Should I take both the USMLE and the COMLEX?

  • Yes - program directors only recognize USMLE scores, so take it for the sake of comparison

    Votes: 15 44.1%
  • Yes - fellowship program and subspecialties require USMLE scores

    Votes: 9 26.5%
  • Yes - and stop asking strangers for advice

    Votes: 8 23.5%
  • No - don't shoot yourself in the foot with a potentially fatal USMLE score

    Votes: 8 23.5%
  • No - COMLEX and USMLE are basically equivalent

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • No - and stop asking strangers for advice

    Votes: 5 14.7%

  • Total voters
    34
  • Poll closed .

IslandStyle808

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I have no idea why this question keeps getting asked, but you should take both even if you suck at exams. Now I am reading on here that fellowships even look at step I and step II scores (when they don't even consider step III)...
 
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Drrrrrr. Celty

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Depends on what you mean by sucking at tests.

Did you take 3 months of 8 hour + a day studying and only get a 24 on the mcat? If yes, then you suck at tests. If you didn't you don't know whether or not you suck at tests and instead are probably not putting in the time.
 
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BorntobeDO?

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Wouldn't sucking at a test mean he would do worse at the more vague confusing test (COMLEX) rather than the just hard test (USMLE)? I personally think you should take both, provided your NBME practice says you will pass with a decent margin (210-215+, so when your anxiety/test sucking drops you 10 points you at least pass). It is true that some fellowships require USMLE, in fact some require all 3 steps. I think that's kind of crap and obviously directed discriminately at DO's, but hey I am a DO student, so of course I think that. But none of that matters if you can't pass, so you have to figure that out first.
 

Scrubs101

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I have no idea why this question keeps getting asked, but you should take both even if you suck at exams. Now I am reading on here that fellowships even look at step I and step II scores (when they don't even consider step III)...
-be on sdn
-do student asks if they should take the usmle
*sdn reaction*ImageUploadedBySDN1503235739.502072.jpg

Edit: i agree that you should always plan to take the USMLE, just couldnt resist the potential for a meme
Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
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tunicaexterna

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I'm not the best test taker in the world. I just started second year.

I'm going into the situation intending to take both the USMLE and COMLEX. That being said, if test day is approaching and my scores aren't where I need them to be (barely passing), I will not take the USMLE.
 
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Goro

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Asking for a friend...
It depends. What is your friend's class standing? And just as importantly, has s/he taken any sort of diagnostic exams in med school, like COMBANK/COMSAE/NBME shelf exams???

At my school, we have found that students in the bottom quintile of the class are at highest risk for doing poorly on COMLEX, hence a poor Step I score is also at risk. Now, we also have data that NBME shelf exams also are great predictors for COMLEX performance.

IF your friend has test taking anxiety issues, that really needs to get fixed ASAP.

If your friend is doing OK, then definitely take both exams.

Cue the n=1 anecdotes.
 

Rekt

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I'm actually not on the SDN "take the USMLE!" hype train. I've seen the disastrous results it can bring. In my opinion, you shouldn't even sign up unless you're in the top quartile of your class. If you're not, then wait until you take at least two NBMEs before you decide (NOT UWSA1). It's over 600$ that you cannot get back if you back out from taking it. If those are both sub-215, I would not plan on taking it.
 

12glaucoma34

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I'm actually not on the SDN "take the USMLE!" hype train. I've seen the disastrous results it can bring. In my opinion, you shouldn't even sign up unless you're in the top quartile of your class. If you're not, then wait until you take at least two NBMEs before you decide (NOT UWSA1). It's over 600$ that you cannot get back if you back out from taking it. If those are both sub-215, I would not plan on taking it.
I'm not sure if I agree with being in the top quartile, I think top half is good. The real indicator is the results after taking a few practice NBMEs.
 
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grapefruit17

I'm actually not on the SDN "take the USMLE!" hype train. I've seen the disastrous results it can bring. In my opinion, you shouldn't even sign up unless you're in the top quartile of your class. If you're not, then wait until you take at least two NBMEs before you decide (NOT UWSA1). It's over 600$ that you cannot get back if you back out from taking it. If those are both sub-215, I would not plan on taking it.
I don't think class rank means anything in relation to usmle unless you're at the bottom, then probability says you'll struggle.

