Dropping all COMLEX exams for USMLE+OMM exam

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by BobBarker, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. BobBarker

    BobBarker Member

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    What do you guys think about dropping the COMLEX completely? All DO students would take the USMLE, then tack on a 50 question test block of OMM. I think it would be a good idea and streamline and eliminate a lot redundancy and hoops that we jump through
     
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  3. SomeDoc

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    The extra hoops you speak of are optional. You don't have to take the USMLE's.
     
  4. SOUNDMAN

    SOUNDMAN Senior Member

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    I think you totally misunderstood what the OP was asking at all. They were stating to do away with the COMLEX completely for DO's and just have all DO's take the USMLE and an OMM exam for the "DO" portion. Puts all "physicians" on equal grounds and lends to an equal comparison between DO and MD's.

    I'm totally for this and think it would be a fabulous idea. In addition I think the match should be completely open and just be a MD/DO match with it all being equal as well. However I think you'll find that the biggest resistance to this will NOT be the allopathic world, but rather the DO world, would throw a stink about it, thus perpetuating the myth that DO's are different from MD's. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.
     
  5. SomeDoc

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    That was a polite way of saying if you don't want to take an extra (optional) test, apply to a different type of school. The ability to take the USMLE's as an option is great in itself, but it is also a privilege. Many of our colleagues in schools that grant a different degree unfortunately do not have the option of taking the COMLEX in order to apply to AOA residencies in competitive specialties.
     
  6. Lamborghini1315

    Lamborghini1315 Sleep deprived

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    Beggars can't be choosers we are still a minority in the physician world..we should welcome allopaths into our residencies and also let them see our profession as an equal counterpart. We all know the law says that we are equal but don't you want to engrave that in the minds of many program directors that still harbor the differences? When we all learn, do the same things then why have two different battle grounds? USMLE+OMM = brilliant idea.
     
  7. CorpuSpongiosum

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    PROS:

    1) It would save me the $1,000 I have spent on USMLE Steps 1 & 2

    2) It would level playing field.


    CONS:

    1) It would be a challenge to pass an OMM stand-alone test. Whereas you don't have to study at all for OMM to do well on COMLEX.
     
  8. BobBarker

    BobBarker Member

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    Very good point. You could do this by giving DO's two different scores. First score is the grade with USMLE material only (350 questions) factored in, 2nd score factors in all 400Qs including the OMM stuff. You report the first score to allo residencies, the 2nd score to osteo residencies. The OMM test is given as an 8th block of the USMLE.
     
  9. It'sElectric

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    Here's an even better idea: the OMM portion is simply a Pass/Fail of sorts (kind of like the writing score on the MCAT). As a DO, you must pass it in order to receive your eventual degree.
     
  10. BobBarker

    BobBarker Member

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    Heck, make it an essay over osteopathic principles no longer than one page single spaced!
     
  11. SOUNDMAN

    SOUNDMAN Senior Member

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    Your "polite" way is still not addressing the question the OP is posting. And if you read the responses you'll see that others understood the thread, so if you don't have something atleast to contribute to the "actual" thread, then just don't post. This is the exact attitude that I was talking about, that many times we are our own worst enemy.
     
  12. docluver

    docluver New Member

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    The "contribution" you are looking for is to have everyone agree with the OP. I personally think the COMLEX has more of a difference than just the OMM. It is more clinically oriented than the USMLE and call me crazy, but that seems to make more sense for a medial licensing exam.
     
  13. Krazykritter

    Krazykritter Senior Member

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    Did you actually take both exams??? If so, our experiences were vastly different.

    The COMLEX is a, & make no mistake about it, a poorly written exam. While you may think that the question had 'more of a clinical bearing' a person should not have to use part of their alloted time to figure out what the question is asking. On the COMLEX I spent usually somewhere btwn. 10-30 seconds just trying to figure out what the poorly worded question was trying to get out of me. On a timed exam, that is complete bunk (I stilled finished early, but only b/c I am a fast test-taker).

    The USMLE may have more of what you consider not clinically relevant, but its goal is to test your understanding & knowledge of basic science material. At the end of every scenario & question you know exactly what the test-writer wants to know & you can then begin looking through the answers. Although the overall test was more difficult, I felt strongly that almost every question could be reasoned through. Sure there are more questions on cell/histo/biostats which aren't necessarily clincal, but that's not the point of the exam.

