A new change is coming to the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge exam beginning July 1. If you plan on taking the exam on or after this date, the new changes will be important to know.

Formerly a two-part exam, USMLE dropped the Step 2 Clinical Science exam last year following a pause implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic. The remaining CK exam tests a trainee’s medical knowledge, clinical skills, and basic science as it applies to patient care. Currently, the exam is administered in eight 60-minute blocks, with each block not exceeding 40 questions.


USMLE Step 2 Changes

In April, the USMLE Management Committee met to discuss the Step 2 CK passing standard. The exam is out of a total of 318 points with the current passing score set at 209. After April’s review, the committee resolved to increase the passing score five points to 214. According to the USMLE Management Committee, the change “ensures that the passing score reflects current expectations concerning knowledge and skills needed to support effective medical practice and patient care. The current passing standard has remained unchanged since 2014.”

You can read the committee’s full statement here.


New Standard. New Prep.

What can you do to ensure those five extra points do not trip you up during your Step 2 CK exam?

Luckily, the new passing score is well below the average Step 2 CK score of 240. However, Kaplan, a leader in education and test preparation services, still recommends 4-6 months of preparation for Step 2 CK. The exam’s clinical nature makes ensuring you have enough clinical experience (or have refreshed your clinical experience) important. To deepen your understanding of medical concepts, it is important to see them applied in clinical settings. Rotations with AMO’s quality preceptors will also help ensure time in the clinic is more than just exposure but is also spent learning the who, what, when, and why of patient care.


Ready to get more clinical experience to help you prepare for the USMLE Step 2? Take the first step by emailing an advisor at advisors@amopportunities.org