Background: Residency program directors will likely emphasize the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step 2 clinical knowledge (CK) exam more during residency application given the recent USMLE Step 1 transition to pass/fail scoring. We examined how internal medicine clerkship characteristics and NBME subject exam scores affect USMLE Step 2 CK performance. Design: The authors used univariable and multivariable generalized estimating equations to determine associations between Step 2 CK performance and internal medicine clerkship characteristics and NBME subject exams. The sample had 21,280 examinees’ first Step 2 CK scores for analysis. Results: On multivariable analysis, Step 1 performance (standardized β = 0.45, p <.001) and NBME medicine subject exam performance (standardized β = 0.40, p <.001) accounted for approximately 60% of the variance in Step 2 CK performance. Students who completed the internal medicine clerkship last in the academic year scored lower on Step 2 CK (Mdiff = −3.17 p <.001). Students who had a criterion score for passing the NBME medicine subject exam scored higher on Step 2 CK (Mdiff = 1.10, p =.03). There was no association between Step 2 CK performance and other internal medicine clerkship characteristics (all p > 0.05) nor with the total NBME subject exams completed (β=0.05, p =.78). Conclusion: Despite similarities between NBME subject exams and Step 2 CK, the authors did not identify improved Step 2 CK performance for students who had more NBME subject exams. The lack of association of Step 2 CK performance with many internal medicine clerkship characteristics and more NBME subject exams has implications for future clerkship structure and summative assessment. The improved Step 2 CK performance in students that completed their internal medicine clerkship earlier warrants further study given the anticipated increase in emphasis on Step 2 CK.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Internal Medicine