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NBOME
COMLEX-USA BULLETIN of INFORMATION

Description of Examinations

About COMLEX-USA

The COMLEX-USA examination series is designed to assess the osteopathic medical knowledge, knowledge fluency, and clinical skills considered essential for osteopathic generalist physicians to practice. The foundation of COMLEX-USA is the osteopathic philosophy which consists of four tenets: whole-person health care, underlying structure-function relationships and the interdependence of body systems, self-healing and self-regulatory mechanisms of the body, and the full scope of the osteopathic approach to patient care, including osteopathic manipulative medicine.The COMLEX-USA program is an examination sequence with three levels. This progressive nature of the COMLEX-USA examinations ensures the consistency and continuity of the measurement objectives of the osteopathic medical licensing examinations. A brief description of the examination blueprint is provided below and includes explanations of each examination component, including what constitutes a passing score. The COMLEX-USA examinations are administered only in the English language.

Each COMLEX-USA examination is administered in a standardized, time-measured environment. The ability to recall, interpret, process, and apply clinical knowledge and skills without hesitation and in a fluid manner (“knowledge fluency”) is fundamental to an osteopathic generalist physician’s competence to practice osteopathic medicine and therefore is one of the fundamental competencies the COMLEX-USA examinations assess.

The blueprint contains two dimensions, outlining competency domains and clinical presentations. While all examination Levels have a two-dimensional blueprint structure, the depth and emphasis of each Level parallels the candidate’s educational experiences and clinical responsibilities.

For more information on all COMLEX-USA examinations, including the full examination blueprint, registration, practice materials, and updates, visit the NBOME website.

COMLEX-USA Overview and Blueprint

COMLEX-USA LEVEL 1 ·
Assessment of Foundational Biomedical Sciences and Osteopathic Principles and Practice

DESCRIPTION

A one-day, computer-based assessment that integrates the foundational biomedical sciences and osteopathic principles with clinical knowledge and other physician competencies relevant to addressing clinical presentations and promoting health in supervised clinical practice settings.

Foundational Biomedical Sciences

  • Anatomy
  • Behavioral Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Osteopathic Principles and Practice
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Public Health

FORMAT

  • Two computer-based test sessions of four hours each taken on one day (8 hours’ exam time) administered in a secure, time-measured environment.
  • 352 questions based on the competency domains and clinical presentations for osteopathic medical practice.
  • Test questions are single-best answer, multiple-choice format and may include audio-visual elements.
  • Examples of test question types in Level 1 are found on the website under Practice Exams.
  • Breaks are only permitted as outlined under the section Examination Administration in this BOI.

Section Questions
1 44 Morning Session: 4 Hours’ Total Testing Time
Questions can be answered, reviewed, and changed
one section at a time. Individual sections are not timed.
2 44
Authorized 10-minute break
3 44
4 44
Authorized 40-minute lunch break
5 44 Afternoon Session: 4 Hours’ Total Testing Time
Questions can be answered, reviewed, and changed
one section at a time. Individual sections are not timed.
6 44
Authorized 10-minute break
7 44
8 44

PASSING

Passing Level 1 indicates that the candidate has demonstrated competence in the foundational biomedical sciences and osteopathic principles and related physician competency domains for osteopathic medical care of patients as required to enter supervised patient care settings and to continue lifelong learning.

COMLEX-USA LEVEL 2-CE ·
Assessment of Fundamental Clinical Sciences for Osteopathic Medical Practice

DESCRIPTION
A one-day, computer-based assessment that integrates application of knowledge in clinical and foundational biomedical sciences and osteopathic principles with other physician competencies related to the clinical care of patients and promoting health in supervised clinical settings. These competency domains include application of osteopathic medical knowledge, osteopathic patient care, osteopathic principles and practice, communication skills, systems-based practice, practice-based learning and improvement, professionalism, and ethics.

Clinical Sciences Disciplines

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Osteopathic Principles and Practice
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery

FORMAT

  • Two computer-based test sessions of four hours each, taken on one day (8 hours’ exam time), administered in a secure, time-measured environment.
  • 352 questions based on the competency domains and clinical presentations for osteopathic medical practice.
  • Test questions are single-best answer, multiple-choice format and may include audio-visual elements.
  • Examples of test question types in Level 2-CE are found under Practice Exam on the website.
  • Breaks are only permitted as outlined under the section Examination Administration in the BOI.

