USMLE Step 2 Percentiles & Average Test Scores | Medlearnity (2023)

Step 2 CK Percentiles & Average Test Scores

One important thing to note is that, overall, Step 2 CK scores are actually higher than for Step 1 and Step 3. This could be looked at as meaning that the exam is easier; for example, it would be easier to score 240 on Step 2 CK than to score 240 on Step 1.

That’s true, but it’s also not quite the right way of looking at things. You could also note that a 240 on Step 1 is in the 66th percentile, while a 240 on Step 2 CK is only in the 39th percentile. In other words, you need a higher score on Step 2 in order to achieve the same percentile.

Because residency programs are comparing exam scores of different applicants to each other (not just looking at the number in isolation), it’s your Step 2 percentile that really matters.

Data provided by the National Board of Medical Examiners, which administers the USMLE, indicate that the average score for Step 2 CK, for US medical graduates, hovers just above 240 – generally it’s been 242 to 243 over the past few years. The 25th percentile is around 232, while the 75th percentile is around 256.

This means that if you score at or below 232, you’re in the bottom 1/4 of test takers, while if you score at or above 256, you’re in the top 1/4. If you score 243, you’re right in the middle of the pack.

(Video) USMLE Secrets: Scores you need to MATCH!

Does your USMLE Step 2 Percentile Actually Matter?

This is the huge question that many students are asking. The fact is that Step 2 CK scores do have an impact on your probability of matching to your first-choice program. Step 2 will only matter more after Step 1 transitions to a pass/fail system in 2022.

USMLE Step 2 Percentiles & Average Test Scores | Medlearnity (1)

In 2020, the minimum score to pass Step 2 CK is 209. There are 370 questions on the exam, and you only need to get a little over half of them right in order to pass. Don’t panic too much about this exam! Still, you’re probably aiming to do more than just pass. Of course, the more competitive the residency program you’d like to match with, the higher the score you should be aiming for.

The 2020 report by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) showed a mean (average) Step 2 CK score of 246.9 for students who matched to their first-choice specialty. As would be expected, the median score for matched applicants varied by specialty. The most competitive specialties (such as plastic surgery and dermatology) had median scores above 250, while the least competitive (including family medicine, pathology, and psychiatry) had median scores around 230 (give or take a couple of points).

(Video) What is the Average USMLE Score for Internal Medicine Residents? (# of Publications, Research)

Some students consider putting off taking Step 2 CK until after their residency applications are complete, figuring that this means it won’t matter for their application. This might work in some cases, but more competitive residency programs will actually require that you take Step 2 CK in order for them to consider ranking you for their program.

They want to see that your performance on this exam matches your performance on Step 1, and is strong enough that they want you in their program. You likely won’t be able to get away with putting off Step 2 in order to avoid having it matter for your residency applications.

Step 2 vs Step 2 Scores & Test Averages

Among medical professionals in training, USMLE Step 1 tends to be the most feared hurdle. It’s known as a difficult exam, and your score on Step 1 can have a huge impact on your ability to match with the residency of your choice.

(Video) How I Scored 250 on USMLE Step 2 CK || 09/2022 | Resources & Strategies #usmle

In fact, many of the more competitive residency programs report having cutoffs for Step 1 scores, and also certain scores above which they will almost always offer an interview to an applicant. (If you’re thinking about Step 1 percentiles, this might be of interest.)

Many students are less worried about Step 2 than they were about Step 1. The buzz among medical students certainly suggests worrying less about Step 2. However, keep in mind that Step 2 CK can also have an impact on your residency application. If you didn’t score as well as you’d have liked on Step 1, then Step 2 CK could be your chance to redeem yourself.

In addition, because Step 1 transitioned to a pass/fail model means that we can expect residency programs to become more interested in using Step 2 CK scores in their decisions. (Step 2 CS is already pass/fail.)

If you’re approaching Step 2, you may be wondering what your score on Step 2 CK actually means. What are the Step 2 percentiles? What score should you be aiming for as you prepare for residency applications?

(Video) The Passing Score for USMLE Step 2 CK is Changing!

USMLE Step 2 Percentiles & Average Test Scores | Medlearnity (3)

Should You Prepare for Step 2 CK?

Step 2 CK is fundamentally a different test than Step 1. When you’re taking Step 1, you’ve been spending most of your time in the classroom and in the library, and Step 1 primarily tests basic science facts. When you’re taking Step 2, you’ve been spending most (okay, basically all) of your time on the wards and in the clinic, and Step 2 primarily tests clinical knowledge and reasoning. In a way, you’ve been reviewing for Step 2 every time you cared for a patient as a medical student. This could be a big reason why Step 2 CK scores are higher overall; medical students are better prepared for this exam, simply because of the nature of medical school itself.

