beakerbetty

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I heard that some DO's also take the MD boards. What are the benifits in doing so and would you then be considered a DO-MD? Would this open up more residency possibilities? Would a physician with both certifcations be able to practice medicine globally?

:confused:
 

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You don't become a DO-MD by taking the USMLE and COMLEX.... You're still a D.O. if you take both....

Most DO's take both to get more options with residency program. Aside from that, some residency programs only/would prefer to judge their students via just the USMLE....

That's all I know thus far.....
 
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Agree with the above. The COMLEX is the osteopathic version of tbe USMLE and is recognized by all 50 states as direct licensure for osteopathic physicians. However, from a residency selection point of view, scores on licensure exams are used to screen candidates although this use of the USMLE is formally discouraged by the exam's maker. Nevertheless, the improper use of USMLE scores to screen candidates is commonplace and many D.O. students feel placed at a disadvantage if they don't take the USMLE. This is the old "comparing apples to apples" argument.

Realistically, if you are a D.O. student applying to any primary care specialty (family med, internal med, OB/GYN, peds, psych) or al ess competitive specialties such as (neuro, rads, pm&r, path, anesth. etc) it really doesn't matter which exam you take. Just do well on it. However, if you're applying to very competitive ACGME residency program in derm, ophtho, oto, surgery, etc then you better take the USMLE because these programs are very likely to screen and rank candidates by board scores.
 

beakerbetty

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Thanx for the skinny on the test. I also thought it was like comparing "apples to apples." However, if one were to want to go abroad let's say, to Europe, or the Caribbean, would the USMLE help with these programs where the COMPLEX or DO's, for that matter, are less familiar?
 
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I was told on this forum that ob/gyn residencies were competitive and so I needed to take both boards. Is that not true? Only taking the COMLEX would be ideal for me. I just need to know now if I really need to take both tests so I can study accordingly.
 
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Originally posted by apple638:
•I was told on this forum that ob/gyn residencies were competitive and so I needed to take both boards. Is that not true? Only taking the COMLEX would be ideal for me. I just need to know now if I really need to take both tests so I can study accordingly.•

You need to contact specific residency program, ask to speak to the Director of Medical Education, and ask if their program's preference is for D.O. applicants to have the both the USMLE in addition to the COMLEX or if the COMLEX alone will suffice. Most residency directors understand the added time, cost, and hassle that goes into preparing for two board examinations. Still, others will flat out say that having both exams is their preference.
 

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It is true that you should contact program directors about their preferences, however, I know for a fact that ob/gyn residencies, ARE relatively competitive and MOST programs will require the USMLE. Case in point, two aquaintances of mine pursued ob/gyn residencies. Candidate #1 (ranked in the top 1% of the class) refused to take the USMLE and was told BY EVERY PROGRAM SHE CONTACTED that she would not be invited to interview (she ended up getting her choice of DO spots). Candidate #2 (ranked in the top 25% of the class) did take the USLME, got several interviews and matched to a good program, though not her first choice. Of course, their experiences might be unique, but I doubt it.
 

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Thanks Neurogirl for the info. So, if one really wants to do an allopathic residency, he/she needs to take both exams...right?

Here's my confusion...I really want to do a DO ob/gyn residency eventhough my dad wants me to do an allopathic one but that's another story. Let's say I'm in the top 50% of my DO class or I have a C average, are my chances of getting a residency either allopathic or osteopathic very slim?
 

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From what I've been told, if you want to go allopathic, yes, you should take both tests. Also, if you are in the top half of your class and female (sorry guys, but in todays ob/gyn market being male is a considered a negative) you should have no problems getting a DO ob/gyn residency. Why does your dad have a problem with you going osteopathic?
 

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Neurogirl,

Being a male OB/GYN in todays job market is a negative? What do you mean? Are you saying there is discrimination against males in this field? Please share your reasons, or is was this comment just your opinion.
 

