Effective January 1, 2022, Prometric updated its schedule of fees for United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) examinees who change their testing appointments (e.g., reschedule, cancel, change test center location) at Prometric Test Centers. For current information on rescheduling fees and when they may apply, see the USMLE website.
To expand the availability of United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) test materials for Step 3 examinees, Computer-based Case Simulations (CCS) practice materials can now be accessed on both PCs and Macs. The materials are web-based and no longer require downloading software. Please see the full announcement on the USMLE website for more information.
If you need to receive United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 3 scores before March 16, 2022 it is recommended that you take the exam no later than December 31, 2021.
Most Step 3 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 in early 2022. The target date for reporting Step 3 scores for examinees testing in January and February 2022 is Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
No USMLE Step 3 examinations will be administered January 1-14, 2022.
United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) exam security helps promote a testing environment where no examinee has an unfair advantage. It also helps to control increases in exam fees by minimizing the number of items removed from USMLE due to potential exposure. The USMLE security program’s goal is to protect the integrity of USMLE, which aims to ensure safe and effective patient care.
To further minimize potential violations, the USMLE program is now offering an app called STOPit, which enables examinees to anonymously report suspected security violations.
The STOPit mobile app allows users to:
- Anonymously report incidents in real time
- Submit documents, photos, and video evidence
- Engage in two-way anonymous communication in follow-up to a report
- Connect with USMLE staff regarding exam security incidents
The USMLE program asks that you please help maintain the integrity of USMLE by downloading the new app. The USMLE program encourages anyone with knowledge of any activities that may compromise USMLE test items to submit this information through the STOPit app.
If you have questions about the STOPit app, please contact the Office of the USMLE Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.”
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.
Last month, the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program announced temporary USMLE Step 3 eligibility requirements during the suspension of the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination. The temporary eligibility requirements, applicable to examinees who have not yet passed the Step 2 CS, are in effect within the Step 3 registration system starting Sept. 3, 2020 at 1 p.m. U.S. Central Time.
Examinees should read the full announcement on the USMLE website.
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.
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.
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)
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.