Just like a colorful Easter basket, the USMLE is chock-full of surprises these days. In addition to making Step 1 pass/fail as of January, 2022, the USMLE Management Committee just announced a five point increase to the required passing score for Step 2 CK. This change will take place as of July 1, 2022 and will increase the minimum score required to pass from 209 to 214, the first change to the three digit standard passing score since 2014.  

What does this mean for students? 

Overview of change

Step 2 Pass Score: 214 (previously 209) 

Start Date: July 1, 2022

Impact: We don’t expect this change to have a major impact if you are already expecting to pass Step 2 CK.

Trends in Pass Rate

In 2020, for US and Canadian students, pass rate for Step 2 was a solid 98%. The current average Step 2 score is 246, with a standard deviation of 15. (Source: Performance Data | USMLE). This suggests that the pass rate should remain relatively high despite this five point change. We don’t know all of the factors that weighed into this decision by the USMLE Committee, but we suspect that the consistent upward ticking of average scores from 244 > 245 > 246 over the last three years played a role.  

Impact on Match Positions

USMLE performance factors heavily in determining match positions. In light of the recent decision to make USMLE Step 1 pass/fail, we expect that the USMLE Step 2 CK will hold even more weight in the upcoming Match cycles. In the most recent data released by the NRMP, the mean USMLE Step 2 CK for matched applicants was 247, in contrast to a mean score of 238 for unmatched applicants. (Source: Charting Outcomes in the Match: Senior Students of U.S. MD Medical Schools). This trend follows reliably across all specialties, with traditionally more competitive specialities demonstrating higher Step 2 CK scores (looking at you, plastic surgery!). Therefore, strong performance on boards (not just passing) is a key value in ensuring a successful match.

Crush Your Boards With Sketchy

We know you don’t want to just pass the boards—you want to crush them! Sketchy can give you the edge you need to excel in Step 2. Sketchy Med includes all your favorite preclinical content, along with high-yield topics from Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, and Ob/Gyn (plus Neurology coming soon!). We also added some great reviews of Biostatistics & Epidemiology so you can once and for all distinguish between those pesky type 1 and type 2 errors. We’re constantly adding new content to our curriculum—including over 100 new Medical lessons in the past 3 months!

Not sure where to get started with our Clinical content? Check out our new Clinical Essentials collection for a perfectly curated list of the topics you need for MS3 and beyond!

Meaghan Foster, MD
Family Medicine 
Jasmine D. Thompson, MD 
Emergency Medicine
Austin E. Carmack, MD
General Surgery 
Alessandra Petrillo, MD
Internal Medicine 
Future Plans: Heme/Onc Fellowship
Arjan Ahluwalia, MD
Internal Medicine 
Future Plans: GI Fellowship
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