Deadline Reminder: Application for Pathways for ECFMG Certification for 2022 Match

Applicants participating in the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) 2022 Main Residency Match® (The Match®) must meet the following requirements by the NRMP Rank Order List Certification deadline on March 2, 2022, in order for ECFMG to verify to the NRMP that they have met the examination requirements for ECFMG Certification:

  • Have passing results on the Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) components of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) that are valid for ECFMG Certification and available by the NRMP Rank Order List Certification deadline; AND
  • Meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification, which can be achieved by either:
    • Completing an ECFMG Pathway, which includes attaining a satisfactory score on the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine, OR
    • Having a passing performance on the former Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of USMLE that is valid for ECFMG Certification.

If you are applying to a Pathway, your application must be submitted no later than December 15, 2021, to ensure the application is processed in time for you to participate in the 2022 Match. To apply to a Pathway, or to check the status of your application after it has been submitted, log in to the Application for Pathways for ECFMG Certification for 2022 Match using your USMLE/ECFMG ID and On-line Services password.

Please also refer to the Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2022 Match section of the ECFMG website, including the web page specific to the Pathway to which you are applying, for additional deadlines related to the submission of required documentation and to taking OET Medicine, which is required of all Pathways applicants.

All applicants are encouraged to review the detailed information available on ECFMG’s website and to track the status of their requests on-line prior to contacting our offices. To track the status of:

Deadline Reminder: Application for Pathways for ECFMG Certification for 2022 Match

Applicants participating in the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) 2022 Main Residency Match® (The Match®) must meet the following requirements by the NRMP Rank Order List Certification deadline on March 2, 2022, in order for ECFMG to verify to the NRMP that they have met the examination requirements for ECFMG Certification:

  • Have passing results on the Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) components of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) that are valid for ECFMG Certification and available by the NRMP Rank Order List Certification deadline; AND
  • Meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification, which can be achieved by either:
    • Completing an ECFMG Pathway, which includes attaining a satisfactory score on the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine, OR
    • Having a passing performance on the former Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of USMLE that is valid for ECFMG Certification.

If you are applying to a Pathway, your application must be submitted no later than December 15, 2021, to ensure the application is processed in time for you to participate in the 2022 Match. To apply to a Pathway, or to check the status of your application after it has been submitted, log in to the Application for Pathways for ECFMG Certification for 2022 Match using your USMLE/ECFMG ID and On-line Services password.

Please also refer to the Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2022 Match section of the ECFMG website, including the web page specific to the Pathway to which you are applying, for additional deadlines related to the submission of required documentation and to taking OET Medicine, which is required of all Pathways applicants.

All applicants are encouraged to review the detailed information available on ECFMG’s website and to track the status of their requests on-line prior to contacting our offices. To track the status of:

Pathway 6 On-line Application Now Open

The on-line application for Pathway 6 is now open. Pathway 6 is for applicants who do not meet the eligibility requirements for Pathway 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 and/or have failed the former Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®). Pathway 6 requires an applicant’s clinical skills to be evaluated by licensed physicians through in-person clinical encounters.

Detailed information on Pathway 6, including criteria for acceptable clinical encounters, criteria for acceptable evaluators, and instructions for applicants, is available at Pathway 6: Evaluation of Clinical Patient Encounters by Licensed Physicians. Detailed information and instructions for physician evaluators are available at Information for Physician Evaluators for Pathway 6.

About the Pathways

The 2022 Pathways allow qualified IMGs who have not passed the former USMLE Step 2 CS exam to meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification and for participation in the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) 2022 Main Residency Match® (The Match®).

ECFMG’s 2022 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and Application Materials Now Available

ECFMG’s 2022 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and the 2022 exam application materials for international medical students/graduates (IMGs) 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.

To be eligible for ECFMG Certification, IMGs must satisfy a number of requirements, including the medical science examination requirement, the clinical skills requirement, and the communication skills requirement.

  • To meet the medical science examination requirement for ECFMG Certification, applicants must pass Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®).
  • To meet the clinical skills requirement and communication skills requirement for ECFMG Certification, applicants must:
    • Complete an ECFMG Pathway, which includes attaining a satisfactory score on the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine, OR
    • Have earned a passing performance on the former Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of USMLE that satisfies ECFMG requirements for ECFMG Certification.

