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At its December 2009 meeting, the Step 1 Committee conducted such a review for USMLE Step 1. During the meeting, the Step 1 Committee considered information from multiple sources, including: 1) results of content-based standard setting exercises conducted with three independent groups of physicians in 2009; 2) results of surveys of various groups (e.g., state licensing representatives, medical school faculty, samples of examinees) concerning the appropriateness of current pass/fail standards for Step examinations; 3) trends in examinee performance; and 4) score precision and its effect on the pass/fail decision.

As a result of its review, the Step 1 Committee decided to raise the three-digit score recommended to pass Step 1 from 185 to 188. The new minimum passing score will be applied to Step 1 examinations for which the first day of testing is on or after January 1, 2010.

The official announcement is available here

The new passing score may mean that USMLE Step 1 is going to be even tougher than before as students who were previously considered passed will no longer be if they score 185, 186, or 187 on the three digit scale.

This new may provoke fear and sweats who are going to take the exam starting 2010.


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