Changes in Store for the USMLE

August 26, 2014


Changes in medicine mean changes in medical education. So it stands to reason that testing will undergo periodic changes as well. This year, modifications hit all three steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination, known as the USMLE. This is a series of mandatory exams that all physicians must pass to secure their license to practice medicine.

Here’s what to expect:

USMLE Step 1

While testing will continue to center on traditional content areas in basic clinical sciences, you’ll see an increased focus on quality improvement principals and safety science.
USMLE STEP 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK)
The USMLE Step 2 CK will continue to focus on patient care and diagnosis, but you’ll see an increased focus in these areas:

  • Quality improvement principles and safety science;
  • Epidemiology, biostatistics, and population health; 
  • Professionalism; 
  • And interpersonal and communications skills.

Plus, your knowledge of these subjects may be tested using new formats being developed now. If so, you’ll be able to check them out on the USMLE website.

USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS)

This phase of the USMLE focuses on the student’s ability to gather information from patients, perform physical examinations, and communicate their findings to patients and colleagues. Pilot tests launched this year, however, place intensified focus on communication skills. If successful, they’ll become part of the USMLE Step 2CS by 2015.

USMLE Step 3

Of the three USMLE steps, it’s the third that will undergo most changes. Beginning in November, you’ll be able to take the exam to consecutive or non-consecutive days, and those days will have new names – Step 3 Foundations of Independent Practice (FIP) and Step 3 Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM). Plus, you’ll see more items designed to test your competency in areas including:

  • Foundational science essential for effective healthcare;
  • Biostatistics, epidemiology and population health;
  • Literature interpretation; 
  • Medical ethics;
  • And patient safety.

Make sure you’re prepared for all three USMLE steps with WOLFPACC test preparation courses. We offer four-week, six-week and eight-week courses at the St. Augustine campus in Florida; our 4-week course in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and semester-long courses in the Dominican Republic. Call 904-209-3140 to talk with an enrollment specialist today.