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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.


Step 2 CS Rescheduling Fees

Posted: August 04, 2014

Beginning September 1, 2014, the rescheduling fees for the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination will change. If you have a scheduled testing appointment and are unable to take the exam on your scheduled test date or at your scheduled center, you may cancel your scheduled testing appointment and reschedule for a different date and/or center, subject to availability. You may cancel and/or reschedule at any time through the end of the day before your scheduled test date. However, no canceling is allowed beginning at 12:00 AM, Eastern Time in the United States, on your scheduled test date. The date that you cancel your testing appointment will determine the amount of your rescheduling fee, as described in the list and table below. All dates and notice periods are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

  • If you cancel more than 14 calendar days before your scheduled test date, you will not be charged a fee when you reschedule.
  • If you cancel between 3 and 14 calendar days before your scheduled test date, you will be charged a $400 fee when you reschedule.
  • If you cancel 2 calendar days before your scheduled test date, you will be charged a $615 fee when you reschedule.
  • If you cancel 1 day before your scheduled test date you will be charged a $1,230 fee when you reschedule.
  • If you miss your scheduled testing appointment without canceling, you will be charged a $1,230 fee when you reschedule.

Example: Step 2 CS Rescheduling Fees
Scheduled
Test Date
Cancel Date(s)
Fee
July 15
On or before June 30
No fee
July 1 – July 12
$400
July 13
$615
July 14
$1230


If you cancel without rescheduling or miss your scheduled testing appointment, there is no guarantee that testing appointments during your eligibility period will be available when you attempt to reschedule. If you do not reschedule within your eligibility period, you must submit a new application and exam registration fee in order to take the exam.

If you are unable to keep your scheduled testing appointment, we encourage you to cancel your appointment as soon as possible, regardless of whether you are ready to reschedule. When examinees cancel more than 14 calendar days before their appointment, it is more likely that another examinee will be able to fill that testing slot. Avoiding large numbers of unfilled testing slots helps the USMLE Program manage capacity and minimize increases in the cost of the exam.


Updated information materials for the Step 2 CK examination are now available

Posted: July 25, 2014
Updated: July 29, 2014

Updated information materials for the Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) examination have been posted to the USMLE website. They include:


• USMLE Step 2 CK Sample Test Questions booklet (PDF)
 USMLE Step 2 CK Content Description and General Information booklet (PDF)
• Tutorial and practice test questions for multiple-choice items

Updates to the information materials include information regarding test specifications for the Step 2 CK examination that correspond to the organization of content areas in the USMLE Content Outline for all USMLE examinations, as well as test specifications that correspond to the organization of content areas in the USMLE Physician Task/Competencies outline. All USMLE examinations published in 2014 are being constructed using the classification systems in these two documents. Each Step exam will continue to have test specifications specific to that Step. Each Step exam will emphasize certain parts of both the content and task/competencies outline, and no single examination will include questions on all topics in the content outline.

Please note that changes to the Step 2 CK exam in 2014 resulting from use of the new outlines are minor, and the examination content will be similar to content on previous examinations. One change to note, however, is that the downloadable Step 2 CK practice test questions now include a multi-media item assessing recognition of breath sounds, similar in format to items assessing heart sounds.

The previous Step 2 CK content outline will remain available on the USMLE website for reference.


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