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I love my dad truly but he is really into what other people think of him. Alot of his friends are MDs so when I told him I was appyling to osteopathic medical school, he had a fit. He actually made me apply to a few allopathic schools late in the year just to ease his ego. I didn't send off some of my secondaries for the allopathic schools but he found out and made me fill them out. It's really sad the power he has over me. Anyway, I continued to shower him with research on osteopathic medicine and had some DOs to talk to him but he still didn't accept it. He then found out through one of his MD friends that one of his other friends was actually a DO. We didn't know because he always went by Dr. #### instead of #####,DO. It wasn't until he talked to this DO that he began to come around. He began to become proud when I was accepted into LECOM when his MD friends told him they saw DOs as equal to MDs.

He's somewhat comfortable with the idea that his daughter will be a DO instead of a MD. He feels that if I take both tests and pass and also do an allopathic residency that I will truly be equal to a MD. He still doesn't understand my committment to the osteopathic philosophy. This is not a popularity contest to me. I don't feel like I have to prove my equality to his some of his shallow friends.
 

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You can be committed to the osteopathic philosophy and still do an allopathic residency. You need to do whats best for you, not whats best for your dad. Hopefully he isn't going to be your roommate at school. You need to to your own scutwork on this, read about different DO and MD residencies, contact program directors (e-mail is fine)to find out about the COMLEX and USMLE, ask questions, e-mail the residents, etc. When we had our human repro section, one of the clinicians told us to take the USMLE if interested in OB at all. He also talked about the shortage of OBs because the women in the field tend to move to part-time positions or quit to raise children. This was not a sexist comment by him, he cited some studies. So to say men are at a disadvantage is koo-koo.
 

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I guess I'm going to jump in on the conversation. My advice is that you should never close any doors of opportunity and by taking the USMLE and COMLEX, you give yourself the future option of doing an allopathic or osteopathic residency. So far from my limited experience, I have come across OG/GYN program directors who have told me that they see too many applicants do well on COMLEX and bad on USMLE and the reverse as well, this just states to the directors that somehow the tests are not equal because if they were then there shouldn't be a discrepancy in the scores. It doesn't say one test is better than the other, just that they can't be exactly the same and so it wouldn't be fair to compare one to the other. What does that leave MD directors than to have one universal comparison and that is the USMLE. There are several MD residencies that require that you take the USMLE to apply to their programs as a DO. There are only like some 25 OB/GYN DO residencies and so the pickings are slim compared to the numerous MD residencies available. If you are interested in doing an OB/GYN fellowship then you should definitely go MD to increase your chances because most of their programs are either university affiliated or have their own fellowships which means more recognition across the country and greater opportunity to involve yourself in research and make connections with top people in that field. If most people want to agree and say the two tests cover the same material than take both tests. It will set you back 400 bucks but thats an investment for your future. Its probably easier to take a computerized 8 hour test with some 350 questions then to take the COMLEX which is a 2 day 16 hr paper test with 800 questions. Don't fall for any of those "DO sayings" you'll hear such as "who wants to work at a program that doesn't accept your COMLEX" or "if they don't see your COMLEX as equal then how do you think they'll treat your DO degree". That's all a bunch of nonsense and you'll hear that from what I call "DO elitists" Everyone knows that if you work hard, read what you're supposed to, use common sense, and are a team player, everyone will respect you and appreciate your efforts if not right away then later in life. No one likes lazy, stupid slackers either MD or DO.

Bottomline is to take both tests, do well on both tests, and then after you've done that, then you can start to ponder which residencies you want to go for during your clinical years when you actually get to work at different hospitals allopathic and osteopathic.
 
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D'accord!

take both. Why not? Money shmoney, trust me the cash you are out will be the least of your worries if you find that the program of your dreams in your chosen field wants usmle. I know many people in my class (MS4) who are now taking usmle step one b/c they found out that they will need it. It is one extra day, requires no extra study. You will be out 400 bucks and one day. You will breath easier afterwards.
 

