GIDO

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It amazes me how during the end of first year, everyone tells you to not worry about boards because they are so far away. When you get back second year, only a couple months later, everyone acts like the world is about to end because "boards are coming." Right now, I am feeling that way.

With the thought of boards looming, I have been considering whether or not to take the USMLE in addition to the COMLEX. Everyone who I have talked to has said something like, "it may be good to take it, but it may hurt you if you don't do well, and with the merger, we really don't know what to tell you."

I would say I am an average student but tend not to do as well on standardized tests as my grades would predict. I am mainly thinking FM, but IM, with the possibility of specializing down the line, does sound nice. I really do like OMT as well. I will (hopefully) be in the 2020 match. Keeping the merger in mind, what is your advice on taking the USMLE on top of the COMLEX in my situation?

Thank you!
 

ortnakas

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Plan on USMLE for now; depending on where you want to end up geographically, COMLEX-only could definitely work out just fine. But at this point in the academic year, better to start of over-preparing and then change gears than to find yourself wishing you'd planned on USMLE in the first place.
 

trs88

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Agreed. Please plan to take both. Taking usmle will open way more doors than had you only taken comlex. As someone with a red flag on comlex, I am glad to of taken the chance with usmle.
 
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Dr.Jekyll75

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I planned on both and took both in the end. Many of my classmates planned to do both as well but when it came to it many backed out and lost the 600 bucks. There is no hard and fast rule to taking both but i will say that Step is being used even in the Former AOA programs that are now ACGME. In fact some dont even accept Comlex anymore which is shocking since they were AOA 2 years ago
 

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Plan to take both but if you're positive on NMM then you'd be safe with comlex
 

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It amazes me how during the end of first year, everyone tells you to not worry about boards because they are so far away. When you get back second year, only a couple months later, everyone acts like the world is about to end because "boards are coming." Right now, I am feeling that way.

With the thought of boards looming, I have been considering whether or not to take the USMLE in addition to the COMLEX. Everyone who I have talked to has said something like, "it may be good to take it, but it may hurt you if you don't do well, and with the merger, we really don't know what to tell you."

I would say I am an average student but tend not to do as well on standardized tests as my grades would predict. I am mainly thinking FM, but IM, with the possibility of specializing down the line, does sound nice. I really do like OMT as well. I will (hopefully) be in the 2020 match. Keeping the merger in mind, what is your advice on taking the USMLE on top of the COMLEX in my situation?

Thank you!
Most should take both.

The only exception to this may be if you have obtained some time of military or primary care scholarship. Then you're locked into specialty choices and can't change your mind as easily or cheaply.

Its not an easy decision and there is not one rule fits everyone. If you're set of doing rural family medicine and nothing will every change your mind, then only COMLEX is most likely acceptable. If you're undecided or interested in a partially competitive field, take USMLE.

We have one GME system (starting 2020), it is time for one set of examinations. Off with COMLEX's head.
 

DO2015CA

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Most should take both.

The only exception to this may be if you have obtained some time of military or primary care scholarship. Then you're locked into specialty choices and can't change your mind as easily or cheaply.

Its not an easy decision and there is not one rule fits everyone. If you're set of doing rural family medicine and nothing will every change your mind, then only COMLEX is most likely acceptable. If you're undecided or interested in a partially competitive field, take USMLE.

We have one GME system (starting 2020), it is time for one set of examinations. Off with COMLEX's head.
Won't happen. Too much money rolling in. They came and presented to my school and they spent the whole time defending why we needed a separate test even with residencies merging. It was basically saying their entire test is different because of OMT and that this difference merits a separate test. Which is BS, but after taking the comlex youll realize they throw in the spinal level somatic dysfunctions because the rest of their stem is complete garbage and they have to get you to pick the right system to even guess about.
 
