USMLE Step 1 Transition to Pass/Fail Only Score Reporting Begins with Exams Taken on or After Jan. 26, 2022

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1 score reporting will transition from a numeric score and pass/fail outcome to pass/fail only for exams taken on or after January 26, 2022. The USMLE program views this change as an important first step toward facilitating broader, system-wide changes to improve the transition from undergraduate to graduate medical education.

Dates for USMLE Step 1 Transition to Pass/Fail Only
Transition Begins with Exams Taken on or After January 26, 2022

To receive a numeric score, examinees must take their exam on or before January 25, 2022*

Step 1 Exams

Test on or before Jan. 25, 2022
(Please schedule your appointment with Prometric well in advance of your desired test date)

Test on or after Jan. 26, 2022
(Schedule your exam date for on or after Jan. 26, 2022)

Score Reports

Numeric score and pass/fail outcome

Pass/fail outcome only

Transcripts**

Numeric score and pass/fail outcome

Pass/fail outcome only

* For multi-day exams, the date of the first day of testing will determine score reporting.
**Includes transcripts produced by the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®), ECFMG, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and through the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®).

View Example January 26, 2022 Score Reports

View common questions

Examinees should monitor the USMLE website for the latest information.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable September 17-19

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 17, 2021. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 19, 2021. All times are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

During this maintenance period, you will be unable to access most ECFMG on-line services, including the following:

  • IWA—Interactive Web Applications
  • OASIS—On-line Applicant Status and Information System
  • Application for Pathways for ECFMG Certification for 2022 Match
  • Clinical Skills Evaluation and Attestation Portal
  • EMSWP—ECFMG Medical School Web Portal, and its programs for medical schools and other institutions:
    • Status Verification
    • Credentials Verification
    • Performance Data
    • EMSWP ERAS
    • GEMxSM for Partner Institutions
  • CVS ON-LINE—Certification Verification Service On-line
  • EVNet—Exchange Visitor Network (for staff of U.S. training programs that host ECFMG-sponsored exchange visitor physicians)
  • EPICSM—Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials
    • Physician Portal
    • Report Portal
  • GEMx on-line services for students
  • MyECFMG mobile app

The World Directory of Medical Schools also will be unavailable during this maintenance period.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work to maintain high-quality on-line services.

New USMLE App for Reporting Potential Exam Security Violations

United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) exam security helps promote a testing environment where no examinee has an unfair advantage. It also helps to control increases in exam fees by minimizing the number of items removed from USMLE due to potential exposure. The USMLE security program’s goal is to protect the integrity of USMLE, which aims to ensure safe and effective patient care.

To further minimize potential violations, the USMLE program is now offering an app called STOPit, which enables examinees to anonymously report suspected security violations.

You may visit  Apple  or  Google Play Store  to download the free mobile app. Use access code: USMLE-TIP.  A browser-enabled reporting tool is also available.

The STOPit mobile app allows users to:

  • Anonymously report incidents in real time
  • Submit documents, photos, and video evidence
  • Engage in two-way anonymous communication in follow-up to a report
  • Connect with USMLE staff regarding exam security incidents

The USMLE program asks that you please help maintain the integrity of USMLE by downloading the new app.  The USMLE program encourages anyone with knowledge of any activities that may compromise USMLE test items to submit this information through the STOPit app.

If you have questions about the STOPit app, please contact the Office of the USMLE Secretariat at webmail@nbme.org.

ECFMG’s 2022 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and Application Materials Now Available

ECFMG’s 2022 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and the 2022 exam application materials for international medical students/graduates (IMGs) are now available on the ECFMG website. The ECFMG Information Booklet is the definitive source of information on ECFMG Certification and is required reading for applicants.

To be eligible for ECFMG Certification, IMGs must satisfy a number of requirements, including the medical science examination requirement, the clinical skills requirement, and the communication skills requirement.

  • To meet the medical science examination requirement for ECFMG Certification, applicants must pass Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®).
  • To meet the clinical skills requirement and communication skills requirement for ECFMG Certification, applicants must:
    • Complete an ECFMG Pathway, which includes attaining a satisfactory score on the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine, OR
    • Have earned a passing performance on the former Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of USMLE that satisfies ECFMG requirements for ECFMG Certification.

Application Materials and USMLE Step 1/Step 2 CK Eligibility Periods

For USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK, applicants can use the 2022 materials to apply for all available eligibility periods ending in 2021 and all eligibility periods ending in 2022, beginning with the November 2021-January 2022 eligibility period.

Please monitor the ECFMG website, and follow ECFMG on Facebook and Twitter for updates and important information.