    Bottomline is that the USMLE is a better WRITTEN exam. The AOA & the powers that be will never in the near future get rid of the COMLEX.
     
  14. SomeDoc

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    I understand, and I do think that it is a good idea. However, I am merely adressing the part the OP's quote about "jumping through extra hoops." The redundancy in testing that the OP speaks of is something that is purely optional. If the OP didn't want to take an extra test, or set of tests, it was something he/she should have been aware of when applying to our schools instead of complaining after the fact about "extra hoops to jump through." BTW, I will be taking the USMLE's and I wont be seeing it as doing any extra "hoop jumping." Given that we will represent approximately 25% of US physician grads in the next 20 years, things may change in the future regarding licensing exams. But until then, all is speculation and wishful thinking/bit**ing by med students on anonymous boards, for some reason when board-examinations draw near.
     
    #13 SomeDoc, Jun 6, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2008
  15. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus

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    I disagree. I thought 95% of COMLEX questions were very straight-forward questions. Less than 5% of the time did I have to take the time to think about what they were asking. Perhaps, you just aren't used to the style of questions they ask? I had a PBL curriculum and the questions were almost exactly like the ones I had for two years-- only easier. Obviously, we learned basic sciences from a clinical basis, so maybe that's the difference. But, to say it's a "poorly worded exam" is just perpetuating an SDN myth, IMO. I've heard that over and over and over...until it's just a "buzz phrase" that people have come to take as dogma. Just because you didn't understand the questions doesn't necessarily make it "poorly worded."
     
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  17. CorpuSpongiosum

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    I agree. The COMLEX is not a bad exam. And it does test info.

    The USMLE is a superior exam because it gives you multiple clues for you to arrive at the correct answer. The COMLEX usually gives you one and if you don't know it you are out of luck.

    If you don't know one piece of info on USMLE you have other clues to help give you a chance. The USMLE is an excellent exam and rewards thought. It was a pleasure to sit through after two years of truly awful NYCOM exams that emphasized BS over and over and over. And which rarely tested concepts and big picture items.

    That said, the COMLEX is an easier exam.
     
  18. aaabbbccc

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    USMLE 1 and 2 test taker here and COMLEX test taker.

    Totally agree that COMLEX is very poorly worded exam compared to its counterpart. Easier in many ways because of linear thinking to answer the question, harder in that there can be multiple answers to their question because of how it's worded.

    USMLE questions are very clear. just my opinion.
     
  19. smgilles

    smgilles Senior Member

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    I couldn't disagree with you more. I too went to a PBL school (your mothership). My test questions for the first 2 years were bunk just like the COMCRAP. The COMLEX was ridiculously easy but had poorly worded test questions. 80% of the test is level 1 or level 2 questions. I had the exact same test question 4 times on part 1. When they actually tried to write a level 3 or 4 question they would leave out all the pertinent information to allow you to make a logical step in your reasoning. Wait until you take part III....each part makes me laugh a little louder. It is so nice being done with that crap series of tests.
     
  20. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus

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    Maybe it's just the phrase "poorly worded" that I'm objecting to. COMLEX is by no means the academic equivalent of USMLE. The questions, to me at least, were very straight forward and rather easy-- not poorly worded for the most part. There were less than 10 (out of 400) questions that made me wonder "just what in the hell are you asking me?" There were very few level 3 or 4 questions-- I'm not sure that I remember more than 10 of those either. BUT, they pretty much gave you the buzz words and asked either the diagnosis, the doc, or the most likley bug. Simple....yes.....but poorly worded???? I still disagree.
     
  21. SomeDoc

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    Slightly near/over 50% of DO students take the USMLE('s). Other answers are in bold.
     
  22. homeboy

    homeboy I'm super cereal.

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    Haven't taken step III yet but judging by steps I and II, the COMLEX was indeed a poorly written (or more accurately, poorly constructed in terms of question format and depth & quality of questions) test compared to the USMLE, but if you haven't taken the USMLE, you have nothing to compare to the CRAPLEX.

    Anyone who says the USMLE isn't a harder test is kidding themselves. I'm not saying it was a better test, but it had more thorough, detailed, higher order questions and challenged me much more than the COMLEX.

    And I know the 2-digit scores aren't supposed to be interpreted as %'s, but my 2-digit scores for the USMLE and COMLEX were exactly the same, despite my USMLE score being avg and my COMLEX score being well above average.
     
  23. CorpuSpongiosum

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    From day one of med school I knew I wanted to take the USMLE.

