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Change in minimum passing score for Step 3

Posted: December 09, 2019

The recommended Step 3 minimum passing score will change from 196 to 198. This change will affect examinees who take a Step 3 examination that begins on or after January 1, 2020.

As stated in the USMLE Bulletin of Information and as explained in a previous posting to the USMLE website, the minimum passing score for each USMLE Step examination is reviewed periodically and may be adjusted at any time. 

At its December 2019 meeting, the USMLE Management Committee* conducted a review of the Step 3 examination minimum passing score. During the meeting, the Committee considered information from multiple sources, including:

  • Recommendations from independent groups of physicians from medical schools and state medical boards who participated in content-based standard-setting activities in 2019;
  • Results of surveys of various groups (e.g., state licensing representatives, medical school faculty, examinees) concerning the appropriateness of current passing requirements for the Step 3 examination;
  • Data on trends in examinee performance;
  • Data on precision of pass/fail classifications. 

As a result of its review, the USMLE Management Committee decided to raise the recommended Step 3 minimum passing score from 196 to 198. 

As noted above, this change will apply to Step 3 examinees who take a Step 3 examination that begins on or
after January 1, 2020.

*The USMLE Management Committee is composed of medical school faculty with experience in undergraduate and graduate education, members of state medical boards, public members, and a resident member. The Management Committee is responsible for setting minimum passing performance levels for all USMLE exams.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) 3/27/2020 update: Prometric closures

Posted: March 17, 2020
Updated: March 27, 2020

Prometric announced on March 17 that test centers in the United States and Canada will be closed for a period of 30 days, starting March 18.

In response, the USMLE program is extending eligibility periods this week, beginning with those that expire in March. All eligibility periods for examinees who currently have a scheduling period with an unexpired eligibility period ending in 2020 will be extended to have an end date of December 2020, regardless of the country in which they are testing.

Extensions will be processed in order of expiration date, with all extension processing expected to be completed by the week of April 13th. Examinees will receive a notification and new scheduling permit when their eligibility extension has been processed. Examinees will need to use the new permit once received.

Extending the eligibility period will not impact already scheduled appointments. No fees will be charged for these eligibility extensions. Eligibility periods will be extended automatically, requiring no action from examinees.

If you have questions, we again kindly ask you to wait for our next announcement before contacting your registration entity. 
This will allow us more time to plan a solution for all examinees impacted by the closures. Please continue to check the USMLE website and our social media for updates. 

If you are scheduled to take a USMLE examination in a region outside the United States and Canada, please check the Prometric website for the most current list of test center closures before going to the test center on your scheduled test day.

Thank you for your patience, cooperation, and understanding during this challenging time.


USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) testing temporarily suspended beginning Monday, March 16, 2020

Posted: March 13, 2020

The USMLE program is closely monitoring the guidance of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the spread of the novel Coronavirus and its associated disease, COVID-19.  We are aware that examinees are scheduled to take USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) and of the importance of the examination to their future goals and obligations.  However, given the unique, human-to-human delivery mode of this exam, it is important to take the following precautionary steps to protect the health of examinees and test center staff.

Upcoming CSEC Test Center Closures
All CSEC test centers will be closed starting Monday, March 16, 2020.  We hope to resume operations of all centers on Monday April 13, 2020.  Given the fluid nature of this situation, please be aware these dates are subject to change. Please monitor www.usmle.org for updates.

Reopening of Test Centers  
If your testing appointment is canceled as a result of the temporary closure, you will be contacted by a Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration (CSEC) staff member who will assist you with rescheduling your appointment.

Once the test centers resume operations, we will open additional testing appointments to help meet increased, time-sensitive testing demands.  Updates to the Step 2 CS scheduling and score reporting calendar will be posted to the USMLE website. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work together through this challenging time.  The USMLE program is actively working with other organizations in medical education and medical regulation to provide the least possible amount of disruption to examinees during this unprecedented situation. 

Our goals are to protect the health of all examinees and center staff while doing our best to provide each examinee a testing appointment that meets their needs.


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