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I'm a second year and I'm still on the fence on whether I should take the USMLE. When will it be too late to sign up? or is it already cutting it close?

Also, my reason to take the USMLE is more for location (texas, illinois, connecticut) rather than specialty. is it worth taking it even thu I'm pretty average student?

thanks.
 

Flushot

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As a fairly average student myself, I think it is even more important to take it and broaden your options. Studying for the USMLE will prepare you well for the COMLEX too from the general consensus on these boards; just give yourself a few days to review OMM and do a few more questions.

It's just one day and think of it as doing an interview. Yeah, you'll have to fly out somewhere maybe and stay the night before in a hotel, but seriously, this is a major decision and I wouldn't let location change your mind that much.
 
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thanks a lot guys. I guess I'm mostly worried of screwing up and having it hurt me more than if I didn't take it. Any opinions on that?
 

Sam212

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When in doubt, always take the USMLE
 

Flushot

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Yes, take the USMLE and keep your options as broad as possible.
You will have more residency choices in your desired states.

Here is a guide I made, back when I was preparing:
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B6W59Rk6okJGY2I0YWM0NGYtY2MxYy00ZjM2LTg0ODctNTE2NDljNjk5ZTE1&authkey=CISxncoN&hl=en
This is a pretty decent guide that goes into the general consensus for studying. Just remember though that everyone's study method is a little different.

For example, he recommends studying for Step 1 first and lectures second. I don't know if this is a good blanket recommendation, since you should do well 2nd year and sometimes, they just don't test for boards.

So imagine a quarter system school with two tests a week for 10 weeks (plus finals week) and you have to memorize minutiae from lectures and also cover boards? It's not impossible, but there's probably a better way for this situation.
 

Igor4sugry

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Just a clarification: When studying in your 2nd semester of year-2, make sure that you look into First Aid (and other review books) and see that you are learning everything in there as you go through the systems. Sometimes lectures leave out information that is high yield and in First Aid. I used First Aid daily to make sure I was on track.

Also, make sure to study a little bit each day for the boards during the entire 2nd semester. Best time I think is in the morning 5-7am or 6-8am. So get your board studying out of the way early in the day, then go to class and in the evening focus on your school work (combining it with FirstAid). Otherwise there is too much to do at night and you won't get to board study.

Because reviewing all the material in 4 weeks is very challenging, and I wouldn't recommend it.
 

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lftbndlbrnchblk

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Yes, thank you Igor4surgry. I am about to start next fall and I want to relax now but I want to have some idea on how to proceed once things get rolling less than a year from now. I wasn't expecting anyone to take us aside and tell us how to do things and it's nice having some idea as to how much effort we alone need to put in to give ourselves a chance to succeed.
 

thepoopologist

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I'm not taking it. I'm a borderline student that's passed many courses right on the dot the past year and a half. My goal is to hit 500 on COMLEX I and close the book on the basic sciences.

I plan on taking USMLE+COMLEX Step II instead.
 

desijigga

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Agree with others on this thread, take the USMLE. But be prepared to work hard and spend a good 2-3 months studying for it. Also make sure you take couple of NBMEs, and are passing them by a comfortable margin.

Its MUCH WORSE to fail the USMLE, then to not take it at all.
 
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Taking USMLE depends on a few things. If you're going into a competitive allopathic residency (ie. rads, gas, etc), then it would be imperative to take step I. If you want to train in areas you want to live, this will open up more options in that desired location. If you scored poorly, it will hurt you. I actually used COMLEX as a prep exam before I took USMLE and I scored better on the latter.

Also, you might change your mind to go into a different specialty during your 4th year that would require a USMLE. That has happened to a few of my classmates and they regret not taking it earlier.
 

tideleonheart

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Take it only if you will be able to do well on it. (close to average or better)
 

DrWBD

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Definitely take the usmle (all 3 parts and CS) as the comlex may eventually be replaced by the usmle which is gold standard among all physicians. The OMT section will be tested as a separate written and oral exam. I suspect that is the future, be prepared.
Taking Step 3 might be a little extreme. Very few DOs take this exam (less than 50, nationally, per year). USMLE Step 3 is taken during residency and is really for licensing purposes, not academic. I think COMLEX Level 3 is adequate in all but the rarest cases.
 

Arch Guillotti

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Taking Step 3 might be a little extreme. Very few DOs take this exam (less than 50, nationally, per year). USMLE Step 3 is taken during residency and is really for licensing purposes, not academic. I think COMLEX Level 3 is adequate in all but the rarest cases.
This is correct (IMHO).

