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 information materials for the Step 2 CK examination are now available
Posted: July 25, 2014
Updated: July 29, 2014
Updated information materials for the Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) examination have been posted to the USMLE website. They include:
• USMLE Step 2 CK Sample Test Questions booklet (PDF)
• USMLE Step 2 CK Content Description and General Information booklet (PDF)
• Tutorial and practice test questions for multiple-choice items
Updates to the information materials include information regarding test specifications for the Step 2 CK examination that correspond to the organization of content areas in the USMLE Content Outline for all USMLE examinations, as well as test specifications that correspond to the organization of content areas in the USMLE Physician Task/Competencies outline. All USMLE examinations published in 2014 are being constructed using the classification systems in these two documents. Each Step exam will continue to have test specifications specific to that Step. Each Step exam will emphasize certain parts of both the content and task/competencies outline, and no single examination will include questions on all topics in the content outline.
Please note that changes to the Step 2 CK exam in 2014 resulting from use of the new outlines are minor, and the examination content will be similar to content on previous examinations. One change to note, however, is that the downloadable Step 2 CK practice test questions now include a multi-media item assessing recognition of breath sounds, similar in format to items assessing heart sounds.
The previous Step 2 CK content outline will remain available on the USMLE website for reference.
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.
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