The United States Medical Licensing Exam Step 2 Clinical Skills Examination: Potential Alternatives During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

JMIR Med Educ. 2021 Apr 30;7(2):e25903. doi: 10.2196/25903.


We feel that the current COVID-19 crisis has created great uncertainty and anxiety among medical students. With medical school classes initially being conducted on the web and the approaching season of "the Match" (a uniform system by which residency candidates and residency programs in the United States simultaneously "match" with the aid of a computer algorithm to fill first-year and second-year postgraduate training positions accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education), the situation did not seem to be improving. The National Resident Matching Program made an official announcement on May 26, 2020, that candidates would not be required to take or pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination to participate in the Match. On January 26, 2021, formal discontinuation of Step 2 CS was announced; for this reason, we have provided our perspective of possible alternative solutions to the Step 2 CS examination. A successful alternative model can be implemented in future residency match seasons as well.

Keywords: COVID-19; NRMP; Step 2 CS; Step 2 Clinical Skills; The National Resident Matching Program; USMLE; United States; United States Medical Licensing Examination; alternative; exam; medical education; medical school; medical student; model; online learning; test.