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Step 2 CS cases – common presenting signs and symptoms

Posted: September 10, 2017

A list of common presenting signs and symptoms that Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examinees may expect to see during their examination has been posted to the USMLE website. These are examples only, and the list does not represent all possible presenting signs and symptoms that may be encountered.

The Step 2 Clinical Skills Content Description and General Information booklet has been revised to include this list.

Examinees will encounter a broad spectrum of cases reflecting common and important symptoms and diagnoses, as well as patients with a variety of backgrounds. The criteria used to create individual examinations focus primarily on presenting symptoms and conditions. On any examination day, the set of cases will differ from the combination presented the day before or the following day, but each set of cases has a comparable degree of difficulty.

Presentation categories include, but are not limited to, cardiovascular, constitutional, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, musculoskeletal, neurological, psychiatric, respiratory, and women's health. Examinees will see cases from some, but not all, of these categories. The selection of cases is also guided by specifications relating to acuity, age, gender, and type of physical findings.

The USMLE program continually reviews its examinations to ensure their content is relevant to the practice of medicine. As practice guidelines evolve or are introduced, the content on USMLE is reviewed and modified as needed.


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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