Posted April 11, 2022
At its April 2022 meeting, the USMLE Management Committee conducted a review of the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) passing standard and decided that a five-point increase in the passing standard – used to determine a Pass or Fail outcome – will apply to Step 2 CK examinees testing on or after July 1, 2022. On the three-digit score scale, the passing standard will change from 209 to 214.
As part of the USMLE program’s operational procedures and in alignment with best practices for licensing and certification exams, a scheduled comprehensive review and analysis of the passing standard for each Step exam typically occurs every three to four years. This ensures that the passing score reflects current expectations concerning knowledge and skills needed to support effective medical practice and patient care. The current passing standard has remained unchanged since 2014.
This adjustment to the passing standard was determined through the thorough and careful consideration of information from multiple sources, including:
- Recommendations from independent groups of physicians unaffiliated with the USMLE who participated in content-based standard-setting panels in February 2022;
- Results of surveys of various groups (e.g., residency program directors, medical school faculty, state licensing representatives, examinees) concerning the appropriateness of the current passing standard for the Step 2 CK examination;
- Data on trends in examinee performance; and
- Score precision and its effect on the pass/fail outcome.
The USMLE program provides advanced notice of Step exam passing standard reviews and any adjustments on the USMLE website. Details about the review process also appear in the USMLE Bulletin of Information.