    For me, it was an ego thing. As an MD reject, I had wounded pride and a chip on my shoulder so I had something to prove to myself.

    I always practiced and trained for the USMLE.

    The COMLEX was an afterthought. I am not going into a super competitive specialty. But even if I were going for Family, I would go for it.

    The only reason to try and do amazing on COMLEX is if you want to go into DO: Ortho, Uro, Rads, etc etc.....

    Otherwise, you can treat the COMLEX as a total afterthought and nuisance.
     
  24. Lamborghini1315

    Lamborghini1315 Sleep deprived

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    Interesting question..well i wouldn't say all the bright students take USMLE's it would be really a stuck up attitude to perceive it that way. However, competitive students do see USMLE's as a good measure of their knowledge but its the bigger picture ======> "residency" that drives DO's toward USMLE's. I always assume people are smart by default and it doesn't take much for someone to figure out right out of the gate that by going into the allopathic match your training will be far more satisfying. However don't confuse taking usmle's as a way for DO's to abandon the osteopathic match heck there are some spectacular AOA residencies you would certainly like to be a part of. Even if you go for a non-competitive field USMLE can open up doors to some decent programs in desirable locations. In a nut shell the answer is a better chance for a quality residency. USMLE's shouldn't be taken without preparation or complete grasp of its imp in the residency selection process. Its not like MCATs you take it multiple times and hope you land a good score.
     
  25. Lamborghini1315

    Lamborghini1315 Sleep deprived

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    I guess its your reasoning..but if someone else feels the same way i would consider taking USMLE's as a useless investment. Don't work your tail off so you can make yourself feel better..think about it is it really worth it to study so hard if you really don't even care about using your results to help you find a good residency. I understand how one feels to be rejected or even underestimated but you just cant let your emotions trump "reality"...do what's efficient, you want to go into family care plz take comlex..AOA has excellent family residencies, and you can also go the allopathic route with a comlex score. Comlex score is suffice for some allo programs in other specialities....my point is know that you are taking USMLE's to help yourself in the match process not trying to just satisfy your quench for an ego boost. My 2 cents.
     
  26. Lamborghini1315

    Lamborghini1315 Sleep deprived

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    Did you take USMLE's? Have you tried NBME's..the reason why i ask this is because a lot of students who consider comlex to be poorly written is because when you practise USMLE questions and shift gears to COMLEX one could probably notice the discrepancy which you may not see with your preparation involving comlex style questions. I didn't try any comlex questions per say but i tried a sample online and one thing you notice right off the back is comlex is way more factual than thought oriented. I did quite a lot of usmle questions and i def had to pick out the clues to put it to together, ofcourse there were some really straight forward one's but it seems like comlex has more of them.
     
  27. Doctor4Life1769

    Doctor4Life1769 **tr0llin, ridin dirty**

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    You're really doing board Qs this summer? Aye ... I feel like a slacker now :sleep:
     
  28. Medinsane

    Medinsane Music in Asian Form

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    I'm from Western U, and it seems that the majority of the class are going to be taking the USMLE. I haven't met one person that is just studying for the COMLEX alone (though I'm sure there are). So it's not just the gunners. From what many clinicians tell us, taking the USMLE allows allopathic residencies to compare you to other applicants since that's the test they're familiar with. One clinician even said if all things are equal, if one candidate just took the COMLEX and another took the USMLE, with similar scores (whatever that means) then they're more likely to choose the USMLE guy.

    But I've heard alot of different things. And I think the truth is that nobody really knows. It just depends on the competiveness of your application, the program, and whether they even accept the COMLEX.

    But anyways, I'm liking the idea of just having the USMLE. Anything that simplifies this process is good in my book.
     
  29. DOCTORSAIB

    DOCTORSAIB Ophtho or bust!

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    I agree with the OP. In fact, 2 years ago when I was taking Step 1 I had similar thoughts.

    HOWEVER, be ready for a good number of failures on USMLE Step 1 if all DO students were required to take it.
     
  30. Arch Guillotti

    Arch Guillotti Senior Member
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    I took the USMLE Step I w/2 other students from my class. Both failed. I made a 200. That test is hard as hell, much moreso than the COMLEX. Both students that failed are about to enter competitive allopathic fellowships FWIW (pain and cardiology). IMHO COMLEX is very poorly written.

    To the OP, I faced a similar situation a few years ago. I rolled the dice and took USMLE Step II. Did pretty good. Ended up bagging COMLEX 3 and completing the USMLE series.