Many students use this as an excuse not to really bother with studying for Step 2. They figure that third year will prepare them well. This gives the motivated student a great opportunity. If you actually dedicate a significant amount of time to preparing for this exam, you’ll be ahead of many of your peers. If you create a study plan and stick to it, then you have the chance to do really well on Step 2 CK. This could be the edge that gets you into the residency program of your choice.

Do You Have a Study Plan for Step 2 CK?

In order to get the best score you possibly can on Step 2 CK, you need an efficient and effective study plan. Medlearnity is here to help you prepare for Step 2 CK and beyond. Check out our study guide for Step 2, and our review of the best resources to use as you study.

Personalized help from a professional tutor can also make a huge difference in your score. Our students report improvements in their USMLE scores of 20 to 50 points after receiving tutoring. Your tutor will identify your strengths and weaknesses and help you create your study plan. He or she will also walk you through the process of reasoning through questions; with a good grasp of strategy, you’ll feel confident on test day and be ready to ace the exam. If you’d like to see what it would be like to work with a tutor, we invite you to schedule a free one-hour session.

(Video) Breaking the magic: how the USMLE three-digit score is calculated

A great Step 2 CK score is important, but it’s just one part of your overall residency application. We can also help you with other aspects of this process, including writing your personal statement and presenting your application in the best possible way. This will help you to land a residency spot in the specialty and location of your choice.

FAQs

What percentile do you need to pass Step 2? ›

The main difference is that scores on Step 2 CK are on average 5-10 points higher than on Step 1; the distribution of scores is thus slightly narrower 95% of test-takers scoring between 210 and 275. The passing score on Step 2 CK most recently was 209, representing approximately the 3rd percentile.

What is a good score on Step 2 exam? ›

Generally, a good step 2 CK score should be at least 245. It sets you in the middle of average scores for most medical specialties. With this score, you would be able to beat or meet most of the averages, and you should be able to get into the specialty you are aiming for.

What is a good step 2 Score 2022? ›

251 and above: Scores of better than 251 are considered excellent. Scores above 251 typically indicate that all specialties may be considered for potential matching; those with a 251 or higher are likely to have multiple choices of training programs.

What percentile is 242 on Step 2? ›

Data provided by the National Board of Medical Examiners, which administers the USMLE, indicate that the average score for Step 2 CK, for US medical graduates, hovers just above 240 – generally it's been 242 to 243 over the past few years. The 25th percentile is around 232, while the 75th percentile is around 256.

How do you get 270 on Step 2 CK? ›

The only way to score a 270+ on Step 2 CK is to be a super genius (which I do not consider myself, and I assume you are not either) or to be efficient with your time. Since you can't learn everything in one month (see step 3), you must plan to retain and review it.

Is 235 a good step 2 score? ›

In 2020 and 2021, the average USMLE Step 2 CK score (246 with a standard deviation of 15) is greater than the average Step 1 and Step 3 (235 with a standard deviation of 18 and 228 with a standard deviation of 15, respectively), meaning you need a higher Step 2 CK score to pass and a higher score to be competitive.

How much should your Step 2 score increase? ›

Currently, the threshold for passing Step 2 CK is a 209 with an average score for first-time test-takers last year of 246 and a standard deviation of 15. Starting July 1, 2022, however, the minimum passing score will increase by 5 points from 209 to 214.

What is the passing score for Step 2 CK? ›

What is the passing score for USMLE Step 2 CK? To pass the USMLE Step 2 CK, you will need to score at least 209 out of 300. It means that you will need to get a minimum of two-thirds of the points to achieve a passing score.

What Step 2 score do you need for internal medicine? ›

Summary for Internal Medicine Applicants

Goal Step 1 scores are above 230. Step 2 scores are a little less important, and you should aim to get above a 220.

What is the highest Step 2 CK score? ›

Reported scores for Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 range from 1 to 300. Small differences in difficulty across forms and years are adjusted for using statistical procedures; thus, scores for a given Step are comparable across years and across forms.

What is a 70% on Step 1? ›

A CBSE score of 70 is approximately equivalent to a score of 200 on the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1. The vast majority of scores range from 45 to 95, and although the scores have the "look and feel" of percent-correct scores, they are not.

How difficult is Usmle Step 2? ›

To pass the USMLE Step 2 CK, you need to achieve a score of 209 or higher. However, keep in mind that barely passing doesn't look great, either – your real goal should be to score 219 or higher. One thing unique to the USMLE Step 2 CK is that the difficulty of the test itself determines your score as well.

Whats harder Step 1 or Step 2? ›

The majority of people do much better on Step 2 than on Step 1 even with less studying. This test focuses more on the next step in a patient presentation.

