It is still news that the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) program will change its Step 1 scoring from a 3-digit number to pass/fail.
This change is to start on January 1, 2022, and has set off a flurry of shocked responses from students and physicians.
Many International Medical Graduates would find this news cheery. The US medical exam is a highly coveted examination written by foreign-trained medical professionals who must practice in the USA.
The USMLE cosponsors — the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners — say the Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) exam and Step 3 will continue to be scored numerically. Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) will continue its pass/fail system.
The change was made after Step 1 had been roundly criticized as playing too big a role in the process of becoming a physician, causing students to study for the test instead of engaging fully in their medical education.
Our Take: – For us, the change really should not matter. A pass can only be a pass and a fail can only be a fail. Getting to know the exactness of the figure may mean nothing – You simply need to pass to move on, or to fail to try again.