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USMLE and COMLEX Merger Implications Updates?

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oceans

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I was wondering if there are any updates on how the merger will be affecting the applicants and the pre clinical students taking examinations. I understand that traditionally osteopathic students have always traditionally took both USMLE and COMLEX to stay competitive. But is there any talk of merging the examinations themselves? Because I highly doubt any allopathic students are even thinking about taking the COMLEX.

Should allopathic students be worried about not taking COMLEX about applying to previously known AOA programs that have merged? Are ACGME programs learning to evaluate both examinations?
 
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There will never be an exam merger. You can calculate how much $$ the AOA makes off administering COMLEX exams 1-3 + that stupid PE... they will never relinquish that gold mine. DO students should continue to take USMLE to remain competitive.
 
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UnschooledDO

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With the merger in place, allopathic students still only need to sit for the USMLE exams to have access to what were historically, pre-merger, AOA residencies for osteopathic students (who sat for and will continue to sit for the COMLEX exams).

Even with the merger in place, I am going to assume that osteopathic students will have to sit for the USMLE exams, in addition to their COMLEX exams, to obtain post-merger residencies. Majority of Ostoepathic students do sit for the USMLE but if there was an exam merger it would make it more fair for allopathic and osteopathic students.

It will be interesting to see how AOA residency programs that relied on and used the COMLEX exams only, will view and use the USMLE post-merger.... any thoughts?
 

Siqoraaa

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Does the COMLEX also cover material with the extra stuff that DO's learn about osteopathic manipulation, ect..?
If not, then isn't the COMLEX and Steps just testing the same material.
 

oceans

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Does the COMLEX also cover material with the extra stuff that DO's learn about osteopathic manipulation, ect..?
If not, then isn't the COMLEX and Steps just testing the same material.

Generally speaking, yes the information on the exams are fairly the same, except for the osteopathic manipulative diagnoses and treatments. I will say that the COMLEX Level 1 is little more heavy on anatomy espceially Neuro and MSK. I also think the questions stems are slightly different as well.

I don't blame anybody specific but the AOA should consider how much more harder osteopathic students have to work compared to their allopathic counterparts. Imagine taking every medical licensing exam twice... only to get a lowball on residency spots.
 

oceans

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I'll present a different POV. You are blessed with the opportunity to take an exam where up to 20-25% of said exam is OMM. Those questions are fairly easy if you take the time to master that content. This can inflate an otherwise average or sub-par score. So, your COMLEX score can look sexy if you take the time to play the game. I know lots of people who crushed COMLEX and then secured very prestigious residency positions as a result of their scores/dominating 20% of their exam on "easy" questions.

I 100% agree with you. That is a very good way of thinking about the situation. I actually appreciate that view a lot! Didn't really think about it in that way.

However, as the merger comes closer and closer, it begs the question if traditionally ACGME residencies will look at the COMLEX or consider evaluating it if you killed the exam. I've been at conferences where program directors will stand up and say they don't know/will not screen for the COMLEX score because there is no adequate way to compare that to USMLE other than percentile. So basically, you need to kill both exams.

Understandably, change takes time. But the students left in transition (the students applying for residencies in the next 4-5 years) have no idea what to expect. There are program directors who are currently learning to assess COMLEX scores but that still doesn't help compare allopathic student to osteopathic student. So in reality, it just doesn't make any sense. Personally, I think it would benefit everyone if they had the USMLE and add specific section for OMM (and if the AOA really wants the $$, then I'm sure students would pay for that extra, rather than pay for two full exams).
 

SalemK

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The vast majority of people at ACGME programs have no idea what a good COMLEX score even is, nor do they care. All three of my COMLEX exams (but especially the first two) contained a ton of absolutely ridiculous OMM questions to where I would even laugh out loud and just pick blindly. Crazy stuff about treating infants, techniques I'd never heard of. And then there were the typical COMLEX issues of poorly worded questions, multiple odd questions on the same topic (I had four questions on one bug that were essentially exactly the same question), and so on.

It would be great if students only had to take one test, but I agree that it will never happen. Consider where to spend your time for the most benefit (i.e. studying for USMLE).
 

ButterButter

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But the students left in transition (the students applying for residencies in the next 4-5 years) have no idea what to expect.

Expect more of the same: DO schools telling their students that PDs value COMLEX when they don't and some students trying to convince themselves that a good COMLEX score will take the place of USMLE. The truth is this: if you want to be competitive for any and all specialties, take USMLE and get a good score.

