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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.


USMLE Physician Tasks/Competencies

Posted: July 10, 2014

USMLE Physician Tasks/Competencies, a publication that provides a common organization of competencies and tasks assessed in USMLE examinations, is now available.

The outline comprises seven major sections:

  • Medical Knowledge/Scientific Concepts
  • Patient Care: Diagnosis
  • Patient Care: Management
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Professionalism, including Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Systems-based Practice, including Patient Safety
  • Practice-based Learning

While this outline is common to all USMLE examinations, each Step will continue to have test specifications specific to that Step and will emphasize certain parts of the outline.

The USMLE Step 3 Content Description and General Information booklet contains a description of physician tasks/competencies covered in the restructured Step 3 examination for examinees taking the Step 3 examination on or after November 3, 2014. An updated USMLE Step 2 CK Content Description and General Information booklet containing a description of physician tasks/competencies covered in that examination will be available in July 2014.

USMLE Physician Tasks/Competencies is useful for understanding competencies assessed by multiple-choice question (MCQ) formats such as Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and the MCQ portion of Step 3. The outline will be updated as work to identify competencies covered by non-MCQ exam formats progresses.


Practice materials and other information for examinees taking the restructured Step 3 examination on or after November 3, 2014

Posted: July 10, 2014

Practice and informational materials for the restructured Step 3 examination have been posted to the USMLE website. Examinees who plan to take a Step 3 examination on or after November 3, 2014 should read the materials and practice with the sample items and cases. The materials include:

A summary of changes resulting from the restructuring of the Step 3 examination is also available.
Practice and informational materials for examinees taking the current Step 3 examination, which will be administered through September 30, 2014, will remain available on the USMLE website until early October, 2014.


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