    The above poster is right unfortunately, a fair number of DO students would fail USMLE I.
     
  31. DragonWell

    Moderator Emeritus

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    Like the combined match proposition and getting rid of the "5 states" rule, I don't think you'll find much opposition from DO students to the idea of having one universal set of medical licensing exams + an OMM test. However, the NBOME has quite a bit to lose from this idea and nothing to gain. Therefore, I think it's unlikely we'll see any changes to the current structure. At this point, it's just too entrenched to change.

    In regards to the COMLEX vs USMLE, I've taken both tests in the last 3 weeks. I agree that COMLEX had many more buzzwords, ambiguous questions, and first order reasoning questions than the USMLE. IMO, the difficult questions on the COMLEX were challenging either because they required knowledge that was simply beyond the level of a second year medical student, or they tested small, obscure details. The difficult questions on the USMLE generally required you to apply your knowledge in an unfamiliar way or to make connections between material that you may not have put together before.

    I also feel that a huge difference in studying for and taking these tests is that the USMLE has been studied intensely and there is actually a somewhat effective "lexicon" of high yield material floating around out there...Goljan, FA, Kaplan, UWorld...these resources will by no means give you every question on the test, but they do seem to be pretty effective in steering you in the right direction. In contrast, I felt like the COMLEX was much more of a wild card, where you might know 20 facts related to the question, but the specific detail they were asking was just something you didn't cover in FA.
     
  32. jbone

    jbone Herro!

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    Has anyone ever looked at the Kaplan COMLEX Q-bank?? If COMLEX is anything like that...I'm in the money.

    But I doubt it. Something tells me I'm going to need a translator stone to understand what they are asking.
     
  33. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus

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    Go to the NBOME website and click on the CBT tutorial. There are 50 questions at the end. The ones you'll get are exactly like that. You'll be surprised at how straight-forward and easy they seem to be. Don't try reading a lot into the question-- you don't have to. Spend time on the ANS and know your levels and you'll do very well.
     
  34. JaggerPlate

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    Translation: Why don't DO schools just become MD schools? .... j/k
     
    #32 JaggerPlate, Jun 7, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2008
  35. toothless rufus

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    Why is that?
     
  36. bravotwozero

    bravotwozero Chronically ambitious

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    Well, the curriculum in many osteopathic schools does not suitably prepare one for the USMLE. There is a lot more genetics/biochem in the USMLE than in the COMLEX, and the amount of biochem/genetics covered at DO schools is thus comparatively less than at an allo school.
     
  37. Lamborghini1315

    Lamborghini1315 Sleep deprived

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    No, I did throughout the school year.
     
  38. Lamborghini1315

    Lamborghini1315 Sleep deprived

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    Ok my subjective reasoning is simply a lack of motivation and exposure to USMLE style questions. If some kid did nothing outside of their school curriculum then around board exam time you will be overwhelmed by the amount of material, question banks that need to be conquered. In addition, some might just prepare for comlex and take the USMLE's alongside instead of the other way around. If my opinion carries any weight..i would say start simply answering USMLE style questions and you will figure the rest...
     
  39. MisterInBlack

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    Actually, it is 1/3 of DO.
     
  40. MisterInBlack

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    what kind of biochem are you talking about? Metabolism stuff? I am just curious.
     
  41. bravotwozero

    bravotwozero Chronically ambitious

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    Not so much the metabolism, but more so the genetic stuff. This is just based on what i've found out from talking to people who are at allo schools though.
     
  42. Doctor4Life1769

    Doctor4Life1769 **tr0llin, ridin dirty**

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    What Q-bank did you use throughout the year? I simply used Qs from the review books and stuff, what about you? Thanks bud.
     
  43. SOUNDMAN

    SOUNDMAN Senior Member

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    And personally I would have no problem if 20-30% of DO students failed the USMLE b/c we were forced to take it. It's a competency test and it's suppose to put everyone even, that's what it's for and to make sure everyone "generally" knows their stuff. DO schools would quickly adjust to provide the proper content to insure their students passed the USMLE, and they could still keep their precious OMM as well. It may seem harsh but it is a competency test and I feel we should all be competent equally...does that even make sense? Looks like a COMLEX question stem.
     
    #41 SOUNDMAN, Jun 8, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2008
  44. SomeDoc

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    If this is true, then it means that 2/3'rds of DO's who go into ACGME residencies use only COMLEX scores. (currently, close to over 50% of DO's go into ACGME residencies). Interesting.
     