Do Step 2 scores matter for residency? ›

According to the Tulane University residency director I spoke to, achieving a higher Step 2 than Step 1 score is just as important as scoring well on your Step 1. Residency directors look for consistency and improvement in board exam performances.

What is a good step 2 score for general surgery? ›

US Seniors: Average Step 1, Step 2 CK Scores by Specialty (2022 Match)
Step 1, US Senior (Matched)Step 2, US Senior (Unmatched)
Family Medicine225228
General Surgery237238
Internal Medicine237230
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics236234
18 more rows

How long does it take to get Step 2 Score 2022? ›

Posted February 21, 2022

Most Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) results are received within 3-4 weeks of testing. However, because of necessary annual modifications to the test item pools, there will be a scheduled delay in reporting for most examinees who test beginning on or after June 29 through late July 2022.

How do you get a 260 on Step 2 CK? ›

The key takeaways are: Start studying early, and study at least a little every day. Use active learning methods, especially UWorld questions/reviews and daily flashcards. Optimize the timing of your dedicated study period and USMLE Step 2CK exam date.

How many people fail USMLE? ›

How Many People Fail Step 1 Every Year?
Step 1 Passing Rates20172020
IMG Fails*4,6452,230
Total Step 1 Exams42,42038,734
Overall Step 1 Pass Rate86%92%
Total Step 1 Fails6,1193,104
11 more rows

Can a good step 2 score make up Step 1? ›

Can Step 2 CK make up for a bad Step 1 score? It depends. There's actually no clear-cut answer, with specialties and specific residency programs placing emphasis on Step 1 over Step 2 CK and vice versa, and there's not a real consensus across the board either.

Is UWorld enough for CK? ›

As mentioned above, Uworld STEP 2 CK is the most important resource to study for STEP 2 CK. UWorld STEP 2 CK covers most concepts of the exam and gets you familiar with the question styles. So, understanding the UWorld STEP 2 CK inside out is the milestone to scoring high on the exam.

Is Kaplan enough for Step 2 CK? ›

Kaplan. Kaplan Step 2 CK qbank is the other major question bank out there and is sometimes considered one of the best USMLE Step 2 resources as well. I used to do Kaplan Step 2 questions with my friend who preferred not to 'waste' UWorld when he studied for his clinical clerkship exams.

How long should you study for Step 2? ›

Overall, study time usually ranges from 1-4 weeks with most students taking 2-3 weeks. Students who take the exam during a vacation will often need less time since they have more time each day to study.

What is the hardest residency to get into? ›

Competitive programs that are the most difficult to match into include:
  • General Surgery.
  • Neurosurgery.
  • Orthopedic Surgery.
  • Ophthalmology.
  • Otolaryngology.
  • Plastic Surgery.
  • Urology.
  • Radiation Oncology.

What is a high USMLE score? ›

The score you might want to get, however, could be somewhere between 238 or as high as 251, depending on the competitiveness of your desired specialty. In 2020, four of the top-matched specialty tracks for U.S. MD graduates were internal medicine, family medicine, anesthesiology, and radiology-diagnostic.

Is residency harder than medical school? ›

Clinical grades are usually based on a curve such that only a small percentage of the class can earn them, meaning you have to outshine your colleagues. In this regard, medical school is much more stressful than residency. In residency, the pressure to outperform your peers is an order of magnitude lower.

How can I increase my Step 2 CK score? ›

So in summary, acing Step 2 CK requires: Prioritizing studying throughout clerkship year to build a firm clinical knowledge base, ideally building a comprehensive Anki deck for longitudinal review. Minimum 2 weeks of exclusive exam prep time. Exhaustive attention to the UWorld Step 2 CK Question Bank.

How many times can you take step 2? ›

The total number of attempts allowed per Step is four (4). Examinees who have attempted any USMLE Step (including Step 2 CS) four or more times and have not passed are ineligible to apply for USMLE Steps.

Will Step 2 Become pass fail? ›

At its April 2022 meeting, the USMLE Management Committee conducted a review of the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) passing standard and decided that a five-point increase in the passing standard – used to determine a Pass or Fail outcome – will apply to Step 2 CK examinees testing on or after July 1, 2022.

What happens if you fail Step 2 CK? ›

If you fail or do not complete a Step and want to retake it, you must reapply by submitting a new application and fee. You may take the failed or incomplete Step no more than three times within a 12-month period.”

How long does it take to get Step 2 results back? ›

Most Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) scores are reported within 3-4 weeks of testing. However, because of necessary annual modifications to the test item pools, delays occur for examinees who test at certain times of the year.

Which residency pays the most? ›

What are the highest paid residencies in the US? Allergy & immunology, hematology, medical geneticists, rheumatology, and most forms of specialized surgery top the list. However, it's important to remember that these are subspecialty residencies, aka fellowships, and so are effectively PGY4+ residencies.

