This week the NBME announced several changes to the Step exams, the most meaningful of which is that USMLE Step 1 will be changing to a pass/fail exam.
Our Partners at Kaplan have broken down the changes for you in the video below and provided some key takeaways.
- When can we expect to see changes? NBME stated that the change to pass/fail would occur no sooner than January 2022. The Coalition for Physician Accountability (CPA) will be making recommendations for what Program Directors should use as an objective measure of applicant performance, and thus a firm date is not likely to come until after the CPA recommendations are published, debated, and the consequences better understood.
- What is the potential student impact? With Step 1 score no longer relevant, other factors will increase in importance for students in residency match—including overall academic performance, Step 2 CK scores, Shelf Exams, clinical experience, and letters of recommendation. Students are already expressing concern about the change, and are likely wondering if they should change their approach and timing of preparation for Step 1.
- What should we recommend to students? All current students testing before 1/1/2022 should continue to prepare and test as planned. Almost all students currently prepping are likely to take Step 1 before the change (with the exception of the few programs where students take both Step exams in third year) and the scaled score will still serve as a differentiator to Program Directors. Incoming Fall 2020 students may or may not be affected, as it was denoted that there may be some flexibility in the date.