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Work to Relaunch USMLE Step 2 CS Discontinued

Posted: January 26, 2021

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and NBME, co-sponsors of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®), are today announcing the discontinuation of work to relaunch a modified Step 2 Clinical Skills examination (Step 2 CS). 

Following the May 2020 suspension of Step 2 CS due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we announced our intention to take 12-18 months to bring back a modified Step 2 CS exam that was appreciably better than the prior assessment. After reviewing current and anticipated progress with the exam and in consideration of the rapidly evolving medical education, practice and technology landscapes, we have decided to discontinue Step 2 CS. We have no plans to bring back Step 2 CS, but we intend to take this opportunity to focus on working with our colleagues in medical education and at the state medical boards to determine innovative ways to assess clinical skills.

Independent standardized assessments of medical knowledge and clinical skills are important inputs for state medical licensure decisions. In the absence of Step 2 CS, elements of clinical reasoning and communication will continue to be assessed on other exams (Steps) in the USMLE sequence. Computer-based case simulations in Step 3 and communication content recently bolstered in Step 1 are examples of these efforts that will continue. While not a replacement for Step 2 CS, these formats continue to contribute positively, e.g., measuring critical knowledge of medical communication.  

Our change in direction will allow us to take additional time to partner with the medical education and medical board community to better develop innovative ways to assess the breadth of clinical skills in medicine.

For questions about the Step 2 CS discontinuation and any other USMLE-related inquiries please contact the USMLE support team: https://www.usmle.org/contact/

"The FSMB is committed to supporting state medical boards in their principal mission to protect the public," said Humayun J. Chaudhry, DO, MACP, President and CEO of the FSMB. "As co-sponsors of the USMLE program, we will continue to seek innovative and sensible ways to assess medical licensing eligibility."

"NBME’s commitment to performance-based assessment and clinical skills has accelerated. Our newest area of focus around competency -based assessment, and our exploration of novel assessments, will allow us to work with the medical education and regulatory communities to develop assessments of these essential skills and the optimal way to integrate these assessments into the education and licensure space," said Peter J. Katsufrakis, MD, MBA, President and CEO, NBME. 

ECFMG will continue to oversee requirements for its certification of International Medical Graduates (IMGs) and has announced an expansion of its pathways that will allow qualified IMGs to meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification and to continue to pursue U.S. graduate medical education. 


Step 1 – Delay in score reporting

Posted: January 25, 2021

Most Step 1 scores are reported within 3-4 weeks of testing. However, because of necessary annual modifications to the test item pools, there will be a delay in reporting for some examinees who test beginning on or after the week of May 3, 2021

If you need to receive Step 1 scores before July 7, 2021, the USMLE program recommends that you take the exam before May 3, 2021

The target date for reporting Step 1 scores for most examinees testing the week of May 3, 2021 through mid-June 2021 will be Wednesday, July 7, 2021


Moving forward: The Step 1 P/F score reporting policy change and revitalization of Step 2 Clinical Skills examination

Posted: November 02, 2020
Updated: December 28, 2020

The USMLE® program recognizes that the upcoming score reporting change for Step 1 (pass/fail) and the suspension of the Step 2 Clinical Skills examination have created new questions for medical students, faculty, and state board members. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work diligently on these two important issues.  As work progresses, we are committed to providing monthly updates on these and other topics that are important to our stakeholders.

Step 1 P/F Score Reporting

The transition to Step 1 pass/fail score reporting is on track to be implemented in January 2022. Should this schedule change, we will post an updated timeline. Specific dates and information will be made available in advance of the implementation date. 

Information about the Step 1 P/F score reporting policy change can be found here

Revitalization of Step 2 Clinical Skills Examination

As co-owners of the USMLE, the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) collected valuable input over the summer from state medical boards, medical school faculty and examinees about the prior Step 2 CS exam, including feedback on which skills are important to assess to inform medical licensure decisions. This feedback is greatly appreciated and will be essential in the development of a revitalized exam. An update on next steps and future developments will be shared by the end of November. 

Information about the revitalization of Step 2 CS can be found here.


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