“Scoring” the new Pass/Fail USMLE Step 1 Examination

Posted June 29th, 2021 by .

Categories: ECFMG, Medical Licensing, NBME, NRMP, USMLE.

As previously reported on this blog in 2020 and again in April 2021, starting with Step 1 exams administered on January 26, 2021, the USMLE Program will change from a three-digit scoring system to pass/fail scoring system.   As to what examinees can expect from the new Pass/Fail score reports, USMLE has announced that:

  • 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.

Individuals hoping to impress residency program directors with a high score on Step 1 must not just register, but actually sit for their Step 1 exam prior to January 26, 2021.

In addition to the changes to score reports, USMLE also today announced that it will evaluate the minimum score required to achieve a “passing” grade every 3 to 4 years.

Should you find yourself in need of advice and counsel regarding USMLE Policies and Procedures, including with respect to eligibility, or find yourself facing allegations of irregular behavior, our experienced attorney stand ready to assist.

For more than 10 years, Dennis L. Abramson has dedicated a significant portion of his practice to counseling and representing medical students, IMGs, residents, fellows, and practicing physicians in compliance and disciplinary matters related to ECFMG, USMLE, NBME, and NRMP, including responding to and defending allegations of irregular behavior and violations of the Match® agreement. Should you need advice or counsel with a related issue, please contact Mr. Abramson at 610-664-5700 or dabramson@theabramsonfirm.com.

Mr. Abramson regularly updates this page with the latest developments related to ECFMG, USMLE, NRMP, ABIM, irregular behavior, and physician licensing and credentialing issues, so check back soon.

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