(published July 28; updated August 11)

ECFMG’s IWA Unavailable August 10-11

Due to required maintenance, ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA) will be unavailable for up to 24 hours, beginning at approximately 6:00 p.m., Eastern Time in the United States, on August 10, 2021.

During this maintenance period, you will be unable to perform any IWA transactions, including working on or submitting an Application for ECFMG Certification or USMLE exam application, and accessing a USMLE scheduling permit.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work to maintain high-quality on-line services.

Incomplete USMLE Exam Applications in IWA Will Be Deleted on August 10

As part of the transition to the ECFMG 2022 Information Booklet and exam application materials, any USMLE exam applications that have been saved but not submitted via ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA) will be deleted. If you have a saved exam application in IWA, you must complete and submit the application, including payment, by 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time in the United States, on Tuesday, August 10, 2021. If you have begun but not yet submitted the on-line part of an exam application when IWA becomes unavailable on August 10, your incomplete application will be deleted. If your application is deleted, you will be required to begin a new application in order to apply for examination.

 

 

USMLE Step 1 Updates on Score Reporting and Standard Setting

Two United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1 changes may coincide in early 2022. First, Step 1 score reporting will transition to pass/fail only for administrations on or after January 26, 2022. Second, as part of best practices for licensing and certification examinations, the USMLE program reviews the minimum passing score of each Step exam every three to four years. The standard review process for the Step 1 minimum passing score is currently underway, which includes substantial input from licensing authorities, medical educators, and subject matter experts. If any change to the minimum passing score is determined appropriate by the USMLE Management Committee, it will become effective for examinees who take Step 1 on or after January 26, 2022. While the timing may overlap, the standard review process is unrelated to the upcoming transition to pass/fail score reporting.

Pass/Fail Score Reporting
The pass/fail reporting change is in alignment with the Invitational Conference on USMLE Scoring (InCUS) recommendations, which were based on a broad range of input from state medical board members, physicians, medical educators and examinees. To support this transition, USMLE Step 1 score reports for administrations on or after January 26, 2022 will be updated in the following ways:

  • Passing outcome reports will only display the notification of “Pass.” This change is intended to reduce the overemphasis of USMLE Step 1 scores on secondary uses while retaining the ability to use the exam for its primary purpose of medical licensure eligibility.
  • Failing outcome reports will display “Fail” and have 1) a visual illustration showing the distance between the examinee’s overall score and the minimum passing standard and 2) content area feedback that shows whether the examinee scored lower, about the same, or higher than examinees with a low pass (ie, above but near the passing standard) for each content category. This additional information is intended to guide study plans for future exam attempts.

Sample score reports for USMLE Step 1 examinations taken on or after January 26, 2022 are available here. USMLE transcripts will be similarly revised to display only a “Pass” or “Fail” for Step 1 exams taken on or after January 26, 2022. USMLE transcripts for Step 1 exams taken January 25, 2022 or earlier will continue to report a numeric score along with a “Pass” or “Fail” outcome.

Minimum Passing Score Review
The USMLE program reviews the minimum passing score for each Step examination every three to four years with extensive input from faculty and subject matter experts. This ensures that the standard is aligned with the potentially changing expectations within medicine.

Based on its routine schedule, the review of the Step 1 minimum passing score was originally scheduled to occur in December 2020 but was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the review will occur in December 2021, and any change to the minimum passing score will be made effective with Step 1 administrations beginning on or after January 26, 2022. This review is consistent with USMLE’s standard operating procedures and is not connected to the upcoming transition to pass/fail score reporting. For reference, the last reviews of the minimum passing scores for Steps 1, 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) and 3 resulted in changes that ranged between 0 and 2 points.

Four types of data are considered:

  • Results of content-based standard-setting exercises conducted with three independent groups of physicians;
  • Results of surveys of various stakeholders (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.

Changes to the minimum passing score, if any, are determined by the USMLE Management Committee. This committee is comprised of a diverse national group of medical professionals from undergraduate and graduate medical education as well as state medical boards. Two public members and a resident member also serve on the committee.

An additional announcement that reports the outcome of the minimum passing standard review, whether there is a change or not, will be made on December 9, 2021.

Examinees should monitor the USMLE website for the latest information.

Reminder: USMLE Attempt Limit Changing Soon

To protect the integrity of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program and more closely match the USMLE attempt limits imposed by state medical boards in the majority of states, effective July 1, 2021, the USMLE attempt limit policy will change, as previously announced. The change will reduce an examinee’s total number of allowable attempts from six (6) attempts to four (4) attempts per Step exam, including incomplete attempts.

