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USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK: Increase in number of items in existing content categories scheduled for mid-2020

Posted: November 05, 2019

The current Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) examinations include questions assessing systems-based practice and patient safety, communication skills, and legal/ethical skills and professionalism. Beginning in mid-2020, the Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) examinations will include an increased number of questions assessing communication skills, system-based practice and patient safety, and legal/ethical skills and professionalism. The length of the testing days for Step 1 and Step 2 CK will not change. Decisions about the balance of content on USMLE examinations are the responsibility of two groups: the USMLE Composite Committee and USMLE Management Committee. Both are composed of educators, practicing physicians, members with experience on state medical licensure boards, and public members. These committees approved the increase in the number of test items assessing the important competencies listed above. 

Timetable:

  • Beginning in May 2020, Step 1 will include additional questions assessing communication skills.
  • Beginning in June/July 2020, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge will include additional questions on systems-based practice, patient safety, legal/ethical issues, and professionalism.
  • No changes to the Step 3 examination are planned during this timeframe. 

Sample test items illustrating assessment of communications skills, systems-based practice and patient safety, and legal/ethical skills and professionalism are provided in the Step 1 Content Description and General Information booklet (pp. 7-11) and in the Step 2 Clinical Knowledge Content Description and General Information booklet (pp. 8-11).

The practice materials available on USMLE.org will be updated in early 2020 to reflect these changes in the distribution of exam content across content categories on Step 1 and Step 2 CK.


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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