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Review of USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) minimum passing score

Posted: February 13, 2018
Updated: May 23, 2018

The USMLE program recommends a minimum passing level for each Step examination. The USMLE Management Committee is responsible for establishing and monitoring standards, and is asked to complete an in-depth review of standards for each examination every 3 to 4 years.

For the 2018 Step 2 CK review, information from multiple sources will be considered, including:

  • Results of content-based standard setting exercises conducted with three independent groups of physicians in 2018;
  • Results of surveys of various groups (e.g., state licensing representatives, medical school faculty, samples of examinees) concerning the appropriateness of current pass/fail standards for Step examinations;
  • Trends in examinee performance;
  • Score precision and its effect on the pass/fail outcome.

The USMLE Management Committee is scheduled to review the minimum passing score for the USMLE Step 2 CK examination at its May 2018 meeting.

If the Committee determines that a change is appropriate, the new recommended minimum passing score will become effective for all examinees who take a Step 2 CK examination on or after July 1, 2018. The decision of the Committee will be posted at the USMLE website.


Step 1 – Delay in score reporting

Posted: January 18, 2019

Most score reporting of Step 1 results occurs within four weeks of testing. However, because of necessary modifications to the test item pool, there will be a delay in reporting for some examinees who test beginning the week of May 5, 2019.

The target date for reporting Step 1 scores for most examinees testing the week of May 5 through mid-June will be Wednesday, July 10, 2019. For examinees whose circumstances require that they receive Step 1 scores before July 10, 2019, it is recommended that they take Step 1 no later than May 4, 2019.

Although the transition will occur quickly at many test centers, there may be some locations where the changes take slightly longer to complete. The overall transition period will likely last approximately six weeks. Please note that scores on new and old exam forms will be comparable.


New score report format – USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK examinations

Posted: January 16, 2019

A redesigned version of the USMLE Step 3 examination score was implemented for examinees testing on or after October 1, 2018. The new format is now being implemented for the Step 1 and Step 2 CK examinations. Examinees taking Step 1 and Step 2 CK on or after January 15, 2019 will receive the new score report.

The redesigned report features a chart showing an examinee’s performance compared with recent first-time takers from US and Canadian medical schools, the examinee’s performance in individual content areas relative to their overall Step examination performance, and information about the allocation of items across each content area.

You can view the new score report here. Click on the comment boxes for explanatory/informational text. FAQs about the score report are also available.

The USMLE program solicited feedback on the new design from a number of stakeholders, including examinees, medical school faculty, and residency program directors.

A new score report format for the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination is under development.

Questions or comments? Please send here.


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