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DO and Anesthesiology

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littlephiLLy

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I am a third year osteopathic student interested in allopathic anesthesia spots. I just took COMLEX 1 and scored 98th percentile. Some people are telling me that I should still take USMLE, but i really don't see the point in doing so, considering i may not do as well as i did on COMLEX. What would i be trying to prove by taking USMLE? Any input is appreciated.
 

scudrunner

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I am a third year osteopathic student interested in allopathic anesthesia spots. I just took COMLEX 1 and scored 98th percentile. Some people are telling me that I should still take USMLE, but i really don't see the point in doing so, considering i may not do as well as i did on COMLEX. What would i be trying to prove by taking USMLE? Any input is appreciated.

I'm certainly not an authority on the issue, but having a USMLE score puts you on the same playing field as allopathic applicants; it lets PDs compare apples to apples, as far as numbers are concerned.

I've heard/read that it is a good idea to contact PDs at places you are really interested in and ask them if they will want to see a USMLE score with your application.

Congrats on the great COMLEX score.
 

gclax30

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I am a third year osteopathic student interested in allopathic anesthesia spots. I just took COMLEX 1 and scored 98th percentile. Some people are telling me that I should still take USMLE, but i really don't see the point in doing so, considering i may not do as well as i did on COMLEX. What would i be trying to prove by taking USMLE? Any input is appreciated.

I am a 4th year DO student applying to MD anesthesia programs this year. From my experience (which is really only limited to cruising SDN :laugh:), MD programs like you to take the USMLE as a way to compare you more easily to other applicants. Most programs don't want to go through the mental gymnastics of trying to convert your COMLEX to an approximate USMLE score, considering that there is no truly reliable way to do it.

Not sure how many programs outright refuse to take COMLEX, but I know that while most will accept the scores, they want to see USMLE as well.

I don't think it has much to do with you needing to "prove" anything. One can argue that the USMLE is a superior exam compared to COMLEX, which I felt to be more true of step 2 rather than step 1, but that's a different subject.

I would recommend that you DO take it if you still have time and think you can do just as well/better on it. Even if you have to put it off a little into your MS3 year, I think you will be glad that you did come application season.
 

PistolPete

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Think about this: do you want to be excluded by those programs that refuse to take COMLEX? What about those programs that "accept COMLEX" but really will just use that COMLEX-->USMLE conversion formula that vastly underestimates the USMLE score (in general), and then put you at a disadvantage?

If you did this well on COMLEX, you will most certainly have a great shot at >240 on USMLE. Take it, you'll do fine.
 

sethco

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As a helpful example...

When I interviewed at Michigan about 4 years ago. The PD told me he was very glad that I had taken the USMLE. He told me that it was much easier to compare "apples to apples". I asked what scores they used for cutoffs for interviews and he told me it was 700 for the COMLEX, while the cutoff was only a 200 for the USMLE. In my head, I am thinking what?!? If I remember correctly a score of 700 puts you in the 98th percentile for COMLEX test takers. I think a score of 200 on the USMLE would not even placed you in the 50th percentile.

Best thing I am ever did as a DO grad to make myself more competitive for Anesthesia programs was to take the USMLE. Think about it this way. If you scored at the 98th percentile on the COMLEX, you should easily be able to put up at least a 220, which some programs are using for cutoffs.

...just my two cents
 

BobBarker

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You need to take USMLE Step 1. I'm wrapping up an away rotation at a place I want to go to. When a higher up in the program comes up to you and says, "So... how are your board scores?" you'll want to have a USMLE score to give them.
 

Mista Suprane

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I am a third year osteopathic student interested in allopathic anesthesia spots. I just took COMLEX 1 and scored 98th percentile. Some people are telling me that I should still take USMLE, but i really don't see the point in doing so, considering i may not do as well as i did on COMLEX. What would i be trying to prove by taking USMLE? Any input is appreciated.

definitely take USMLE step 1 and 2. someone else here said it, apples to apples. why put yourself at even the tiniest disadvantage?

also, definitely do an away rotation at a place that is DO friendly and/or you really want to go. and make it your second anesthesiology rotation, so you know what you are doing. try your hardest to get a letter of recommendation from either the program director or chair or both, and early enough that you can send it to other programs when you apply via ERAS.
 

littlephiLLy

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thank you all for your help. i have some extra time during 3rd year, so it looks like i'll be sitting for usmle.
 
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You need to take USMLE Step 1. I'm wrapping up an away rotation at a place I want to go to. When a higher up in the program comes up to you and says, "So... how are your board scores?" you'll want to have a USMLE score to give them.

Never thought of this situation. But yeah, it's so obvious. Imagine trying to bumble out some COMLEX equivalency jargon. It's over for you.

Very compelling. You'd be nuts not to take the USMLE.
 

Arch Guillotti

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    When I was on the interview trail, a number of PD's told me that taking the USMLE was the best decision I ever made. If you don't take it you will be shutting yourself out of what is likely a small number of programs but who knows, it may be the program you are really wanting to go to. At this point you want to try and keep all options open.

    I faced the same dilemma a few years back. I scored well on the COMLEX (>80% IIRC). I didn't do so hot on USMLE Step I though (200). This SUCKED. In my case, doing well on the COMLEX was not a guarantee for doing well on the USMLE.

    I bit the bullet for Step II, and improved over 40 points. because of this, I got some interviews at some places I NEVER would have expected (even those with a supposed Step I "cutoff").

    So my advice is to take it.
     
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    Spandex

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    I only took the COMLEX because I thought I was doing medicine or peds until late third year. I was too chicken to go back and take USMLE when I decided to do gas, and I think it definitely hindered my interview number. I recommend taking it, as, in hindsight, I should have.
     

    turnupthevapor

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    you want the pd of the programs your going to apply to to be able to compare apples to apples

    so TAKE USMLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     

    DO4lifer

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    i took both, and definitely recommend it. while some take both, i definitely kept all options open with having both under the belt.
     

    neuroride

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    My chair wants osteopathic applicants to have taken both Step 1 and Step 2 to be considered.
     

    bigDinLV

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    If you are only interested in allo programs then it wouldn't hurt to take the USMLE. It can be done without the USMLE though. You have a good score and I think it will be recognized.

    There are programs that do not accept the COMLEX and required the USMLE. Out of the places that I applied to, Baylor was the only one like that.

    Some programs will accept the COMLEX without the USMLE but they want a COMLEX score over 600. University of Iowa and Michigan were examples of this. I believe Rush was the same way, but I was offered an interview there with only the COMLEX and a score below 600.

    Plenty of allo programs were fine with my COMLEX only.
     

    brentmaster gen

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    So, I'm a 4th year DO and scored decently on Step I. Is it necessary to take Step II for GAS?
     
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