Section Questions
1 44 Morning Session: 4 Hours’ Total Testing Time
Questions can be answered, reviewed, and changed
one section at a time. Individual sections are not timed.
2 44
Authorized 10-minute break
3 44
4 44
Authorized 40-minute lunch break
5 44 Afternoon Session: 4 Hours’ Total Testing Time
Questions can be answered, reviewed, and changed
one section at a time. Individual sections are not timed.
6 44
Authorized 10-minute break
7 44
8 44

PASSING

Passing Level 2-CE indicates that the candidate has demonstrated competence in the clinical sciences and osteopathic principles and related physician competency domains for osteopathic medical care of patients as required to enter into supervised graduate medical education settings and to continue lifelong learning.

COMLEX-USA LEVEL 2-PE ·
Assessment of Fundamental Clinical Skills for Osteopathic Medical Practice

NOTE: The COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE has been indefinitely suspended since March 2020 due to restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fundamental osteopathic clinical skills competencies remain an important part of the COMLEX-USA series. The NBOME Special Commission for Osteopathic Medical Licensure is exploring permanent replacement options for evaluation of these skills. There are temporary attestation pathways in place for the Classes of 2020-2022. Please see Eligibility section for more information.

Fundamental Osteopathic Clinical Skills

  • Physician-Patient Communication
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Professionalism
  • Medical History-Taking and Physical Examination Skills
  • Osteopathic Principles and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT)
  • Documentation Skills (including synthesis of clinical findings, integrated differential diagnosis, and formulation of a diagnostic and treatment plan)

COMLEX-USA LEVEL 3 ·
Assessment of Competencies for Osteopathic Medical Practice

DESCRIPTION
A two-day computer-based examination assessing competence in the foundational competency domains required for generalist physicians to deliver safe and effective osteopathic medical care and promote health in unsupervised clinical settings. Competency domains assessed include application of osteopathic medical knowledge, osteopathic patient care, osteopathic principles and practice, communication skills, systems-based practice, practice-based learning and improvement, professionalism, and ethics. Competency assessment occurs in the context of clinical and patient presentations and systems-based practice as required for entry in the unsupervised practice of osteopathic medicine as an independently practicing osteopathic generalist physician and for readiness for lifelong learning and practice-based learning and improvement.

FORMAT

  • Four computer-based test sessions of 3.5 hours each taken over two days (two sessions per day).
  • Administered on consecutive days (or within a 14-day window) in a secure, time-measured environment.
  • 420 questions in the multiple-choice question format (MCQ) and test questions related to approximately 26 clinical decision-making (CDM) cases. These are related to diverse and representative clinical presentations and seven competency domains for osteopathic medical practice.
  • Test questions are predominantly in the single-best answer and multiple-choice formats and may include audio-visual elements.
  • CDM question formats include extended multiple-choice (selection of more than one answer from an extensive list that may contain more than one correct answer) and constructed response (short-answer) test questions.
  • Examples of test question types in Level 3 are found under Practice Exam on the website.
  • Breaks are permitted only as set forth under the section Examination Administration in the BOI.

Section Questions
1 70 MCQs Morning Session: 3.5 Hours’ Total Testing Time
Questions can be answered, reviewed and changed one section at a time.
Individual sections are not timed.
Authorized 10-minute break
2 70 MCQs
Authorized 40-minute lunch break
3 70 MCQs Afternoon Session: 3.5 Hours’ Total Testing Time
Questions can be answered, reviewed and changed one section at a time.
Individual sections are not timed.
Authorized 10-minute break
4 70 MCQs
Section Questions
5 13 CDM Cases Morning Session: 3.5 Hours’ Total Testing Time
Questions can sometimes be answered, reviewed and changed within a
CDM case. However, within some CDM cases, question responses cannot
be reviewed or changed after a certain point. Individual subsections are not
timed.
Authorized 10-minute break
6 13 CDM Cases
Authorized 40-minute lunch break
7 70 MCQs Afternoon Session: 3.5 Hours’ Total Testing Time
Questions can be answered, reviewed and changed one section at a time.
Individual sections are not timed.
Authorized 10-minute break
8 70 MCQs

PASSING

Passing Level 3 indicates that the candidate has demonstrated competence in the foundational competency domains required for generalist physicians to deliver safe and effective osteopathic medical care of patients as required for entry into the unsupervised practice of osteopathic medicine and to continue lifelong learning and practice-based learning and improvement.

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