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Change in minimum passing requirements for Step 1

Posted: December 12, 2013

This announcement describes a change in the Step 1 examination minimum passing score that will affect examinees testing on or after January 1, 2014.

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 2013 meeting, the Step 1 Committee conducted a review of the USMLE Step 1 examination minimum passing score. During the meeting, the Committee considered information from multiple sources, including:

  • Recommendations from independent groups of physicians who participated in content-based standard-setting activities in 2013;
  • 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 1 examination;
  • Data on trends in examinee performance;
  • Data on precision of pass/fail classifications.

As a result of its review, the Step 1 Committee decided to raise the recommended Step 1 minimum passing score from 188 to 192.

This change will be applied to Step 1 examinees testing on or after January 1, 2014.


Updated abbreviation list for Step 2 CS patient notes

Posted: November 03, 2014

Examinees complete a patient note after each patient encounter in the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination. A list of common abbreviations that may be used in the notes is included in the Step 2 Clinical Skills Content Description and General Information booklet, and is posted at each computer station at all Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration (CSEC) test centers.

The Step 2 Clinical Skills Content Description and General Information booklet now includes an updated version of the abbreviation list; this version will be posted at test centers beginning November 3, 2014.

Changes to the list are minor. Examinees should be aware that this is not a complete list of all acceptable abbreviations, but rather represents the types of common abbreviations that may be used on the patient note. Patient notes are rated by licensed, board-certified physicians with experience in medical education, who will understand common medical abbreviations. However, an examinee who is in doubt about the correct abbreviation to use should write out the word or phrase.


USMLE Score Interpretation Guidelines

Posted: October 30, 2014

USMLE Score Interpretation Guidelines (SIG) have been posted to the USMLE website. Topics include:

  • Description of Examinations
  • Understanding Your Score
  • Recent Means and Standard Deviations (SDs)
    • Norm Table
    • Passing Scores
  • Precision of Scores
  • Guidelines for Use of USMLE Step Scores for Selection Decisions

The means and SDs and the norm table will be updated annually. Because percentile ranks depend on the cohort of examinees, you should always use the most recent norm table available on the USMLE website to obtain percentile ranks.


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