The policy change is effective for applications submitted on or after July 1, 2021. After the implementation of this policy change, examinees who have attempted any USMLE Step (including Step 2 Clinical Skills) four (4) or more times and have not passed will be ineligible to apply for USMLE Steps.

Examinees with four (4) or five (5) attempts at an exam who meet all eligibility requirements outlined in the USMLE Bulletin of Information may submit application(s) for USMLE through June 30, 2021 at 11:59 pm, Eastern Time, under the current attempt limit of six (6).

To learn more about this change, please review the FAQs on the USMLE website. If you have questions about how this change impacts you, please email the Office of the USMLE Secretariat at USMLESec@nbme.org.

Step 1 Pass/Fail Score Reporting Implementation Date

United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1 score reporting will transition to pass/fail outcomes only for administrations on or after January 26, 2022. Step 1 examinations administered before January 26 will include a three-digit numeric score.

Outcomes for Step 1 administrations occurring before January 26, 2022 will continue to include a three-digit score and pass/fail. Step 2 Clinical Knowledge and Step 3 examinations will continue to be reported as a three-digit score and pass/fail.

On February 12, 2020, the USMLE program announced it would change Step 1 score reporting to a pass/fail outcome no earlier than January 1, 2022. In taking this action, the USMLE’s co-sponsors—the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®)—considered the broad range of input received from the Invitational Conference on USMLE Scoring (InCUS), the subsequent InCUS report and its preliminary recommendations, and the extensive feedback and national conversation that preceded and followed the conference.

Additional information regarding the change to reporting Step 1 outcomes as pass/fail can be found here: https://www.usmle.org/incus/#decision.

USMLE Policy Updates Following Step 2 CS Discontinuation

Step 3 Eligibility Requirements Reinstated; New Information Added to USMLE Transcripts; Attempt Limits Set at Four

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Composite Committee, the governing body of USMLE comprised of medical educators, regulators, and members of the public, recently met to determine how the discontinuation of the Step 2 Clinical Skills examination (Step 2 CS) will impact certain USMLE policies. The Composite Committee’s role is to ensure that the program fulfills its mission to support medical licensing authorities in the United States by providing them with meaningful information from assessments of physician competencies—including medical knowledge and skills—that are important to the provision of safe and effective patient care. The decisions surrounding these policies reflect that mission.

The policy decisions made regarding Step 3 eligibility requirements, reporting Step 2 CS results, and attempt limits are described below.

Step 3 Eligibility Requirements

During the Step 2 CS suspension, the USMLE program announced temporary Step 3 eligibility requirements. Since the Step 2 CS exam has been discontinued, these temporary requirements are no longer needed.

Step 3 eligibility requirements will conform with criteria established before Step 2 CS became part of the USMLE. The requirements, which can be found here, are:

  • Passing scores on Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), and
  • An MD degree or DO degree from an LCME- or COCA-accredited U.S. or Canadian medical school, or
  • The equivalent of the MD degree from a medical school outside the U.S. and Canada that is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools as meeting ECFMG eligibility requirements, and obtain ECFMG Certification.
  • Meets all other eligibility criteria as listed in the USMLE Bulletin of Information.

Reporting Step 2 CS Results

As a medical licensing examination, the USMLE program has the responsibility to produce transcripts that report to state medical boards a complete exam history for each examinee. Accordingly, all Step 2 CS results will continue to be reported on the USMLE transcript.

To facilitate the interpretation of transcripts with either Step 2 CS fails or no Step 2 CS attempts, the following statement will be included on all transcripts:

“The USMLE Step 2 CS examination was suspended on March 16, 2020 and formally discontinued on January 26, 2021. Due to the exam’s discontinuation, examinees with a failing Step 2 CS outcome may not have had an opportunity to retest and remediate their performance. The USMLE defines successful completion of its examination sequence as passing Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3.”

Attempt Limits

Beginning with applications submitted on or after July 1, 2021, examinees will be limited to four attempts per Step exam rather than the six allowed under the current policy. This policy decision is designed to protect the integrity of the exam and more closely match the attempt limits imposed by state medical boards for USMLE in the majority of states.

Once the change to the attempt limit policy is effective, examinees who have attempted a USMLE Step four or more times and have not passed will be ineligible for other USMLE Steps.

If you have any questions about these policies, please contact the USMLE program by using the form available here.

Want to Know More About the Decision to Discontinue Step 2 CS?

Listen to a New Podcast: In the March 4, 2021 episode of USMLE Connection, David Johnson, the Chief Assessment Officer at the Federation of State Medical Boards, and Chris Feddock, Executive Director for the Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration, discuss the discontinuation of the Step 2 CS exam, the reasons behind the decision, and next steps.