I am one of the few that is licensed through the USMLE. Especially with the COMLEX now on the computer, USMLE Step III really isn't necessary for a DO to take.
 

surag

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I think some of the advise here is questionable. There is no "when in doubt" in taking the USMLE. There is no reason to take it because of some future issues like USMLE becoming the only test. Who knows if this will actually happen. No amount of research or assessments done TODAY will predict what will happen later.

The biggest factor is how much can you prepare for this exam and how much are you willing to? Not doing well is a serious issue. It will follow you and can affect adversely. That is the critical decision. take practice tests known to reflect the actual score and be very careful! Thats all I can say!
 

nlax30

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I'm in the camp that believes you should take it. I did both for Step 1 and all my board studying was basically "USMLE focused" using USMLE materials with just a day review of OMM and it was just fine for a COMLEX score >600.

I mainly just took it to keep options open as I wasn't really sure what I was going to be going into. Recently interviewed at an allo IM program and while they are very DO friendly (Director is a DO) at this particular place, they still commented that it was nice to see that I did well on USMLE Step 1.
 

Rollo

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I think some of the advise here is questionable. There is no "when in doubt" in taking the USMLE. There is no reason to take it because of some future issues like USMLE becoming the only test. Who knows if this will actually happen. No amount of research or assessments done TODAY will predict what will happen later.

The biggest factor is how much can you prepare for this exam and how much are you willing to? Not doing well is a serious issue. It will follow you and can affect adversely. That is the critical decision. take practice tests known to reflect the actual score and be very careful! Thats all I can say!
As far as I know, as a DO student you don't have to report your USMLE score.
 

Rollo

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I'm in the camp that believes you should take it. I did both for Step 1 and all my board studying was basically "USMLE focused" using USMLE materials with just a day review of OMM and it was just fine for a COMLEX score >600.

I mainly just took it to keep options open as I wasn't really sure what I was going to be going into. Recently interviewed at an allo IM program and while they are very DO friendly (Director is a DO) at this particular place, they still commented that it was nice to see that I did well on USMLE Step 1.
Did you take any COMLEX-oriented practice tests? If so, which ones and when?

I plan on employing USMLE-focused strategy like yours but I'm not sure on which practice tests to use for COMLEX (if any) and when.
 

nlax30

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Did you take any COMLEX-oriented practice tests? If so, which ones and when?

I plan on employing USMLE-focused strategy like yours but I'm not sure on which practice tests to use for COMLEX (if any) and when.
About mid way through second year our school had us take the NBOME's COMSAE exam. Kind of gives you a breakdown of your performance in several areas. Our school also had a couple "diagnostic" practice exams that they put together and had us take at various times during second year to help us see where we stood. We also had access to QBANK online questions which had COMLEX and USMLE style questions and were given a copy of USMLE Firs Aid review book.

It's certainly helpful to be familiar with the style of questions so using some sort of online bank that has both styles is probably a good idea. That said, I don't think there's really any major differences in how you need to prepare for one test vs the other. It's all the same material. Each one may focus more on specific topics, but that is also true among different test days of the same exam so you really shouldn't bank on blowing off biochem thinking that COMLEX won't test heavy on it.
 

Rollo

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About mid way through second year our school had us take the NBOME's COMSAE exam. Kind of gives you a breakdown of your performance in several areas. Our school also had a couple "diagnostic" practice exams that they put together and had us take at various times during second year to help us see where we stood. We also had access to QBANK online questions which had COMLEX and USMLE style questions and were given a copy of USMLE Firs Aid review book.

It's certainly helpful to be familiar with the style of questions so using some sort of online bank that has both styles is probably a good idea. That said, I don't think there's really any major differences in how you need to prepare for one test vs the other. It's all the same material. Each one may focus more on specific topics, but that is also true among different test days of the same exam so you really shouldn't bank on blowing off biochem thinking that COMLEX won't test heavy on it.
Hmm, so stick to my current plan on using Rx until March and using Uworld from there on out with practice tests consisting of NBME and NBOME?
 
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As a fairly average student myself, I think it is even more important to take it and broaden your options. Studying for the USMLE will prepare you well for the COMLEX too from the general consensus on these boards; just give yourself a few days to review OMM and do a few more questions.

It's just one day and think of it as doing an interview. Yeah, you'll have to fly out somewhere maybe and stay the night before in a hotel, but seriously, this is a major decision and I wouldn't let location change your mind that much.
I knew a lot of people who studied purely USMLE material and question banks except for OMM and did poorly on the COMLEX. The questions are written completely differently and you need to prepare yourself for the kind of questions you'll see. If you don't want to pay for Combank or something similar, at least do one of the COMSAE tests on the NBOME page so you can get an idea of what it will be like. Do not use Kaplan's COMLEX question banks, they are so bad it's insulting. The friends I had who didn't review COMLEX-type questions really regretted it when their scores started coming back.
 

