News

Paper Supporting Documents Will Not Be Accepted for ERAS 2014

Effective with the ERAS 2014 application season, ERAS Support Services at ECFMG will no longer accept paper documents in support of ERAS residency applications. All supporting documents must be submitted electronically using one of the available methods listed below.

ERAS Residency Applicants Can Use ECFMG’s OASIS

Applicants can electronically submit Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPEs), medical school transcripts, photographs, Postgraduate Training Authorization Letters (PTAL or “California Letter”), and  letters of recommendation (LoRs) if they have not waived their rights to view them, to ERAS Support Services using ECFMG’s On-line Applicant Status and Information System (OASIS). Please note that students/graduates of medical schools that participate in the ECFMG Medical School Web Portal (EMSWP) ERAS program cannot upload MSPEs or medical school transcripts using OASIS. These documents must be provided by the participating medical school (see below). For more information on how to upload documents using OASIS, and the types of documents applicants can submit, visit http://www.ecfmg.org/eras/applicants-documents-submission.html.

International Medical Schools Can Use ECFMG’s EMSWP

Through the ECFMG Medical School Web Portal (EMSWP) ERAS program, international medical schools can electronically submit Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPEs), medical school transcripts, and letters of recommendation (LoRs) on behalf of their students and graduates who participate in ERAS. Participating schools can also track receipt of ERAS supporting documents by ECFMG and verify the ERAS registration activity of their students and graduates.

For more information on the EMSWP ERAS program and how to establish an account, medical school representatives can contact Patricia Baldwin-Browns, ERAS Program Administrator, at erasadmin@ecfmg.org.

Letter of Recommendation Writers Can Use AAMC’s ERAS LoR Portal

Applicants can request that letter writers electronically submit letters of recommendation on their behalf using the AAMC’s ERAS LoR Portal. Applicants can submit ERAS LoR Portal requests to their letter writers using their AAMC MyERAS account. For more information on the ERAS LoR Portal, visit the AAMC website at https://www.aamc.org/services/eras/282520/lor_portal.html.

Paper documents submitted via mail or courier service to ERAS Support Services at ECFMG for ERAS 2014 will NOT be scanned or attached to international medical students’/graduates’ MyERAS applications.

Reminder: Once registered at MyERAS, it is your responsibility to monitor the status of your ERAS application through the AAMC Applicant Document Tracking System (ADTS) found at the AAMC MyERAS homepage.

Now Available: ECHO’s January Resources for ECFMG-certified Physicians

Each month, the ECFMG Certificate Holders Office (ECHO) publishes free resources for ECFMG-certified physicians, and those about to be certified, who are planning their careers.

ECHO is pleased to announce the following new resources for January.

  • Match Week is quickly approaching, and it is time to put the potential training programs you interviewed with in order and then submit your rank order list to the NRMP®. Besides reflecting on your interviews with these programs and where you would most like to train, there is much to consider, such as deadlines, policies, and procedures. Visit our new resource NRMP Rank Order Lists: Some Important Considerations to find out more about this process.
  • Do you know what to do if you find out you are unmatched for 2013? We asked the executive director of the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP) to explain the organization’s Supplemental Offer and Acceptance ProgramSM (SOAP SM) that was put into place to help unmatched applicants find unfilled positions during Match week. Read all about it in Ask the Experts: NRMP’s Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP).

In addition to providing valuable resources, ECHO offers certified physicians ways to stay connected with ECFMG and its expertise. Through ECHO, certified physicians can also connect with information from other organizations and experts, and each other. ECHO offers new ways for certified physicians to communicate with ECFMG, for example, by participating in ECHO’s monthly surveys and sending feedback to ECHO.

For more information, visit the ECHO section of the ECFMG website at www.ecfmg.org/echo.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable February 1-2

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services will be unavailable from approximately 4:00 p.m. on February 1, 2013 through approximately 2:00 p.m. on February 2, 2013. All times are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

During this maintenance period, you will not be able to access any of ECFMG’s on-line services. For more information on the services that will be unavailable during this maintenance period, visit the On-line Services Overview page.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work to maintain high-quality on-line services.

Clarification on Completing the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) Patient Note

Changes were introduced to the Step 2 CS examination program in mid-June 2012. These included changes to the patient note that examinees must complete after each standardized patient encounter.

As described in the Step 2 CS Content Description and General Information booklet, examinees should record pertinent medical history and physical examination findings obtained during the encounter, as well as initial differential diagnoses (maximum of three). The diagnoses should be listed in order of likelihood, most likely to least likely. Examinees should also indicate the pertinent positive and negative findings obtained from the history and physical examination to support each potential diagnosis.

To clarify previous language about USMLE expectations for examinees completing the patient note: while it is acknowledged that it is important for a physician to be able to recognize the findings that rule out certain diagnoses, the task for Step 2 CS examinees at this time is to record only the most likely diagnoses along with findings (positive and negative), that support them.

Additional information about the Step 2 CS examination, and about all USMLE examinations, is available in the USMLE Bulletin of Information.

Instructions for completing the patient note, as well as a simulation program for practicing the note, and sample patient notes, are available in the Practice Materials section of the USMLE website.

Change in the Performance Standard of the Step 2 CS Examination that Will Affect Examinees Testing on or after January 1, 2013

As stated in the USMLE Bulletin of Information and as explained in a previous posting to the USMLE website, the level of proficiency required to meet the recommended minimum passing level for each USMLE Step examination is reviewed periodically and may be adjusted at any time. Notice of such review and any adjustments are posted on the USMLE website.

