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COMLEX vs. USMLE

Discussion in 'Step I' started by junos187, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. junos187

    junos187 Member
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    Hi all,
    I'm currently applying to DO schools and some post bac programs. If I go to a DO school, can I take USMLE instead of COMLEX? I plan on practicing internationally and to get lisenced in some countries, they require the USMLE scores. Other than that what are the differences between both tests? Like if I study for USMLE am I set to pass the COMLEX and vice verca?

    Thank you for your time
     
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  3. DOCTORSAIB

    DOCTORSAIB Ophtho or bust!
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    You are required to take all 3 step of the COMLEX as a DO student.

    You have the option (except at VCOM) of taking the USMLE.

    The USMLE stresses more Biochem, Epidemiology, Biostats, and Path.

    The COMLEX stresses more Micro, Pharm, and OMM (obviously). Next year, the COMLEX-I is becoming computerized and going from a 2-day 750 question test to a 1-day 400 question test. No one knows how/if this will affect the distribution of questions tested. Keep checking SDN and you'll probably find out soon after the 1st batch of people take the test (starting May 26th, 2006).

    Hope that helps.
     
  4. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted
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    I think that if you plan on "practicing internationally" you should reconsider going DO. I think that there are still some licensing issues that are not worked out yet as far as DO's and Europe are concerned.

    Other than that, no you cannot take the USMLE instead of the COMLEX but you can take it in addition to the COMLEX. Your school will not allow you to move on without a passing COMLEX score.
     
  5. junos187

    junos187 Member
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    Thanks for the feedback, I greatly appreciate it.

    I already have people over Jordan where I plan to practice to find if the DO degree is recognized. I know for sure that the USLME is required to obtain foreign lisensure for UC doctors so I have to take it for sure if I decide to go to a DO school.
    So from what it seems, studying for USLME and COMLEX is like studying for two different tests if the emphasis is different.
     
  6. junos187

    junos187 Member
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    I forgot to mention a couple of more things.
    I know that the U.K recognizes a US DO as a fully lisenced physician (happened recently) check in the DO forums for the thread. The reason many foreign countries have against DOs is the fact that British Osteopathy is more similar to chiropractic medicine and those countries mistake US DOs for British chiropractics!
     
  7. OSUdoc08

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    You don't have to take step III of the COMLEX if you are in an ACGME residency.
     
  8. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN
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    I you're in one of the 5 states, you still have to take all 3 steps of the COMLEX, regardless of what kind of residency you're in. It is required for your state license. I'm not sure about the other states.
     
  9. OSUdoc08

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    You don't have to take step III of the COMLEX in Texas.
     
  10. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN
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    Oklahoma has lots of ACGME residencies with DOs in them. There is nothing in this thread singling out EM.


    Most, if not all, DO schools require COMLEX 1 & 2 to graduate. By then, you might as well use step 3 to finish out your licensure since *most* DOs who take the USMLE only take a single exam
     
  11. OSUdoc08

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    I have tunnel vision sometimes. I guess I thought we were in the EM forum. Sorry about that.
     
  12. DireWolf

    DireWolf The Pride of Cucamonga
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    Texas is not one of those five states.
     
  13. OSUdoc08

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    Right. DrMom said that it was required for the 5 states, but was unsure about other states.

    I added that I was sure about one of the other states.
     
  14. Dr.MISHKA D.O.

    Dr.MISHKA D.O. Senior Member
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    Actually (I love to correct Idiopathic) you can practice as a DO is Europe. As the American DO schools were recently added to the WHO list of med schools. And recently England and Canada just allowed American DO's to take their liscensure exams, as well Canada is recognizing the Comlex now.

    As well, I personally talked to a representative from Ireland and all they require it that your medical education occured in a school listed in the WHO, regardless of degree (as the Irish/English docs are not the holy MD, but rather a more lowly MBBS much like us DO's) :eek:

    As well, I don't think that International boards care which American board you pass as long as you pass their board (i.e. PLAB for UK). Just as we don't care what boards you passed in your country as long as you pass our American Board (USMLE).