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I just took and passed both USMLE Step 1 and COMLEX Level 1, doing only _slightly_ better (in terms of the mean score of each exam respectively) on the COMLEX.

Based on my recent experience, I would concur with the general consensus that the style of the exams is indeed different. However, both are testing exactly the same thing: your preclinical science knowledge. So if you have a good level of understanding of your 1st and 2nd year material, you should be able to do well on either exam. Of course, the USMLE, unlike COMLEX, does test basic biostatistical knowledge, but my exam had maybe 3 (easy) questions dealing with this area.

I suspect that a lot of the people who did poorly on USMLE versus COMLEX maybe had other factors that contributed. An acquaintance of mine who was bummed out after he thought he failed the COMLEX that he couldn't bring himself to study any more for USMLE. He took the exam a week later and flunked it (but ended up passing COMLEX).

Anyway, to answer Beakerbetty's original questions:

1) Yes, DO's can take MD boards.

2) No, you are not considered an MD if you take the USMLE as a DO. Only an ACGME accredited school that grants the MD degree can do that. Or, if you are a foreigner with a medical degree, the ECFMG grants you the MD degree if you take and pass all the USMLE exams.

3) Yes, taking and doing well on the USMLE will open up more doors than only taking the COMLEX. While the "osteopathic gestapo" would like to have you believe otherwise, the USMLE is still the standard test by which most applicants are measured in any competitive program. This is NOT to say that you can't get an allopathic residency with only COMLEX scores. There are plenty of allopathic residency programs that acept COMLEX scores. However, if you are a cream of the crop osteopathic medical student applying to the best residency programs, (where the best MD students are also applying) a great USMLE score will help level the playing field.

4. Unfortunately, American DOs have a tough time practicing medicine abroad, for reasons unrelated to board exams. Most countries have individual guidelines on which foreign physicians can be licensed to practice medicine, and even MDs can have difficulty getting practice rights in certain areas without overcoming a lot of obstacles. If you have any plans to practice abroad, it is best to find out licensure requirements the country you are interested in has for foreign physicians.
 

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To Aloha Kid,

Sorry it's taken me so long to respond, but I've been really busy. Regarding my comment about male OB/GYNs having a harder time getting residencies and jobs, it was not a statement based just on my opinion, but on the experiences of those pursuing residencies in the field and physicians who routinely refer to the specialty. The bottom line is that when it comes to OB/GYN needs, for the most part, women prefer to have female physicians.

It obviously has nothing to do with ability, it's just patient preference. During my family medicine rotations, referrals to female OB/GYNs would take weeks, if not months. If the patient wanted to see someone sooner, they'd have to see a male OB/GYN. Also, I have a couple of male friends who considered OB/GYN but were discouraged from pursuing it (discouraged by male OB/GYNs) because they were told it was harder to get a good job if you were male.

Maybe it's just a regional thing. Also, obviously, this type of patient preference doesn't apply to all women, but it does seem to be the trend.
 

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I have to disagree with the Neurogirl statement. I have 2 male friends who will be entering the upcoming Match for OB-Gyn, and both were told that it is a POSITIVE to be male, because there are so FEW males in the programs.
Secondly, OB-Gyn isn't as competitive as one may think. It has a reputation as being the toughest residency and perhaps the most disliked rotation by any medical student (It certainly ranks on the bottom of my list). They have TERRIBLE hours and malpractice is awful. And to think that they can simply pick females ONLY, from an ever decreasing/qualified applicant field...is silly. OB-Gyn residencies fill the most qualified applicants regardless of gender...period.
 

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I don't know Freeedom, I've heard that too about being a male nowadays can be an advantage in applying to OB/GYN. Sometimes I believe it sometimes I don't. It sucks to get kicked out of the room for vaginal exams...even worse when they don't want you even doing the history. I love the "you can never ever relate to me what it feels like to be a women, be pregnant, and have periods." If you don't like labor then I'll put you under the knife and deliver you c-section. Happy? Also, it sucks when you're in the OR and the female doc, female resident, and female scrub tech are yakking about baby names and weddings. HMMMMMM.....boy I just can't wait to jump into those discussions.
 

