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COMLEX - or was it?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by Newdoc2002, Jun 7, 2000.

  1. Newdoc2002

    Newdoc2002 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 18, 1999
    Waco
    What was that thing I just beat my head against the desk for two straight days? That was one of the most absurd experiences of my scholastic career (incl. the MCAT).

    Was it just me or do you think the NBOME is trying to prove something? If you want to write a difficult test, don't try to fit 800 questions into it. There were poorly written questions, questions from Mars (no, not manip) and questions with more than one best answer. Don't try to trip us up with language either (e.g. ask for a tissue type and throw some pathway into the choices)

    It's a little bit of venting here, but I took the USMLE 6 days ago and felt much better leaving that exam than today. The NBME seems to have a better grasp that competency after the 2nd year should be measured on a core amount of material and how can you use it (can you think).

    The writers of the COMLEX only seemed interested in how much you could cram into your head and purge onto the test. Who cares if you can actually think through it? And who picks the topics???? How many questions on one topic can you ask before it gets ridiculous?? If you happen to be strong in that area then great, but if you are weak or a professor told you not to worry about it, you are sunk!!!

    If the NBOME expects that level of mastery from us then we should expect the same level of expertise in putting together a good exam. There is still some work to do. And yes, most of us will pass, but what a confidence shaker.

    [This message has been edited by Newdoc2002 (edited 06-07-2000).]
     
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  3. BD

    BD Member 10+ Year Member

    34
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    Jan 22, 1999
    You are so right-COMLEX was joke. If they didn't give 2 right answers they were poorly wording the questions. I really liked the way they give no info about the pt's and their cases then throw in some trivial piece of info just to throw you off.In real medicine you can ask questions or get labs.Here is a typical COMLEX question: 60 y/o male alcoholic has a cough and he's HTN and is on captopril and he is a farmer who has a pigeon coop and he just got back from a convention with his brother, what's causing his cough?I agree ,I don't know what they were trying to prove-it was ridiculous!
     
  4. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    508
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    Jan 11, 1999
    I got my a-- kicked big time!

    By 2 pm this afternoon, I was falling asleep over the darn test. I just couldn't take it anymore; after almost 16 hours of trying to answer some of the weirdest questions I have ever seen in my life, I just got tired of guessing every other question and started to fall asleep.

    I am glad someone else is pointing out that some of the questions had more than one right answer. Then, there were those other questions that left you wandering what were they really asking... Then, there were the questions with something tricky in it, something usually to throw you off track, like including typical terms used to describe a completely unrelated disease.

    By the way, does anyone know how the thing is actually scored and what was the minimum passing raw score last year?

     
  5. dcdo

    dcdo Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Jan 26, 1999
    A definite "yes" to previous posts. That was a pretty random and poorly written test. How about more questions that are IMPORTANT in clinical thinking, instead of a mishmash of case pieces and trivia.

    By the way, what the hell is a "bradyzoite" in the brain? must have been what I had during the test!
     
  6. bhl

    bhl Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    13
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    Dec 28, 1999
    Tulsa, OK

    While I agree that there were bad questions, the overall percentage of really bad questions were low compared to the number of decent/moderate questions. Keep in mind, that most of us tend to dwell on the ones we didn't know, which were mostly just hard-core trivia. I thought the OMT questions were excellent (compared to the ones my school writes for tests), Neuro/Anat was good, the drug questions were fair (if you knew your CNS meds). The micro needed some work, and path sucked ( how many Guianne-Barre questions do we really need? )

    Overall though, the test hit most of the topics covered in my first 2 years, and I left confident that I at least passed. Hopefully the USMLE will be even better.
     
  7. johns8

    johns8 Junior Member

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    Jun 2, 2000
    The all time craziest question I ever had to answer:

    The type of molecule in the cell wall of some organism that is responsible for making it smell the way it does.

    Just ridiculous.
     
  8. Henry

    Henry Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Dec 30, 1998
    Diarrhea, diarrhea, impotence, lower back pain, lower back pain, diarrhea, oh cough cough cough?

    That was my dream for the entire night!!!!
    ------------------
    NSU 2002
    ([email protected]@-)

    [This message has been edited by Henry (edited 06-08-2000).]
     
  9. Liljoe2002

    Liljoe2002 Member 10+ Year Member

    41
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    Apr 4, 1999
    UHS-COM KC, MO
    Ditto everything above!!!
    Here is my 5 cents worth. What was with the Pharm. on the test?? How about test book 4 and that drug at the very end Phenoxyphramine sp????????????? Never heard of it! I swear there were so many questions that had more than one right answer. I couldn't believe all of the menstrual cycle questions, wow.

