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Should I take the USMLE as well as COMLEX?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by jennyd, Feb 23, 2001.

  1. jennyd

    jennyd Junior Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Springfield, PA
    I am currently a second year student trying to get ready for the COMLEX and rotations. I know of a couple students that are taking the USMLE as well as the COMLEX just in case the residency they are interested in does not accept COMLEX. I don't know where I want to do my residency (osteo or allo)- but I am pretty strong about doing it in Family Med. I would appreciate any input from other students on whether or not they are taking the USMLE and why - and if anyone knows if allopathic Family Med residencies usually require the USMLE. I would like to do an osteopathic residency but the number of available spots are not great - any advice would be appreciated. Thanks for your time!
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  3. rosebud

    rosebud Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    hi Jenny-

    I am going throught the same agony as well- to take or not to take? So far, I have heard everything in the rumor mill and decided against it. My first reasoning was that it couldnt possibly hurt me, but then other students told me that the USMLE scores get released to the residency programs whether you want them to or not, so if you do not do so hot you are in trouble.... I have no idea what to do now. Anyone?
  4. drusso

    drusso Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 1998
    Over the rainbow
    Take it. The exams are comparable and if you're studying for the COMLEX, you might as well take the USMLE too. It is best to take both steps I and II before applying to residency, just to give residency directors the ability to compare "apples to apples." Once you're in a residency program, you can finish up the COMLEX sequence by taking Step III and being done with it all. You don't have to finish the third step of the USMLE.
  5. Test Boy

    Test Boy Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 30, 1999
    I am in a similar dilemma concerning USMLE part II. Should I take it? I have already taken COMLEX I and USMLE I and did around average for USMLE I and above average for COMLEX I (although nothing outstanding). Assuming I do around average again for USMLE II, would that help me at all? I'll probably be taking COMLEX anyway in several months and was wondering if I should spend another $300 just to take an exam that may not help me and may actually hurt me. Although I haven't decided what field I want to go into, I'm leaning heavily towards IM and I'm hoping to get into a solid university program. Any advice is appreciated.
  6. Mig2x

    Mig2x Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 25, 2000
    San Juan, Puerto Rico
    Doesnt one has to take the USMLE 3 in order to start a residency program?
  7. drusso

    drusso Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 1998
    Over the rainbow

    I don't think that taking the USMLE II can hurt you as long you pass. If you did about average on the first part, then you'll likely do about average on the second part. What will hurt you is applying to programs without the USMLE and being compared with other students (MD and DO) who have taken it. If a program director doesn't understand how to interpret COMLEX scores. If you know that you want to only apply to AOA programs, then just take the COMLEX. Or, call around NOW and ask program directors at programs that you might be interested in applying to if they prefer DO students to have the USMLE in addition to COMLEX board scores. Some programs that are familiar with the COMLEX will tell you don't worry about it. Most program directors know that DO's have to go a bit out there way to take two exams. I know plenty of DO students who matched to ACGME programs with only COMLEX---it is very common. Still, I think it sucks if you find yourself in a situation where you REALLY want to go to Program X and the only thing keeping from being a competitive applicant is a program policy that requires ALL applicants to have USMLE I and II scores.

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