Phased Approach to Expand USMLE Testing: Event-Based Testing Update

Updated: June 16, 2020
Posted: June 4, 2020

As previously announced, the USMLE program is implementing a multi-phased approach to expand USMLE testing capacity:

  • Phase one focuses on setting up regional testing centers at approximately six medical schools, using Prometric equipment, across the United States.
  • Phase two focuses on administering one-day event-based tests for Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) at medical schools. All LCME and COCA medical schools have been sent a survey to determine their interest in participating in this type of testing in July and August. Additionally, examinees registered for Step 1 or Step 2 CK were sent a survey regarding their availability and interest in participating. Please note:
    • Filling out the survey is not a commitment nor a guarantee that an individual will be able to participate in event-based testing.
    • Participation in the survey will not impact any existing Prometric appointments.
    • We are exploring additional test delivery options for examinees who require test accommodations.
  • Phase three explores the feasibility of delivering USMLE examinations through at-home, remote proctoring.

These efforts are in addition to Prometric’s test center recovery efforts, which are ongoing.

For event-based testing, USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK will not include unscored pretest items, resulting in a slightly shorter exam. The Step 1 event test examinations will consist of 200 items, and the Step 2 CK event test will consist of 240 items.

Unscored pretest items are commonly used in high-stakes examinations to obtain statistics on item performance before those items are included for actual scoring, and they are an important part of the exam development process. The exclusion of unscored pretest items for event-based testing is a temporary solution to make event-based testing at medical schools feasible. Exams administered by Prometric at Prometric test centers or regional testing centers (phase one) will continue to include unscored pretest items.

We greatly appreciate the collaboration with the medical schools involved in phase one and phase two of our plans. We will continue to provide details and frequent updates about our testing recovery efforts.