A clinical skills examination will become part of the USMLE in June 2004. When this exam is implemented, USMLE Step 2 will consist of two separate components. The new clinical skills examination will be referred to as Step 2 Clinical Skills (Step 2 CS). The existing Step 2 exam will be referred to as Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (Step 2 CK). The Step 2 CS and CK components will be administered and scored separately from each other, and results will be reported separately.
Step 2 CS will test examinees' ability to gather information from patients, perform a physical examination, and communicate their findings to patients and colleagues. Step 2 CS will supplement the existing USMLE exams, which measure medical knowledge and analytical skills through multiple-choice questions and computer-based case simulations.
Step 2 CS will replace the ECFMG Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) as the exam that satisfies the clinical skills requirement for ECFMG Certification. Although the ECFMG CSA will not be administered after implementation of Step 2 CS, passing performance on the CSA will continue to be accepted by ECFMG for the purpose of ECFMG Certification.
Passing USMLE Step 2 CS will become a requirement to apply for USMLE Step 3. Currently, IMGs who apply for Step 3 must, among other requirements, have passed USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 and must either be certified by ECFMG or have successfully completed a Fifth Pathway program. (Fifth Pathway programs are described on page 4 of the USMLE 2004 Bulletin of Information.) Effective July 1, 2005, IMGs registered for Step 3 must also have passed either Step 2 CS or the ECFMG CSA. Prior to July 1, 2005, IMGs can register for Step 3 regardless of whether they have passed Step 2 CS or the ECFMG CSA. This policy applies to IMGs who are certified by ECFMG and those who complete a Fifth Pathway program.