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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.


Use caution in selecting review courses

Posted: June 29, 2011
Updated: April 04, 2014

Orientation, Practice, and Self-Assessment Materials Available through USMLE, NBME, and Third Parties

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program recognizes the importance of providing all examinees the opportunity to learn about the design and content of its examinations and to have some exposure, before examination day, to samples of testing formats and materials. USMLE provides orientation and practice materials for all USMLE Steps and Step Components. These materials, which are available at no cost on the USMLE website, include:

• Informational materials on the overall USMLE program and content descriptions for each of the USMLE examinations,
• Tutorials that illustrate the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), Step 3 multiple-choice question software and the Step 3 computer-based case simulation (CCS) Primum® software,
• Sample multiple-choice test questions with answer keys for each Step,
• Sample Step 3 CCS cases with feedback, and
• Orientation materials for Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS).

In addition, the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®) provides, for a fee, self-assessment services to help the examinee evaluate his or her readiness to take USMLE. These services help individuals become familiar with questions like those that have appeared on USMLE and provide performance feedback on the individual’s areas of relative strength and weakness. See www.nbme.org to obtain additional information and to purchase self-assessment services.

Beyond these USMLE and NBME services, there are a variety of commercial test preparation materials and courses that claim to prepare examinees for USMLE examinations. Examinees who are considering using such services should fully understand the nature of these services, the sources of any content being used, and the basis for any claims being made. None of these third-party materials or courses are affiliated with or sanctioned by the USMLE program and information on such materials and courses is not available from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), NBME, USMLE Secretariat, or medical licensing authorities.
 
Please note that it is unlawful for any test preparation program or any individual to use, disclose, distribute, or provide access to questions or answers from actual USMLE exams. An examinee who is involved with any enterprise that disseminates USMLE content should be aware of the consequences, which include the possible cancellation of USMLE registration and/or testing, the withholding or cancellation of scores, and the imposition of additional sanctions.



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

Posted: March 25, 2014

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

For the 2014 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 2014;
  • 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 meeting on May 21-23, 2014.

If the Committee determines that a change to the minimum passing score 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, 2014. The decision of the Committee will be posted at the USMLE website.


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