University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago
Information and implications related to
delaying USMLE Step 1
Class of 2020
Students are required to sit for the USMLE Step 1 exam prior to the start of the Essentials of Clinical Practice & Professionalism (ECP&P) week June 18 – 22, 2018, which is the official beginning of the M3 year. In 2018, the last day to take the Step 1 exam is Saturday June 16, 2018. Any student who takes the exam after that date is considered to have delayed the start of the M3 year.
*Due to the constraints of M3 clerkship scheduling, the deadline to petition to delay the USMLE Step 1 exam and the start of the M3 year is Friday May 4, 2018. (Please refer to procedural number two below for more information).
Delaying the USMLE Step 1 exam and thereby delaying the start of the M3 year is only to be considered under compelling extenuating circumstances. Delaying the Step 1 exam requires the approval of the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs (Mark Urosev).
Notes: a.) Students in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) and other joint degree programs (MPH, MBA, MS) are expected to take the USMLE Step 1 exam at the “regular” time, immediately after the completion of the M2 year and prior to “stepping out” of the MD curriculum to pursue the other degree. The same is true for students taking a leave of absence for any reason immediately following the M2 year. b.) Students applying for ADA accommodations with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) for taking the USMLE Step 1 exam are advised to begin the accommodations application process several months in advance because the application review process is very lengthy. Students who are awaiting a decision from NBME on their ADA accommodations application are not allowed to begin the M3 year. Not having a decision from NBME with regard to their ADA accommodations application does not entitle the student to begin the M3 year on schedule.
Students are hereby advised of the following issues related to delaying taking USMLE Step 1:
- Students wanting to delay taking the exam and delay the start of the M3 year are required to meet with their OSA advisor to discuss all of the issues outlined in this document related to such a delay. If after that meeting, and with a full understanding of the issues, the student still would like to delay, he/she must petition to the Interim Director of Student Affairs for the delay. The petition must fully outline the reason(s) the student is requesting the delay. If the petition is denied by the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, the student may appeal to the Senior Associate Dean of Students (Kathleen Kashima) whose decision is final.
- Due to the constraints of M3 clerkship scheduling, the deadline to petition to delay the USMLE Step 1 exam and the start of the M3 year is Friday May 4, 2018. Clerkship sites require that all changes to students’ clerkship schedules be done at least four weeks prior to the start of the clerkship. Students who petition to delay after May 12 are subject to being removed from their M3 track schedule. If the student’s track schedule is removed, the student will be “scatter scheduled” into whatever clerkships have openings rather than placed into another track.
- Students who are approved to delay taking USMLE Step 1 are nonetheless required to participate in all of the ECP&P course activities. The content and skills in ECP&P are covered only once per year so a student intending to begin the M3 year at any time during the 2018-2019 year must participate in all required dates of ECP&P; the start of the M3 year (June 18-22, 2018) and the dates spread throughout the M3 year (specific dates TBA).
- Any student who delays taking Step 1 is required to meet with their OSA advisor, to design a study plan that must be approved by an Academic Skills Specialist and must include the following:
An organized and detailed weekly plan of study including self-assessment exam date(s) and a plan for question bank testing.
A projected USMLE Step 1 exam date. Any changes to the student’s approved Step 1 exam date must be reported to the student’s academic skills specialist and to the Interim Director of Student Affairs. The change may require a new study plan and review by the Chicago Student Promotions Committee (CSPC).
Changes to the student’s exam date will be reported to CSPC.
If a student does not begin a clinical clerkship during the summer session (on or before August 6, 2018), the delay will constitute a Leave of Absence. For more information on Leaves of Absence, go here.
Such students will be required to make an official request for a Leave of Absence to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for approval.
In most cases, it will be necessary for students who do not begin a clinical clerkship during the summer session (on or before August 6, 2018) to have their projected graduation year changed to the Class of 2020. Such a change in class will delay participation in the Match to the subsequent year.
Registration and Financial Aid:
The following are issues related to the delayed student’s registration in the College of Medicine:
Students are responsible to ensure that their registration is accurate and that it reflects all schedule changes that occur due to their Step 1 exam delay.
Any clerkship with a start date of June 25 or August 5, 2018 is considered a summer course.
All students must be registered for a minimum of 6 weeks to be eligible to receive federal financial aid. Thus, if a delayed student’s summer registration consists of less than 6 weeks, the student is not eligible for financial aid yet he/she is responsible for the tuition and fees for any hours for which they are registered.
Any students who delay taking the Step 1 exam must meet with the COM Office of the Registrar and the COM Office of Financial Aid to discuss the implications of the delay on their registration and eligibility for student financial aid.
Students cannot have the grade and comments from the missed M3 core clerkship included in their MSPE unless the clerkship is completed and grades and comments received by mid-September of the M4 year.
The following are M4 year scheduling issues related to delaying taking USMLE Step 1:
The missed M3 year core clerkship(s) will need to be scheduled in the student’s subsequent year with M4 clinical rotations. OSA will schedule delayed students into the missed clerkship(s) only after the new M3 students have been scheduled into their core clerkship tracks. OSA will attempt to schedule delayed students into the missed M3 core clerkship(s) during the first rotation (late June) of the M4 year, however scheduling is based on space availability. Sometimes students cannot be scheduled into the missed M3 core clerkship until sometime in the subsequent Fall semester (and in rare cases, not until January). Clerkship sites will not accept additional students over the maximum student distribution under any circumstances. Students should not attempt to contact the program director or site director to ask for a site assignment. This unprofessional behavior could adversely affect the status of the clinical site as a UIC training site. OSA handles all scheduling of students into M3 core clerkships.
In most cases, students are not eligible to do “away” rotations at another medical school until all M3 core clerkships have been taken and passed. Having M4 status is the usual requirement for being a visiting student at another medical school.
Students are not eligible to schedule their required Sub-Internship until all M3 core clerkships have been taken and passed.
OSA urges all students to take the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) and the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) exams by October 1 and November 1 respectively of the M4 year. Complying with the recommended dates for the CK or CS exam may be difficult for students who have delayed Step 1 because such students may not (per Student Academic Promotions Policy) sit for the CK exam until all M3 core clerkships have been taken and passed.
The following are other issues related to delaying taking USMLE Step 1:
A grade for the missed M3 core clerkship cannot be included in the student’s ERAS transcript unless the clerkship is completed and the grade received by mid-September of M4 year. Students cannot have the grade and comments from the missed M3 core clerkship included in their MSPE unless the clerkship is completed and grades and comments received by mid-September of the M4 year.
Students must have completed 75% of the core clerkships (5 of the 6) by mid-August of M4 year to be considered for selection to Senior Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA).
Per the College of Medicine’s “Student Academic Promotions Policies, Time Limit For Completing the MD Degree” a maximum of four years are allowed to complete the M1 and M2 years, and passing USMLE Step 1. The four years begin on the first day of M1 Orientation. For more information on policies, go here.
Questions about any of the information in this document should be directed to Mark Urosev, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, Office of Student Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org (312) 996-2450