Home » You Just Found Out Your USMLE Step 2 CK Score! Now What?

You Just Found Out Your USMLE Step 2 CK Score! Now What?

7 min


An excited medical school student sitting in front of a computer after having found out his Step 2 CK score.


Congratulations on completing USMLE Step 2 CK! After waiting for several weeks the Step 2 CK score release day is here! What are the next steps that you need to consider?


When is the Step 2 CK Score Release?


If you still don’t know what your Step 2 CK score is, don’t worry! Step 2 CK scores are usually released within 3-4 of testing.


What Step 2 CK Score Do I Need to Graduate or to Match Into Residency?


Step 2 CK is required for medical school graduation for US seniors, and for ECFMG certification for international medical graduates. For US seniors, check with your medical school regarding specific graduation requirements. Schools vary in their requirements for whether you need to pass or just sit for the exam prior to graduation, and by what timeline. 

Step 2 CK has been playing an increasingly large role in residency applications, especially with USMLE Step 1 now being pass/fail. The mean Step 2 CK score for matched US MD seniors in 2022 was 248. What is considered a competitive step 2 CK score will vary by specialty. To get a better idea of where your score stands based on specialty, you can refer to NMRP statistics from past match cycles (https://www.nrmp.org/match-data-analytics/residency-data-reports/).

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that your test scores are just one part of your residency application. Aspects such as research/publications, personal statement, work and volunteer experiences, and letters of recommendation also play a significant role. A successful application process is multifactorial, and discussion with your school advisor or mentor can help you develop a plan of action to achieve your goals. You can also get additional guidance in navigating the process with a residency advising service.


What Happens if I Do Not Pass?


As of July 2022, the passing score for Step 2 CK is 214. You have up to 4 attempts total to pass, with a maximum of 3 attempts within a 12-month period. The fourth attempt must be at least 6 months after your last attempt, and at least 12 months after your first attempt. These limits apply to all Step exams.

If it is your first or second retake attempt, there is no required waiting time before being able to retake the exam. However, you should make sure you have an adequate block of time to prepare. Many students find out their scores in the midst of clinical rotations and/or preparing for residency applications. Contact your medical school, as they may have policies and guidelines in place for scheduling a Step 2 retake.

Most importantly, your exam results do NOT reflect your intelligence or potential to be a good physician. Students who do not pass step 2 CK often report not having an effective study approach. Making an organized, productive study schedule and adhering to your plan, potentially with the help of a Step 2 tutor or test prep service, can significantly boost your test performance. 


How Do I Send My Score to a Third Party?


To share your step 2 CK score with another party, such as residency programs, you must request an official transcript through the organization that you registered with for Step 2 CK (NBME or ECFMG). You will need to pay the associated fee for sending the transcript. The USMLE transcript will include a complete history of your exams including all Step attempts.

For residency applications specifically, you authorize the release of your USMLE transcript on the ERAS portal. The transcript will then be sent to programs once ERAS is submitted.

The NBME will automatically report your USMLE score to your medical school if it is an LCME and COCA-accredited program. Similarly, ECFMG may provide USMLE scores to your international medical school. 


Is Step 2 CK the Last USMLE?


Almost, but not quite done yet! USMLE Step 3 is the last USMLE board exam to take toward qualifying for a US medical license to practice independently. Step 3 is a 2-day exam, involving multiple-choice question forms like with Step 2 CK, as well as computer-based case simulations.

To be eligible to sit for the exam, test takers must have passed the first two Step exams AND have obtained their MD or DO degree. As a result, doctors generally complete Step 3 during residency training. Medical graduates who have not matched yet (both US and international applicants) may consider taking Step 3 prior to residency to help boost their residency applications.

To learn more about Step 2 CK tutoring, residency advising, and more, schedule your complimentary consultation today!

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