USMLE Step 1 is a multiple choice computerized USMLE examination that tests knowledge of subjects learned in the first two years of US Medical School and most of EU Medical Schools.
USMLE Step 2 CK is a multiple choice computerized USMLE examination that tests clinical subjects learned during the last years of Medical School.
USMLE Step 2 CS is a “practical” live exam using standardized patients that is meant to test a doctor’s interpersonal, communication and clinical skills. The Step 2 CS USMLE exam tests how doctors take a patient history, perform a physical exam, and write up the appropriate patient note. It also evaluates “bedside manner”, patient interaction, and spoken English skills.
USMLE Step 3 combines multiple choice questions and free-form clinical cases on computer, and also tests patient management skills at the level of the 1 st year of Residency.
Results for the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 3 exams are provided using 3-digit scoring scale.
|Exam||3-digit passing score|
|Step 2 CK||209|
|Step 2 CS||Pass/Fail|
Many people misunderstand what these scores mean. The 3-digit score does NOT mean the number of questions. (The USMLE does not publish percentile information.)
Understand that 3-digit scale is invented scoring scale intended to obscure information like how many questions the student got correct in USMLE exam. All the student will really know when they see their results is that higher is better and lower is worse.
To have a reasonable chance at getting a residency position, student should try to score about 220 on the 3-digit scale. If they fall short of this mark, they can still get a residency position, but it will be harder.
Note that the USMLE examination is not scored “on a curve”. Students are not scored against each other, but relative to a per-set annual standard. This standard is constant for the year. Both US medical students and IMGs are scored using the same standard.