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Level 2 CE Advice from founder

Discussion in 'COMBANK' started by CombankMedical, 03.11.11.

  1. CombankMedical

    CombankMedical Exhibitor

    Attending Physician
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    Level 2 CE Advice
    First of all, it is a personal honor to be here with you for SDN’s 2011 Test Prep Week. As many of you know, I am the founder of COMBANK and have been a member of SDN for a long time. These threads have given me tons of wisdom over the years and have served as a great resource throughout my pre-medical and medical careers. So, I thought I'd give back a little and offer some tips for the COMLEX Level 2 CE, both as someone who has successfully completed the exam and as someone who's had the opportunity of working with many Osteopathic students/residents/colleagues over the past eight years, some of whom were successful on the test, and some of whom were not. So here goes....

    Anyone who has taken the COMLEX level 2 CE knows it is a very different experience from Level 1. The NBOME goes beyond assessing your knowledge of the basic sciences and begins to test your understanding of clinical medicine. There is a much greater difference going from Level 1 to Level 2 CE than you'll see from Level 2 to Level 3. All of the questions are very clinical, however, on level 2 the emphasis lies more on diagnostic principles and less on treatment. The opposite is true for level 3.

    In my opinion, you need at least one good month to gear up for this test and potentially more depending on how demanding your rotation is during exam time. The two biggest reasons people give me for not passing are: 1) they didn't take the exam serious enough and 2) they didn't do enough COMLEX-style practice questions. The days of using USMLE questions to prepare for this test are over. I know...I know...there are always a few studs who claim they only studied for three days and blew the test out of the water. Kudos to these guys, but unfortunately, most of us aren’t that lucky. It's similar to lifting takes time to build true muscle mass.

    For starters, I would recommend using a very systematic approach beginning with your weakest subjects and ending with your strongest. No matter what though...always, always, always finish your study program with OB/GYN and OMM. These two subjects sometimes comprise as much as 40-50% of the entire exam, and it’s essential that you maximize your performance on these sections. Take 2-3 full days to review each system until you've covered them all, and don’t forget to review medical ethics and law. Focus on major topics that you know will be tested. For example, when you're reviewing Cardiology, you should spend a significant portion of your time studying the following: Interpretation of EKGs, dysrhythmias, CHF, cardiomyopathies, localizing MI’s...etc.

    Important: Take the last three days before your exam and commit yourself to only studying the highest-yield topics that are ALWAYS tested on COMLEX level 2! Think of it as if you are removing strategic pieces from a pyramid...if you move the right ones, the pyramid will fall. If you waste your time removing the wrong ones, you'll be out of breath in no time and the pyramid will still be standing strong. Maximize your effort! COMBANK is set up this way too...we target those always-tested areas to help you pick up as many additional points as possible. We are constantly surveying students and residents to ensure that we always know the most up-to-date topics being tested on COMLEX. How do you identify the most highly-tested material? Easy, we show you.

    Here are a few of those "always-tested" areas that you should know cold by exam day: Identification and treatment of AV blocks, obstructive sleep apnea, pneumonia bugs and clinical/x-ray findings, ppd testing results, side effects/indications for specfic antihypertensive meds, hyperthyroidism (particularly Graves disease), OMM levels, sacral diagnosis, posterior radial head, counterstrain position for psoas spasm, Chapman points (most commonly for kidney and appendix), Addison's disease, Lyme disease rash, bullous skin diseases, gout treatment, vaccine schedules, Hep B testing, placental abruption, RMSF, WPW, and signs of pulmonary embolism just to name a few.

    When you sit for your Level 2 exam, be prepared to see questions that are quite vague and poorly worded. This is classic COMLEX style and it can be very frustrating. Ask anyone who's taken the exam and they will concur. Also, remember that individuals who do well on this exam tend to approach the questions from a primary care perspective. Under no circumstance should you answer questions as a specialist. Be conservative! If the question asks for the “best initial step in management,” don’t always opt for the OR. In most scenarios this will be incorrect.

    Best of luck and please let me know if I can help you in any way. You can contact me directly through the “contact us” link on our homepage if you have any questions. I'm YOUR advocate and will do everything in my power to personally help you through this exam. My personal goal is to make sure that you optimize your performance on test day.

    Best of luck,
    Joshua Courtney, DO
    Founder and CEO

    COMBANK Medical Inc.

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