    Heard the USMLE is better written but has alot of biochem. The kind of biochem that Ph.D's have to know, not medically related.

    My advice for people taking the test in October and next year--Know your Ob/Gyn!!

    Liljoe
     
  10. AMS-007

    AMS-007 Member 10+ Year Member

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    Jun 9, 2000
    New York
    I agree with everything that you guys said above. That test was rediculous! However, I don't know whether or not you got that COMLEX newsletter, but if you looked on the last page it gave you the percentage of students who passed the June 1999 and October 1999 COMLEX exams. The pass rate for the June 1999 exam was 94%! Furthermore, the people who took the test last year felt the same way we are feeling right now! Confused and mad! Keep you fingers crossed and pray that none of us will be answering another set of 800 questions in October.

    Amit
    NYCOM
     
  11. 3more2go

    3more2go Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    12
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    Jul 15, 1999
    If i passed that bitch of a test, I'll be surprised...how about the 2 giardia pictures they put on there. 2 OF GIARDIA!!!#$!$%@ 1 in a trophozoite stage and the other not, I mean am I EVER going to look in a microscope on rotations to diagnose giardia?? And how about the 40 degree spondyloisthesis and what grade is it? Are you kidding me?? How about throwing us a few bones COMPLEX people, like some history of OMT, AT Still etc. I really hope I dont have to fill in another 1000 ovals in October. Pray with me!!!
     
  12. wheatfarmer

    wheatfarmer Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    May 1, 2000
    What about the dumbass "mumps" question. I just looked at it and thought "what are they asking".
     
  13. SHC

    SHC

    Here's a post-COMLEX question: Just how common a problem IS vaginismus? I was a little shocked to see it the first time it showed up on the exam, wanted to laugh out loud the second time (but I was afraid of the proctor).
     
  14. DrStacey69

    DrStacey69 Member 10+ Year Member

    34
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    Jun 14, 2000
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way about the Comlex. I mean, statistically I know I probably passed but the wait for my scores is going to be torture. And to top it off, I'm taking the USMLE on Tuesday (just for fun, because god knows I can never get enough of standardized tests!!!)

    Any words of encouragement from people who thought they did poorly on Step 1 last year and were pleasantly surprised???? Even a little???
     
  15. spunkydoc

    spunkydoc Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    125
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    May 2, 1999
    chicago, IL usa
    be calm, be cool kids--it is going to be ok..

    i walked out of that exam last year as steamed, exhausted, and angry as you all did.

    i am disappointed to see that the quality of the exam did not improve--that does not help the reputation of our profession.

    however, take it easy..the pass rate is high because hundreds of questions are thrown out and ruled abominable.

    you must realize that micro professors are writing neuro questions and vice versa..it is a poor system, agreed, but one that as students we must slog on through.

    and by the way, there is a good chance that at some point you will be looking thru a microscope to figure out if your patient has giardia or not and when you want to refer your pt w/ spondylolitheses to an orthopedic surgeon, it is a good idea to know those degrees and grades so that you do not sound like an idiot when you present the case to him/her.

    it is over, you survived---

    get crackin in clinicals where it is most important to show your stuff.
     
  16. DrStacey69

    DrStacey69 Member 10+ Year Member

    34
    0
    Jun 14, 2000
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thanks, spunkydoc, I needed to hear that. By my estimation approximately 700 questions should be thrown out. [​IMG]
     
  17. spunkydoc

    spunkydoc Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    125
    0
    May 2, 1999
    chicago, IL usa
    no problem stacey--

    if there is one thing i have learned, it is that the AOA does not make the most wise decisions..

    furthermore, there is plenty that is out of your control..

    however, what you are experiencing has been the same experience of others for years and things still work out ok..

    hang in there..
     
  18. Test Boy

    Test Boy Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    152
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    Mar 30, 1999
    Are you people serious??? I heard that the majority of the questions were alright.
     
  19. Newdoc2002

    Newdoc2002 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    125
    0
    Apr 18, 1999
    Waco
    Testboy, I think the person(s) you spoke to must have set their expectations rather low or were oblivious to their experience.

    Honestly, I thought I would be scoffed for my initial remarks but I am somewhat comforted by the replies to the postings thus far. The more I speak to classmates, the more I confirm what I think.

