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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.


Updated practice and informational materials for the Step 3 examination now available

Posted: November 16, 2018

Examinees planning to take the USMLE Step 3 examination should read the new materials and practice with the sample items on the USMLE website. They include:

New this year:  A brief video tutorial demonstrating the features and functionalities found in Primum®, the software with which examinees interact during the computer-based case simulations (CCS) part of the Step 3 exam.


Step 2 CS videos available

Posted: November 05, 2018

Brief videos depicting reenactments by actors of actual examinee performances on the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination are now available. The names of the examinees and standardized patients have been changed. All videos are less than two minutes in length.

You can view them here. These videos provide examples of an actual examinee performance at an acceptable level, and may be helpful to individuals preparing to take the exam.


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