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COMAT Test Administration Guide


I. Overview

The purpose of this guide is to provide Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Achievement Test (COMAT) administration details to colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs).

II. Description of the COMAT Series

The NBOME COMAT series includes eight core clinical discipline exams, a comprehensive foundational biomedical sciences exam, and 14 targeted foundational biomedical sciences (FBS) exams.

The Clinical subject exams are designed for standardized assessment in core osteopathic medical disciplines, either at the end of a course or after a clinical rotation, and assess an osteopathic student's achievement level in those disciplines. Each Clinical examination in the series has osteopathic principles and practice integrated throughout, making it the obvious choice for COMs for student assessment needs. The Clinical exams are also the only osteopathically distinctive discipline-specific examinations available.

The FBS Comprehensive exam is designed for standardized assessment in overall basic sciences, as studied in the first and second years of medical school, and assesses an osteopathic student’s achievement level across both basic science disciplines and body systems.

The FBS Targeted exams are designed for standardized assessment in specific basic science disciplines and body systems, as studied in the first and second year of medical school, and assess an osteopathic student’s achievement in individual basic science disciplines and body systems.

All exams in the COMAT series are:
  • Presented in a style and format comparable to the COMLEX-USA licensure series
  • Created to reflect osteopathic physician practice
  • Written by osteopathic and FBS discipline subject matter experts

III. COMAT Content Areas and Examination Logistics

The NBOME develops and provides the COMAT series to be administered by the COMs to assess the osteopathic medical knowledge of their medical students in the following areas:

Clinical Subjects
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Osteopathic Principles and Practice
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery
Foundational Biomedical Sciences
  • FBS – Comprehensive
  • FBS – Targeted
    • Foundational Anatomical Sciences
    • Foundational Neurosciences
    • Microbiology and Immunology
    • Biochemistry and Genetics
    • Pharmacologic Principles and Concepts
    • Physiologic Basis of Health and Disease
    • Cardiovascular and Hematologic Systems
    • Endocrine System and Metabolism
    • Gastrointestinal (GI) System and Nutritional Health
    • Genitourinary/Renal System
    • Human Development, Reproduction and Sexuality
    • Integumentary System
    • Musculoskeletal System
    • Respiratory System
    Information about the exam specifications follows.
    • COMAT Clinical Subjects
      • 120 Questions
      • 2.5 Hours
      • 8 Subject Exams
    • COMAT Foundational Biomedical Sciences - Targeted
      • 62 Questions
      • 1.5 Hours
      • 14 Basic Science Exams
      COMAT Foundational Biomedical Sciences - Comprehensive
      • 200 Questions
      • 4 Hours*
      • 16 Content Areas
    *Optional break after section 1 is completed.
  • COMAT questions do not require the use of a calculator and no calculator is provided.
  • There are no video or audio questions on COMAT examinations.
  • When patient laboratory values are included, reference ranges are provided within the body of the question.

IV. Roles and Responsibilities

COMs must maintain the security and integrity of the COMAT series.

A. COM Dean and Administrator

Determine the utilization of COMAT exams and work with the NBOME to execute a COMAT Master Agreement for exam administration and annual renewal.

B. COMAT Coordinator

A COMAT coordinator is designated by the dean to manage COMAT administrations for their COM students. The primary responsibilities of the COMAT coordinator are to:
  • Oversee administrative tasks for the COMAT administrations
  • Ensure that all COMAT administrations are delivered in a secure manner
  • Report and follow up with the NBOME on adverse testing conditions that might impact the administration. Please refer to the COMAT Proctor Guide.
  • Manage COMAT invoices and payment
C. COMAT Proctor

The primary responsibilities of the COMAT proctor include:
  • Secure a quiet location to administer the COMAT examination
  • Follow the proctor guidelines and conduct the examination according to the specified procedures in the COMAT Proctor Guide
  • Run system checks and resolve any issues prior to COMAT administrations and ensure that the secure browser has been downloaded to all work stations and devices used for testing
  • Ensure test security and minimal disturbance
  • Monitor examinees throughout the examination
  • Report to COMAT administrator of adverse testing conditions that might impact the administration
D. Osteopathic Students

Osteopathic students are expected to:
  • Prepare any personal equipment (conduct system check and download browser) prior to examination date
  • Follow instructions provided by proctor during the administration

V. Delivery Options

Platform Options

Delivered via a secure browser on a desktop or laptop computer provided by either the COM or student.

B. Apple iPad
Delivered through NBOME’s custom application (eCOMAT) on any standard Apple iPad device.

Administration Options

A. In-Person Proctored
This delivery option entails candidates sitting in a secure, proctored setting.

B. Remote Proctored
This delivery option provides exam security by COM proctors monitoring remote administrations.

C. Self-Proctored
This delivery option is the most flexible for location and timing but least secure, as there is no proctor.

VI. Registration and Scheduling

A. Registration and Scheduling

The NBOME has provided a means for the COM to designate students for individual COMAT examinations. It is available through the COMAT tab on the dean’s page in the Client Registration System (CRS). The registration includes selecting the student from the class list, choosing the specific examination, and assigning a location and proctor.

B. Rescheduled, Canceled, or Missed a Scheduled Examination

COMs can make changes to a scheduled examination date at any time unless the examination is in progress. A missed examination can be rescheduled for a new date at no cost to the COM.

VII. Retaking an Examination

Students are allowed to retake COMAT exams under the direction of their COM. COMs should allow students to retake the same COMAT examination subject only after receiving the prior examination result.

