Aug 3, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
As we all know by now, Step 2 CS is no more. Since May 2020, USMLE/NBME made efforts to modify the exam or offer an alternative. Now they have decided to get rid of the exam all together. Prior to May 2020, Step 2 CS was Pass/Fail.

The USMLE/NBME has stated that they will "partner with the medical education and medical board community to better develop innovative ways to assess the breadth of clinical skills in medicine." They have also stated that "ECFMG will continue to oversee requirements for its certification of International Medical Graduates (IMGs) and has announced an expansion of its pathways that will allow qualified IMGs to meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification and to continue to pursue U.S. graduate medical education."
Reference: United States Medical Licensing Examination | Announcements

For those that don't know, Step 2 CS was an 8 hour examination aimed at assessing the following areas: Perform focused histories and physical examinations; Communicate findings and diagnostic steps to patients in a clear and empathic manner; Recognize and counsel patients on relevant issues regarding health promotion and disease prevention; Document patient encounters efficiently; and apply knowledge of clinical science to suggest preliminary differential diagnoses and related diagnostic workup plans.
Reference: About the USMLE Step 2 CS - AMBOSS

As of yesterday, ECFMG has announced that they will be expanding their pathways (5 at the moment) for IMGs to meet requirements to obtain ECFMG certification. Pathways 3, 4, and 5 are more pertinent to individuals on this page.
Reference: ECFMG|FAIMER Will Offer Expanded Pathways for 2022 Match - ECFMG News

Pathway 3 Requirement: Applicant's medical school is currently accredited by an agency recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) OR was accredited by an agency recognized by WFME at the time the applicant matriculated.
Reference: Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match | Pathways 3, 4, and 5

Pathway 4 Requirement: Applicant's medical school participates in the U.S. Federal Student Loan Program OR is currently accredited by an agency that has received a determination of comparability by the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA). In the comments I will include a link to all IMG schools that qualify for Pathway 4.
Reference: Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match | Pathways 3, 4, and 5

Pathway 5 Requirement: Applicant's medical school grants a MD jointly with US programs. Only 2 IMG programs quality for this - Weill-Cornell Medicine - Qatar AND Duke University - National University of Singapore Medical School.
Reference: Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match | Pathways 3, 4, and 5

All of these pathways, including pathways 1 and 2 which I have not discussed, still require the ECFMG applicant to take the OET (occupational english test). According to ECFMG, "ECFMG will accept the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine to satisfy the English language proficiency requirement. OET Medicine is designed specifically for physicians. In addition to assuring proficiency in spoken and written English, OET Medicine assesses a physician’s communication and interpersonal skills in the context of a health care setting. This includes the ability to show empathy and to break down complex medical terminology and procedures into language that can be easily understood by patients." I've also included a YouTube video from a current SGU student that provides some commentary on what OET is and how it works. I do not believe he is the "leading expert" on this by any means, but he does provide some insight for the unknowing student.
References: Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match | English Language Proficiency Assessment
I want to stress that I do NOT want to persuade you one way or another on this topic. I will NOT be providing my personal opinion on the long-term effects of this change for IMG students. I would argue that a residency program director may be able to provide a quality comment, but even then it would be anecdotal and not a true, complete representation or position of the whole body of residency program directors for any given field. However, I will say that it is too soon to pass judgement and that ECFMG has options in place for IMGs to meet ECFMG requirements.
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