« Previous Page: 1 of 6 Next »

Announcements Stay up to date.  Click here to subscribe to the Announcements RSS Feed


USMLE Timeline for Step 1 Pass/Fail Score Reporting

Posted: June 16, 2020

The USMLE’s co-sponsors—the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and NBME―have recently received requests from examinees and student organizations to accelerate or delay the change to pass/fail score reporting for USMLE Step 1 in light of the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and social movements across the country. Our announcement of the Step 1 score reporting policy change, posted in February 2020, said the change in score reporting would be implemented no earlier than January 2022. After careful consideration of all the recent concerns that have been brought to our attention, we remain committed to the January 2022 timeline and would like to share our rationale below.

Our decision to move to pass/fail score reporting for Step 1 was made after more than a year of thoughtful evaluation, discussion and feedback with numerous stakeholder groups, among them medical students. One of our guiding principles of the policy change was to help reduce the overemphasis on USMLE Step 1 numeric scores (among both examinees and secondary users of exam scores, such as residency program directors), while also retaining the ability of state medical licensing boards to use the exam results for the primary purpose of determining medical licensure eligibility. We intentionally selected an implementation date of January 2022 to provide medical schools with adequate time to adjust their curricula, allow examinees sufficient time to adjust their planning for their USMLE administration, and enable leaders in medical education to develop substantive improvements to the critical transition period from medical school to residency training. The USMLE decision for pass/fail Step 1 score reporting acknowledged the need for more holistic consideration of residency applicants. Yet many agreed that an overly rapid transition to pass/fail could lead to a residency transition system that was more reliant on attributes such as medical school reputation and other subjective factors.

Inequities and bias exist across the continuum of medical education and training, and we are committed to helping improve the way in which medical students and graduates are assessed for the competencies necessary for patient care. We are very pleased that the Coalition for Physician Accountability – which includes the senior leadership of the AACOM, AAMC, ACCME, ACGME, AMA, AOA, CMSS, ECFMG, FSMB, LCME, NBME, NBOME, the Joint Commission, and representatives of the public – has set up a framework for a comprehensive review of the transition from medical school to residency, and is poised to move forward in the months ahead with an effort to provide recommendations to its member organizations and many additional stakeholders.

During the recent months, medical schools and state medical boards have been demonstrating flexibility in their requirements for taking the USMLE. USMLE has expanded testing opportunities and permitted rescheduling of tests when desired or needed and waived rescheduling fees. While this flexibility is welcomed and necessary, we realize that it does not completely eliminate the stress that can be associated with taking standardized exams such as USMLE. However, accelerating the change to pass/fail scoring for Step 1 at this time, before the Coalition advances its work, risks introducing undesirable complexity, uncertainty and potential disruption into the transition from undergraduate medical education (UME) to graduate medical education (GME) in the coming years. We therefore remain committed to our initial implementation timeframe for USMLE Step 1 pass/fail as no earlier than January 2022. As the organizations that co-sponsor USMLE, we also remain committed to doing our part to constructively influence the development of broad, systematic changes in the UME to GME transition so that the end result is one that is fair for everyone.


USMLE policy updates following Step 2 CS discontinuation

Posted: July 21, 2021

Step 3 Eligibility Requirements Reinstated; New Information Added to USMLE Transcripts; Attempt Limits Set at Four

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Composite Committee, the governing body of USMLE comprised of medical educators, regulators, and members of the public, recently met to determine how the discontinuation of the Step 2 Clinical Skills examination (Step 2 CS) will impact certain USMLE policies. The Composite Committee’s role is to ensure that the program fulfills its mission to support medical licensing authorities in the United States by providing them with meaningful information from assessments of physician competencies —including medical knowledge and skills—that are important to the provision of safe and effective patient care. The decisions surrounding these policies reflect that mission.

The policy decisions made regarding Step 3 eligibility requirements, reporting Step 2 CS results, and attempt limits are described below. 

Step 3 Eligibility Requirements

During the Step 2 CS suspension, the USMLE program announced temporary Step 3 eligibility requirements. Since the Step 2 CS exam has been discontinued, these temporary requirements are no longer needed.

Step 3 eligibility requirements will conform with criteria established before Step 2 CS became part of the USMLE
. The requirements, which can be found here, are:

  • Passing scores on Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and
  • An MD degree or DO degree from an LCME- or COCA-accredited U.S. or Canadian medical school, or 
  • The equivalent of the MD degree from a medical school outside the U.S. and Canada that is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools as meeting ECFMG eligibility requirements, and obtain ECFMG Certification
  • Meets all other eligibility criteria as listed in the USMLE Bulletin of Information.

Reporting Step 2 CS Results

As a medical licensing examination, the USMLE program has the responsibility to produce transcripts that report to state medical boards a complete exam history for each examinee. Accordingly, all Step 2 CS results will continue to be reported on the USMLE transcript.  

To facilitate the interpretation of transcripts with either Step 2 CS fails or no Step 2 CS attempts, the following statement will be included on all transcripts:

“The USMLE Step 2 CS examination was last administered on March 16, 2020. Examinees with a failing outcome may not have had an opportunity to retest. The USMLE defines successful completion of its examination sequence as passing Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3.”

Attempt Limits

Beginning with applications submitted on or after July 1, 2021, examinees will be limited to four attempts per Step exam rather than the six allowed under the current policy. This policy decision is designed to protect the integrity of the exam and more closely match the attempt limits imposed by state medical boards for USMLE in the majority of states.

Once the change to the attempt limit policy is effective, examinees who have attempted a USMLE Step four or more times and have not passed will be ineligible for other USMLE Steps.

If you have any questions about these policies, please contact the USMLE program by using the form available here.    

Want to Know More About the Decision to Discontinue Step 2 CS?

Listen to a New Podcast
: In the March 4, 2021 episode of USMLE® Connection, David Johnson, the Chief Assessment Officer at the Federation of State Medical Boards, and Chris Feddock, Executive Director for the Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration, discuss the discontinuation of the Step 2 CS exam, the reasons behind the decision, and next steps.


Step 2 CK – Delay in score reporting

Posted: July 19, 2021

Most Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) scores are reported within 3-4 weeks of testing. However, because of necessary annual modifications to the test item pools, there will be a delay in reporting for some examinees who test beginning on or after the week of June 28, 2021
If you need to receive Step 2 CK scores before August 25, 2021, the USMLE program recommends that you take the exam before June 28, 2021.
The target date for reporting Step 2 CK scores for most examinees testing the week of June 28, 2021, through Friday, August 13, 2021, will be Wednesday, August 25, 2021.


« Previous Page: 1 of 6 Next »