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Weekly COVID-19 Update

Posted: April 30, 2020

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates the stress of preparing for USMLE and creates greater uncertainty regarding academic progression, curricular schedules, applications for residency, and future licensure. To assist you with managing this stress and uncertainty, we will be providing updates on what we are doing to resume testing, which continues to be our top priority. The current status for resuming testing:

  • As previously shared in the April 23, 2020 update, Prometric considers USMLE to be an essential program.
    • LOCATIONS: On May 1, 2020, select centers will resume testing in accordance with state and local laws and social distancing guidelines. The most recent list of available centers can be found here.
    • SCHEDULING: The Prometric scheduling calendar is up-to-date and examinees can confirm their appointments using the Prometric scheduling calendar. Additionally, all bulk cancellations for May appointments resulting from social distancing requirements and center closures are complete. State and local guidelines are evolving rapidly, and cancellations may still occur for May appointments if a testing center’s ability to open changes. If you do not receive a cancellation email from Prometric, your examination appointment is proceeding as scheduled.
  • Testing at CSEC centers for Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) is suspended through at least June 1, 2020.

Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and Step 3
A number of examinees have contacted us with questions regarding their Prometric appointments. We recognize the confusion around the cancellation and rescheduling process and the resulting anxiety and burden this causes at an already stressful time. We are continuing to work with Prometric to clarify the cancellation and rescheduling process. Today, we sent an email directly to examinees with May-June appointments to provide detailed information about Prometric’s current procedures. We provided some of those details in this update and are incorporating them into our FAQs for all examinees. Please continually check FAQs on USMLE’s COVID-19 page as this information is updated.

If you are eligible to test in May, please review Prometric’s procedures and guidelines. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment to allow time for the modified check-in procedure and remember to bring a mask to the center.

Step 2 CS
We are continuing to evaluate the feasibility of resuming testing at CSEC centers on June 1, 2020 and are monitoring COVID-19 trends in cities where our test centers are located. We will provide you with updates when more information is available.

Alternative Test Delivery Options
Due to the anticipated testing capacity limitations that may exist for many months and the resulting burden that puts on examinees and medical schools, we are evaluating alternate test delivery options and are committed to providing solutions soon. More information about this is available on our Announcements page.

Contact Information for Questions
We are currently experiencing unprecedented call volumes regarding examination appointments. If you have a question, please email the organization who registered you for your examination. Contact information is available on USMLE.org.

California and Texas Regional Testing Centers

Posted: May 28, 2020

Last week, we announced three regional testing centers at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, the University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine, and the Indiana University School of Medicine.  

Additional regional testing centers will open at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), School of Medicine and the Dell Medical School of the University of Texas (UT) at Austin
. Administrations of Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) are scheduled to begin at UCSF on June 8, 2020 and at UT at Austin on June 9, 2020. At this time, each regional testing center will only serve students from a consortium of schools:

UCSF School of Medicine (host school)

  • University of California, Davis, School of Medicine
  • University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine
  • University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine
  • Stanford University School of Medicine

Dell Medical School of the University of Texas at Austin (host school)

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine
  • Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of North Texas Health Science Center
  • University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
  • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • Long School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health San Antonio
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine
  • University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine

Students from these schools will be contacted by their medical school Dean’s Office (Student Affairs). Students should wait to hear from their Deans before taking any action to schedule or cancel a Prometric test center appointment. The institutions’ Dean’s Offices, in collaboration with Prometric and the USMLE program, will schedule eligible students for USMLE testing.

We greatly appreciate the collaboration with the leadership of all the schools involved in regional testing as the work to operationalize centers using Prometric equipment is very complex. Next week, we will share more information about phase two of our plans to expand testing capacity in a greater manner, which involves event-based testing at medical schools.

USMLE Suspending Step 2 Clinical Skills Examination

Posted: May 26, 2020

Over the course of the last three months, the USMLE program has considered several options for resuming Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) testing. This exploration was informed by years of ongoing work charting the future of clinical skills assessment for licensure, including considerations of telehealth (as announced on May 8th). Since the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, we have accelerated these efforts. Due to the complexity of technical and psychometric work required, we have determined we will not be able to meet timelines for the immediate release of a revised exam. In making this determination to suspend, we also considered the examinees and stakeholder concerns about the challenges created by rapid deployment of a new test platform. After careful consideration of all factors, we have decided to suspend Step 2 CS test administrations for the next 12-18 months.

We remain committed to the valid, standardized measurement of clinical skills for licensure. We will take this time to determine the optimal approach to do so without compromising the health and safety of examinees and test center staff. While many details surrounding this decision are still being finalized, we felt it was important to share this information with you as soon as we determined our change in direction. We will be providing refunds for all of those who were unable to take Step 2 CS due to the suspension of testing and will work to expedite these refunds. Over the next few weeks, we will be announcing more detailed information on what this decision will mean for examinees, e.g., refunds, progression through education/training and medical licensure.

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