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Important announcement regarding Fifth Pathway certificates and USMLE Step 3

Posted: March 08, 2016

As previously announced, the governing committee of the USMLE program and the USMLE parent organizations (the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical examiners) have determined that the USMLE will cease acceptance of Fifth Pathway certificates for the purpose of meeting Step 3 eligibility requirements, effective January 1, 2017.

Currently, the USMLE program accepts either a valid Standard ECFMG Certificate or a valid Fifth Pathway certificate (issued through December 31, 2009) from international medical graduates for purposes of meeting Step 3 eligibility requirements.

Individuals who hold valid Fifth Pathway certificates, and are otherwise eligible, may use their Fifth Pathway certificates to meet Step 3 eligibility requirements, and may apply for Step 3 through December 31, 2016.

Individuals holding Fifth Pathway certificates that are not accepted by the USMLE program for purposes of meeting Step 3 eligibility will be required to obtain ECFMG certification in order to be eligible for Step 3.

If you hold a valid Fifth Pathway certificate but have not completed the full USMLE sequence of examinations, you should remain mindful of the December 31, 2016 deadline, after which use of your Fifth Pathway certificate to meet Step 3 eligibility requirements will not be permitted.

Information on Step 3 eligibility requirements


Scheduling Reminder for Step 2 CS

Posted: January 29, 2016
Updated: April 26, 2017

Schedules at all test centers fill up quickly. We strongly encourage examinees to complete their scheduling before May 31 of the calendar year in which they plan to test. Based on scheduling trends, if you try to schedule after August 1, you may find that there are no available testing appointments through the end of the year unless there are cancellations.

The graph below is an estimate of test appointment availability for the next six months as of the date at the bottom of the graph. Please note that the graph does not indicate availability at any one location. Availability at the testing center you choose may differ.

Appointment availability changes frequently, so if you are unable to schedule an appointment during a particular time period, please continue to check the Step 2 CS scheduling website. Additional appointments may become available 60 days in advance of a test date.



More information is available in the Applying for the Test and Scheduling Your Test Date section of the Bulletin of Information.


UPDATE - Review of USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills minimum passing performance

Posted: January 24, 2017
Updated: April 19, 2017

Because severe winter weather resulted in cancellation and rescheduling of one of the standard setting panels that review test content for the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination, dates for the review by the USMLE Management Committee and for possible changes in the recommended minimum passing requirements to take effect have changed. Please see below for new dates.

The USMLE program recommends a minimum passing level for each Step examination. The USMLE Management Committee is responsible for establishing and monitoring these standards, and is asked to complete an in-depth review of standards for each examination every three to four years.

For the 2017 Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) review, information from multiple sources will be considered, including:

  • Results of content-based standard setting exercises conducted with three groups of physicians who have not previously participated in USMLE test committees;
  • Results of surveys of various groups (e.g., samples of examinees, state licensing representatives, medical school faculty) concerning the appropriateness of current pass/fail standards for Step examinations;
  • Trends in examinee performance;
  • Score precision and its effect on the pass/fail outcome.

The USMLE Management Committee is scheduled to review the minimum passing requirements for the USMLE Step 2 CS examination at its July 29 - August 1 meeting (originally scheduled for May 2017).

If the Committee determines that a change is appropriate, the new recommended minimum passing requirements will become effective for all examinees who take a Step 2 CS examination on or after September 10, 2017 (originally July 16, 2017.)

The decision of the Committee will be posted on the USMLE website immediately following the July 29 - August 1 meeting.


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