  45. DragonWell

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    I don't think you can say that based solely on that number. The number of DOs going ACGME could (and likely does) include a larger than random share of the 30% of DOs who took USMLE.
     
  46. strawberryfield

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    well if this were to happen, DO schools would have to alter their curriculum towards passage of the USMLE, while the two step 1 tests supposedly test similar content, the emphasis is totally different. I feel like the COMLEX tests a lot more diagnosis and management aspects, while USMLE wants the nitty gritty details of the pathophys and cellular biology of the disease.

    I personally think it's a good idea to make us all take one test, it just needs a few years of prep on the part of the osteopathic schools before it could be implemented.

    Going to a DO school, I've been trained to pass the COMLEX and likely will, studying for the USMLE has been re-learning with a different emphasis and also learning many things for the first time...:eek: it would definitley save lots of students precious loan money and I like the idea of having ONE match instead of two.

    I don't think the OMM portion would be hard to pass if you paid attention in OMM during your first two years :rolleyes:, but I do go to KCOM:love: hehe...we love our OMM around here
     
  47. JonnyG

    JonnyG IN the hospitals....

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    What i find the biggest pain is the suppose conversion formula that was created to convert your comlex score to its equivalent USMLE score. The study that produced it had a small sample size and they all went to the same school. It under shot my score by 27 points. If I had not taken the USMLE I would barely be competitive for some decent IM programs now I can pretty much do what ever I want.
     
  48. Lamborghini1315

    Lamborghini1315 Sleep deprived

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    The conversion makes no sense..when omm is part of your exam and might possibly account for a good score on comlex or a bad one. How would program directors know if your score represents your knowledge in omm or biochem you learned in medical school?
     
  49. Medinsane

    Medinsane Music in Asian Form

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    Seems like most people like the change. Now who has the balls to tell the big heads? Not it!
     
  50. strawberryfield

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    this study was done at my school, and yeah, it's a pretty useless conversion at this point, even for people who go to my school. :rolleyes: what it did point out is that there is a demand for this conversion, which obviously needs further study, just like every other thing illustrated by a journal article... if we all took the same test, there'd be no need for any such thing...like everyone was saying earlier, it evens the playing field
     
  51. cyclohexanol

    cyclohexanol No, no. Doggie afuera.
    Physician

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    There was actually an HOD resolution last year which was something to the effect of "COMLEX is the only test worthy of testing osteopathic students/graduates" and that "the NBOME is the best thing since AT Still". I think the resolution was to affirm the stance.

    Many people voiced their opinions on [sarcasm]what a great test the COMLEX is[/sarcasm] and suggested alternatives such as USMLE+OMM exam, but the resolution was passed as it was (affirmed that COMLEX is apparently the ****) :rolleyes:

    So even if you, me, everyone at every DO school in the country told NBOME to their face that we should just have USMLE+OMM exam, it still wouldn't matter.
     
  52. EastWestN2grt

    EastWestN2grt White Coat, Raised Fist!!

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    From usmle. org. The gap is there but it is decreasing. I think as more DO students decide to also take the USMLE, the gap will continue to decrease. If the percentage pass rate trend continues to move up as fast as it did between 2006-2007 (~5% increase), then DO pass rates should be about equal w/ their MD counterparts in 2-3 yrs.

    http://www.usmle.org/Scores_Transcripts/performance/2007.html

    TABLE 1 - 2006-2007 STEP 1 ADMINISTRATIONS
    Number Tested and Percent Passing
    2006 2007*
    #Tested %Passing #Tested %Passing
    Examinees from US/Canadian Schools that Grant
    MD Degree 18,167 93% 18,218 93%
    1st Takers 16,818 95% 17,028 95%

    Repeaters** 1,349 67% 1,190 65%
    DO Degree 1,325 76% 1,470 81%
    1st Takers 1,258 77% 1,411 82%

    Repeaters** 67 52% 59 49%
    Total US/Canadian 19,492 92% 19,688 92%
    Examinees from Non-US/Canadian Schools
    1st Takers 14,585 71% 15,762 70%
    Repeaters** 6,017 39% 6,126 37%
    Total non-US/Canadian 20,602 61% 21,888 61%
    * Represents data for examinees tested in 2007 and reported through February 6, 2008.
    ** 'Repeaters' represents examinations given, not number of different examinees.
     

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