USMLE for osteopathic students

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by Liquid_Tension, Feb 14, 2001.

  1. Liquid_Tension

    Liquid_Tension Senior Member
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    Hello,

    Are any of you considering taking the step 1 USMLE in addition to the COMLEX? Do you have any info as to the benefits of taking the USMLE? Is it really necessary, or does the COMLEX stand well on its own? Any info is appreciated, best wishes to you all. :)
    -your most curious Liquid
     
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  3. Dear "White" Liquid,

    I would say that it isn't necessary, but it could have it's advantages. For instance, I know of several people in our class who barely passed the COMLEX (due to poor OMM training) but did extremely well on the USMLE (225-235). Anyway, the point is that their COMLEX score would have gotten them nowhere but their USMLE scores helped them land specialty positions (outide the match) at IVY league schools. Since this year's match hasn't occurred, there is no hard data yet but my classmates have interviewed for Sugery at UCLA, Cedars, USC, etc...

    Anyway, the point is that the USMLE can make up for a poor COMLEX score. So, if you did poorly on the COMLEX, definitely take the USMLE.

    I opted not to take the USMLE and did okay on the COMLEX. If I did take the USMLE and did okay, I may have gotten screened out of certain residencies based on my USMLE score. My thoery of why I got interviewed at where I did was due to the fact that I had no USMLEs to screen for and thus they were forced to look at my transcript, Letters of Rec, and research experience . Just my theory. Most people I know performed better on the USMLE than the COMLEX.



    [This message has been edited by Leotigers (edited 02-15-2001).]
     
  4. Liquid_Tension

    Liquid_Tension Senior Member
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    Thanks for the info Leo. Much appreciated. take care.
    -your thankful Liquid :)
     
  5. MSUCOM2003

    MSUCOM2003 Member
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    Hi,


    I'm curious-are there any DO students or recent grads who took just the USMLE step 1 without taking the COMLEX? Do you feel disadvantaged at all? If you're planning on doing an MD residency, do you think it is necessary to take the COMLEX? My take on it is, why go thru both exams and risk doing mediocre or poor on one when you can focus your efforts on one test and really nail it. Comments?
     
  6. Test Boy

    Test Boy Senior Member
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    All D.O. students must take the COMLEX. USMLE is optional.
     
  7. Liquid_Tension

    Liquid_Tension Senior Member
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    MSU....as far as I know, as an osteopathic student at an osteopathic med school, you have to take the comlex. The USMLE is an optional test, but the COMLEX is required. So I don't think what you mentioned would be possible.
    -your required Liquid :)
     
  8. MSU,

    You need to pass COMLEX 1 to move onto clinicals. At my school you need to take (not pass) COMLEX 2 to graduate. I suspect this is the same at all schools. There is no way that you can not take the COMLEX. You can take the USMLE and not report the COMLEX too the allopathic residencies you apply for.
     
  9. Neurogirl

    Neurogirl Resident Extraordinaire
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    Some schools require passage of both comlex I and II for graduation.
     
  10. William

    William Junior Member
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    I actully think it is ridiculous to take USMLE. Why waste the time or money.

    COMLEX is understood by all residency directors to be the acceptable licensing test.

    Think about his: If you think a residency program may discriminate against you because you only took comlex, then they will probably discriminate against you just because you're a DO.
     
  11. Rusty

    Rusty Member
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    I took both the COMLEX and USMLE. At my allopathic residency interviews, I was informed by more than one program director that the USMLE helped my application by allowing a comparison of scores between myself and the allopathic applicants. I believe that there are some circumstances where allopathic programs will discriminate against a D.O. applicant largely because they didn't take the USMLE.
     
  12. Liquid_Tension

    Liquid_Tension Senior Member
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    Hey Rusty, thanks for that interesting bit of information. I am in my second year now, and am planning to take the USMLE a few days after the COMLEX. Did you find that you had to study any differently for the USMLE, or were both exams similar in terms of the content?
    thanks for the info. :)
    -your thankful Liquid
     
  13. Rusty

    Rusty Member
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    I found that the COMLEX Level 1 that I took had almost no biochemistry/molecular biology, whereas the USMLE Step 1 had a good amount of biochem/molecular. I had about a week between the COMLEX and USMLE and I used that time to focus on the topics that I felt that I was weak on for the COMLEX (excluding OMM). Other than the added biochem/molecular and the lack of OMM, I felt that the content was similar between the exams. The real difference for me was that the questions on the USMLE were slightly better written or written with a different slant. Also, the COMLEX tended to repeat specific questions or topics throughout the 4 books of the test. The USMLE was a more random set of questions, on the computer, with very few repeated topics.
     
