failure to fulfill its obligations to examinees and to the USMLE program. The USMLE program has emphasized to Prometric the importance of their obligations to examinees and the harm that their failures have caused.

Examinees who have suffered direct out-of-pocket monetary losses due to Prometric’s lack of communication or miscommunication regarding test center closures should submit a written claim directly to Prometric at prometric.com/contact-us.

In March 2020, in response to the suspension in testing, the USMLE program extended eligibility periods to December 2020 for all examinees who had a Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), or Step 3 scheduling permit with an unexpired eligibility period with an end date in 2020. To help alleviate some of the pressure examinees may be feeling, USMLE will further extend eligibility periods through June 2021.

  • Note: Eligibility period extensions will be processed approximately over the next eight to twelve weeks.

Alternate Delivery of USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3
To resume testing, the USMLE program has already identified several options for proctored testing outside of Prometric centers. The USMLE program is expecting to begin testing at some medical school campuses this month. USMLE is committed to offering a broader distribution of testing at medical schools; it is working through technological challenges in order to do so. While this solution will not completely address the testing backlog, it will provide additional USMLE-specified slots within Prometric’s overall capacity, which is increasing. Schools are being considered based on geographic location and a willingness to serve as a regional testing site. Because the USMLE program is not able to scale this solution to all schools, it plans to deliver other solutions as well. The USMLE program will ramp-up testing as we institute new systems and processes.

The USMLE program continues to aggressively explore remote proctoring and expects to have progress to report on the timeline for that project in the next week.

Validity, Reliability, and Fairness
The USMLE program recognizes the burden that reduced testing capacity places on schools and examinees. As the USMLE program moves forward with solutions to alleviate this burden, it must also evaluate the fairness of any test administration method. The USMLE program needs to ensure that its test administration models allow all test takers to reliably and validly demonstrate their skills and maximize, to the extent possible, fairness, access, security, and reliability. Increasing capacity by deploying exam administrations to schools may create differential geographic access. Similarly, with respect to remote proctoring, the USMLE program recognizes that not all schools or individuals have equal access to high-speed internet, a computer that meets the technology requirements for remote proctoring, or dedicated space in which to take the test.

Given these issues of fairness and bias, the USMLE program will continue to work with organizations in the medical education and the medical regulatory community to identify temporary changes to policy and requirements such as relaxing requirements for promotion, graduation, or licensing decisions. The USMLE program is committed to continuing its focus on delivering safe testing and fair test results for examinees.

Step 2 CS
As announced previously, Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) testing has been suspended due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, and the USMLE program is pursuing testing solutions to ensure the health and safety of examinees and test center staff. After careful consideration, the USMLE program has determined that it cannot resume the exam in its current format without unacceptable risk to examinees and staff.

Prior to COVID-19, the USMLE program was in the very early stages of exploring alternate formats and methods for delivery of the Step 2 CS exam, as part of overall efforts to enhance the USMLE. As a result of COVID-19, these plans have been accelerated and are focused on a testing solution that employs a telehealth model, where examinees and standardized patients would interact on-line, via a web browser. The USMLE program is aggressively assessing this solution, which will require significant redesign of the exam’s content and delivery. Expediting such changes to the exam format and delivery will help result in a safe and effective assessment for all involved.

At this time, Step 2 CS testing is expected to resume after July.

Please know that the USMLE program is doing everything it can to address the challenges of this new environment quickly, and that it will continue to provide you with updates on its progress.