Step 1 Self-Assessment Week, 2022: See the Results

Sophie Moran - Feb 25, 2022
A bar graph displaying the disciplines from the AMBOSS Step 1 Self-Assessment.

AMBOSS Step 1 Self-Assessment Week has come and gone for another year—a big well done to everyone who participated. This was a momentous year as it was the first Step 1 Self-Assessment in the era of pass/fail, and you all knocked it out of the park! 

Taking place from February 5-13, 2022, the self-assessment had thousands of participants in the US and around the world. It was a bumper year in the US with >99% of US medical schools represented. And you were all hard at work! Collectively, you answered millions of USMLE®-style Step 1 questions.

The Step 1 Self-Assessment format

The Step 1 Self-Assessment was a mock version of the USMLE® Step 1 exam. It was comprised of four question blocks containing 40 questions each and was presented in the official timed format of the USMLE, meaning you had one hour to complete each block. 

This year, the self-assessment was updated to reflect the recent content distribution changes, the shift in the passing score, and the move to pass/fail. 

The results 

On February 16, 2022, students who completed all four blocks of the self-assessment received their results in the form of a pass/fail report, designed to look similar to the USMLE’s new report.

Before this year’s self-assessment took place, we asked students whether they would like to receive a 3-digit score despite the exam being pass/fail. Over 95% of students surveyed said they do want their scores, which is why we included it despite the move to pass/fail. The score will help you gauge where you are in your preparation and act as a jumping-off point for the rest of your studies. 

The mean score of the entire cohort of AMBOSS USMLE Step 1 Self-Assessment-takers was 200 with a standard deviation of 21.

The highest score anyone got on the self-assessment was an eye-watering 276 and this was achieved by 6 superstars: 2 in the US and 4 IMG students. 

For more information on how the score is calculated, check out this post.

The questions and disciplines 

Students who took the self-assessment covered a wide range of questions and topics that are likely to appear on the real Step 1 exam. In our analysis of the results, we were able to see what proved to be the easiest and the most difficult disciplines in 2022. 

The disciplines students performed the best on were physiology and behavioral sciences. The disciplines that saw the lowest performance were pathology and pharmacology. 


The question that students answered correctly most often related to the principle that effort should be made to establish the patient’s name and pronouns.

The question that students answered incorrectly most often involved the intersection of patient communication and time management.

The top 5 most recommended articles from the Step 1 self-assessment were: 

  1. Overview of antibiotic therapy
  2. Bacteria overview
  3. Cellular changes and adaptive responses
  4. Congenital immunodeficiency disorders 
  5. Inborn errors of metabolism 

How to use your report to improve your Step 1 score 

The ultimate goal of the AMBOSS Step 1 Self-Assessment is to identify your strengths and weaknesses so you can shape the remainder of your Step 1 prep. The score report contains personalized study recommendations that help students identify where they need to focus their attention most. 

When reviewing these topics, you can avail of the powerful AMBOSS study tools such as the high-yield library, extensive Qbank, and our popular Guidance Mode features. With these tools, students can deep dive into the areas they struggled with the most. This will close any knowledge gaps and help you pass Step 1 with flying colors. 

If you’re in the final stretch before Step 1, the 30 Day High-Yield Step 1 Study Plan will make all the difference. The plan consists of one article and a corresponding question session every day for 30 days. Bit by bit, you’ll reinforce your knowledge and feel confident on exam day. Keep up the great work—you’re nearly there!