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Both of you guys have kind of proven my point.

To Freeedom: Why do you think there are so few men in OB/GYN programs. It's all about supply and demand.

To doughboy: I'm not trying to start a flame war here, but until you grow a uterus and ovaries and ride the monthly hormonal rollercoaster, you really DON'T understand. You might be able to empathize but you can't sympathize, and that's what most women want.

BTW, I apologize in advance for the sarcastic tone of this post, but I'm dealing with some serious PMS...hope you "understand".
 

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Neurogirl-you either need to get on an OCP or try some serafem otherwise known as prozac for PMDD for those times of the month or just the whole month.....see, I can help you. :D

That's what women get for eating the forbidden apple......please, jk
 

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doughboy,

LOL, I have considered it! I usually just try to stay away from people during those 2-3 days a month...guess I should stay away from the computer too. :D
 

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Neurogirl-some say being pregnant helps out with the pain......you'd be menses free for about 9 months....see, another solution to your problem! :D
 

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Neurogirl...
The reason there are so few Men in OB-Gyn, is probably the same reason there are so few Women in Orthopedic Surgery...interests are different, and people "go into" what they like! How hard is it it figure out?
There could be a million reasons...but the point being, is that there is no reason that you can't pursue OB if you are a male.
Your reasons just are not true.

Doughboy, sorry you get kicked out of pelvic exams...many woman are kicked out of the room when hernia checks are performed or prostate exams are done. If the option is givin, patients would rather feel comfortable as possible during their time of embarassment.
 
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Neurogirl

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Freeedom,

First of all, I never said a man COULDN'T pursue OB/GYN, I just said it was more difficult for men. Secondly, your other statements are not only naive, they are untrue. Before you respond with your "opinion", please read the following article: "No Boys Allowed", The Journal of Gender Specific Medicine, March/April 99. This article discusses the legal and ethical aspects of the current trend of excluding men from OB/GYN group practices, and the implications for the training and hiring of men in the specialty. It also provides a list of references if you're interested in additional evidence.
 

Freeeedom!

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What are you on crack?? Who in the world reads "the Journal of Gender Specific Medicine?" If you are gonna quote something, quote from a peer reviewed academic journal...alright. No silly propaganda junk.
Well I only read "the Journal of Gender Ambiguous Medicine" author Pat Paterson,MD,DO says "I do pelvics all the time, no one knows what I am!"
Secondly,
Don't call me naive sister, what are you 12? Residents and attendings that I have spoken to and worked with have told me these things! What a goof.
Journal of Gender Specific Medicine hahahahaha...are you the only subscriber? Or maybe there are members of NOWPA, and NOW and PETA that read it too! hahahaha
 
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Uh, actually, the Journal of Gender Specific Medicine is a peer-reviewed academic journal that is well recognized as being among the highest impact journals in its field. Just thought that you'd like to know... It's hardly a political manifesto, but publishes a large array of articles dealing with gender-specific physiology.
 
D

Diane Ev

Let me caution you about one thing. If you take COMLEX and USMLE and apply to an allopathic program they will not even look at your COMLEX scores. If you did well on the USMLE then it is to your advantage.

However suppose you scored well on the COMLEX 75% or higher and took the USMLE and scored barely above passing- it would of been better to never have taken the USMLE and used the COMLEX score alone to apply for an OB/Gyn residency slot (b/c barely above passing on the USMLE is not a competitive score for an OB/Gyn slot while 75% COMLEX score is very competitive)

Allopathic programs do accept the COMLEX except Louisiana.