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KP2AZ

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Won't happen. Too much money rolling in. They came and presented to my school and they spent the whole time defending why we needed a separate test even with residencies merging. It was basically saying their entire test is different because of OMT and that this difference merits a separate test. Which is BS, but after taking the comlex youll realize they throw in the spinal level somatic dysfunctions because the rest of their stem is complete garbage and they have to get you to pick the right system to even guess about.
So true. the AOA makes WAY too much money with level 1, 2...and ESPECIALLY the PE.
 

DO2015CA

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So true. the AOA makes WAY too much money with level 1, 2...and ESPECIALLY the PE.
Man don't I know it. I was not expecting $1295. Blew me away. I was expecting about the other twos cost.
 
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Goro

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It amazes me how during the end of first year, everyone tells you to not worry about boards because they are so far away. When you get back second year, only a couple months later, everyone acts like the world is about to end because "boards are coming." Right now, I am feeling that way.

With the thought of boards looming, I have been considering whether or not to take the USMLE in addition to the COMLEX. Everyone who I have talked to has said something like, "it may be good to take it, but it may hurt you if you don't do well, and with the merger, we really don't know what to tell you."

I would say I am an average student but tend not to do as well on standardized tests as my grades would predict. I am mainly thinking FM, but IM, with the possibility of specializing down the line, does sound nice. I really do like OMT as well. I will (hopefully) be in the 2020 match. Keeping the merger in mind, what is your advice on taking the USMLE on top of the COMLEX in my situation?

Thank you!
My advice:

Don't worry about Boards until Xmas time
If you are in the bottom quintile of your Class (GPA < 80%), stick with COMLEX only, and aim for DO-friendly residencies/specialties.
Anythings else, do both exams.
 
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ortnakas

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My advice:

Don't worry about Boards until Xmas time
If you are in the bottom quintile of your Class (GPA < 80%), stick with COMLEX only, and aim for DO-friendly residencies/specialties.
Anythings else, do both exams.
Seconded, with the alteration that while you shouldn't worry about boards until Thanksgiving/Christmas, you should have a plan for HOW you're going to worry about boards.

Don't go hardcore yet, burnout is real, but figure out what resources you need; UWorld and First Aid are obvious, but decide how you feel about Sketchy, if you want/need a comprehensive review like DIT/Kaplan/etc, if you want to do an additional qbank along with classes before starting UWorld, etc.
 
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Seconded, with the alteration that while you shouldn't worry about boards until Thanksgiving/Christmas, you should have a plan for HOW you're going to worry about boards.

Don't go hardcore yet, burnout is real, but figure out what resources you need; UWorld and First Aid are obvious, but decide how you feel about Sketchy, if you want/need a comprehensive review like DIT/Kaplan/etc, if you want to do an additional qbank along with classes before starting UWorld, etc.
Start planning, start doing a few questions each day in a qbank you don't mind using as your starter bank. start trying to read a few pages each day frim first aid to get a good feel for it. Ramp up as the year goes by. Plan to take usmle and in march/ april take some nbme practice exams or uworld self assessment, if your are happy with where you are scoring go ahead and take it if youre not then just cancel the test. I am very glad to have a usmle score in my back pocket.
 

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If you are in the bottom quintile of your Class (GPA < 80%), stick with COMLEX only, and aim for DO-friendly residencies/specialties.
I'm going to disagree. Don't base your test options directly on your grades. I'm comfortably in the bottom half of my class, and took both. I did much better on USMLE than I did COMLEX, which is among the worst tests I've ever taken.

Base your plan on practice tests. If you can score at least a 220 on the recent NBME's or can get into the 230's on UWSA's I say take USMLE, depending on what specialty you want. Despite what people say on here, scoring below a 230 will not hurt you as a DO. If you want to do peds, FM, anesthesia, IM, etc there are TONS of opportunities with Step 1 scores in the High 210's through the 220's.

If I would have listened to Goro's advice I'd just be stuck here with a ****ty COMLEX score. Instead, I'm a solid applicant for my specialty.
 
