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.
Transition of test content to DSM-5 criteria and terminology
Posted: November 04, 2013
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) was released at the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting in May 2013. USMLE test content will be impacted by changes in criteria and terminology.
Because USMLE content pools are large, the transition from DSM-IV to DSM-5 criteria and terminology will need to be gradual and will likely take place over several years. The following principles will guide this transition:
- The highest priority has been given to test content assessing diagnoses that do not appear in DSM-5. This content has already been removed from USMLE examinations.
- USMLE will begin to transition content to include both DSM-IV and DSM-5 terminology. This process will begin in 2014. Start and end dates for this transition will vary by exam.