USMLE program announces upcoming policy changes
On February 12, 2020, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®), co-sponsors of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®), announced upcoming policy changes to the USMLE program.
- Changing Step 1 score reporting from a three-digit numeric score to reporting only pass/fail;
- Reducing the allowable number of exam attempts on each Step or Step Component from six to four; and
- Requiring all examinees to successfully pass Step 1 as a prerequisite for taking Step 2 Clinical Skills
The above links provide more detail and FAQs. Please also see the announcement on the USMLE website for a podcast about these changes and additional information.
Step 3 Score Delay
Scores for Step 3 examinees testing in January and February 2020 are expected to be released on March 25.
Most Step 3 scores are reported within four weeks of testing. However, because of necessary annual modifications to the test item pool, there will be a delay in reporting for some examinees who test in early 2020. The target date for reporting Step 3 scores for examinees testing in January and February 2020 is Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
No USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, or Step 3 examinations will be administered January 1-14, 2020.
Review of USMLE Step 3 minimum passing performance
The recommended Step 3 minimum passing score will change from 196 to 198. This change will affect examinees who take a Step 3 examination that begins on or after January 1, 2020.
As stated in the USMLE Bulletin of Information and 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 December 2019 meeting, the USMLE Management Committee* conducted a review of the Step 3 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 2019;
- 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 3 examination;
- Data on trends in examinee performance;
- Data on precision of pass/fail classifications.
As a result of its review, the USMLE Management Committee decided to raise the recommended Step 3 minimum passing score from 196 to 198.
As noted above, this change will apply to Step 3 examinees who take a Step 3 examination that begins on or after January 1, 2020.
*The USMLE Management Committee is composed of medical school faculty with experience in undergraduate and graduate education, members of state medical boards, public members, and a resident member. The Management Committee is responsible for setting minimum passing performance levels for all USMLE exams.
When selecting your eligibility period, please keep in mind that the busiest testing times at Prometric are May through July and November through December.
REMINDER: The USMLE is not available the first two weeks in January. Please keep this in mind when selecting your eligibility period.
|2020 Fees||Effective Dates for 2020 Fees|
Three-month eligibility periods that end in 2020.
The first eligibility period in which the 2020 fee will apply is November 1, 2019 - January 31, 2020.
The last eligibility period in which the 2020 fee will apply is October 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020.
Remember, the stakes on a medical licensing exam are high! Don't do something that might jeopardize your future as a licensed physician. Be sure you understand all the USMLE policies on security and irregular behavior by viewing the security video here.
For updates on the impact of inclement weather on USMLE Step 3 administrations, please go to the Prometric website. If your test center is closed due to inclement weather and you are not able to test, you must do the following:
- If you have not opened the exam at all (i.e., not yet taken Day 1), send an email to FSMB at email@example.com
- If you have opened any part of the exam (i.e., started or completed Day 1), send an email to USMLE Test Admin at firstname.lastname@example.org
- The email should include: your full name, USMLE ID, test center location, brief summary of the issue (e.g., center closed due to inclement weather) and the ticket number from Prometric, if provided.
The test center closure will be verified directly with Prometric. This takes several business days. Once the closure is verified, you will be contacted via email with detailed information for rescheduling your test date(s). A free extension of your eligibility period will be provided, if needed, to allow you time to reschedule.