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Date Updated: February 12, 2019

International Foundations of Medicine (IFOM)

Scoring and Score Reporting

Scoring is included in the cost of all three IFOM examinations, and we provide standard score reports at no additional charge.

Scoring of the IFOM Clinical Science Self-Assessment is automatic and immediate and is explained on the IFOM Clinical Science Self-Assessment webpage.

Important Changes to IFOM Score Reporting in 2019

As part of our commitment to the continuous improvement of our programs, the NBME has changed the method by which we report the total test scores for the IFOM examinations. In addition, the content categorizations have been slightly changed and reorganized. Please read the full announcement here (in English; click here for the Spanish version of the announcement).

Scoring, Scaling, and Equating

Equated percent correct scores are the primary scores for the IFOM Basic Science Exam (BSE) and the IFOM Clinical Science Exam (CSE). Equated percent correct scores provide a consistent way to measure examinees’ performance on multiple exam forms administered at the same or different times.

These scores are statistically equated across exam administrations. Equating practices ensure that all scores have the same meaning on different forms of the same exam, despite potential differences in overall exam difficulty.

Scores are scaled to a reference group of examinees from international medical schools (the “International Comparison Group”) who took the exam for the first time under standardized conditions.

The International Comparison Group

The NBME provides a variety of performance feedback on the IFOM exams in relation to an international comparison group of examinees.

The current International Comparison Group (ICG) for both the IFOM CSE and BSE includes examinees from the Americas, Asia (including the Middle East), Europe, and Oceania; they were test takers who sat for the IFOM exam for the first time, under standardized conditions, from 2011 through 2016. All members of the IFOM CSE ICG were in their final year of medical school when they took the exam.

Standard Score Reports

Institutional Administrations

Schools and other organizations that administer IFOM exams receive the following reports:

  • An Examinee Performance Report for each examinee, which includes the examinee’s total test score and performance profiles outlining areas of strength and weakness, as compared to the International Comparison Group (ICG), in each content area measured by the exam. This report links to Interpretation Guidelines that help examinees understand all aspects of their score and allow them to compare their performance on the IFOM BSE or CSE to the United States Medical Licensing Exam® USMLE® Step 1 or Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK).
  • A score roster in Excel format listing each examinee and their total test score.
  • A score roster in PDF format listing each examinee’s total test score, along with information on the examinee group’s mean, standard deviation, minimum, and maximum performance.
  • Interpretation Guidelines that assist organizations in interpreting all aspects of their examinees’ scores and that provide a table enabling comparisons of examinees’ scores to analogous scores on Step 1 (IFOM BSE) or Step 2 CK (IFOM CSE).

In addition, organizations that have administered IFOM exams to 20 or more examinees can order Group Summary Reports for an additional US $3500. These detailed reports compare the performance of the examinee group with the ICG and help highlight areas of strength and weakness in medical school curricula.

The Group Summary Reports include:

  • A Group Norm Table Report, which provides information on both the examinee group and the ICG; this can be used to compare total test performance of individual examinees in your group with scores of the ICG.
  • A Group Performance Report, which provides a visual comparison of the total test performance of the examinee group and the ICG.
  • A Performance Summary Profile Report, which provides box plots to show the examinee group’s performance in all major subject areas covered in the examination.

It may also be possible for NBME to provide comparisons to groups other than the ICG, for example, a regional comparison group or a countrywide group.

Individual Administrations

Individuals who take the IFOM CSE or the IFOM BSE independent of a school or other organization receive an Examinee Performance Report, which includes the examinee’s total test score and performance profiles outlining areas of strength and weakness, as compared to the ICG, in each content area measured by the exam.

Interpretation guidelines are provided with the Examinee Performance Report. These help examinees understand all aspects of their score and include a score table that allows examinees to compare their performance on the IFOM BSE or CSE to USMLE Step 1 or Step 2 CK.

Pass/Fail Standards for IFOM Exams

NBME does not set a passing standard for either of the IFOM examinations because they are used for so many different purposes (both low and high stakes) and in so many different healthcare and educational contexts around the world.

Instead, NBME scoring staff can work with schools and other institutions that use the IFOM exams for high-stakes purposes (such as a medical school exit requirement, intern or residency selection, or certification or licensure) to set a passing standard that is appropriate to their purpose.

Contact us to discuss setting an IFOM exam passing standard for your school or country.

NOTE: NBME sets a standard of competence for each IFOM exam that is correlated with and approximates the Step 1 (for IFOM BSE) or Step 2 CK (for IFOM CSE) passing standards. Examinees who meet the Standard of Competence receive a certificate attesting to that along with their score reports.

Score Rechecks

If you have recently taken an IFOM examination, you may request a score recheck by completing the Score Recheck Request Form. There is a US $35 service fee for each score recheck. Payment must accompany the request, and your request must be received by the NBME no more than 4 months after your test date.

For all IFOM examinations, standard procedures ensure that the scores reported for you accurately reflect your performance. A change in score based on a recheck is an extremely remote possibility. However, a recheck will be done if you submit the request form and fee to the NBME.



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