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New Step 1 NBMEs Coming March 24, 2021 – No Need to “Ration” Current Practice Tests

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by Alec Palmerton, MD in Uncategorized

We already announced this to people in the Yousmle Online Course. In case you missed it, the NBME announced they will replace ALL SIX of the Step 1 NBMEs on March 24, 2021:

On March 24, six updated Comprehensive Basic Science Self-Assessment forms will be available for ordering; at that time, forms will also retire.

Updated Forms: 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30

Forms to Retire: 18, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24

You can see the announcement here: https://www.nbme.org/news/new-versions-nbmer-self-assessment-forms-coming-soon

The upshot: if you’ve been “rationing” your NBMEs, there is no need. It’s also great news if you’ve already taken all of the available NBMEs and are curious about your score.

So, if you are curious to see how you’d score on Step 1, now would be a great time to take a practice test or two.

Table of Contents

Will there be new NBME Self-Assessments for Step 2 CK?

There was no announcement re: Step CK NBMEs. As such, we can assume these will likely not be retired.

Can I access the soon-to-be-retired NBME Self-Assessments after March 24, 2021?

Students who have purchased an NBME recently report that they still have access for the standard 90 days. In other words, if you purchase an NBME on, say, March 22, 2021, you would have access for 90 days afterward, even though you would be unable to purchase a new exam.

Should I buy up all of the current NBMEs before March 24? If I could only buy a few, which would you recommend?

This is a personal decision, and will depend on your specific situation. Realistically, though, in theory if you were to purchase all six exams, you would have 90 days to take them. That would be roughly 15 days in-between each exam, which is the minimum I would recommend.

That said, many people have found NBMEs 23 and 24 to be particularly difficult and they may underestimate their scores. Not to mention that there will be six new NBMEs available to use, as well! As such, if I were to purchase NBMEs for myself, I’d probably focus on NBME 18, 20, 21, and 22.

How will the new NBMEs be different?

In addition to reflecting content distribution changes, the new NBMEs will provide answer explanations! This is a first for Step 1 NBMEs, although many of the Shelf NBMEs have answer explanations.

Per the NBME announcement, the new practice tests will:

Provide Helpful Answer Explanations

Answer explanations on new forms will enable you to maximize valuable study time by helping you to easily learn from mistakes and reinforce what you already understand.

Align with USMLE® Content Distribution Changes

Content that appears on new Comprehensive Basic Science Self-Assessment forms will align with the Step 1 content distribution changes(link is external) announced in Summer 2020. Similarly, new Comprehensive Clinical Science Self-Assessment forms that will be released later in 2021 will correspond with Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) content distribution changes(link is external).

Appear in a New User Interface

With a modern look and feel, the new user interface for self-assessments will possess the same visual changes examinees may have seen on Basic Science, Clinical Science, Comprehensive and Advanced Clinical Science Subject Examination forms.

Continue to Provide Scoring Information to Help You Assess Your Readiness for Other Exams

Scoring information for self-assessments you’ve completed can help you to measure your readiness for upcoming exams. The Comprehensive Basic Science Self-Assessment and the Comprehensive Clinical Science Self-Assessment forms in particular help you to assess your readiness to take Step 1 and Step 2 CK, respectively.

Have another question?

Be sure to ask it in the comments! We’ll be sure to update this document.

Do your friends know about this change? Be sure to tell them!

This change will happen soon. Be sure to let your friends know, so they can plan accordingly.

Want FREE Cardiology Flashcards?

Cardiology is key for impressive USMLE scores. Master cardiology from a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist who scored 270 on the USMLE Step 1 with these 130+ high-yield flash cards. You’ll be begging for cardio questions - even if vitals make you queasy.

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