NYMC Administers USMLE Step 1
On August 13, New York Medical College (NYMC) was one of 38 medical schools across the United States to administer the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1.
On August 13, New York Medical College (NYMC) was one of 38 medical schools across the United States to administer the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1, which created additional testing opportunities for students. Administered to students at the end of their second year of medical school, the USMLE Step 1—the first part of the USMLE—aims to assess whether medical school students can apply important concepts of the foundational sciences, which are fundamental to the practice of medicine. Due to the state-mandated stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines implemented because of COVID-19, many students had their original test dates delayed or canceled.
“We are pleased to have had the opportunity with other schools across the country to expand testing options for medical students during this difficult time of the pandemic and to offer the on-campus option to our students,” says Jane Ponterio, M.D. ’81, senior associate dean for student affairs. “Scheduling to take the test on campus eliminated any fear of cancellation of their test date. Also, taking the test in a familiar place made the students comfortable in the testing environment. We appreciate the dedication and efforts of all involved in making the testing day successful and look forward to making this option available again in the future.”
Juliet Jacobson, School of Medicine Class of 2022, shared the concerns she experienced over the last few months as she prepared for the USMLE Step 1. “Step 1 exams are constantly on the minds of second-year students,” she says. “Therefore, what we feared most at first was knowing that our dedicated step study time was going to be in the midst of a pandemic when we couldn’t leave our homes and wouldn’t have the comfort of a library or our peers around us to study, but that turned out to be the least of our problems.”
As their Step 1 exam dates approached, more and more students found their exams canceled. “Our one saving grace was the fact that NYMC was so incredibly communicative and supportive during this time,” says Ms. Jacobson. “We had many town hall meetings and conversations with the deans about how they could support us.”
When Ms. Jacobson’s first exam date was canceled, she was only able to find a rescheduled exam two months later in Connecticut, which would require her to stay overnight in a hotel. “I cannot tell you the relief I felt when I heard that NYMC was hosting the Step 1 exam. Taking the exam at my own school, with the support of our deans, professors and educational technology team, made the choice so easy. I took the exam last week and I am so glad that I did. The day went so smoothly, and it was clear that every single proctor and technical support person knew their role and had practiced how the day would go. They all knew exactly what to do, how to direct us and how to support us. There was not a single ‘hiccup’ that day. I still feel so lucky to have taken the exam in a place where I felt so comfortable and supported.”
"The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented challenge for medical students seeking to complete their licensing examinations this Spring. Through great persistence and advocacy for our students, we are able to be designated as an authorized USMLE campus testing location for the USMLE Step 1 and 2CK examinations," said Jennifer L. Koestler, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education and associate professor of pediatrics and medicine. "We are thrilled that we are able to support our medical students' efforts to complete their USMLE testing on campus. The familiarity of testing on their home campus, with our supportive and compassionate staff in Education Technology surely mitigated the challenges these students faced with identifying prometric testing sites during the COVID-19 pandemic."