USMLE Announces Increase to Minimum Passing Score for Step 1 Exam

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
By Catherine T. Hollis, J.D., The Health Law Firm and By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

In September 2013, the United States Medical Licensee Examination (USMLE) announced that the Step 1 Committee would meet to review the minimum passing score for the USMLE Step 1 examination at its December meeting. On December 12, 2013, the USMLE announced that the Step 1 Committee had decided to raise the minimum passing score for the Step 1 examination from 188 to 192.  This change affects all individuals who take the Step 1 exam on or after January 1, 2014.

The USMLE Step Committees usually conduct an in-depth review of the examination standards every three to four years.


How the Committee Decided to Increase Minimum Passing Score.

According to the USMLE announcement, the Committee considered information from multiple sources in reaching the decision to increase the minimum passing score.  These sources include:

-  Recommendations from independent groups of physicians who participated in content-based, standard-setting activities in 2013;
-  Results of surveys of various groups (state licensing representatives, medical school faculty, examinees) concerning the appropriateness of current passing requirements for the Step 1 examination;
Data on trends in examinee performance; and
Data on precision of pass/fail classifications.

To read more about the new minimum passing score requirement, click here.


USMLE Applicants Are Responsible for Staying Current on Changes to USMLE Program.

All USMLE applicants are required to become familiar with the Bulletin of Information in effect during at the time of application/examination.  As part of each Step exam application, applicants must certify that they have read and are familiar with the Bulletin of Information.  

According to the 2014 Bulletin of Information, changes in the USMLE program that occur after the publication of the Bulletin are effective when they are posted on the USMLE website.  This places the affirmative duty to periodically check the USMLE website on applicants.  The update information can be found in the "Announcements" section on the homepage.  

If an applicant is unable to access the USMLE information online, he or she should contact the USMLE Secretariat in writing to obtain updated information. Click here to read the 2014 Bulletin of Information.


Rising the Minimum Score a Trend?


It appears there has been a trend in USMLE exams for the minimum passing scores to be slowly increasing. Is this a result of better medical education? Is it a result of more individuals qualifying to take these exams? Does it indicate a desire to limit the number of physicians or just to screen out the lower scoring ones?

Regardless, it behooves every person taking these exams to take review courses, prepare without distractions, and make every effort to pass the first time. Next time it may be harder.


Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to medical students, residents, interns and fellows in academic disputes, graduate medical education (GME) hearings, contract negotiations, license applications, board certification applications and hearings, credential hearings, and civil and administrative litigations.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Comments?

What do you think about the increased minimum passing score for USMLE Step 1?  Please leave any thoughtful comments below.


About the Authors: Catherine T. Hollis is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.


Tag Words: National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), medical students, medical resident, irregular behavior, United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), Examination Committee for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), cheating, USMLE preparation course, USMLE hearings, USMLE appeals, defense attorney, defense lawyer, legal representationmedical student lawyer, medical student attorney, medical resident lawyer, medical resident attorney, medical intern lawyer, medical intern attorney, Step 1 Committee, minimum passing score for USMLE Step 1 examination, what is the minimum passing score for the USMLE Step 1 examination, medical administrative hearings, administrative law, health law firm, The Health Law Firm


"The Health Law Firm" is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. - The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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1/22/2014

Comments:

Response to: USMLE Announces Increase to Minimum Passing Score for Step 1 Exam
Friday, April 25, 2014
Dr Sharma says:

i personally feel that this is not the right step. in my opinion for step 2 & 3 this is ok but not for step 1 as in step 1 basic knowledge is tested and many a times people have adequate basic knowledge but extraordinary clinical skills. what US wants is god clinicians not basic scientist anyways i am not in favor of the above. regards Dr Sharma Prof, Pharmacology India

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