As a medical licensing examination, the USMLE program has a responsibility to produce transcripts that report a complete exam history for each examinee.
The USMLE program will not expunge failing Step 2 CS results. State medical boards rely on the USMLE program to report a complete exam history for each examinee.
We understand, however, that some residency applicants may be concerned about not having a passing Step 2 CS result while some of their peers do. To facilitate the interpretation of transcripts, the following statement will be included on all transcripts starting in 2021 (specific date forthcoming):
“The USMLE Step 2 CS examination was suspended on March 16, 2020 and formally discontinued on January 26, 2021. Due to the exam’s discontinuation, examinees with a failing Step 2 CS outcome may not have had an opportunity to retest and remediate their performance. The USMLE defines successful completion of its examination sequence as passing Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3.”
The USMLE program understands that examinees with failing Step 2 CS results on their transcript may feel at a disadvantage in the residency matching program compared to applicants with only passing scores. We support a holistic consideration of residency applicants and note that many examinees with failing Step 2 CS results have successfully matched.
Discontinuation of Step 2 CS will not prevent individuals from obtaining licensure. As a co-sponsor of USMLE, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has reviewed state statutes for medical licensing and confirmed that no legislative changes will be required because of the Step 2 CS discontinuation. FSMB will work with the handful of state medical boards whose administrative rules list passage of Step 2 CS.
ECFMG is committed to the continued ability of IMGs to enter U.S. GME and offers programs that support IMGs along the continuum from international UME to U.S. GME and practice. ECFMG certification will continue as a requirement for Step 3 eligibility. Updates on requirements for ECFMG Certification can be found here.
We have no plans to bring back Step 2 CS. Instead, we intend to take this opportunity to focus on working with our colleagues in medical education and at state medical boards to develop innovative ways to assess clinical skills. Elements of clinical reasoning and communication will continue to be assessed on other Steps. Computer-based case simulations in Step 3, as well as communication content recently bolstered in Step 1, are examples of these efforts that will continue.
Step 3 eligibility requirements will conform with criteria established before Step 2 CS became part of the USMLE. The requirements, which can be found here, are:
- Passing scores on Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and
- An MD degree or DO degree from an LCME- or COCA-accredited U.S. or Canadian medical school, or
- The equivalent of the MD degree from a medical school outside the U.S. and Canada that is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools as meeting ECFMG eligibility requirements, and obtain ECFMG Certification.
In addition, you must meet all other eligibility criteria as listed in the USMLE Bulletin of Information.