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USMLE program announces upcoming policy changes

Posted: February 12, 2020

Today, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®), co-sponsors of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®), announced upcoming policy changes to the USMLE program.

These new policies will continue to enable the USMLE program to provide high-quality assessments for the primary user of exam results (state medical boards) while also addressing other considerations, such as exam security and unintended consequences of secondary score uses. The secondary uses of Step 1 scores for residency screening, in particular, have been the focus of extensive discussion over the past year at the FSMB and NBME, within the USMLE program, and with multiple stakeholders within the broader medical education and regulatory communities.

“These new policies strengthen the integrity of the USMLE and address concerns about Step 1 scores impacting student well-being and medical education,” said Humayun Chaudhry, DO, MACP, President and CEO of the FSMB. “Although the primary purpose of the exam is to assess the knowledge and skills essential to safe patient care, it is important that we improve the transition from undergraduate to graduate medical education.”

“The USMLE program governance carefully considered input from multiple sources in coming to these decisions. Recognizing the complexity of the environment and the desire for improvement, continuation of the status quo was not the best way forward,” reported Peter Katsufrakis, MD, MBA, President and CEO of NBME. “Both program governance and staff believe these changes represent improvements to the USMLE program and create the environment for improved student experiences in their education and their transition to residency."

These policy changes are currently planned to be phased in over the next 11-24 months. For specific information on each policy, consult the links above to the detailed statements accompanying each policy change. A podcast supplementing the information contained in this announcement is below.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) 3/27/2020 update: Prometric closures

Posted: March 17, 2020
Updated: March 27, 2020

Prometric announced on March 17 that test centers in the United States and Canada will be closed for a period of 30 days, starting March 18.

In response, the USMLE program is extending eligibility periods this week, beginning with those that expire in March. All eligibility periods for examinees who currently have a scheduling period with an unexpired eligibility period ending in 2020 will be extended to have an end date of December 2020, regardless of the country in which they are testing.

Extensions will be processed in order of expiration date, with all extension processing expected to be completed by the week of April 13th. Examinees will receive a notification and new scheduling permit when their eligibility extension has been processed. Examinees will need to use the new permit once received.

Extending the eligibility period will not impact already scheduled appointments. No fees will be charged for these eligibility extensions. Eligibility periods will be extended automatically, requiring no action from examinees.

If you have questions, we again kindly ask you to wait for our next announcement before contacting your registration entity. 
This will allow us more time to plan a solution for all examinees impacted by the closures. Please continue to check the USMLE website and our social media for updates. 

If you are scheduled to take a USMLE examination in a region outside the United States and Canada, please check the Prometric website for the most current list of test center closures before going to the test center on your scheduled test day.

Thank you for your patience, cooperation, and understanding during this challenging time.


USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) testing temporarily suspended beginning Monday, March 16, 2020

Posted: March 13, 2020

The USMLE program is closely monitoring the guidance of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the spread of the novel Coronavirus and its associated disease, COVID-19.  We are aware that examinees are scheduled to take USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) and of the importance of the examination to their future goals and obligations.  However, given the unique, human-to-human delivery mode of this exam, it is important to take the following precautionary steps to protect the health of examinees and test center staff.

Upcoming CSEC Test Center Closures
All CSEC test centers will be closed starting Monday, March 16, 2020.  We hope to resume operations of all centers on Monday April 13, 2020.  Given the fluid nature of this situation, please be aware these dates are subject to change. Please monitor www.usmle.org for updates.

Reopening of Test Centers  
If your testing appointment is canceled as a result of the temporary closure, you will be contacted by a Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration (CSEC) staff member who will assist you with rescheduling your appointment.

Once the test centers resume operations, we will open additional testing appointments to help meet increased, time-sensitive testing demands.  Updates to the Step 2 CS scheduling and score reporting calendar will be posted to the USMLE website. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work together through this challenging time.  The USMLE program is actively working with other organizations in medical education and medical regulation to provide the least possible amount of disruption to examinees during this unprecedented situation. 

Our goals are to protect the health of all examinees and center staff while doing our best to provide each examinee a testing appointment that meets their needs.


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