USMLE Changes the Step 2 CK Examination Passing Standard

Posted April 18th, 2022 by .

Categories: Uncategorized.

As reported in our blog post from July 18, 2020, and again in our post on April 20, 2021, the USMLE Management Committee elected to change the the Step 1 examination from a three-digit scoring system to a pass/fail scoring system, starting January 26, 2022.  The 2023 Main Residency Match, for which applications open September 15, 2022 with a Match Day of March 17, 2023, will be the first Match cycle in which certain applicants’ Step 1 information will not contain a three-digit score.  How this will affect the manner in which program directors will weigh an applicants’/candidates’ Step 2 CK score remains to be seen.  However, clear from the USMLE Program’s new announcement is that the Step 2 CK examination will be more difficult to pass.

Starting with Step 2 CK examinations administered on or after July 1, 2022 (July 1 seems to be a recurring date of substance for USMLE: July 1 was the effective date of 2021’s attempt limit rule change), the minimum passing score will change from 209 to 214. Per USMLE, evaluations of the passing standard for its examinations “typically occurs every three or four years”, and the adjustment to the Step 2 CK passing standard starting July 1, 2022 was made as a result of:

  • 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.

Remember: when you sign up for USMLE examinations, you agree to be bound to the USMLE Bulletin of Information and any changes to the rules contained therein.  The USMLE Program always provides advanced notice (albeit to varying degrees) whenever it changes a rule, regulation, or policy, so always check the USMLE website to assure that, among other things, you continue meet all eligibility criteria.

If you have any issues with regard to your eligibility to sit for USMLE Step examinations, including with respect to the four attempt rule (there is a very limited exception to this rule) or so that you can comply with ECFMG’s Seven Year Policy, our experienced attorneys 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

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share this Post


Consult with Our Experienced Attorneys About Your Case

    Back to Top