Council on Curriculum

Informational Updates

Council on Curriculum Student Updates


USMLE Step Policy Update as of 5/15/2020

Dear students,

As you are aware, Prometric testing centers across the nation have been closed for weeks due to COVID-19. Prometric recently resumed USMLE testing at some of their facilities as part of their essential services. However, they are functioning with restricted operations, following local and federal health guidelines. The constantly changing guidelines have created a very complicated backlog of students who have had to reschedule their USMLE exams with little to no notice. Please know we recognize that what is going on is completely outside of your control.

We continue to share student concerns with the NBME and are strongly advocating for you. The Council of Deans are meeting weekly with the AAMC, discussing these issues and advocating for you. They are trying to ensure that plans are consistent and equitable, and that all medical schools use the same process. We will keep you updated on any information we receive.

The Curriculum Office is responsible for balancing the needs of students to take Step exams under these uncertain and trying circumstances with the needs of all UMKC SOM students, and our affiliates, to continue moving forward with your medical education. I hope that you can appreciate that this is a very difficult task. Due to the fact that almost all required clerkships are full in the 2020-2021 cycle, we are unable to accommodate so many student requests to alter curriculum plans in order to allow time for Step exam studies – keeping in mind that if we do that your curriculum will be delayed into Year 6. Therefore, all students who have shown readiness for USMLE Step 1 are required to proceed with their currently scheduled core clerkships, regardless of Step 1 exam date. However, we will be making the following policy adjustments in recognition of the challenges that students are confronted with:

  1. The Councils on Curriculum and Evaluation have waived the Block 3 Step 1 deadline for students who have shown readiness for Step 1 this academic year. Now, you are required to successfully complete Step 1 prior to sitting for Step 2 CK, which for most students is at the completion of all Year 5 clerkships. The readiness policy for Step 2 CK is unchanged. This policy revision will allow you to strategically plan when you best prepared to sit for Step 1 while continuing on in the curriculum. However, we strongly recommend that most students take Step 1 as early as possible to prevent knowledge loss. Please also keep in mind that a second wave of disease could further extend Prometric site closures in the fall.
  2. Students who have an NBME subject exam scheduled in the same block as their Step 1 exam may petition to postpone the subject exam by 1 block in order to allow more focused studying for the Step exam. Students will not be permitted to defer more than one subject exam for Step reasons.
  • Please also note the following:
    • Students studying for Step 2 CK must still meet the prerequisites before sitting for the exam by passing the subject exams from Psych, Year 5 Docent Rotation, Ob/gyn, Peds, and Surgery, in addition to either receiving a score of at least 209 on Step 1 or showing readiness with CCSE . This requirement is unchanged from our existing policy.
    • Students who have not yet shown readiness to sit for Step 1 are required to demonstrate readiness for the exam by the end of Block 3. Students who have not yet shown readiness to sit for Step 1 should contact their ETC or the curriculum office if they have concerns regarding their schedule.
    • Students should remember that a leave of absence is an option, should the above options not be consistent with your goals.

We advise all students to use the resources available to them and do not hesitate to contact the School of Medicine staff if you need assistance of any kind.