USMLE has been set to see many changes in 2012, many of them have been partially applied and some are in process of being applied. However, in 2012 we will see some more reshaping of he world’s toughest medical residency exam.

The new changes which will be done in USMLE Step 2 CS in June 2012 are as follows:

Changes to the assessment of Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS)

The CIS subcomponent of Step 2 CS has been redesigned to assess a fuller range of competencies of the examinees. The new approach divides communication skills into a series of functions. These functions have been further divided into sub-functions. Beginning June 17, 2012, the Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS) scale will focus on five functions:
1. Fostering the relationship
2. Gathering information
3. Providing information
4. Making decisions: basic
5. Supporting emotions: basic

Changes to the patient note

A new patient note will be introduced, the patient note is to be completed by the Step 2 CS examinee after the encounter with the standardized patient. In the new note, examinees will continue to be asked to document relevant history and physical examination findings and to list initial diagnostic studies to be ordered. Examinees will also be asked to create a reasoned, focused differential (maximum of three expected diagnoses) listed in order of likelihood and to indicate the evidence obtained from the history and physical examination that supports (or refutes) each potential diagnosis. The new patient note provides examinees with an opportunity to document their analysis of a patient’s possible diagnoses. A sample of the new patient note is available for review.

These changes will be introduced in Step 2 CS for examinations delivered beginning June 17, 2012.