    If you mean by a majority > 50%,then I might be willing to give the test that much. But one bad question out of two, three or even ten is enough to get you frustrated and flustered. Yes, we can expect some of the same frustration in the real world and from lots of patients that will present with atypical cases. But the test makers either deliberately or ignorantly decided to make much of this test vague, tricky and/or absurd.

    I guess, in the future, at least I'll be prepared for that South American immigrant that drove his car through Southern California before heading through the Ohio River Valley to become a gloveless rose gardener in New England who also happens to raise pigeons and parrots on his farm. Oh yeah, he also uses human feces for fertilizer and just got back from an African Safari where he was bitten by mosquitoes and ticks while wading in stagnant water with funny looking worms. Oh yeah, his only symptom is a slight fever and a rash (wasn't that question # 356??). But with my astute training, I'll figure it out without looking anything up.

    Amazingly enough, a patient with similar symptoms comes in with almost the same background just ten questions later. Ooops, did I say questions, I meant minutes. sorry about the test flashback.
     
  20. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    508
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    Jan 11, 1999
    Newdoc2002,

    [​IMG] Yeah, way to go!

    Don't forget to mention what they would actually be asking in regards to your question: it would not be the dx, that would be too obvious...hmmmmm
    It would be more like:

    You would treat this patient with:
    A) Vasopressin
    B) Finesteride
    C) Danazol
    D) Amphotericin B
    E) Amiodarone
     
  21. PCSOM2002

    PCSOM2002 Junior Member

    7
    0
    May 9, 2001
    Then they would follow that up with what enzymes would be increased or decreased as a result of the use of the 3rd choice treatment. Then they would want to know what his mental condition would be like 6 months after you told him what he had.
     
  22. Billie

    Billie An Oldie but a Goodie... 10+ Year Member

    348
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    Nov 30, 1998
    Cleveland, OH
    But did the South American Rose Gardeners wife have vaginismus? Or was it a cyclothymic disorder? [​IMG]
     
  23. cja

    cja Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    17
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    Jan 20, 2000
    KC, MO, USA
    This year's COMLEX was a Mickey Mouse, B.S., circus carnival.
     
  24. youngjock

    youngjock Banned Banned

    483
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    Jun 13, 2000
    i am not in any do schools, yet.

    do you guys regret for entering the do profession?
     
  25. PCSOM2002

    PCSOM2002 Junior Member

    7
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    May 9, 2001
    I have no regrets about entering the DO profession. Do not let these posts scare you away from the profession. We are just letting off some steam after our board exam. The profession has some shortfalls, but then again every profession does. Just remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side, it just seems like it is.
     
  26. cja

    cja Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    17
    0
    Jan 20, 2000
    KC, MO, USA
    I agree. In my opinion, the COMLEX is not necessarily a reflection on the Osteopathic profession. I am very glad I went DO; we have the traditional medicine skills as well as manipulative medicine to use. Also, DO schools tend not to concentrate on MCAT scores as much. I dont know about you guys, but the information I had to know for the MCAT was completely worthless except for basic biology and chemistry principles.
     
  27. kgDO

    kgDO Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    18
    0
    Jan 23, 2000
    KC, MO
    Actually for me the comparison of the COMLEX and the USMLE went somewhat differently. I took the USMLE on the Sat. before the COMLEX. I assumed that it would be similar the the supplied practice USMLE exams. Unfortunately for me it wasn't even close. They kept reapeating topics that I didn't know as if to say, "just checking to see if your as stupid as you seem." Why do I give a hoot if drug X leads to an increase in cAMP, cGMP, or any other second messenger, as long as I know the end result. I also got way too many questions that gave you a patient on 5 different meds who was started on a new med and you are supposed to know by the vague sx which drug it reacted with. I'll just look it up in the future until I get the major ones down, but for now I didn't think it was worth my time.

    As for the COMLEX, the firs section seemed like a cake walk compaired to my USMLE exam, of course it did get harder after that. I was a bit annoyed that it seemed like they didn't have anyone go through the exam to see if there was a disproprtionate amout of questions on less important material. Some of us don't even get diddly for information on OB/GYN until this summer. Vaginissmus twice, whatever!

    In the end though I would have to say that the USMLE was more difficult and frustrating, because it just seemed that we weren't tought some of the subject matter that they tested on. I know that it is supposed to be more of a thinking exam, but I haven't had enzyme kinetics for 5 years and It certainly didn't deserve 6 questions I thought. I still don't feel comfortable with the fact that everyone gets different questions either, but not much I can do about that.

    Just my two cents worth.
     

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