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Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical
Self-Assessment Examination

Introduction

COMSAE is a self-assessment examination for osteopathic students and residents to gauge the base of their knowledge and ability as they prepare to take a COMLEX-USA cognitive examination. COMSAE can be purchased individually by candidates. Each COMSAE costs $55.

COMSAE is administered online. There are three COMSAE Phases that correspond to the three Levels of COMLEX-USA cognitive testing. There are multiple forms for each phase, so a candidate could therefore take a phase more than once if they wish.

COMSAE Phase 1 emphasizes scientific understanding of osteopathic medicine. It is most appropriate for second-year osteopathic students. COMSAE Phase 2 emphasizes the concepts and principles necessary for making appropriate medical diagnoses. It is most appropriate for fourth-year osteopathic students. COMSAE Phase 3 emphasizes the concepts and principles necessary for making appropriate patient management decisions. It is most appropriate for osteopathic interns or residents.

Each COMSAE examination consists of 200 questions that are in a format and structure similar to COMLEX-USA cognitive examinations. Scoring and reporting are also similar.

A candidate can take a COMSAE in either an untimed or timed fashion. Candidates who have taken a timed COMSAE prior to taking their first COMLEX-USA cognitive examination at the corresponding Level demonstrate greater proficiency, on average, relative to candidates who did not take a timed COMSAE prior to their first COMLEX-USA exam.

COMSAE Content, Format, and Timing

COMSAE Phase 1

The content of Phase 1 is defined by the same nine categories as the COMLEX-USA Dimension 1 topics. Detailed content categories can be found HERE. Most questions have clinical presentations. The emphasis of Phase 1 is scientific understanding of the mechanisms of these clinical situations.

COMSAE Phase 2

The content of Phase 2 is defined by the same nine categories as the COMLEX-USA Dimension 1 topics. Detailed content categories can be found HERE. The emphasis of Phase 2 is making appropriate diagnoses for various clinical problems. Management and prevention of these problems are also important considerations in Phase 2.

COMSAE Phase 3

The content of Phase 3 is defined by the same nine categories as the COMLEX-USA Dimension 1 topics. Detailed content categories can be found HERE. The emphasis of Phase 3 is making appropriate management decisions. Diagnosis and prevention of these problems are also important considerations in Phase 3.

Format

Each Phase of COMSAE has 200 items, divided into four sections. All items are multiple-choice items that are grouped by item type within each section. Stand-alone items appear first, followed by items clustered in cases. Matching items, when present, usually are in the last section. Some items may have medical images as attachments. Sections are not based on content; all items are randomly assigned to sections.

Click HERE for a sample COMSAE examination.

Timing Modes

All Phases of COMSAE have two timing modes: Timed and Self-Paced. Examinees must choose one of the modes before launching a test. Once examinees select one of the two timing modes, it cannot be changed.

The Timed mode allows a maximum of 60 minutes to complete each section. This timing mode is similar to the suggested timing for COMLEX-USA. The Self-Paced mode allows examinees up to 90 days to complete the entire test with no time limit for each section. If an examinee wants to take COMSAE in conditions as close as possible to the conditions of COMLEX-USA, the Timed mode should be used. After an examinee purchases any COMSAE Phase, a maximum of 90 days is allowed to complete the test.


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Results Reporting

The COMSAE report consists of a three-digit numerical score for the total test and a graphic presentation of performance by content area. The total score for each Phase is scaled to have a mean of 500 and a standard deviation of 80 for Phase 1, 85 for Phase 2, and 120 for Phase 3. COMSAE does not involve a numerical minimum passing score. Instead, based on standard scores, it provides the following four suggested performance levels:

STANDARD SCORE

PERFORMANCE LEVEL

Lower than 350

Poor Performance

351 – 450

Borderline Performance

451 – 550

Acceptable Performance

Higher than 550

Good Performance

One advantage of COMSAE is that it provides a graphic performance profile for three groups of content areas: nine COMLEX-USA Dimension 1 topics, six COMLEX-USA Dimension 2 topics, and six to seven medical disciplines. Performances level for each topic in these content areas is reported according to the mechanism described in the above table.

The NBOME strongly encourages examinees to take full advantage of the detailed COMSAE reports. An examinee should spend time studying his/her performance profile to diagnose his/her strengths and weaknesses.

When using the performance profile to assess strengths and weaknesses, examinees should be aware that the accuracy of performance categories on specific content areas is limited since the number of items in some content areas is relatively small. Therefore, it is possible that apparent patterns of subtest scores do not precisely match with the numerical score for the total test.

Click HERE for a sample COMSAE Performance Profile.


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Security & Technical Requirements

Security

COMSAE is a testing system only available for osteopathic medical students. An examinee must accept the confidentiality requirements and other conditions and disclaimers before purchasing the test. Once an examinee agrees to the terms and completes the purchasing process, the exam fees will not be refundable. The NBOME strongly suggests examinees view the disclaimer to read the details of the Security, Conditions, and Disclaimers before purchasing the tests.

Technical Requirements

Requirement

Windows

Macintosh

Supported Browser

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5
or higher

Apple Safari 1.2 or higher

Operating System

Windows Vista, XP or
Windows 2000

Mac OS X 10.4 or
Mac OS X 10.3

Processor

233 MHZ or higher: Intel Pentium/Celeron family, or AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended.

Power PC G3, G4, or G5 processor

RAM

128 MB or higher

256 MB or higher

Display

17" display at 1024x768 with 16-bit color or higher

17" display at 1024x768 with 16-bit color or higher

Internet Connection

Broadband connection or higher

Broadband connection or higher

COMSAE Purchase and Access

Purchase and Access COMSAE

Access an already purchased COMSAE

Candidates can access an already purchased COMSAE on the "My Account" tab in the lower right hand side of the page.


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