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USMLE's weekly update on COVID-19 - 4/17/2020

Posted: April 17, 2020

The USMLE program recognizes that the testing shutdown has created great stress, uncertainty, and disruption for examinees and medical schools, affecting academic progression, curricular schedules, and application for residency. We are doing everything we can to make decisions that prioritize the safety and health of examinees and test center staff as we develop plans to resume testing. Because of the fluid nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, the ability to make these decisions is slower and more unclear than we would like. We are committed to providing examinees and schools with as much information as we can. Beginning today, the USMLE program will post weekly updates on our website and social media channels, in addition to announcements, as soon as decisions are finalized.

Here is the most updated information we have regarding USMLE testing. As always, we will update our FAQs regarding USMLE and COVID-19 as frequently as possible.

Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and Step 3 
Prometric has communicated that they will begin testing on a site-by-site basis, according to local public health practices and guidelines. We anticipate that USMLE will be available at these sites barring any changes in local restrictions. 

As with many other businesses and institutions, there will be a gradual progression to normal operations of computer-based testing for USMLE. In the meantime, we expect a strong demand for Prometric seat time as a backlog of examinees will be looking to test. Prometric has assured us that they are doing everything possible to build capacity to address this backlog. 

As the Prometric shutdown has impacted many assessment programs beyond USMLE, we cannot guarantee at this time that USMLE examinees will be able to schedule an exam as early as they would like due to the necessary social distancing requirements.

With a limited, site-by-site reopening of Prometric centers, we recognize that availability of testing will vary based on local conditions. Prometric has assured us that they will be following local guidelines and instituting other measures to keep examinees as safe as possible. Examinees should anticipate some modifications to onsite administrative procedures at Prometric, such as the check-in process. We will share updated information on these modifications as soon as we learn about them.

Examinees and medical schools have asked us whether USMLE can be delivered at their medical school or another location. We understand individuals’ desire and need to test as they have studied for weeks and are prepared to test now. USMLE is exploring options for group examinee administration. However, at this time there are no short-term solutions for testing outside of Prometric centers. 

We have received many helpful suggestions, such as paper/pencil testing, use of iPads or schools’ computer labs, and remote proctoring. All of these suggestions require further exploration because they could impact the validity and security of USMLE, which are primary considerations in determining alternative testing viability. As of now, our priority is working with Prometric to resume testing at their sites.

Step 2 Clinical Skills
All CSEC test centers are temporarily closed until at least May 31, 2020. Centers will reopen on a site-by-site basis, according to local public health practices and guidelines. When testing resumes, we will institute measures to keep examinees and test center staff safe. As a result, examinees should anticipate some modifications to administrative procedures at CSEC test centers. 

To increase testing capacity, we plan to add as many additional testing sessions at CSEC centers as possible. As with our computer-based testing, we are exploring other means of test delivery. At this time, we have no short-term solutions for a delivery method outside of CSEC centers. While USMLE is exploring alternative options, test security will remain a primary consideration in determining their viability. 

As we learn more during these next few days, we will share whatever information we can on our website and USMLE social media (Twitter and Facebook). Expect an update from us next week. 


Step 3 – delay in score reporting

Posted: October 21, 2020

If you need to receive your Step 3 score before March 17, 2021 it is recommended that you take the exam no later than December 31, 2020

Necessary annual modifications to the test item pool will result in a delay in reporting Step 3 scores for examinees who test in early 2021. The target date for reporting scores for most examinees testing in January and February 2021 is Wednesday, March 17, 2021. After this, the normal score reporting schedule (four weeks after testing) will resume. 

No USMLE Step 3 examinations will be administered January 1-14, 2021


Step 1 and Step 2 CK – score delays in 2021

Posted: October 07, 2020

Most Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) scores are reported within 3-4 weeks of testing. However, because of necessary annual modifications to the test item pools, delays occur for examinees who test at certain times of the year.

Please be aware that examinees testing during the following dates may experience delays in score reporting:

  • Step 1 examinees testing early May through early July 2021 - more specific information will be posted January 2021
  • Step 2 CK examinees testing early July through late August 2021 - more specific information will be posted March 2021

Why is this important to know?
If you need to receive a score before a certain date, plan to take that exam before the projected score delay windows to avoid missing deadlines.


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