All United States Prometric Testing Centers CLOSED
ALL USMLE Prometric Testing Centers in the United States and Canada to be CLOSED for the Next 30 Days.
Prometric announced on their website amidst growing coronavirus concerns that all testing centers located within the United States and Canada will be closed for the next 30 days (March 18th, 2020-April 16th, 2020.)
The decision came today following new guidance from the CDC reducing the number of people that should be able to congregate in the same space from 50 to 10 in the United States. The reduction comes in a bid to reduce coronavirus spread to to protect medical students.
Previously on the Prometric’s Coronavirus Update Page, students were to be allowed to take the USMLE wearing gloves and a face mask after being checked.
Of the decision to close all USMLE testing centers in the United States and Canada, Prometric stated,
“If you have an existing appointment with Prometric, you will receive email instructions on how to reschedule your appointment to a future date once it is safe to resume testing. No rescheduling fees will be applied. We are working with your exam sponsor to ensure all program requirements are met. Please note that if you choose to contact Prometric for assistance, hold times may be extended due to the volume of individuals we are attempting to support. We thank you for your patience.”
Despite the closures in the United States and Canada, some Prometric testing centers remain open (as of March 17th) in other parts of the world. USMLE Testing centers in Italy, Spain, China, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia remain closed until late March or early April. Several countries with only one Prometric location are also closed. The anticipated re-open dates for all closed test centers can be checked here. However, it is possible that the closure dates may be extended in certain countries.
**We strongly advise against trying to travel to a different country to take a USMLE test at this time.**
We wrote this post almost a year ago exactly and looking back onto 2020, Prometric testing centers were closed much longer than 30 days. As medical schools tried to find testing center alternative options especially for USMLE Step 3 in order to keep pushing students through MD certification in order to help with the pandemic, institutions and students alike became frustrated with Prometric. Students who spent months preparing for the high stakes USMLE exams experienced cancellations extremely close to their test date, with some students even showing up to their testing center to find it shuttered. (Read the experience of one of our tutors taking her USMLE exam during the COVID-19 pandemic here.)
This lack of communication on behalf of Prometric and resulting stress and chaos for medical students prompted USMLE to release a statement expressing their disappointment with Prometric over the handling of center closures. In response, several temporary “off site” testing centers located at an array of trusted medical schools sprung up across the United States in an effort to keep USMLE testing going.
As the pandemic worsened, Step 2 CS was quickly postponed as it was no longer safe for students to travel to the simulation centers. Eventually, Step 2 CS was actually cancelled entirely as USMLE announced the discontinuation of their work to relaunch the exam in a statement here.
Now, a year later, testing has mostly returned to normal as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available for more physicians and individuals in risk groups across the US and the threat of overwhelmed hospitals has decreased.
Just about all Prometric centers are now open again and are running as normal with social distancing precautions and mask requirements in place. However, many medical students report that they believe spontaneous exam cancellations and the stress of uncertainty over their exam date may have negatively impacted their score. It is unclear at this time if anything will be done to deal with students whose USMLE preparation was interrupted by the pandemic, however we will update this article as new information becomes available.
Despite the tension in the midst of the pandemic, USMLE continues to choose Prometric as their preferred secure testing center partner. While there have been some rumors of a change in test center providers by USMLE, these rumors remain unconfirmed and have largely died down as Prometric worked to make right their failure to handle center closures in a non-stressful way to students.
It is our great hope that Prometric will never again have to shut down all centers nationwide and that the coronavirus pandemic is the only pandemic medical students (or anyone) will ever experience in their lifetime.