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UPDATE - Review of USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills minimum passing performance

Posted: January 24, 2017
Updated: April 19, 2017

Because severe winter weather resulted in cancellation and rescheduling of one of the standard setting panels that review test content for the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination, dates for the review by the USMLE Management Committee and for possible changes in the recommended minimum passing requirements to take effect have changed. Please see below for new dates.

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 2017 Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) review, information from multiple sources will be considered, including:

  • Results of content-based standard setting exercises conducted with three groups of physicians who have not previously participated in USMLE test committees;
  • Results of surveys of various groups (e.g., samples of examinees, state licensing representatives, medical school faculty) 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 requirements for the USMLE Step 2 CS examination at its July 29 - August 1 meeting (originally scheduled for May 2017).

If the Committee determines that a change is appropriate, the new recommended minimum passing requirements will become effective for all examinees who take a Step 2 CS examination on or after September 10, 2017 (originally July 16, 2017.)

The decision of the Committee will be posted on the USMLE website immediately following the July 29 - August 1 meeting.


No change to minimum passing score for Step 2 CK

Posted: May 24, 2018

The USMLE Management Committee voted to maintain the currently recommended Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge) minimum passing score at their May 2018 meeting.

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 meeting, the USMLE Management Committee conducted a review of the Step 2 CK 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 2018;
  • 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 2 CK examination;
  • Data on trends in examinee performance;
  • Data on precision of pass/fail classifications.

As a result of its review, the USMLE Management Committee voted to maintain the recommended minimum passing score of 209.


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

Posted: February 13, 2018
Updated: May 23, 2018

The USMLE program recommends a minimum passing level for each Step examination. The USMLE Management Committee is responsible for establishing and monitoring standards, and is asked to complete an in-depth review of standards for each examination every 3 to 4 years.

For the 2018 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 2018;
  • 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 May 2018 meeting.

If the Committee determines that a change 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, 2018. The decision of the Committee will be posted at the USMLE website.


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