Food for thought
:) D :cool:
 

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Diane Ev, Can I ask you where you came up with 75% on the COMLEX being competitive to get an OB-GYN spot? Are you talking DO spot in who knows where? I've talked to some MD residency OB-GYN residency director and they told me honestly that some people do well on one exam and bad on another and so it gives him reason to believe that the two tests can't possibly be the same even though they test the same material because if they were the same, then you should score comparably on both. Plus, he told me since you are applying against so many MD's, if you don't have a USMLE score its to your disadvantage. Its basically one of the only ways to systematically compare everyone. Sure, if you bomb the USMLE you're **** out of luck. Therefore study for it and do well. The good OB-GYN residencies are still as competitive as ever.....if you just want to do OB, its easy to get a spot in a small community program in who knows where, but I doubt you'll get the expert training you'd get from somewhere else. Just things to consider.
 

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Well, it's been enlightening reading all these responses, but I could sit on the sidelines no longer.

As a DO who's a residency director in an allopathic program, I have a little bit of a different perspective re: COMLEX and USMLE. Board scores (either one) are only ONE factor used to determine someone's competitiveness for a residency program. Your academic record and letters of recommendation, especially from faculty members in that specialty, are going to be important as well. Doing a rotation at a program you are interested in can also help.

Even though both COMLEX and USMLE are set up as LICENSING exams, they are certainly used as ACHIEVEMENT tests. They are about the only standardized, objective measure we have to look at students (especially since so many med schools are wimping out and not providing class ranks, etc.)

Should you take both exams? Depends on what specialty you're going into and what the program wants. Since I'm fairly familiar with COMLEX, our program doesn't require DO's to take USMLE. However, in my experience, many (but not all) DO students tend to do worse (perhaps 20-25%ile points worse) on USMLE compared with COMLEX. I'm not sure of all the reasons, and I'm sure there are many. The tests are a little different, and perhaps have different emphasis. Take USMLE if you think you need to (or if the program thinks you need to). As one posting said, if you don't do well on USMLE (but did well on COMLEX) you'll be kicking yourself in the butt about it.

The emphasis with either test is to DO WELL!! If you're going into a less competitive specialty (most of primary care, for example) it probably is less important. If you're heading toward a more competitive specialty, a very strong COMLEX score will be important. 50%ile probably will not cut it in a competitive program/specialty. Also, don't think that kicking ass on your test will make up for a mediocre medical school performance (all that does it tell program directors that you are either lazy or just test well).

There is not set answer on this issue for everyone. Most program directors want residents who will work hard, get along with people, are nice, teachable, eager to learn, and have the academic ability to learn their specialty. Some residents have great board scores and are average clinicians, others have average scores and are great clinicians. The trick for us is to try to predict how people are going to turn out, and that's really a complete (or almost complete) crapshoot. Resident selection is part objective and part voodoo.

Don't know if any of this rambling has helped. Whatever one decides, you have to work hard, do well in school, do well on the exams, interview well, and study (isn't that what you mother's been telling you for 20 years?)

Good luck.

Marc Squillante, DO, FACEP
Director, Emergency Medicine Residency Program
OSF St. Francis Medical Center/ Univ. of Illinois College of Medicine @ Peoria, IL
 

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So what will MD residencies think if you score between 95 - 99% on the COMLEX? Will they care? Does it hold as much weight as doing really well on the USMLE?
 

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Freeedom,

If you weren't so egotistical you'd realize that you DON'T know everything. I don't like repeating myself, but I'll say it again...read the article. BTW, as drusso previously stated, the "Journal of Gender Specific Medicine" IS a peer reviewed academic journal (the editor-in-chief is a Prof of Clinical Medicine at Columbia). Also, if you'll recall, I told you the article included lots of references, some of which even you would recognize..."The New England Journal of Medicine", "Obstetrics and Gynecology", "Lancet", etc.

FYI, I'm not 12, I'm 35 and a PGY1 medicine resident (prematched in neurology). I hope you're not just some know-it-all pre-med, but I suspect that you are. Even a 1st year med student would know better than to spout off before doing at least a little research (it took me all of 5 min to do a medline search and find the article online).

Neurogirl DO, MPH

PS: PLEASE resist the temptation...don't respond unless you have something intelligent to say.
 
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