    Hope this helps

    Best wishes

    The Mish
     
  15. junos187

    junos187 Member
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    Thanks for the advice. Is California included in those 5 states where I don't need the COMLEX III?
    I know in the country I plan to practice (Jordan) asks for US boards if you specialized in America, but giving them COMLEX results is more of a headache because they aren't familiar with them. Governmental offices have a horrible bueracracy there so I figured better to do both USMLE and COMLEX.
     
  16. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN
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    California is not one of the 5 states.
    The 5 states in question are Oklahoma, Florida, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan
     
  17. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted
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    Sure, you can practice, but as for what your practice will be like, I wouldnt hold my breath. These things dont change overnight.
     
  18. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!'
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    Actually, you do need all 3 part of COMLEX for California.

    As a DO, your licensing board will be the Osteopathic Board of California.

    Article 4. Physician and Surgeon Applications
    ยง 1611. Credentials.
    (a) Diploma. A photocopy of a diploma from an approved school of osteopathic medicine or other proof of having received a diploma shall be furnished by the applicant for permanent filing with the Board.
    (b) Transcript of Grades. A certified transcript from osteopathic college shall be requested by the applicant and mailed directly from the school to the Board's office.
    (c) Internship Certificate. A photocopy of an internship certificate from an approved hospital shall be furnished by the applicant for permanent filing with the Board if internship was completed prior to July 1990.
    (d) Written Examination Results. The certified results of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, Inc. (NBOME) or Federation Licensing Examination (FLEX) when applicable, or other State's written examination results shall be submitted to the board and must be sent directly from the certifier.
    (e) First Year Postgraduate Training. The first year postgraduate training form (Certificate of Completion of Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Postgraduate Training or American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Rotating Internship OMB.3.1 Rev. 04/00), shall be certified and submitted directly from the Director of Medical Education to the Board.
    http://www.ombc.ca.gov/laws.htm

    As you can see in part d, you will need to complete the COMLEX series (the test administered by the NBOME). FLEX isn't available anymore since it was replaced by the USMLE. Don't know any states that administer their own written test. Also, you can't be licensed by the Medical Board of California even if you take all 3 steps of USMLE.

    The 5 states mentioned above are known for specifically requiring an AOA-approved internship year as a condition for unrestricted licensure.

    *PS - starting with the Class of 2008, you will need to pass Step 1 and 2 of COMLEX in order to graduate (school and AOA requirement). Why not just take Step 3 of COMLEX and not worry about that aspect when it comes to licensure? Besides, no one is stopping you from taking all 3 steps of USMLE.
     
  19. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN
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    Interesting, group. I didn't realize that Cali had a separate Osteo licensing board. I knew that states that do have a separate Osteo licensing board require the COMLEX, but I was clearly misinformed when I thought that the list only entailed the 5 states that also require the Osteo internship. Thanks for the info. :)
     
  20. Dr.MISHKA D.O.

    Dr.MISHKA D.O. Senior Member
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    What do you mean idiopathic - how could the european system change your future scope of practice, "Hello, I'm Dr. Idiopathic, I will be putting you to sl...." - insert tube - fall asleep yourself for 2 hours - pretend like you didn't fall asleep - take out tube - go home at noon. ;)

    Or for that matter change my scope of practice in the "accident Room" - Hello I'm Dr. Mishka, how are you?" "your chest hurts?" - Order every cardiac marker known to man, O2, Nitrox3, ASA, Morphine, place TPA at beside, CXR, EKG, - cadiology to consult to read EKG for me and warm up cath lab, Full Body CT - Radiology to read Stat, consult Pulmonolgy, Consult: GI, RHEUM, ORTHO, CVS - find out it was only costochondritis - give 20 vicodin (the real reason the pt presented) - go home at 7 with 20 pts pending for next guy.

    Only thing that changes is the accent. :laugh:

    The Mish
     

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