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.

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.

Computer-Assisted Scoring Coming to Step 2 CS

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program is committed to applying the best available technology and the most current assessment practices to ensure accuracy and validity for all its examination programs. Beginning October 2019, computer-assisted scoring technology will be used to score patient notes created by examinees for the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination.

The use of computer-assisted scoring will not change the cost of the exam, nor the timing with which examinees receive their scores. The computer-assisted scoring program is based on the scoring rubrics developed by experienced physician note raters. For cases in which computer-assisted scoring is used, notes with machine scores below the 50th percentile in performance will also be scored by physician patient note raters. The machine scores and physician scores will then be averaged to produce the examinee’s score on the patient note portion of the Step 2 CS exam.

Much consideration has gone into the implementation of computer-assisted scoring. Most importantly, the crucial role of clinical judgment in the evaluation of Step 2 CS performances will be preserved. Second, the examinee experience will not be adversely affected. The expert judgment of physicians will be used on an ongoing basis for the development of patient note scoring guidelines and in the training of the computer-based scoring system.

Click here for FAQs related to computer-assisted scoring. To read more about NBME’s work with natural language processing, see a recent article in Academic Medicine here.

Examinees should monitor the USMLE website for the latest information.

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.

Update on Severe Weather and Step 2 CS Examinations at CSEC Test Center in Houston, Texas

As of 7:15 p.m., Central Time in the United States, the Houston, Texas, CSEC test center is operating normally. We expect USMLE Step 2 CS exams to be administered as scheduled on September 19, 2019. Please continue to check this webpage in case there are additional updates.

Thank you for your patience during this severe weather event.

Today’s Step 2 CS Exam Canceled in Houston, Texas, Due to Severe Weather

Due to severe weather that has caused a power outage at the Houston, Texas, test center, the USMLE Step 2 CS exam cannot be administered today, Wednesday, September 18, 2019.

The Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration (CSEC), which administers the Step 2 CS exam, is in the process of contacting affected examinees and is monitoring power company information for ongoing updates. If you were scheduled to take Step 2 CS at the Houston test center today, September 18, 2019, a member of CSEC’s staff will contact you about rescheduling your exam.

At this time, administration of Step 2 CS is anticipated to resume in Houston on Thursday, September 19, 2019. Please check this webpage frequently for updates about tomorrow’s exam. We will post information as soon as it is available.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this severe weather event.