Changes to the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) Examination

Changes on USMLE Step 2 CS
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To further enhance the testing methods used in the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination, changes will be introduced in Step 2 CS for examinations and will be delivered beginning June 17, 2012.

The reporting schedule for examinees testing from June 17, 2012 through November 3, 2012 will be 2-3 weeks longer than for examinees testing during other periods.

Below is the Step 2 CS Score reporting Schedule for 2012:

Step 2 CS 2012 Reporting Schedule

Testing Period

Reporting Period

For examinees who test

Reporting start date

Reporting close date

Jan 1 through Jan 28

Feb 29

Mar 28

Jan 29 through Mar 24

Apr 25

May 23

Mar 25 through May 19

Jun 20

Jul 18

All test centers closed.
No testing May 20 through June 16

Jun 17 through Aug 25

Oct 3

Oct 31

Aug 26 through Nov 3

Dec 5

Jan 2, 2013

Nov 4 through Dec 31

Jan 30, 2013

Feb 20, 2013

 

Changes to the assessment of Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS)
The CIS subcomponent of Step 2 CS has been redesigned to assess a fuller range of competencies.  The new approach divides communication skills into a series of functions. These functions have been further divided into sub-functions. Beginning June 17, 2012, the Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS) scale will focus on five functions:

  1. Fostering the relationship
  2. Gathering information
  3. Providing information
  4. Making decisions: basic
  5. Supporting emotions: basic

Several additional functions are still under development; these include making decisions: advanced; supporting emotions: advanced; and helping patients with behavior change. A list of the functions and sub-functions is available.

Changes to the patient note
Also beginning June 17, 2012, a new patient note will be introduced. The patient note is completed by the Step 2 CS examinee after the encounter with the standardized patient. In the new note, examinees will continue to be asked to document relevant history and physical examination findings and to list initial diagnostic studies to be ordered. Examinees will also be asked to create a reasoned, focused differential (maximum of three diagnoses) listed in order of likelihood and to indicate the evidence obtained from the history and physical examination that supports (or refutes) each potential diagnosis. The new patient note provides examinees with an opportunity to document their analysis of a patient’s possible diagnoses. A sample of the new patient note is available for review.

Practice materials
Updated practice materials for Step 2 CS will be posted to the USMLE website in March 2012. These include the Step 2 CS Content Description and General Information Booklet, onsite orientation video, sample patient notes, and a simulation of the program for typing patient notes.

*You can also visit the ecfmg website for information on usmle news.

 

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