At its December 2012 meeting, the Step 2 Committee conducted such a review for USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS). During the meeting, the Step 2 Committee considered information from multiple sources, including:

  1. Recommendations from independent groups of physicians who participated in content-based standard-setting activities in 2012;
  2. Results of surveys of various groups (e.g., state licensing representatives, medical school faculty, examinees) concerning the appropriateness of current pass/fail standards for the Step 2 CS examinations;
  3. Data on trends in examinee performance;
  4. Data on precision of pass/fail classifications.

The results of the review are described below. Because numerical scores are not reported for Step 2 CS, the decisions of the Step 2 Committee are reflected in terms of potential impact on examinees using data from recent administrations.

The Step 2 Committee decided to increase the performance levels required to receive a passing outcome on two of the three Step 2 CS subcomponents: Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS) and Integrated Clinical Encounter (ICE). There will be no change to minimum passing requirements for the Spoken English Proficiency (SEP) subcomponent of Step 2 CS at this time.

These changes will be applied to Step 2 CS examinees testing on or after January 1, 2013.

Because of the changes that were made to the design and content of the ICE and CIS subcomponents earlier this year, as announced, the ability to use historical trends to predict the impact of the changes in minimum passing requirements is limited. If the new minimum passing requirements were applied to the group of first-time examinees who recently tested under the new examination structure, the overall passing rate for examinees from U.S. medical schools would be approximately three percent lower and the overall passing rate for examinees from international medical schools would be approximately eighteen percent lower.

The impact of these changes on future examinees will depend on the examinees’ performance. The overall impact will be reviewed by the Step 2 Committee when more examinees have tested under these new requirements.

ECFMG Developing New Service to Facilitate and Promote International Exchange in Medical Education

ECFMG is collaborating with members of the international medical education community to develop the Global Education in Medicine Exchange (GEMx), an exciting new service to facilitate and promote international exchange in medical education. GEMx will allow medical schools to promote their electives to students around the world, and to establish strong relationships with other schools to provide students with a wide range of high-quality international educational opportunities.

Read the press release.

Application Fee Increases for 2013

Effective January 1, 2013, the fee for submitting an Application for ECFMG Certification will increase from $50 to $60.

The fees for those applying to ECFMG for USMLE Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), and Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) will also increase, as described below:

  • The examination fees for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK will increase from $790 to $820 for each exam registration.
  • The examination fee for Step 2 CS will increase from $1,375 to $1,440 for each exam registration.

The new fees will be assessed for all applications submitted to ECFMG on or after January 1, 2013.

Additionally, it is expected that Prometric will increase the Step 1/Step 2 CK international test delivery surcharges, which apply to applicants who choose a testing region other than the United States/Canada. ECFMG will post additional information on the increases to the international test delivery surcharges to the ECFMG website as it becomes available.

For more information on the fees associated with applying for ECFMG Certification and for USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS, refer to the ECFMG 2013 Information Booklet.

IWA Unavailable December 31-January 1

Due to required maintenance, ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA) will be unavailable from approximately 11:00 p.m. on December 31, 2012 through approximately 12:15 a.m. on January 1, 2013. All times are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

During this maintenance period, you will be unable to perform any IWA transactions, including working on or submitting an Application for ECFMG Certification or USMLE exam application; accessing a USMLE scheduling permit; or requesting an extension of a USMLE Step 1 or Step 2 CK eligibility period.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work to maintain high-quality on-line services.

Now Available: ECHO’s December Resources for ECFMG-certified Physicians

Each month, the ECFMG Certificate Holders Office (ECHO) publishes free resources for ECFMG-certified physicians, and those about to be certified, who are planning their careers.

ECHO is pleased to announce the following new resources for December.

  • Just because your residency interviews are over doesn’t mean the opportunities to make a good impression are. Following your interviews, but before your Match results are revealed, there are various ways in which you can enhance your standing with residency program directors. Visit our new resource Communicating with Programs after the Interview to find out how.
  • Do you know what it means for programs to be “All-In” for the 2013 Match? We asked the executive director of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) to explain the organization’s new policy. Read all about it in Ask the Experts: The NRMP’s New “All-In” Policy.

In addition to providing valuable resources, ECHO offers certified physicians ways to stay connected with ECFMG and its expertise. Through ECHO, certified physicians can also connect with information from other organizations and experts, and each other. ECHO offers new ways for certified physicians to communicate with ECFMG, for example, by participating in ECHO’s monthly surveys and sending feedback to ECHO.

For more information, visit the ECHO section of the ECFMG website at www.ecfmg.org/echo.

Delay in Score Reporting for Step 3 in 2013

Starting the week of February 11, 2013, a transition period will begin in which routine modifications to the items in the exam, including a minor decrease in the number of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) in current forms of the Step 3 examination, will occur.

Although the transition will occur quickly at many test centers, there may be some locations where the changes take slightly longer. The transition period will likely take approximately 4 weeks. Please note that:

  • The length of the examination day will remain unchanged.
  • Scores on new and old forms will be comparable.

Score reports for Step 3 are usually available within four weeks of testing. However, because of the changes described above, score reporting for most Step 3 examinations administered from the week of February 11, 2013 through early May 2013 will take longer.

The target date for reporting Step 3 scores for most examinees testing the week of February 11 through early May 2013 will be on Wednesday, June 5, 2013.

Examinees should monitor the USMLE website for the latest information.