As has been repeated in these forums over and over: AOA makes a lot of $ on COMLEX so it's not going anywhere. COMLEX for DOs is only about moving up the ladder and should stop being viewed as a way to secure good residency placement. USMLE is for residency apps.
 

Redpancreas

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Generally speaking, yes the information on the exams are fairly the same, except for the osteopathic manipulative diagnoses and treatments. I will say that the COMLEX Level 1 is little more heavy on anatomy espceially Neuro and MSK. I also think the questions stems are slightly different as well.

I don't blame anybody specific but the AOA should consider how much more harder osteopathic students have to work compared to their allopathic counterparts. Imagine taking every medical licensing exam twice... only to get a lowball on residency spots.

It’s the same content and ya’ll use the same banks, books, and resources for both. They are often taken within days of each other with minimal extra studying required outside OMM. DO schools have much easier access to residencies that are very competitive in the MD world and sorry to say it, but without DO schools many DO students wouldn’t even be at a US medical school in the first place.

I'll present a different POV. You are blessed with the opportunity to take an exam where up to 20-25% of said exam is OMM. Those questions are fairly easy if you take the time to master that content. This can inflate an otherwise average or sub-par score. So, your COMLEX score can look sexy if you take the time to play the game. I know lots of people who crushed COMLEX and then secured very prestigious residency positions as a result of their scores/dominating 20% of their exam on "easy" questions.

Exactly.
 

MrSmith000

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Not to be a contrarian (and also I have no real clue since I just got accepted), but this is the opposite of the pitch DO schools are giving. They are billing the GME merger as a relief from needing both exams. I won't have to worry about it for a while yet, but perhaps by then the evaluators will be more "familiar" with COMLEX scores as the DO schools imply.

I'd be interested to hear from someone involved in MD residency programs about it.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using SDN mobile
 

ButterButter

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Not to be a contrarian (and also I have no real clue since I just got accepted), but this is the opposite of the pitch DO schools are giving. They are billing the GME merger as a relief from needing both exams. I won't have to worry about it for a while yet, but perhaps by then the evaluators will be more "familiar" with COMLEX scores as the DO schools imply.

I'd be interested to hear from someone involved in MD residency programs about it.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using SDN mobile

COMLEX is a sh**ty exam plain and simple. There's no equal to the Step exams. Program directors and everyone else knows that. Just because DOs have their own version of boards doesn't mean that it's on par or even relevant. So there's no amount of time that needs to go by before people are 'familiar' with it. The point is this: USMLE will continue to be the superior exam and REGARDLESS of what you want to apply for (rural FM or opthoneuroderma surg), taking Step 1 and doing decent will put you in a better position.

And of course this is the opposite of what DO schools are saying. Why would they say anything different? "Hey, we know we have a **** exam that's no where near comparable to USMLE but we're gonna make you keep taking it because we make a s**t ton of $ off of it and we'd be fools do do away with it." See, that pitch wouldn't probably go over that well..
 

scrublyfe21

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Not to be a contrarian (and also I have no real clue since I just got accepted), but this is the opposite of the pitch DO schools are giving. They are billing the GME merger as a relief from needing both exams. I won't have to worry about it for a while yet, but perhaps by then the evaluators will be more "familiar" with COMLEX scores as the DO schools imply.

I'd be interested to hear from someone involved in MD residency programs about it.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using SDN mobile

No matter anyone's opinion of the exams, it really comes down to statistics about why it's important to take Step 1;

Level 1 only assesses DO students against one another. Getting 75th percentile on COMLEX means you're better academically (hypothetically) than 74% of other DO students. Okay, great. Where does that put you compared to MD students? If you don't take Step 1 you'll never know, because they don't take COMLEX. But you expect to be compared equally to 80% of all medical students in the US when you've only been objectively compared to 20% of the students with your COMLEX scores.

"But you can project what a DO student would get because NBOME score converter". No, you can't. DO students on average score lower on the USMLE than COMLEX, it's been shown over and over again. Best case scenario the PDs at programs use one of the actual score conversion factors that's been established (google COMLEX to USMLE score converter). They aren't very generous; I used one for ****s and gigs, and it converted a 550 (last years 50th percentile) to a 207 on USMLE, which is 12th percentile or something. I took both exams and got 94th percentile on COMLEX and 82nd percentile on USMLE. Still good, but par for the course when DO students take both exams.
 

