How do D.O.'s stack-up against M.D.'s in board pass rates? COMLEX & USMLE equivalent?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by asilvey, Nov 7, 2001.

  1. asilvey

    asilvey Member

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    Sorry to cross-post, but I wanted to reach a broad audience.
    However infuriating, untrue/true, or arrogant it is, M.D. students will always say applicants go D.O. because they lack the stats to go M.D.
    My question is: thinking along these lines, shouldn't M.D.'s have a better passing rate on the boards (assuming COMLEX & USMLE are equivalent, are they?) as compared to D.O.'s? Or do their "better stats" not mean much as to how well a student will do in med-school and on the boards? Does anyone out there get what I am saying? If so, give me some insight...
     
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  3. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor

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    About 80% of the second-year DO students who sit for the USMLE Step 1 will pass as compared to roughly 92% of second-year MD students. The two big problems with this kind of comparison is 1) the number of second-year DO students taking the exam is relatively small and 2) DO students "aren't trained for the USMLE and its type of questions" (the party-line answer) which implies that DOs are trained to pass the COMLEX.

    Unfortunately, I don't have COMLEX information.
     
  4. pags

    pags Senior Member

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    I know for a fact, via NBOME newsletter, that the pass rate for COMLEX Part I was 94% country wide approximately 2 years ago. Also, in the same time frame, pass rate for first time DO and MD takers of the USMLE Step I was 89% and 94%, respectively, as per USMLE website. The discrepancy noted, I feel, was accurately discussed by Mr. Wu.
     
  5. Freeeedom!

    Freeeedom! Senior Member

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    I took both.

    Think about this, typically one takes the USMLE and COMLEX in close proximity to each other. Giving one test a fresher start and the other the "tired student" version.
    Also, one of the two (typically the USMLE) gets less study time devoted to it because it IS NOT the test needed to graduate.

    I have see that scenerio played out by most of my friends who also took both...and I honestly believe that contributes to the lower scores on the USMLE.

    Regarding which is easier...they both suck. But the COMLEX is more "forgiving" because it is 2 days long with more questions, allowing for a major goof-up if that happens.
     
  6. drusso

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

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    I too took both. They are nearly equivalent with the exception of OMT on the COMLEX. The style of question writing and content areas vary a little---The USMLE definitely feels more polished and edited, longer questions stems, more cased-based material. The COMLEX feels more like typical test in medical school--albeit LONGER!

    As to why there is a difference in first-time pass rates for DO's on the USMLE, I think it is largely due to the fact that it is not our primary licensing exam so we don't approach it with the same motivation that MD students do. The prevailing attitude is, "Hey, I'll see how I do. If I pass it, great; if I don't, I won't lease my scores!"
     
  7. mompremed

    mompremed Senior Member

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    I would be interested to know how DOs stack up against MDs on the speciality licensing exams, I mean the ones that give the "final" licensing to be able to practice their chosen field in whatever state....I assume there is such a thing? I would also assume those exams would all be exactly the same with the same motivation required, etc., and after it was all said and done, would truly be comparing "apples to apples."

    Also, does anyone have the actual percentages, i.e. the averages of actual scores recieved by MDs and DOs on the USMLE? In other words, not just the "pass" rates? (Or know where to find them?) Or is it just a pass/fail type of thing?

    Cheers,
    mompremed
     
  8. Freeeedom!

    Freeeedom! Senior Member

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    Ahhh who cares about your scores for board certification...as long as you pass. No one cares about that, just as long as you are certified.
     
  9. I agree with Freeeedom.
    Why are people so 'hung up' on #'s in this forum
    :) Diane
     
  10. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member
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    I think the concern with #'s is valid. Many pre-meds considering an osteopathic education have concerns as to the quality of osteo programs. USMLE/COMLEX pass rates are a good indicator of how osteo schools are doing in that regard. Personally, I was comforted by the stats - osteo schools seem to be doing pretty well at preparing their students for both exams.
     
  11. mompremed

    mompremed Senior Member

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    And not only that, but it's a helpful tool when doing PR work. I have long since made my decision and am totally comfortable with it....but I have family who are definitely NOT comfortable with it - yet. I have been able to ease them a little closer to the "comfort zone" by giving them reliable stats regarding how well DOs stack up against MDs. And my mother would probably have disowned me if I hadn't told her that a prominant MD in our community recommended I "go DO" because they're more accepting of older students, that the medical education has vastly improved over the past 2-3 decades, AND that UHS in particular is as good or BETTER than the 2 MD schools in town.

    I know it's not right, nor is it fair, but the cards that the DO profession have been dealt include the fact that the public perception of DOs has not nearly caught up with the medical profession's in general. And not all of us are blessed with family, friends, etc. that are current with what's going on in medicine. My mother, for instance is still operating under the old "all DOs are quacks" mentality; in fact it has been an educational odyssey on my part to shed that mentality myself since I had it continuously drilled into my head all the time I was growing up! :rolleyes:

    Personnally, I feel up to the challenge of doing the PR work and advocating for my chosen profession. But it does help to have a few handy "stats" when the occasion seems to call for it! ;)

    Cheers,
    mompremed
     

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