Aspiring doctors in the United States need to take either the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) to obtain a medical license. The two tests have some similarities, but they also have several differences. In this article, we will discuss the USMLE and COMLEX, their similarities and differences, and which one is right for you.
- Introduction The first step to becoming a licensed doctor in the United States is to pass either the USMLE or the COMLEX. These exams assess the knowledge and skills necessary to practice medicine in the United States. While there are similarities between the two exams, there are also some notable differences.
- What is the USMLE? The USMLE is a three-step examination that assesses a physician’s ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles, and to demonstrate fundamental patient-centered skills that are essential for safe and effective patient care. It is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).
- What is the COMLEX? The COMLEX is a three-step examination that assesses the medical knowledge, clinical skills, and osteopathic principles and practice of osteopathic physicians. It is sponsored by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME).
- Differences between the USMLE and the COMLEX One of the main differences between the USMLE and the COMLEX is that the COMLEX includes questions on osteopathic principles and practice, while the USMLE does not. The COMLEX also includes questions on osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), which is a hands-on treatment method that is unique to osteopathic medicine.
Another significant difference is that the USMLE is accepted by both allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, while the COMLEX is only accepted by osteopathic medical schools. Therefore, students who plan to apply to both types of medical schools may need to take both exams.
- Similarities between the USMLE and the COMLEX Both the USMLE and the COMLEX have three steps, and all steps must be passed to become a licensed physician. Both exams cover topics such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and medical ethics. The passing scores for both exams are determined by the relevant medical boards.
- Which exam is right for you? The decision to take the USMLE or the COMLEX depends on several factors, including your career goals, your medical school, and your personal preference. If you plan to apply to both allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, you will need to take both exams. If you only plan to apply to osteopathic medical schools, you can take the COMLEX. However, some osteopathic medical schools may accept the USMLE as an alternative.
- Frequently Asked Questions Q: Are the USMLE and the COMLEX the same exam? A: No, the USMLE and the COMLEX are two different exams. The USMLE is for allopathic physicians, while the COMLEX is for osteopathic physicians.
Q: Can I take both the USMLE and the COMLEX? A: Yes, you can take both exams if you plan to apply to both allopathic and osteopathic medical schools.
Q: What is the passing score for the USMLE and the COMLEX? A: The passing score for the USMLE and the COMLEX is determined by the relevant medical board.