News

Important Information about Step 2 CS Testing and Score Reporting in 2012

As noted in the 2012 USMLE Bulletin of Information, changes to the assessment of communication skills and patient note are planned in mid-2012. In order to introduce these changes to the examination, there will be no Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examinations from May 20 through June 16, 2012.

Please note the following information regarding the testing schedule in the second half of 2012:

  • Additional testing sessions – including evening and weekend sessions – have been added to the calendar before and after the May/June shutdown.
  • The reporting schedule for examinees testing from June 17, 2012 through November 3, 2012 will be 2-3 weeks longer than for examinees testing during other periods.
  • Examinees who test on or before December 31, 2012 will have results reported in time for the 2013 “Match.”

View the 2012 Step 2 CS score reporting schedule.

ECFMG 2012 Information Booklet and Application Materials Are Available

The ECFMG 2012 Information Booklet and the 2012 exam application materials are now available on the ECFMG website.

For Step 1/Step 2 CK, you can use the 2012 materials to apply for:

  • available Step 1/Step 2 CK eligibility periods ending in 2011 (September 2011-November 2011 and October 2011-December 2011) and
  • all Step 1/Step 2 CK eligibility periods ending in 2012, beginning with the November 2011-January 2012 eligibility period.

For Step 2 CS, you can use the 2012 materials to obtain a 12-month eligibility period that begins on the date that the processing of your application is completed.

(posted July 29, 2011; updated September 15, 2011)

Relationship between USMLE’s 2-digit and 3-digit Score Scales

It was recently announced that starting July 1, 2011, USMLE would begin the process of eliminating the reporting of results on the 2-digit score scale to all score users except the examinee and the state licensing authority to whom results are reported at the examinee’s request.

Other users of USMLE results who have focused on the 2-digit score scale in the past will need to transition to using the 3-digit score. A table that will allow users to look up the 3-digit score(s) that corresponds approximately to a specific 2-digit score on recently administered Step 1 (since January 2010) and Step 2 CK (since July 1, 2010) examinations has been posted on the USMLE website. This table will not apply for results reported October 1, 2011 and later.

View full announcement on the USMLE website.

New Attempt Limit for USMLE Examinations

The USMLE program is introducing a limit on the total number of times an examinee can take the same Step or Step Component. When this limit takes effect, an examinee will be ineligible to take a Step or Step Component if the examinee has made six or more prior attempts to pass that Step or Step Component, including incomplete attempts.

The effective date for the six-attempt limit depends upon whether an examinee has taken any Step or Step Component (including incomplete attempts) before January 1, 2012.

Examinees Who Have NOT Taken Any Step Or Step Component Before January 1, 2012
If you have not taken any Step or Step Component before January 1, 2012, the six-attempt limit will go into effect for all exam applications that you submit on or after January 1, 2012.

Example 1: On January 15, 2012, Examinee A submits his application for his first attempt at any Step or Step Component. The six-attempt limit will be effective at that time for all Steps and Step Components and Examinee A will be allowed to take each Step or Step Component no more than six times, including incomplete attempts.

Examinees Who Have Taken Any Step Or Step Component Before January 1, 2012
If you have taken any Step or Step Component (including incomplete attempts) before January 1, 2012, the six-attempt limit will go into effect for all exam applications that you submit on or after January 1, 2013.  Beginning on that date, all attempts at a Step or Step Component will be counted toward the limit, regardless of when the exams were taken.

Example 2: Examinee B’s application for a seventh attempt at a particular Step or Step Component is received on December 15, 2012. For this examinee, the six-attempt limit will not prevent the seventh attempt, since the application was submitted before January 1, 2013.  However, if Examinee B fails the exam, he will not be eligible to submit an application on or after January 1, 2013 to retake that Step or Step Component.

Example 3: Examinee C attempts to submit an application for a seventh attempt at a particular Step or Step Component on or after January 1, 2013. The application will not be processed, since all exam applications submitted on or after January 1, 2013 will be subject to the six-attempt limit.

ECFMG Named One of The Principal 10 Best Companies for 2011

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) has been named a 2011 winner of The Principal® 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security. Presented by The Principal Financial Group®, The Principal 10 Best Companies is a national program recognizing growing companies that excel at helping employees build their financial futures through excellent benefits programs. Winners are selected by an independent panel of financial services and human resources experts that evaluate entrants on criteria such as the variety of financial benefits offered; the financial value of benefits offered; level of commitment to the financial security of employees; and the entrants’ industry, strength of benefits for that industry, and the demographics of their workforce.

ECFMG’s mission, promoting quality health care for the public, is critically important. Retaining the skill and expertise represented by ECFMG’s employees is essential to fulfilling this mission and to continuing to be responsive to its examinees and other constituencies. As observed by ECFMG’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel G. Cassimatis, M.D., “Working in a positive environment and having colleagues who are happy to be here makes for a better atmosphere for everyone—and, ultimately, results in better service to our customers.”