  14. Liquid_Tension

    Liquid_Tension Senior Member
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    Hi Rusty,

    Thanks for your valuable information regarding the COMLEX and USMLE. I also am wondering if you took any review courses for either of the exams, or if you studied on your own? Any good strategies that you used? Best wishes......
    -your curious and appreciative Liquid
     
  15. Rusty

    Rusty Member
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    I took a review course for the boards offered by COMPASS. I don't know if this course still exists (I heard that Kaplan purchased this company). It was a 4-week course designed for the USMLE with a small amount of added material for the OMM/OPP portion of the COMLEX. This was an excellent course which came with 2500 pages of great notes and daily lectures by experts which were flown in to cover the topics in the notes. This was an expensive course (I paid $650-750 a couple of years ago). I read all the notes and attended most of the lectures. The strategy which worked best for me was to study all day, every day with very little distraction. I made it a month-long mission to do well on the boards. This was reflected in my board scores.
     
  16. tupacalypse

    tupacalypse New Member

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    Rusty--

    What time of year are the boards given (osteo and allopathic) and did your school give you some time off (or a lighter class load) to prepare? Does anyone know what NOVA does for their students in this situation?

    --Thanks
     
  17. Rusty

    Rusty Member
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    The USMLE can be taken year round on the computer. The COMLEX is paper and pencil and is offered twice yearly. COMLEX Level 1 is offered in early June and in October. COMLEX Level 2 is offered in August and mid January (beginning in 2002). I don't know the dates for COMLEX Level 3, but I believe it is offered in February or March.
    For more info, checkout the USMLE website http://www.usmle.org or the NBOME website at http://www.nbome.org

    My school gave us about 4 weeks off to study for Level 1. We were not given time off to study for Level 2. I am not sure about NOVA's schedule.
     
  18. joe_nycom

    joe_nycom New Member

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    As a 4th year NYCOM student I suggest taking it. If you ask at nycom, they'll say you dont need it, BUT.... When I interviewed at Columbia, Yale, and other allopathic programs - the first thing they said was "It was good that you took USMLE - it allows us to compare you to the MD applicants". Take that for what its worth - I would take it again.

    Don't limit yourself!
     
  19. drusso

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I agree 100%. If you know that you want to apply to only AOA-approved programs, then dump the USMLE. If, however, you want to apply to ACGME-approved residency programs (particularly outside the realm of primary care) then take the USMLE. I know a lot of students who match to MD-programs with only the COMLEX---it's not unheard of; in fact very common---but, there are some residency directors out there who are unfamiliar with the COMLEX and want to compare MD and DO applicants on the same measuring stick. The content of both exams overlaps significantly; so if you're studying for the COMLEX it is little additional work to prepare for the USMLE. Finally, be informed: Call potential programs and ask: "Do you prefer DO applicants to have USMLE scores, or will COMLEX scores suffice?"

    Good luck.
     
  20. Max

    Max Junior Member
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    I originally planned on taking the USMLE, but was discourage by several of the staff. However, I recently contacted several allopathic residency programs and was informed that the USMLE is "Highly" encouraged. Looks like I'm going AOA.
     
  21. William Bohannon

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    I took both the COMLEX and USMLE Step I at the end of my second year. WVSOM requires passing of both the COMLEX Step I and II for graduation. The USMLE is entirely voluntary. I'm originally from the southeast and there aren't a lot of AOA approved residencies in my home town area. I took the USMLE to level the playing field when applying at allopathic residencies. I am very interested in a Fam Med residency program close to my home town. The program is not AOA apporved but I did find the residency program readily accepted the COMLEX. My guess would be to investigate the residency program of interest to you and see what they require. To my knowledge, no one ever got turned down from a program for finding out too much information or showing too much interest. That 's my opinion for what it's worth.

     

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