Update on planned changes to USMLE Step 3 examination
Posted: April 11, 2012
The USMLE Composite Committee and USMLE parent organizations (the National Board of Medical Examiners and the Federation of State Medical Boards) recently approved plans to change the structure of USMLE. Step 3 will be the first examination impacted, with changes to this examination to occur no earlier than 2014.
The plans call for the division of Step 3 into two separate exams, each one day in length, focusing on different sets of competencies. The proposed examinations will continue to be administered by computer using multiple choice questions and computer simulations. The two examinations will be scored separately and examinees will be expected to pass each.
The first exam is expected to focus on whether an examinee possesses the knowledge essential to the independent practice of medicine, including a comprehensive knowledge of both foundational science and clinical medicine. The second exam will assess an examinee’s ability to apply knowledge in the context of patient management, including demonstration of comprehensive knowledge of health and disease, and their impact on patients. The second exam will also require a demonstration of evidence-based medicine and quantitative reasoning skills important to patient care and to life-long learning. Specific information about these changes will be provided well in advance of implementation.
New testing formats that focus on competencies not currently addressed by the Step 3 examination may also be introduced. If new testing formats are to be introduced, announcements will be made and sample material provided in advance of their introduction in the live examinations.
The change to Step 3 will occur no sooner than 2014. After experience is gained with implementation of the Step 3 changes, the Composite Committee and USMLE parent organizations will consider possible modifications to Steps 1 and 2 CK.
As new information becomes available it will be posted to the USMLE website.
Updated practice and informational materials for the Step 3 examination available
Posted: November 19, 2015
Updated practice and informational materials for the Step 3 examination have been posted to the USMLE website. These materials reflect the change in number of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) per block described in a prior announcement.
Examinees who plan to take a Step 3 examination on or after January 18, 2016 should read the materials and practice with the updated sample items and cases. The materials include:
Step 3 – Change in number of items and score delay
Posted: November 18, 2015
Beginning the week of January 18, 2016, the number of items on the Step 3 examination will decrease. There will be a delay in reporting scores for exams administered between January 18 and April 30, 2016. The target date for reporting Step 3 scores for most examinees testing during this time period is May 25, 2016.
Although this change will occur quickly at many test centers, there may be some locations where the transition takes longer to complete. The overall transition period should last approximately six weeks. Please note that:
- The length of the testing days will not change.
- Day 1 (Foundations of Independent Practice [FIP]) will continue to be an approximately 7-hour testing session, including time for breaks and tutorials.
- Day 2 (Advanced Clinical Medicine [ACM]) will continue to be a 9-hour testing session, including time for breaks and tutorials.
- Day 1 (FIP) will continue to be divided into six 60-minute blocks.
- Each FIP block will have 38 to 40 multiple-choice questions (MCQs).
- The total number of MCQs on the FIP portion of the examination will be 233.
- Day 2 (ACM) will continue to be divided into six 45-minute blocks of MCQs, and 13 computer-based case simulations (CCS).
- Each ACM MCQ block will have 30 items.
- The total number of MCQ items on the ACM portion of the examination will be 180.
- Scores on examination forms taken before and after the change – as well as scores on forms with different numbers of items – will be comparable; the possible variation in the number of items per form will be accounted for in scoring the examination.
Score reports for Step 3 are usually available within four weeks of testing. However, because of the change described above, as well as routine modifications to the test item pool, score reporting for most Step 3 examinations administered from January 18, 2016 through April 30, 2016 will take longer. As noted above, the target date for reporting Step 3 scores for most examinees testing during this time period is May 25, 2016.
Page: 1 of 9