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Goro

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I'm going to disagree. Don't base your test options directly on your grades. I'm comfortably in the bottom half of my class, and took both. I did much better on USMLE than I did COMLEX, which is among the worst tests I've ever taken.

Base your plan on practice tests. If you can score at least a 220 on the recent NBME's or can get into the 230's on UWSA's I say take USMLE, depending on what specialty you want. Despite what people say on here, scoring below a 230 will not hurt you as a DO. If you want to do peds, FM, anesthesia, IM, etc there are TONS of opportunities with Step 1 scores in the High 210's through the 220's.

If I would have listened to Goro's advice I'd just be stuck here with a ****ty COMLEX score. Instead, I'm a solid applicant for my specialty.
I am happy for your success, but in our experience, when we see our weakest students take both Board exams, they end upon with weak COMLEX AND Step I scores.
All I can offer is my advice, based upon what I've seen with > 1000 students...maybe 1500.

It is also true that diagnostic NBME shelf exams are also good predictors of Board performance, especially for passing.
 

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I am happy for your success, but in our experience, when we see our weakest students take both Board exams, they end upon with weak COMLEX AND Step I scores.
All I can offer is my advice, based upon what I've seen with > 1000 students...maybe 1500.

It is also true that diagnostic NBME shelf exams are also good predictors of Board performance, especially for passing.
For clarification, Shelf exams are for 3rd year medical students on rotations. I know what you meant, but it might be confusing to others.

I agree, that generally speaking class performance and board performance is related. This very same advice was given by my administration, PhD's who have never taken at medical licensing exam. I brought up the notion about practice tests and they told me it was a waste of $60 and that class performance is a better predictor. Anyway, they are very out of touch. I think that heading into board studying time with the mindset of "I'm not good enough to take that other test, I hope I'm good enough for this one" is a dangerous place to be. As one my classmate friends told me, COMLEX is a lottery ticket. The acceptable range of error for that test is astounding, something like +/- 60 points. You could take the same test two days apart and score a 450 or a 510 and the NBOME thinks this is acceptable. The USMLE has a range of like 1.5 points.

My advice is to study hard and aim to take both tests unless you know you won't be needing one (hint: there is no way you will know that. You might think you will, but you're wrong). And take COMSAE's and NBME's to see where you are. If you're at risk of getting a very poor score on the USMLE (<210) then don't take it.
 

Goro

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For clarification, Shelf exams are for 3rd year medical students on rotations. I know what you meant, but it might be confusing to others.

I agree, that generally speaking class performance and board performance is related. This very same advice was given by my administration, PhD's who have never taken at medical licensing exam. I brought up the notion about practice tests and they told me it was a waste of $60 and that class performance is a better predictor. Anyway, they are very out of touch. I think that heading into board studying time with the mindset of "I'm not good enough to take that other test, I hope I'm good enough for this one" is a dangerous place to be. As one my classmate friends told me, COMLEX is a lottery ticket. The acceptable range of error for that test is astounding, something like +/- 60 points. You could take the same test two days apart and score a 450 or a 510 and the NBOME thinks this is acceptable. The USMLE has a range of like 1.5 points.

My advice is to study hard and aim to take both tests unless you know you won't be needing one (hint: there is no way you will know that. You might think you will, but you're wrong). And take COMSAE's and NBME's to see where you are. If you're at risk of getting a very poor score on the USMLE (<210) then don't take it.

We can agree on the bolded, at least.

I have taken COMLEX, several times, and so have a good number of my PhD colleagues. We also write for COMLEX.
 

sunealoneal

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I am happy for your success, but in our experience, when we see our weakest students take both Board exams, they end upon with weak COMLEX AND Step I scores.
All I can offer is my advice, based upon what I've seen with > 1000 students...maybe 1500.

