Step 2: Clinical Skills Exam (CS) - Discontinued

Page updated 6/2023

In May 2020, The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) announced their decision to permanently discontinue the USMLE Step 2 CS examination.

This clinical skills examination was co-sponsored by the NBME and the FSMB. The exam required in-person attendance at a testing site. The other exams in the USMLE sequence continue and include Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3. (Of note, USMLE began to report Step 1 results as pass/fail in 2022.)

Implications for the University of Minnesota Medical School:

1. USMLE Step 2 CS is no longer taken by our medical students nor is it a graduation requirement

2. USMLE Step 2 CS is no longer a requirement for eligibility for GME program entry 

3. USMLE Step 2 CS is no longer a requirement for physician licensure in Minnesota

4. Presently, the Medical School provides the Clinical Competency Assessment (CCA) to ensure all medical students are competent in the clinical skills required for a successful transition into residency and to be a physician. The CCA is administered to students in the spring of MS3 after completion of most of the core clerkships. The CCA is an institutional assessment independent of any single course. It is a full-day, 12-station comprehensive OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) designed to measure overall clinical communication, professionalism, history taking, physical examination, diagnostic, and patient management skills. All students are required to complete the CCA to graduate from the University of Minnesota Medical School. Non-passing scores are remediated with the Director of Clinical Coaching.

Historically, Step 2CS was one of the two exams that comprised Step 2 of the medical boards sequence. Unlike its 2CK counterpart, 2CS was an experiential simulation of clinical contacts designed to represent essential initial encounters with patients and to assess the readiness of trainees for upcoming residency training. 

The 2CS experience of 12 total encounters was challenging but likely familiar for trainees completing the clinical training years. Step 2CS consisted of 12 clinical encounters (25 minutes each) and assessed 3 components: Communication & Interpersonal Skill (CIS) (first 15 minutes of each encounter - assessed patient-centered skills and information gathering); Integrated Clinical Evaluation (ICE) (final 10 minutes of each encounter - this was the written portion of the exam that assessed your ability to integrate and synthesize information from the encounter and devise initial impressions and plans); and, Spoken English Proficiency (SEP) (this had assessed your ability to communicate clearly with patients).