DrWBD

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I'm positive it's reported
This has been discussed before...in order for any ACGME programs to view USMLE scores, you have to release them. It is possible, as a DO, to only release COMLEX scores but not USMLE scores if you have taken both. However, the ERAS rules state that you "have" to release USMLE scores if you take them.
 
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I think some of the advise here is questionable. There is no "when in doubt" in taking the USMLE. There is no reason to take it because of some future issues like USMLE becoming the only test. Who knows if this will actually happen. No amount of research or assessments done TODAY will predict what will happen later.

The biggest factor is how much can you prepare for this exam and how much are you willing to? Not doing well is a serious issue. It will follow you and can affect adversely. That is the critical decision. take practice tests known to reflect the actual score and be very careful! Thats all I can say!

Specialty, location, spots, How "DO-Friendly" are the programs...etc.....this should determine whether you take both exams or not. Look at all the programs, and you'll know whether you need the USMLE to be more competitive.

As far as I know, you do not need to report your USMLE score if you don't want on your ERAS app, as of this matching year. I know several individuals that decided not to report there scores. But if the program ask, I wouldn't lie!!! I've never heard of them doing so....but you never know.

I would probably err on the side of taking it. It's an excellent exam...thorough, well written, and fair. All I gotta say is hit USMLE World hard!!! It's the best study tool, period!!
 

Terpskins99

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I recommend taking USMLE as well, but only if you feel you would score close to average or above.

Failing USMLE, or worse... passing with a low score, might actually hurt you more than help. Take a practice exam (NBME) to gauge where you're at and how realistic your chances at achieving your target score are.
 

DuxburyPembroke

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I recommend taking USMLE as well, but only if you feel you would score close to average or above. Failing USMLE, or worse... passing with a low score, might actually hurt you more than help. Take a practice exam (NBME) to gauge where you're at and how realistic your chances at achieving your target score are.
This seems like really good advice - $50 to confirm that you are not making a huge mistake seems like money well spent!
 

EssTwoThreeFour

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You should take it. Here are some random examples for your consideration.

Classmate interested in IM who took USMLE 1 - Prematched at #1 allopathic choice in September.
vs.
Classmate who did not take USMLE 1 - still interviewing.


Classmate who rocked USMLE I and II - > 15 interviews. Mostly university
vs.
Classmate interested in Rads who took USMLE 1 - > 10 interviews at allopathic. 6 at university programs.
vs.
Classmate interested in rads who did not take USMLE 1 but took Step II - < 4 interviews.

Verbatim from PD (who is a DO) at a Rads residency "Without USMLE 1, the likelihood of a DO matching into an allopathic Rads program is virtually zero." :scared:
- but he didn't distinguish university vs. community program.

So in sum -no matter what ur going into take the USMLE I. Unless you are in the lower 50% of your class... then i would think about it very very carefully.

Good luck!
:D
 

mauve

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so it seems that many take COMLEX and USMLE 1's after yr 2
there are others who don't end up taking the USMLE and regretting that decision

my question is, is there anyone who took the USMLE after taking the COMLEX such as during rotations? i was talking to a touro-NY student in rotations and she is going to do just that because she wasn't thinking about doing the U-Step1 before. but how common/uncommon is this? is there time during 3rd yr rotations to study for another board?

also, i thought the boards were sequential :S? as in you had to do step 1 usmle before doing step 2. why do some people do step 2 but not step 1??
 

AMEHigh

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so it seems that many take COMLEX and USMLE 1's after yr 2
there are others who don't end up taking the USMLE and regretting that decision

my question is, is there anyone who took the USMLE after taking the COMLEX such as during rotations? i was talking to a touro-NY student in rotations and she is going to do just that because she wasn't thinking about doing the U-Step1 before. but how common/uncommon is this? is there time during 3rd yr rotations to study for another board?

also, i thought the boards were sequential :S? as in you had to do step 1 usmle before doing step 2. why do some people do step 2 but not step 1??
I definitely wouldn't take it later because I wouldn't want to study or review all over again, but that's just me. I'd want to get it over all at once.

The boards (COMLEX and USMLE) are licensing exams that all schools require in order for you to graduate and then for you to eventually be licensed as a DO or MD. Therefore your school (and all schools) probably require that you take Step 1 COMLEX before they'll let you complete rotations and take Step 2, but if you're just taking the USMLE 2 so you'll have that score for residency interviews, then you don't have to take Step 1.

Hopefully that makes sense. That's at least how it's been explained to me and how I understand it to be.
 

Dissected

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Just booked dates for both! Actually putting them on the calendar got my heart racing with nervousness. I was glued to first aid the entire night after I signed up :D