Application Materials and USMLE Step 1/Step 2 CK Eligibility Periods

For USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK, applicants can use the 2022 materials to apply for all available eligibility periods ending in 2021 and all eligibility periods ending in 2022, beginning with the November 2021-January 2022 eligibility period.

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

(published July 28; updated August 11)

Detailed Information on Pathway 6 Now Available for Applicants and Physician Evaluators

Detailed information is now available on the ECFMG website for individuals planning to apply to Pathway 6 and for the physicians who will be evaluating their clinical skills. This new information includes step-by-step instructions for applicants and comprehensive information and instructions for physician evaluators. The on-line application process for Pathway 6 will open in August. Applicants should prepare now by reviewing this information carefully, identifying their physician evaluators if they have not already done so, and directing their physician evaluators to review the newly published information.

About the Pathways
The 2022 Pathways allow qualified international medical graduates who have not passed the former Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) to meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification and for participation in the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) 2022 Main Residency Match® (The Match®). Pathway 6 is for applicants who do not meet the eligibility requirements for Pathway 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 and/or have failed Step 2 CS one or more times. Pathway 6 requires an applicant’s clinical skills to be evaluated by licensed physicians through in-person clinical encounters.

OET@Home Available in August on Limited Basis

OET@Home, a version of the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine that can be taken at home through remote proctoring, is available to certain Pathways applicants for test dates in August. OET@Home is available only to applicants who do not have a physical test venue (for paper-based or computer-based testing) in their country. Applicants with a test venue in their country should plan to take OET on paper or OET on computer at a physical test center to ensure that they test in time to meet Pathways requirements for participation in the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) 2022 Main Residency Match® (The Match®). Please  visit Test Dates and Locations on the OET website to determine whether there is a test venue in your country.

Eligible applicants can book OET@Home now on the OET website. If you have questions regarding OET@Home, please contact OET.

About the Pathways

The 2022 Pathways allow qualified international medical graduates (IMGs) who have not passed the former Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) to meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification and for participation in the 2022 Match. A satisfactory score on OET Medicine is required for IMGs applying to a 2022 Pathway. To meet ECFMG’s requirements, applicants must attain a minimum score of 350 (Grade B) on each of the four measured sub-tests of OET Medicine (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking) in one test administration. Applicants must take OET Medicine on or before the last scheduled test date in December 2021. See the ECFMG website for more information.

Additional Information on Pathway 6 Is Available

Prospective Pathway 6 Applicants Should Begin to Identify Evaluators Now

Additional information is now available on applying to Pathway 6, which requires an applicant’s clinical skills to be evaluated by licensed physicians through in-person clinical encounters. This new information includes criteria for both the physician evaluators and for the clinical encounters. If you plan to apply to Pathway 6, you should review this information and begin to identify your physician evaluators now. There also is new information on the availability of the on-line application for Pathway 6, now scheduled for August; application deadlines; and application processing times.

About the Pathways
The 2022 Pathways allow qualified international medical graduates who have not passed the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) to meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification and for participation in the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) 2022 Main Residency Match® (The Match®). Pathway 6 is for applicants who do not meet the eligibility requirements for Pathway 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 and/or have failed Step 2 CS one or more times.

Reminder: USMLE Attempt Limit Changing Soon

To protect the integrity of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program and more closely match the USMLE attempt limits imposed by state medical boards in the majority of states, effective July 1, 2021, the USMLE attempt limit policy will change, as previously announced. The change will reduce an examinee’s total number of allowable attempts from six (6) attempts to four (4) attempts per Step exam, including incomplete attempts.

The policy change is effective for applications submitted on or after July 1, 2021. After the implementation of this policy change, examinees who have attempted any USMLE Step (including Step 2 Clinical Skills) four (4) or more times and have not passed will be ineligible to apply for USMLE Steps.

Examinees with four (4) or five (5) attempts at an exam who meet all eligibility requirements outlined in the USMLE Bulletin of Information may submit application(s) for USMLE through June 30, 2021 at 11:59 pm, Eastern Time, under the current attempt limit of six (6).

