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USMLE listens: students and residents offer feedback

Posted: March 27, 2019

To deepen its awareness of student and resident perspectives, United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE) program staff hosted the Medical Student and Resident Advisory Panel in February 2019. The panel, which meets twice a year, is designed to:

  • Test assumptions about the USMLE with an examinee audience
  • Collect feedback from medical students and residents on issues and topics specific to USMLE
  • Gain insight into the perspective of examinees on USMLE policy issues

Prior to their visit, panelists provided input about topics they wanted to discuss during the meeting.

Panelists shared their medical school journey
  • Panelists shared their personal journey in medical education and training, as well as insights into how the current USMLE program impacts their journey. They then explored the impact of USMLE scores and test preparation from the perspectives of different stakeholders, including examinees, medical schools, and residency programs. USMLE staff noted that the journeys were quite different, due to differences in school size, name recognition, grading policy, and many other factors. 
  • Staff asked the panelists what the leaders of the USMLE program should be mindful of as they consider USMLE score reporting within the continuum of medical education. Several themes emerged: the desire for medical students and residents to feel a sense of control over their individual journeys; the need to acknowledge the strong emotions arising from the current discussion of Step score reporting; the need to mitigate unintended consequences arising from any change(s) to USMLE.

Feedback about Step 2 CS score reports
In prior meetings, the panelists provided feedback on the Step 1, 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), and Step 3 score report redesign prototypes. At this meeting, the panel reviewed a prototype design for the new Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examinee score reports, and offered feedback. The guiding principles for all the redesigns have been:

  • Improve transparency regarding what will be on the exam and the score report 
  • Increase guidance for failing examinees 
  • Create more consistency in category labels 
  • Maximize granularity (while minimizing unintended use) 
  • Create reports that are interactive

USMLE videos coming soon
At previous meetings, the panel weighed in concerning the types of information medical students and residents need to hear from USMLE. The panel indicated that providing information about the USMLE journey and highlighting that it is a licensing examination would be beneficial to new or first-time examinees.

The panel also suggested that information about who works on USMLE (e.g., who writes the actual test items) would also be of interest and help to “humanize” the program with examinees. At this meeting, the panel previewed two videos produced to address their recommendations and indicated that the video format and quality of information shared in each was useful and would help to fill gaps they had experienced in their journey as USMLE examinees. Look for the videos to be available on USMLE.org in coming weeks.

USMLE research; proposed checklists
Students and residents were also briefed about recent USMLE research, as well as proposed checklists for examinees to use to feel ready on exam day or to ensure they’ve completed all the steps for registration.

USMLE staff are grateful for actionable input from the panel. The date for the next in-person meeting of the panel has not yet been set, though it is likely to reconvene by conference call in late spring or early summer.


Step 2 CK – Delay in score reporting

Posted: March 06, 2019
Updated: August 09, 2019

Most score reporting of Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) results occurs within four weeks of testing. However, because of necessary modifications to the test item pool, there will be a delay in reporting for some examinees who test beginning the week of June 23, 2019.

The target date for reporting Step 2 CK scores for most examinees testing the week of June 23 through August 8 will be Wednesday, August 28, 2019. For examinees whose circumstances require that they receive Step 2 CK scores before August 28, 2019, it is recommended that they take the exam no later than June 24, 2019.

Although the transition will occur quickly at many test centers, there may be some locations where the changes take slightly longer to complete. The overall transition period will likely last approximately six weeks. Please note that scores on new and old exam forms will be comparable.


InCUS webinar now available

Posted: June 25, 2019

You can now access a recording of the June 24, 2019 webinar, Exploring Possible Changes to USMLE Score Reporting, here.

More than 150 questions were submitted prior to the broadcast. Representatives from the five organizations sponsoring the Invitational Conference on USMLE Scoring (InCUS) answered many of these, as well as fielding questions during the live recording. All questions will be used to develop FAQs, which will be posted on usmle.org.

Sponsors of InCUS are the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American Medical Association (AMA), the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). 

We encourage the
submission of feedback about the recommendations until the public comment period closes on July 26.

USMLE score reporting is a complex issue, and we will continue to provide updates and information here on the
usmle.org website.


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