What Is Changing About Pass/Fail the USMLE? This change will have both potential benefits and challenges for students, as well as potential changes to the medical residency matching process.
The USMLE Step 1 Is Pass-Fail
Exam (USMLE) Step 1: stressful. The first of three USMLE exams taken by medical students on their academic journey, USMLE Step 1 has historically been used by residency programs as a metric for evaluating applicants and was often a factor in determining which specialty a student could confidently apply.
The intent behind the change is to reduce the amount of pressure placed on students to achieve a competitive score and allow them to focus more on their medical school curriculum. Additionally, the shift will give residency programs the opportunity to evaluate applicants more holistically, taking into account both academic and personal characteristics.
Steps for Success
Here are three tips for preparing for the USMLE Step 1:
- Use study resources that work for your specific learning style
- Manage test anxiety by creating a study plan and setting realistic goals
- Incorporate wellness practices during USMLE Step 1 prep
What Is Changing About Pass/Fail the USMLE?
1. Medical students must now focus on other aspects of their application to stand out from the competition.
2. Program directors may have to adjust their selection criteria for residency applicants due to the switch from numerical to pass-fail scoring.
3. Medical students may experience less stress due to the shift away from numerical scores.
4. Program directors may have difficulty evaluating applicants with numerical scores versus those with pass-fail results.
5. Residency programs value leadership roles, team sports, volunteer work, and involvement in organized medicine and health policy advocacy.