Scores

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1. When will I get my scores?

Scores for Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 3 are released each Wednesday. Generally these will include scores for examinees who tested three to four weeks before the release date. However, there are many factors that may delay an individual score release. Usually these will be quickly resolved and the score released in the next weekly cycle. Your registration entity will notify you via email when your score becomes available. When released, your scores will be posted to your registration entity's secure website: for Step 1 and Step 2, either NBME or ECFMG; for Step 3, FSMB. If you have not received your score within eight weeks of your test date, please contact us to determine the status of your score report. Please note that new scores are not released during the week of 4th of July or the last week of December.

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2. Why does it take three to four weeks to score a computer-delivered examination?

In order to assure that both the processing and scoring of USMLE examinations are done in a secure and accurate fashion, it is necessary to follow a number of quality assurance steps. These steps include monitoring reports from test centers about test delivery problems and about possible security violations. These processes are completed for a majority of examinees in three to four weeks.

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3. What are the passing scores for the three Steps, and do they ever change? If so, why?

USMLE results are reported on a 3-digit scale.

The current minimum passing scores are as follows:

Step 1: 194
Step 2 CK: 209
Step 3: 198

Information on minimum passing scores for USMLE examinations is posted on the Scores and Transcripts page.

The USMLE Management Committee establishes the minimum passing score. The USMLE Management Committee reviews data for each component in the USMLE sequence approximately once every four years and decides whether to change the recommended minimum passing score.

All scores are made comparable through equating, a psychometric process that adjusts scores based on the difficulty of the questions. This can be thought of as small score increases applied to examinees who see somewhat more difficult sets of test questions, and small score decreases applied to test takers who see somewhat less difficult sets of test questions. 

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4. What are the current pass rates for the Steps?

The content-based standard used for setting the passing score means that as many as 100% of candidates could theoretically pass, or conceivably 0%. The number is not arbitrarily predetermined. Similarly, the pass rate can vary from one accredited medical school in the United States to another, and from one year to another. Recent performance data for first-time takers and repeaters for each Step are available.

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5. What are the group pass rates by medical school for the Steps?

For accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada, performance by medical school is reported by NBME only to individual schools and is available only from those schools. The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) has responsibility for reporting scores for students and graduates of international medical schools.

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6. Can I retake a Step that I passed to raise my score?

If you pass a Step or Step Component, you are not allowed to retake it, except to comply with certain state board requirements which have been previously approved by USMLE governance. For example, you may retake a passed Step to comply with the time limit imposed by a medical licensing authority for the completion of all Steps or a requirement imposed by another authority recognized by the USMLE program for this purpose. The medical licensing authority must provide information showing that you are an applicant for licensure in that jurisdiction; have fulfilled all requirements for licensure in that jurisdiction; are eligible for licensure except for the out-of-date examination; and have completed the full USMLE sequence, including Step 3. Information regarding retakes allowed to comply with ECFMG requirements is provided at the time of exam application using ECFMG's Interactive Web Applications (IWA).

If you are repeating a previously passed Step or Step Component because of a time limit imposed by a medical licensing authority, you may apply to retake the examination only after the applicable time limit has expired. An exception to this policy can be granted if, at the time of application and testing:

  • you are currently enrolled in an LCME- or AOA accredited medical school program leading to the MD or DO degree;
  • you have previously passed Step 1 and/or Step 2 but have not passed Step 3;
  • you are expected to graduate from the medical school program six or more years after the date you first passed Step 1 and/or Step 2; and
  • you are otherwise eligible to retake the examination.
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7. How can I request a transcript of my USMLE scores?

To obtain your USMLE transcript or have it sent to a third party, you must contact one of the three USMLE registration entities. Which entity you contact depends on which Steps you have taken and where you want your transcript sent.

  • To have a transcript sent to a medical licensing authority at any time, submit your request through the FSMB.
  • If you have not registered for or taken Step 3 and you want a transcript sent to a third party other than a medical licensing authority, submit your request through the same entity that registered you for Step 1 and/or Step 2, the ECFMG or the NBME.
  • Once you register for or take Step 3, all requests for USMLE transcripts must be submitted through the FSMB.

See USMLE Bulletin: Scoring and Score Reporting - Transcripts.

 

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8. How do I request a score recheck?

Information about requesting a score recheck is in the USMLE Bulletin of Information.

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9. Who else sees my score report?

Your score report is provided only for your personal use. When you want a third party (e.g., residency programs) to receive an official record of your USMLE scores, request that your registration entity send the transcript (see Requesting a Transcript of USMLE Scores). Under some circumstances, medical schools may receive scores and pass/fail outcomes for their students.