Sunday, May 6, 2018

Query on Step 2 CS deadline & match timeline

I read this link and I'm confused, it says:

To participate in the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) Main Residency Match®, international medical students/graduates must have passed all exams required for ECFMG Certification. If you plan to participate in the 2019 Match (in March 2019) and still need to pass Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS), you should register now to take the examination.

To help ensure that your result will be available in time to participate in the 2019 Match, you must take Step 2 CS by December 31, 2018. If you do not register now and schedule soon, it is possible that you will not be able to obtain a test date in 2018. At the time of this writing, the earliest available test date at any test center is in August 2018.

Link: April 2018

I plan to apply for matching in 2019, do I need to take the exam in December 2018?

- Sent through email


Let me clear terminologies before I start explaining.

Match 2018 means: Application in September 2017, results in March 2018, Residency starts in July 2018.

You said apply for matching in 2019, which means apply in September 2019 for the March 2020 match, yes?

Let's talk about the 2019 match mentioned in the link you sent. It says currently, there will be no availability of testing centres for this year's match (September 2018 application, March 2019 Match, Residency starts in July 2019). The ECFMG website is able to predict the number of applications that they are going to receive. This year, they predict there will be no testing centers available, which is why I am guessing they are asking you to register in April (register now).

Your confusion arises because of two reasons:
You don't know the match terminologies with respect to the year.
You don't know the timeline for the match.

When they mean apply right now and give the exam before December, they are talking as a general mandatory requirement. IT IS A ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE.

To be a competitive candidate, IMGs tend to give the exam in such a way that the results are out before September so that we have all the exam results before the application cycle of the match. IT IS OPTIONAL BUT PREFERRED.

So really, the virtual deadline to give the exam for us is July. We also prefer to graduate before September to get ECFMG certified, however, it's not mandatory.

It is quite vigilant of you to keep an eye out for these notices on the ECFMG website.

Since the dates are not easily available, when you plan to go for an elective, try to register in advance.

If you go to the ECFMG website, there is a site called a step 2 CS scheduling and you can view the dates available at various centres. So register as soon as possible if you want to get your desired dates. Here's the link

PS: The step 2 CS permit is available for one year and it does not expire quickly (compared to other exam permits that expire in 3 months) which is a huge advantage.

So to summarize, July is the ideal deadline for Step 2 CS to get results before September (Application submission). December is the mandatory deadline to get result before February (ROL submission, to be eligible for the match).

Google the step 2 CS reporting schedule to help plan for your match.

Hope that helps!


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