What is a good step 2 score for neurosurgery? ›

240-250: This is a good score. Your application will be considered by most programs. > 250: Your board score is outstanding and will stand out.

What is the hardest medical specialty? ›

1. Plastic/ Reconstructive Surgery: According to our research, plastic surgery is the hardest specialty. Plastic surgeons specialize in soft tissue such as skin, muscle, and fat rather than bones, which are the domain of orthopedic surgeons.

What is a good step 2 score for emergency medicine? ›

Step 1 and Step 2 Scores:
  • 243+ looks like a very solid score in emergency medicine, with the median being 240.
  • Range programs do NOT typically offer interviews: 210-215 seems to be the minimum threshold we would recommend for having a good chance at enough interviews.

How do you crush Step 2? ›

USMLE Step 2CK - How to Crush It (265+) - YouTube

What percentile is a 240 on Step 1? ›

What's the Average Step 1 Score? The highest score possible on the USMLE Step 1 exam is a 300. As you read above, even a score of 240 is excellent, putting you into the top 15th percentile.

How do you get 270 on Step 2 CK? ›

The only way to score a 270+ on Step 2 CK is to be a super genius (which I do not consider myself, and I assume you are not either) or to be efficient with your time. Since you can't learn everything in one month (see step 3), you must plan to retain and review it.

Can a good step 2 score make up Step 1? ›

Can Step 2 CK make up for a bad Step 1 score? It depends. There's actually no clear-cut answer, with specialties and specific residency programs placing emphasis on Step 1 over Step 2 CK and vice versa, and there's not a real consensus across the board either.

What is a 70% on Step 1? ›

A CBSE score of 70 is approximately equivalent to a score of 200 on the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1. The vast majority of scores range from 45 to 95, and although the scores have the "look and feel" of percent-correct scores, they are not.

Is 235 a good step 2 score? ›

In 2020 and 2021, the average USMLE Step 2 CK score (246 with a standard deviation of 15) is greater than the average Step 1 and Step 3 (235 with a standard deviation of 18 and 228 with a standard deviation of 15, respectively), meaning you need a higher Step 2 CK score to pass and a higher score to be competitive.

What is the highest Step 2 CK score? ›

Although the highest possible score on the USMLE Step 2 CK is 300, no one has ever achieved that. A score of around 280 is considered the best. However, even if you score something between 240 to 260, you would be able to apply for the field of your choice.

How do you get a 260 on Step 2 CK? ›

The key takeaways are: Start studying early, and study at least a little every day. Use active learning methods, especially UWorld questions/reviews and daily flashcards. Optimize the timing of your dedicated study period and USMLE Step 2CK exam date.

Is Step 2 CK getting harder? ›

Therefore, since the passing score will increase from 209 to 214, the upcoming change will make it harder to pass Step 2 CK. The change will also be occurring against the backdrop of Step 1 becoming a Pass/Fail exam earlier this year.

Is UWorld enough for CK? ›

As mentioned above, Uworld STEP 2 CK is the most important resource to study for STEP 2 CK. UWorld STEP 2 CK covers most concepts of the exam and gets you familiar with the question styles. So, understanding the UWorld STEP 2 CK inside out is the milestone to scoring high on the exam.

Is Kaplan enough for Step 2 CK? ›

Kaplan. Kaplan Step 2 CK qbank is the other major question bank out there and is sometimes considered one of the best USMLE Step 2 resources as well. I used to do Kaplan Step 2 questions with my friend who preferred not to 'waste' UWorld when he studied for his clinical clerkship exams.

Which step exam is the hardest? ›

At a cursory review, it is like any other standardized examination, but mention that to a medical student and they will shudder. Unofficially, people have claimed USMLE Step 1 is the most difficult and important of the 3-part USMLE series.

Is residency harder than medical school? ›

Clinical grades are usually based on a curve such that only a small percentage of the class can earn them, meaning you have to outshine your colleagues. In this regard, medical school is much more stressful than residency. In residency, the pressure to outperform your peers is an order of magnitude lower.

How long should you study for Step 2? ›

Overall, study time usually ranges from 1-4 weeks with most students taking 2-3 weeks. Students who take the exam during a vacation will often need less time since they have more time each day to study.

What is an 80% on Step 1? ›

That would be the 50th percentile. The 80th percentile means that you scored in the top 20% in the country - so you'd be more than one standard deviation above the mean. Your score would be 240+.

Do Step 2 scores matter? ›

Does Step 2 CK Matter for Residency? The answer to this question is a resounding yes! And since score reporting for the USMLE® Step 1 is changing to pass/fail, it will only become more important with time.

What is a 65% on Step 1? ›

From 65-70% to 100% is 30-35%. This is between 84 and 98 questions on Step 1, which is 280 questions. The highest step 1 score possible is a 300.

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