There is big news in medical education this week. The National Board of Medical Examiners has announced that Step 1 will become a Pass/Fail scored standardized test. This will not occur before January, 2022 and there will be a limited number of times students will be allowed to take the exam. Step 2 scores will remain numeric and will be available to be utilized in the residency selection process.
Dr. Julie Byerley, Chief Education Officer for UNC SOM, comments, “This is a transformative change for medical education for which I and many others have advocated for years. This change will improve medical student mental health, increase attention to curriculum developed by medical schools instead of simple standardized test prep, and be cost saving for medical students. Step 2 scores have been shown to be a better correlate to residency performance, and most medical schools have, like us, adjusted their curriculum calendars to ensure that students take Step 2 in plenty of time to apply for residency. Program directors will now use this more meaningful score in prioritizing who to invite for residency interviews. Overall this is a win win win for students, medical schools, and residency programs.”