VIII. Test Accommodations Requests

The COM is responsible for review and approval of all test accommodations requests for the COMAT administrations. The COM is responsible for all additional costs required to provide the approved accommodation. The NBOME will make a good faith effort to provide such reasonable test accommodations as the COM determines are warranted for the students.

Special Assistance

A student may not have any family member, assistant, or other person in the testing area for any reason except when approved by the COM as a special accommodation.

IX. Examination Administration

A. Arrival and Identification

a) In-Person Proctored

The COM establishes the arrival time for an examination. Proctors will be responsible for verifying the identity of all students on site.

b) Remote Proctored

The COM establishes the arrival time for an examination. Proctors will be responsible for virtually verifying the identity of all students.

c) Self-Proctored

Students will receive the proctor code prior to administration. The COM establishes the arrival time for an examination. Students must arrive at the pre-established time.

B. Late Arrival

The COM will determine whether a student is allowed to sit for the examination upon late arrival.

C. No Outside Information or Access

During the full test session, students are not permitted to access any information or data, including but not limited to a cellular phone or PDA, textbook, or notes, and may not communicate in any manner with anyone outside the testing area.

D. Interruption of Examination or Computer Malfunction for All Approved Locations

In the event of an examination interruption, the proctor will determine whether the examination will resume from the point the examination was stopped and if the examination interruption will still permit the examination to be administered in its entirety.

If the examination is interrupted for a period of time that will not permit the examination to be administered in its entirety, or the examination is canceled for emergency or safety purposes, the COM must inform NBOME immediately, and NBOME will not score the examination.

Otherwise, if the issue is not reported to the NBOME, the score will be released to the COM.

E. Cancellation Due to Inclement Weather, Other Force Majeure

If a student is unable to test due to inclement weather, force majeure, or other event beyond the control of the COM, the examination can be rescheduled.

F. Emergency Evacuation for All Approved Locations

Students will follow the emergency evacuation instructions of the testing site.

G. Test Day Issues

Students who encounter test day issues must report to their proctor and COM immediately. NBOME will work with the COM to review the issue to determine the appropriate resolution. If a student does not complete the exam for any reason, the school will be responsible for payment of the exam.

X. Conduct

The COM should follow its policy to prevent any possible irregularities in test administration or student behavior, breach of test security, or confidentiality. Any proctor who suspects irregular conduct by a student during a COMAT administration should report the conduct to the COM and the NBOME.

XI. Voided Examination Administration

The NBOME can remove a score for an examination requested by the COM or under circumstances where the NBOME determines the test administration was materially adversely impacted and/or the test administration or results are otherwise deemed by the NBOME to be not be valid. Students may not void their COMAT examination score for any reason.

XII. Fees and Invoice

A. Examination Fee

The fees for all COMAT examinations will follow the pricing structure set forth annually on the COMAT Master Agreement Attachment A.

B. Rescheduling and Cancellation Fee

There are currently no rescheduling or cancelation fees for any COMAT examinations.

C. Invoice

All fees are invoiced after the examination administrations and are issued to the COM monthly. NBOME will not collect any fee directly from the students.

XIII. Scoring and Reporting

The NBOME provides summary reports for single COMAT administrations and cumulative reports for individual subjects within a COMAT testing cycle. Reports for single administrations may include summary statistics, a performance profile, cumulative frequency distributions, and a score roster.

Scores for COMAT Clinical exams administered from Monday – Friday will be released on the Thursday of the following week. This varies slightly when a new testing cycle begins or when there are non-testing days scheduled. Scores for COMAT FBS Comprehensive exams administered from Monday – Friday will be released on the Wednesday of the following week. This varies slightly when a new testing cycle begins or when there are non-testing days scheduled. The reports are posted on the dean’s page on CRS. COMs can release individual score reports to a student’s CRS account. The NBOME does not send the COMAT student score reports to students directly.

Reported scores for most COMAT exams are nationally normed standard scores, which reflect equating between different forms. Standard scores for COMAT Clinical subjects are set to have a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 10, based on a representative norming sample. For COMAT FBS Comprehensive exams, scores have a mean of 200 and an approximate standard deviation of 10, based on a national sample of examinees in their second year in osteopathic medical school. Currently, normed standard scores are not available for COMAT FBS Targeted exams, but percent correct score reports are used.

Standard score scales are reviewed annually and may be reestablished at the discretion of the NBOME. Reported scores initially provided for new exam subject are percent correct scores. After approximately one year of availability, percent correct scores are converted to standard scores, and all subsequent reported scores for the subject are standard scores.

XIV. Score Confirmation

The NBOME will confirm a COMAT examination score if a COMAT coordinator submits a written request to NBOME for score confirmation within 30 days after the scores are released. Individual students may not request score confirmations. The fee per examination score confirmation is $25, and the request must be accompanied by a check, credit card payment information or the option to invoice the school. A score confirmation entails retrieving the original test responses, rescoring and comparing the rescored results with the originally reported scores. Results of a score confirmation will be sent to the COMAT coordinator by NBOME Client Services within two weeks of the request.

XV. NBOME and ITS Administration

NBOME will provide telephone support for all COMAT administrations between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM (Central Time) Monday through Friday with the exception of NBOME holidays. NBOME Client Services can be reached at (866) 479-6828, and ITS Technical Support can be reached at (800) 514-8494 between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM (Eastern Time).

XVI. Non-Testing Days

No COMAT exams will be administered on Saturdays and Sundays, NBOME holidays and during exam blackout periods. Please check our Non-Testing Days for those dates.
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