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.
USMLE takes action against individuals found to have engaged in irregular behavior
Posted: February 27, 2014
The USMLE Committee for Individualized Review (CIR) meets periodically throughout each year to review cases involving allegations of irregular behavior by applicants and/or examinees.
At its recent meetings, the CIR heard multiple cases involving the following:
- falsified information, including the creation of falsified score reports
- soliciting and/or seeking to obtain unauthorized access to examination materials
- communicating about specific test items, cases, and/or answers with another examinee
- applying and/or attempting to take an examination when ineligible
- making notes of any kind on anything other than materials provided
- failure to follow test center instructions, including writing past the ‘end patient note’ announcement
Actions taken by the CIR at its recent meetings included annotating the individual’s USMLE record with a finding of irregular behavior, barring access to USMLE for periods ranging from 0-3 years, and reporting the finding of irregular behavior to the disciplinary data bank of the Federation of State Medical Boards. State medical boards routinely query this data bank as part of their licensing processes.
As evidenced by the sanctions listed above, a finding of irregular behavior carries significant potential impact. USMLE applicants and examinees are reminded to read the USMLE Bulletin of Information carefully, follow the rules of conduct during testing, and refrain from any pre- or post-examination conduct that might constitute irregular behavior. Specific examples of conduct deemed to be irregular behavior can be found in the Bulletin.
The USMLE is committed to maintaining the integrity of its examination so that state medical boards may continue to rely upon it as an integral part of their decision-making process for licensure. Applicants and examinees are advised to observe all USMLE policies and procedures to avoid the potentially significant implications arising from a finding of irregular behavior.
USMLE encourages you to provide information about cheating and other activity of which you are aware that may compromise the security and integrity of USMLE. Please use our contact form to report such information.
Updated Step 2 Clinical Skills information available
Posted: January 24, 2014
An updated Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) Content Description and General Information booklet is available.
The Description of the Examination and Scoring the Step 2 CS Examination sections include expanded language on expectations for interacting with standardized patients, as well as additional information on scoring. Appendix B includes new sample patient notes, which have additional information to help examinees understand how the notes are scored.
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