Changes to USMLE Step 3

The National Board of Medical Examiners recently posted an announcement on the recent approval by the USMLE Composite Committee, the NBME and the FSMB of changes to the structure of USMLE. Step 3.

According to the notice, "The plans call for the division of Step 3 into two separate exams, each one day in length, focusing on different sets of competencies. The proposed examinations will continue to be administered by computer using multiple choice questions and computer simulations. The two examinations will be scored separately and examinees will be expected to pass each. The first exam is expected to focus on whether an examinee possesses the knowledge essential to the independent practice of medicine, including a comprehensive knowledge of both foundational science and clinical medicine.

The second exam will assess an examinee’s ability to apply knowledge in the context of patient management, including demonstration of comprehensive knowledge of health and disease, and their impact on patients. The second exam will also require a demonstration of evidence-based medicine and quantitative reasoning skills important to patient care and to life-long learning.

Specific information about these changes will be provided well in advance of implementation." The change to Step 3 will occur no sooner than 2014.