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DOs not equal to MDs? Why?

Discussion in 'Step I' started by automan2, May 12, 2007.

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  1. automan2

    automan2 2+ Year Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    At the risk of starting something I don't want, how can people always try to say DO training is the same as MD training when the average pass rates for US of Step 1 ~92 and for US DO's it's ~70?

    It seems the MDs are better prepared and do much better......
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  3. blz

    blz Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 7, 2002
    im guessing it's because their schools aren't geared towards our boards - like that omm crap they gotta do. plus they're studying for two tests so that's gotta be tougher
  4. Typical

    Typical 2+ Year Member

    May 4, 2007
    But, they are "nicer" people, and have a "philosophy", no other medical modality can offer such fantastic integration for patient care.

    Who cares about science; be nice, maintain a philosophy, and offer a faith-based manipulation treatment at the end :rolleyes:
  5. joe6102

    joe6102 by the power of grayskull 5+ Year Member

    Mar 31, 2005
    Great....another MD vs. DO pissing contest.......
  6. DragonWell

    DragonWell Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    Nice to see these threads have branched out into the board forums. I think that really shows a lot of progress in the debate. :rolleyes:
  7. Jack Daniel

    Jack Daniel In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Oct 12, 2005
    The key is equivalent, not the same. There are several good reasons to think the training is equivalent.

    • DOs study the same science, use the same books, and are taught by the same PhDs.
    • All 50 states think the education is equivalent.
    • Some MD schools even allow transfers from DO school.
    • Besides, most physicians get "trained" in residency--often by MDs.

    DO education stresses musculoskeletal knowledge, more so than MDs. Likewise, the boards stress different areas, but still insure an equivalent competency as a physician. DOs do quite well on the COMLEX; which, by the way, is also considered an equivalent exam to USMLE.
  8. raidermedic

    raidermedic MS IV 5+ Year Member

    May 29, 2005
    I really have no idea why. I took both tests and the only way I differed from my allopath counterparts is that I spent a week on OMM and a little more time brushing up on micro. So I'm not sure if I buy the "we study for two tests" logic. In the end I did well on both exams. I'm not the top of my class either. 2nd year I may have been top 30% but I had a horrendous first year which probably places me somewhere in the middle of my class overall.

    SOUNDMAN Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 16, 2004
    As a DO student I'll chime into the debate. If you talk to most DO students #1 they don't hold to the we're more friendly, more holistic than MD's type attitude. We learn some OMM, some use it some don't. Some think it's a bunch of crap.

    Secondly the COMLEX is different from the USMLE in some focused areas. COMLEX is heavy on micro, drugs, etc, where USMLE seems to be more rounded, more of the 3P's.

    Thirdly, I think many DO students get caught into the thinking, "ahh I'll just take the USMLE 'incase' I want to do something at a MD residency" BUT they essentially fail to study for the the USMLE and only focus on the COMLEX stuff. I think a better route for DO students would be to focus entirely on USMLE and then add OMM into your studying about a week or so before the COMLEX. I wonder how many of those students who didn't pass USMLE didn't pass the COMLEX either. I think that would be an interesting thing to find out, and would lend more credence to the OP's statement.

    I plan on taking the USMLE first then the COMLEX. I'm studying entirely for the USMLE, and then may tweak a review before the COMLEX. However as time goes it seems these tests are becoming more and more similar. Except for the OMM of course
  10. tkim

    tkim 10 cc's cordrazine Physician 10+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2002
    New England
    I'm assuming that when you say 'training', you mean the basic science years, because you refer to Step I passage rates.

    The osteopathic equivalent to the USMLE is the COMLEX. The passage rate for DO students on the COMLEX is comparable to the passage rates for MD students on USMLE Step I - mid-90%.

    I've taken both Steps I and II for COMLEX and USMLE, and here's my take on it:

    The material each test covers does overlap somewhat, but not completely. There was more biochemistry, histology, and statistics on the USMLE. Conversely, there was more neuro, and of course, OMM, on the COMLEX.

    Pharmacology is another good example of the differences between the tests. The USMLE pharm questions concerned experimental data and the interpretation of same, while the COMLEX pharm questions dealt with 'which drug for which bug' and 'which drug caused this reaction' from a clinically-oriented vignette.

