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COMLEX-USA Score Interpretation

COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2 Cognitive Evaluation, & Level 3

This information pertains to COMLEX-USA computer-delivered cognitive examinations: COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2-Cognitive Evaluation (CE) and Level 3. (Information about scoring for the COMLEX-USA Level 2-Performance Evaluation can be found below.) The scores reported are 3-digit standard scores and 2-digit standard scores for the whole examinations.

You may use the NBOME COMLEX-USA Percentile Score Conversion tool to convert 3-digit scores to 2-digit and percentile scores HERE.

Standard scores (3-digit)

The mean 3-digit standard scores of all three cognitive examinations are 500, regardless of when the examinations are given.  The minimal passing 3-digit standard score for COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE is 400, for Level 3 is 350, regardless of when the examinations are taken. 

Standard deviations of COMLEX-USA cognitive examination 3-digit scores are Level-specific and time-specific. See the table below for the standard deviations of COMLEX-USA 3-digit scores according to the Level and the time the examinations were taken.

Test Date

Standard Deviation
For COMLEX-USA 3-Digit Scores

COMLEX-USA Level 1

1998-2001 71
2002-2005 79
May 2006 - April 2010 79
May 2010 - Present 81

COMLEX-USA Level 2

1997-2000 85
2001 - June 2005 83
July 2005 - May 2009 83
June 2009 - Present 89

COMLEX-USA Level 3

1995-1999 111
2000-2005 120
September 2005 - January 2010 123
February 2010 - Present 121

Standard scores (2-digit)

The minimal passing 2-digit standard scores for all three cognitive examinations are 75, regardless of when the examinations are taken.

Standard deviations of COMLEX-USA cognitive examinations 2-digit scores are Level-specific and time-specific. For COMLEX-USA Level 1 examinations given between 1998 and 2001, the standard deviation is 3.55; from 2002 to October 2005, the standard deviation is 3.95.  For COMLEX-USA Level 2 examinations given between 1997 and 2000, the standard deviation is 4.25; from 2001 to June 2005, the standard deviation is 3.65.  For COMLEX-USA Level 3 examinations given between 1995 and 1999, the standard deviation is 3.70; from 2000 to June 2005, the standard deviation is 4.00.

COMLEX-USA Performance Evaluation

The COMLEX-USA Level 2 Performance Evaluation (PE) clinical skills examination is required for all candidates graduating in 2005 and those who graduated before July 1, 2004 and have not passed Level 2 Cognitive Examination by June 30, 2005. Candidates graduating in 2004 who passed Level 2-CE are not required to take Level 2-PE.  

Scores for COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE are reported as Pass or Fail as one overall score. In order to receive a passing score, candidates must perform adequately in two separate domains. These are the Humanistic Domain (doctor-patient communication, interpersonal skills and professionalism), and the Biomedical/Biomechanical Domain (medical history-taking, physical examination, osteopathic principles and osteopathic manipulative treatment, and written SOAP Notes, which assess synthesizing information garnered in the clinical encounter, clinical problem-solving and integrated differential diagnosis).

For more information please review the COMLEX-USA Level 2-Performance Evaluation FAQ.

Part I, Part II, & Part III

COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2-CE, and Level 3 examinations replaced the Part I, Part II, and Part III examinations in 1998, 1997, and 1995 respectively. The scores reported for Parts I, II, and III after 1986 are 3-digit standard scores for the whole examinations. Scores reported for Parts I and II before 1987 are the minimum scaled scores (2-digit) among all the component scores of the examinations. Scores reported for Part III are scaled scores (2-digit) for the whole examination.

Standard Scores (3-digit). The standard scores for all three Part examinations are reported on a scale with a mean of 500 and a standard deviation of 100. The minimal passing score for Part I and Part II is 400. The minimal passing score for Part III is 350.

Scaled Scores (2-digit). Scaled scores are reported on a scale with a mean of 80. The minimal passing score for Parts I and II is 75 for any of the components of the examinations. The minimal passing score for Part III is 75 for the whole examination.

The minimum passing scores reflect the standards recommended by the COMLEX-USA and/or NBOME. Individual licensing authorities may accept the recommended pass/fail standard or may set a different passing score for their own jurisdictions.