If you can take it and get a 210 or higher than do it. It may open up a door or two. It's probably rare the people who destroy comlex and barely pass usmle
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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I'm actually not on the SDN "take the USMLE!" hype train. I've seen the disastrous results it can bring. In my opinion, you shouldn't even sign up unless you're in the top quartile of your class. If you're not, then wait until you take at least two NBMEs before you decide (NOT UWSA1). It's over 600$ that you cannot get back if you back out from taking it. If those are both sub-215, I would not plan on taking it.
Pretty much everyone I know who was above the 1/3rd mark got a 220. I don't think you need to be a genius to break a 215. Hell, I was below 50th percentile in my class I still was above average.
 
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12glaucoma34

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Pretty much everyone I know who was above the 1/3rd mark got a 220. I don't think you need to be a genius to break a 215. Hell, I was below 50th percentile in my class I still was above average.
Also, I know students around average during preclinical years that did well on the USMLE. I think class rank should have a loose association with the USMLE or not decision.
 

surfguy84

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I'm actually not on the SDN "take the USMLE!" hype train. I've seen the disastrous results it can bring. In my opinion, you shouldn't even sign up unless you're in the top quartile of your class. If you're not, then wait until you take at least two NBMEs before you decide (NOT UWSA1). It's over 600$ that you cannot get back if you back out from taking it. If those are both sub-215, I would not plan on taking it.
Im going to have to disagree here. Im not top quarter....probably top third ish...

I got low 240s on step. Have friends in class also not top quartile who did even better than me.

Doing well on step is about how much effort you put in. Start stidying hard and consistently in dec/jan and you'll be able to pull a good score.
 

JamesPotterMS-3

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I'm actually not on the SDN "take the USMLE!" hype train. I've seen the disastrous results it can bring. In my opinion, you shouldn't even sign up unless you're in the top quartile of your class. If you're not, then wait until you take at least two NBMEs before you decide (NOT UWSA1). It's over 600$ that you cannot get back if you back out from taking it. If those are both sub-215, I would not plan on taking it.
My school is currently having this exact same discussion. Why should we force students who are not meeting standards who are interested in DO family medicine or community IM to take an exam that they are likely to fail and close even more doors? The USMLE is a BEAST. I thought it was significantly more challenging than the COMLEX and, despite the narrative on SDN that they are similar exams, each exam requires a completely different approach to problem-solving and emphasizes different aspects of your medical training.
 
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Drrrrrr. Celty

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My school is currently having this exact same discussion. Why should we force students who are not meeting standards who are interested in DO family medicine or community IM to take an exam that they are likely to fail and close even more doors? The USMLE is a BEAST. I thought it was significantly more challenging than the COMLEX and, despite the narrative on SDN that they are similar exams, each exam requires a completely different approach to problem-solving and emphasizes different aspects of your medical training.
There's no difference in approach to problem solving or emphasizing different aspects of medical training. The USMLE simply requires you to be far more intimately knowledgeable of pathology and pathophysiology. The COMLEX is in my opinion somewhat more reasonable in that the knowledge requirement is probably more reflective of what a real practicing doctor requires to be successful and what not.

That being said, I think everyone should work towards passing step 1 these days.
 

W19

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There's no difference in approach to problem solving or emphasizing different aspects of medical training. The USMLE simply requires you to be far more intimately knowledgeable of pathology and pathophysiology. The COMLEX is in my opinion somewhat more reasonable in that the knowledge requirement is probably more reflective of what a real practicing doctor requires to be successful and what not.

That being said, I think everyone should work towards passing step 1 these days.
As a MD student, I have no idea how COMLEX looks like. However, we had access to COMBANK at the beginning of 2dn year and if COMLEX is anything like COMBANK, I completely agree with you.

When one look at USMLE-type questions in the early 90s, they were almost all 1st order type questions... Now one would be lucky if you got 20% of your exam questions that are 1st order...
 

Azete

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There's no difference in approach to problem solving or emphasizing different aspects of medical training. The USMLE simply requires you to be far more intimately knowledgeable of pathology and pathophysiology. The COMLEX is in my opinion somewhat more reasonable in that the knowledge requirement is probably more reflective of what a real practicing doctor requires to be successful and what not.

That being said, I think everyone should work towards passing step 1 these days.
I just took both and this is accurate. My percentile was reasonably consistent, but I felt far worse walking out of USMLE -- honestly thought I may have failed. COMLEX was a joke, just about every question was a softball. As far as percent correct, I know I scored much higher on COMLEX but it ended up being for basically the same score. If you know more than your peers, USMLE will reward you far more.
 
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