It is also true that diagnostic NBME shelf exams are also good predictors of Board performance, especially for passing.
For what it's worth, I was in the same boat as that individual. Then again, despite my grades, I felt quite comfortable with the material. It just never reflected well on class exams or Level 1. I'll just reaffirm that students should trust the predictive power of the NBMEs for Step 1, and plan accordingly.
 

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Goro I expected more of you- so you're who we are to blame for the terribly written COMLEX questions? ;)

We can agree on the bolded, at least.

I have taken COMLEX, several times, and so have a good number of my PhD colleagues. We also write for COMLEX.
 

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Goro I expected more of you- so you're who we are to blame for the terribly written COMLEX questions? ;)
Mine are both impeccable and bullet proof, and if anything, they've been on the easy side. Based upon some of the critiques I get from NBOME editors, I suspect that it's the clinicians who write the worst questions.
 

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The only thing I don't agree with in this statement is implying that the NBOME actually edits their test questions. From the tests I've taken... There was definitely no editing done to those questions. ;)

Mine are both impeccable and bullet proof, and if anything, they've been on the easy side. Based upon some of the critiques I get from NBOME editors, I suspect that it's the clinicians who write the worst questions.
 
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Goro

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The only thing I don't agree with in this statement is implying that the NBOME actually edits their test questions. From the tests I've taken... There was definitely no editing done to those questions. ;)
Can you describe how they were bad questions?
 

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Can you describe how they were bad questions?
Completely useless questions with not nearly enough identifiers for a real direction. They had to put somatic dysfunction spinal levels so that we could get a system to guess about. One question that I remember was literally. Smoking, htn, hyperlipidemia and ask what the Dx was. All of which could be caused by these
 

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Can you describe how they were bad questions?
One of the main characters in Disney cartoons is a small creature that is black colored and wears red pants. Which of the following is correct?
A. His first and last name have the same first letter
B. His pet is a feline
C. His girlfriend's name is Daisy
D. His favorite food is spinach
E. His creator is Walt Disney

As you can see, two answers are correct, but one of them is more correct.
 

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legit making it confusing to create a distribution based on luck and not by knowledge
 

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Won't happen. Too much money rolling in. They came and presented to my school and they spent the whole time defending why we needed a separate test even with residencies merging. It was basically saying their entire test is different because of OMT and that this difference merits a separate test. Which is BS, but after taking the comlex youll realize they throw in the spinal level somatic dysfunctions because the rest of their stem is complete garbage and they have to get you to pick the right system to even guess about.
Just the fact the NBOME feels the need to visit schools to inform us of how necessary this test is truly shows how unnecessary it is. It is really just an excuse for the NBOME clown president to travel the country with someone else's money. They love to stick to the talking point about protecting the public in their videos and other publishing, but have never backed up that statement with evidence of it's effectiveness or necessity.
 

Dr.Jekyll75

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personally my biggest complaint was they did not follow their so called blue print. I had alot of , whats the next step questions which ventures more into level 2 not level 1.
 

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Can you describe how they were bad questions?
I had a question that flipped genders halfway through the stem. "A 24 year old primigravid women presents with ... what's the cause of his cough?"

I had a neuro question about a guy that fell and hit his head and the question cut off halfway through. "What is his-?" that was it. 3 of my classmates had this question as well.

I had a video showing me neuro findings on a patient with chest pain.





*These are not the exact questions, or even close to it. They were changed heavily. Don't put me on a list NBOME, focus on fixing your broken questions.
 

Goro

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I had a question that flipped genders halfway through the stem. "A 24 year old primigravid women presents with ... what's the cause of his cough?"

I had a neuro question about a guy that fell and hit his head and the question cut off halfway through. "What is his-?" that was it. 3 of my classmates had this question as well.

I had a video showing me neuro findings on a patient with chest pain.

*These are not the exact questions, or even close to it. They were changed heavily. Don't put me on a list NBOME, focus on fixing your broken questions.

No excuse for this. None at all.
 
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