    The sophistication of the questions varied quite a bit, in my opinion. The USMLE utilized many second- and third-order questions that required integration of different disciplines in the basic sciences, which was challenging but I came away from the exam impressed with the quality of those questions.

    The COMLEX question - again, in my opinion, where more vague, had a lot more first- and second-order questions, and required more 'gut recall' than integrative thinking. For example, if you had a photographic memory and could recall which disease caused patients to smell like a 'wet mouse' (diphtheria), then you could have done quite well on the COMLEX. If not, you could easily leave the exam thinking 'WTF' was that question about?

    So both exams are hard, but in different ways. One requires more integrative thinking, while another requires good recall of minute details.

    This brings me to my point - they are really two different exams, so DO students who take both of them have to study for - two different exams. That's a large(r) time commitment than having to stodu for just one exam, and I'd say that a large percentage of DO USMLE test takers try to coast on their COMLEX prep for the USMLE, which would be a huge error.

    Anyway, that's just my take on it.

    Many students recommend Goljan's RR Path and audio in prep for Step I - perhaps you do, too. I assume you know that the author of the book, Edward Goljan, teaches at Oklahoma State University - an osteopathic school. I'd say that that training, at least, is on par.
  11. Jack Daniel

    Jack Daniel In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Oct 12, 2005
    I agree with this and have heard it brought up in discussion before, too. It seems like a completely plausible explanation.
  12. TheMightyAngus

    TheMightyAngus 5+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2005
    Do you have evidence for this? I'm very skeptical that this is true.
  13. allendo

    allendo Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    Tulane and Baylor are two that I know of! I think Wright State does also.
  14. barmay

    barmay 5+ Year Member

    May 10, 2007
    come on! DO's don't even practice OMM after they graduate. its the same degree and anyone who says otherwise is an idiot

    and difference in board scores is mostly because students who go to DO schools have lesser grades to begin with. Its like comparing harvard and a lower tier med school. an average harvard student is going to get something in the 230s, an average student in a lesser tier school is going to get something in the 210s. It doesn't make both graduates unequal, they will both become MDs. the reality is one MD performed better then the other, but your patients will never know who
  15. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Duh, of course MD's are better prepared to sit for the USMLE. How would an allopathic student do if he/she tried to take the COMLEX-USA Step 1? Furthermore, an allopathic student needs to pass the USMLE Step 1 for licensure while osteopathic students do not. It's not necessarily a fair comparison.

    On the other hand, this is :beat: :rolleyes:

    DOCTORSAIB Ophtho or bust! 10+ Year Member

    Dec 15, 2000
    Baltimore, MD
    To the OP, you're asking this question either b/c you're new on SDN and have not discovered the "search" button yet. Or you're one of those annoying personalities that likes to get on people's nerves.

    If it's the latter, you need to be shot with an e-rifle STAT!

    Peace out.
  17. KNightInBlue

    KNightInBlue 5+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    are u kidding me? this is NOT the place for this (yes, that includes the performance/final result debate). Take this to where it belongs - the crap of the pre-allo and allo forums.

    lets not start this bulls*it on the usmle forums.
  18. JayneCobb

    JayneCobb big damn hero.... Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2006

    I agree, this is not the forum for this debate. And as Tkim and others have pointed out, it's not a fair comparison and I'd love to see how MDs do on COMLEX. I took both and passed both with relative ease.

    But if you do not want to take our word that our training at the very least has the same potential, would you take John Cline's word? FYI, he was the President of AMA in the 1950's and authored a report that stated that Osteopathic education had no significant differences from their curriculum.
  19. tkim

    tkim 10 cc's cordrazine Physician 10+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2002
    New England
  20. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig 10+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    To the OP. I'm an MS2 at a DO program. Since you seem so curious about our ability to perform (or lack thereof)... how about we compare scores.

    I take the USMLE in July. After we each take our tests, post your USMLE score in the forums and I'll do the same. Agreed?
  21. tkim

    tkim 10 cc's cordrazine Physician 10+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2002
    New England
    Hmmm, intarweb phallus-waving ...

    Okay, done.

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