ECFMG Launches Redesigned Website

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is pleased to announce a comprehensive redesign of its website at http://www.ecfmg.org. Launched on August 15, the new site has been designed to provide enhanced service to users of ECFMG’s programs and others with an interest in ECFMG’s mission, activities, and resources.

In creating the new website, we have improved the organization of existing content and added new information and features. The new site offers useful introductions to ECFMG programs and easy access to its on-line services. New and established applicants can use the Applicant Portal for quick access to commonly-requested items. Get the latest updates by visiting the new, searchable News page. Find new data exhibits on international medical graduates pursuing ECFMG Certification and ECFMG J-1 visa sponsorship among the site’s new Resources. A new search function allows users to find information and resources quickly and easily. Or simply use the site to learn more About ECFMG.

We are excited to be able to bring you these enhancements and invite you to explore the redesigned site at http://www.ecfmg.org.

New Rules on Repeating USMLE Examinations: Time between Examination Attempts

The USMLE Program sets rules on how quickly examinees can repeat the same Step or Step Component. These rules will change for exam applications submitted on or after January 1, 2012.

For exam applications submitted before January 1, 2012, the current rules apply. The current rules are:

  • For the computer-based examinations (Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3), you may take the examination no more than four times within a 12-month period.
  • For Step 2 CS, you may take the examination no more than three times within a 12-month period.

For exam applications submitted on or after January 1, 2012, the following rules apply to all Steps and Step Components. You may take the same examination no more than three times within a 12-month period. Your fourth and subsequent attempts must be at least 12 months after your first attempt at that exam and at least six months after your most recent attempt at that exam. Attempts at that examination (complete and incomplete) prior to January 1, 2012 will be counted in determining whether these rules apply.

When you reapply, your exam eligibility period will be adjusted, if necessary, to comply with these rules.

Example: An examinee takes and fails her first attempt at Step 1 on January 15, 2011, her second attempt at Step 1 on April 15, 2011, and her third attempt at Step 1 on September 15, 2011. In January 2012, the examinee submits an application for a fourth attempt at Step 1, requesting the March-April-May eligibility period. The earliest date that is both 12 months after her first attempt on January 15, 2011 and six months after her most recent attempt on September 15, 2011 is March 15, 2012. Since the March-April-May eligibility period requested by the applicant begins before this date, the applicant is assigned the next eligibility period that begins after March 15, 2012, April-May-June.

Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) Test Center in Chicago Temporarily Closed

UPDATE: The Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) test center in Chicago reopened for all scheduled Step 2 CS examinations on August 15.

The Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration (CSEC) test center in Chicago sustained significant damage during a recent rainstorm and is currently closed. All Step 2 CS examinations scheduled at the Chicago test center through August 12 have been cancelled. Examinees scheduled to take the Step 2 CS exam at the Chicago test center July 25 through August 12 are being contacted via email. Please also monitor the USMLE website for updated information about when the Chicago test center will be re-opened.

View full announcement on the USMLE website.

(posted July 28, 2011; updated July 28, 2011, August 16, 2011)

USE CAUTION IN SELECTING REVIEW COURSES: Orientation, Practice, and Self-Assessment Materials Available through USMLE, NBME, and Third Parties

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program recognizes the importance of providing all examinees the opportunity to learn about the design and content of its examinations and to have some exposure, before examination day, to samples of testing formats and materials. USMLE provides orientation and practice materials for all USMLE Steps and Step Components. These materials, which are available at no cost on the USMLE website, include:

  • Informational materials on the overall USMLE program and content descriptions for each of the USMLE examinations,
  • Tutorials that illustrate the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), Step 3 multiple-choice question software and the Step 3 computer-based case simulation (Primum® CCS) software,
  • Sample multiple-choice test questions with answer keys for each Step,
  • Sample Step 3 Primum cases with feedback, and
  • Orientation materials for Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS).

In addition, the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®) provides, for a fee, self-assessment services to help the examinee evaluate his or her readiness to take USMLE. These services help individuals become familiar with questions like those that have appeared on USMLE and provide performance feedback on the individual’s areas of relative strength and weakness. See www.nbme.org to obtain additional information and to purchase self-assessment services.

Beyond these USMLE and NBME services, there are a variety of commercial test preparation materials and courses that claim to prepare examinees for USMLE examinations. Examinees who are considering using such services should fully understand the nature of these services, the sources of any content being used, and the basis for any claims being made. None of these third-party materials or courses are affiliated with or sanctioned by the USMLE program and information on such materials and courses is not available from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), NBME, USMLE Secretariat, or medical licensing authorities.

Please note that it is unlawful for any test preparation program or any individual to use, disclose, distribute, or provide access to questions or answers from actual USMLE exams. An examinee who is involved with any enterprise that disseminates USMLE content should be aware of the consequences, which include the possible cancellation of USMLE registration and/or testing, the withholding or cancellation of scores, and the imposition of additional sanctions.