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Change in minimum passing requirements for Step 3

Posted: December 11, 2015

The recommended Step 3 minimum passing score will change from 190 to 196. This change will affect examinees whose first day of testing is on or after January 1, 2016.

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 2015 meeting, the USMLE Management Committee conducted a review of the Step 3 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 2015;
  • 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 3 examination;
  • Data on trends in examinee performance;
  • Data on precision of pass/fail classifications.

As a result of its review, the Management Committee decided to raise the recommended Step 3 minimum passing score from 190 to 196.

As noted above, this change will apply to Step 3 examinees whose first day of testing is on or after January 1, 2016.


Updated practice and informational materials for the Step 2 CK examination are available

Posted: June 10, 2016

Updated practice and informational materials for the Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) examination have been posted to the USMLE website. These materials reflect the change in number of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) per block described in a prior announcement, as well as new test delivery software .

Examinees planning to take a Step 2 CK examination on or after July 10, 2016 should read the following materials and practice with the updated sample items:

Downloadable practice test materials, with tutorials
USMLE Step 2 CK Sample Items booklet (PDF)
USMLE Step 2 CK Content Description and General Information booklet (PDF)


New features in Step 1 and Step 2 CK examinations

Posted: March 03, 2016
Updated: June 09, 2016

The National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®) has developed new software to deliver Step 1 and Step 2 CK of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®). The new software incorporates user-adjustable display features, specifically text magnification and reverse color (color inversion)

The new features will begin to be administered in Step 1 examinations during a transition period beginning the week of May 9, and in Step 2 CK examinations during a transition period beginning the week of July 10. Although the transition will occur quickly at many test centers, there may be some locations where the changes take slightly longer to complete. The overall transition period will likely last approximately 6 weeks. 

NEW FEATURES

Two new user-adjustable display features will be available in the new software:

  • Reverse color (color inversion)
  • Text magnification

Reverse color

Inverts the color of the text and background from black-on-white to white-on-black. The ability to reverse color (also known as color inversion) improves readability for some users.


Text magnification


Two levels of text magnification will be available.


Image magnification

Magnifies images, such as photographs and graphs.
Click anywhere within the image to enlarge or to return to original size.


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