To learn more about this change, please review the FAQs on the USMLE website. If you have questions about how this change impacts you, please email the Office of the USMLE Secretariat at USMLESec@nbme.org.

Update: Pathways for ECFMG Certification for 2022 Match

Detailed Information, On-line Application for Pathways 1-5 Now Available

The 2022 Pathways application process for Pathways 1-5 is now open. Qualified international medical graduates (IMGs) who need to meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG® Certification and who intend to participate in the 2022 National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) Main Residency Match® (The Match®) can apply to a Pathway to meet these requirements for ECFMG Certification and the requirements for Match participation.

The information available on ECFMG’s website includes:

As announced previously, ECFMG|FAIMER has added a sixth Pathway for 2022. The application process for Pathway 6 is expected to open in July. Preliminary information on Pathway 6 is available now, and additional details and instructions for meeting the requirements for Pathway 6 will be provided as soon as they are available. Please monitor the ECFMG website for the steps that applicants can take before July to prepare for Pathway 6.

USMLE Policy Updates Following Step 2 CS Discontinuation

Step 3 Eligibility Requirements Reinstated; New Information Added to USMLE Transcripts; Attempt Limits Set at Four

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Composite Committee, the governing body of USMLE comprised of medical educators, regulators, and members of the public, recently met to determine how the discontinuation of the Step 2 Clinical Skills examination (Step 2 CS) will impact certain USMLE policies. The Composite Committee’s role is to ensure that the program fulfills its mission to support medical licensing authorities in the United States by providing them with meaningful information from assessments of physician competencies—including medical knowledge and skills—that are important to the provision of safe and effective patient care. The decisions surrounding these policies reflect that mission.

The policy decisions made regarding Step 3 eligibility requirements, reporting Step 2 CS results, and attempt limits are described below.

Step 3 Eligibility Requirements

During the Step 2 CS suspension, the USMLE program announced temporary Step 3 eligibility requirements. Since the Step 2 CS exam has been discontinued, these temporary requirements are no longer needed.

Step 3 eligibility requirements will conform with criteria established before Step 2 CS became part of the USMLE. The requirements, which can be found here, are:

  • Passing scores on Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), and
  • An MD degree or DO degree from an LCME- or COCA-accredited U.S. or Canadian medical school, or
  • The equivalent of the MD degree from a medical school outside the U.S. and Canada that is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools as meeting ECFMG eligibility requirements, and obtain ECFMG Certification.
  • Meets all other eligibility criteria as listed in the USMLE Bulletin of Information.

Reporting Step 2 CS Results

As a medical licensing examination, the USMLE program has the responsibility to produce transcripts that report to state medical boards a complete exam history for each examinee. Accordingly, all Step 2 CS results will continue to be reported on the USMLE transcript.

To facilitate the interpretation of transcripts with either Step 2 CS fails or no Step 2 CS attempts, the following statement will be included on all transcripts:

“The USMLE Step 2 CS examination was suspended on March 16, 2020 and formally discontinued on January 26, 2021. Due to the exam’s discontinuation, examinees with a failing Step 2 CS outcome may not have had an opportunity to retest and remediate their performance. The USMLE defines successful completion of its examination sequence as passing Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3.”

Attempt Limits

Beginning with applications submitted on or after July 1, 2021, examinees will be limited to four attempts per Step exam rather than the six allowed under the current policy. This policy decision is designed to protect the integrity of the exam and more closely match the attempt limits imposed by state medical boards for USMLE in the majority of states.

Once the change to the attempt limit policy is effective, examinees who have attempted a USMLE Step four or more times and have not passed will be ineligible for other USMLE Steps.

If you have any questions about these policies, please contact the USMLE program by using the form available here.

Want to Know More About the Decision to Discontinue Step 2 CS?

Listen to a New Podcast: In the March 4, 2021 episode of USMLE Connection, David Johnson, the Chief Assessment Officer at the Federation of State Medical Boards, and Chris Feddock, Executive Director for the Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration, discuss the discontinuation of the Step 2 CS exam, the reasons behind the decision, and next steps.