Taxonomy

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I'll present a different POV. You are blessed with the opportunity to take an exam where up to 20-25% of said exam is OMM. Those questions are fairly easy if you take the time to master that content. This can inflate an otherwise average or sub-par score. So, your COMLEX score can look sexy if you take the time to play the game. I know lots of people who crushed COMLEX and then secured very prestigious residency positions as a result of their scores/dominating 20% of their exam on "easy" questions.
Bruh, let's be honest those OMM questions you are talking about are not real OMM, majority of them is regular convoluted questions with some OMM bits (usually something broad like tissue texture changes in thoracic region) thrown in there for proforma. Basically knowing that thoracic region tissue texture changes might contribute to a huge variety of diseases - doesn't really help answer the otherwise pure GI question (just as an example, but could be any type of question). NBOME will mark that question as OMM and that artificially increases OMM weight in blueprint of exam. I took COMLEX and you can't imagine how many bull**** questions like that were on there that has nothing to do with OMM, but had OMM sentence thrown in - which usually never gave a hint as answer choices are all related to let's say GI and you need to know minutiae details - for which knowing that you have thoracic tissue texture changes - is not helping at all lol.
Same bull**** I've heard from our faculty (mainly those who never even took COMLEX) - they still preach that OMM is up to 40% on COMLEX. Yeah right. I think it's time to stop this nonsense and stop misleading students.

P.S. As for you - I purchased your OMGOMT subscription and got left in void - as you removed majority of materials from your website. You now just throw a links to youtube, but all the pdf tables are gone as are some tests. WTF man?!
 

Taxonomy

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No matter anyone's opinion of the exams, it really comes down to statistics about why it's important to take Step 1;

Level 1 only assesses DO students against one another. Getting 75th percentile on COMLEX means you're better academically (hypothetically) than 74% of other DO students. Okay, great. Where does that put you compared to MD students? If you don't take Step 1 you'll never know, because they don't take COMLEX. But you expect to be compared equally to 80% of all medical students in the US when you've only been objectively compared to 20% of the students with your COMLEX scores.

"But you can project what a DO student would get because NBOME score converter". No, you can't. DO students on average score lower on the USMLE than COMLEX, it's been shown over and over again. Best case scenario the PDs at programs use one of the actual score conversion factors that's been established (google COMLEX to USMLE score converter). They aren't very generous; I used one for ****s and gigs, and it converted a 550 (last years 50th percentile) to a 207 on USMLE, which is 12th percentile or something. I took both exams and got 94th percentile on COMLEX and 82nd percentile on USMLE. Still good, but par for the course when DO students take both exams.
Lol dude, that is old mantra. is there even 1 program director left who doesn't know how COMLEX scores fair? Everyone knows average score and what is bad score and what is good score. Naive students always talk about PD having no idea how step compares to comlex. It's not like comlex just arrived, it's been there for ages, decades. Besides PD is not going to need exact score comparison down to a 1% lol. They know everything they need to know to make decision. It cracks me up every-time a naive student thinks PD is living in cave and doesn't know how world operates. Sheesh
 

scrublyfe21

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Lol dude, that is old mantra. is there even 1 program director left who doesn't know how COMLEX scores fair? Everyone knows average score and what is bad score and what is good score. Naive students always talk about PD having no idea how step compares to comlex. It's not like comlex just arrived, it's been there for ages, decades. Besides PD is not going to need exact score comparison down to a 1% lol. They know everything they need to know to make decision. It cracks me up every-time a naive student thinks PD is living in cave and doesn't know how world operates. Sheesh

If you read closer you'd see that I never said that PDs don't know how to look at a percentile table for COMLEX. I was saying that if you only take COMLEX you're only having your board scores compared to 20% or so of the medical student population (only DO students).

A PD can make a pretty good argument that just because you scored above average on it doesn't mean that you can be extrapolated to as being above average when compared to students nationally. This is especially true because as I said, on average, DO students score higher on COMLEX than USMLE (about 10% higher based on my scores and my classmates). So even if a PD will take just your COMLEX, if they know anything about stats, and they're being generous, they'll say "Okay this 520 (historical average) is equivalent to a 225 (40th percentile), rather than the 229 that it would be if the conversion was equivalent, which as I said above it isn't.

It isn't like it's the end of the world but 10%ile can make a difference.
 
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