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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


Step 2 CS cases – common presenting signs and symptoms

Posted: September 10, 2017

A list of common presenting signs and symptoms that Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examinees may expect to see during their examination has been posted to the USMLE website. These are examples only, and the list does not represent all possible presenting signs and symptoms that may be encountered.

The Step 2 Clinical Skills Content Description and General Information booklet has been revised to include this list.

Examinees will encounter a broad spectrum of cases reflecting common and important symptoms and diagnoses, as well as patients with a variety of backgrounds. The criteria used to create individual examinations focus primarily on presenting symptoms and conditions. On any examination day, the set of cases will differ from the combination presented the day before or the following day, but each set of cases has a comparable degree of difficulty.

Presentation categories include, but are not limited to, cardiovascular, constitutional, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, musculoskeletal, neurological, psychiatric, respiratory, and women's health. Examinees will see cases from some, but not all, of these categories. The selection of cases is also guided by specifications relating to acuity, age, gender, and type of physical findings.

The USMLE program continually reviews its examinations to ensure their content is relevant to the practice of medicine. As practice guidelines evolve or are introduced, the content on USMLE is reviewed and modified as needed.


Updated Step 2 Clinical Skills orientation video and information booklet

Posted: September 10, 2017

An updated Step 2 CS orientation video is available. The video includes information about two user-adjustable display features in the patient note program used by Step 2 CS examinees, text magnification and color inversion.

An updated Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) Content Description and General Information booklet is available. The updated booklet includes a list of common presenting symptoms and signs that examinees may expect to see.


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