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Scoring Principles

As of May 10, 2022, the NBOME transitioned from a three-digit numeric score for COMLEX-USA Level 1 to “pass” or “fail.” Learn more.

Examination Scoring

For the COMLEX-USA computer-based examinations, the number of items answered correctly (the raw score) is converted to a standard score for the purposes of reporting results and providing a pass-fail designation.

With the exception of unscored pretest questions, each test question contributes equally to the candidate’s score. The total reported score is a model-based standard score that takes into account the response to each question and the psychometric properties of the examination.

A passing score for all COMLEX-USA Levels is based solely on a candidate’s performance on the total examination, not on a candidate’s performance on individual content areas. Score reports display a graphical representation of performance profiles that summarizes strengths and weaknesses in relation to the examination blueprint.

For COMLEX-USA Level 1, candidates will receive their performance information as it relates to the national mean performance of those who have taken Level 1 for the first time. This feedback (Low/Average/High) identifies areas of strength and weakness and may be useful to guide a study plan for failing candidates. The minimum blueprint percentage allocated to the competency domains and clinical presentations will also be presented. Discipline scores will no longer be included in either candidate or school reports.

COMLEX-USA computer-based examinations are administered continuously throughout the year. All the examination dates are published on the NBOME website. Osteopathic medical schools receive summary reports at the end of the annual testing cycle. The COMLEX-USA school summary reports provide information on candidate performance at the school level compared to the national performance.

Interpreting Examination Scores

In order to avoid misinterpretation, keep in mind that performance profiles:

The conversion of standard scores involves information about the performance of candidates who have taken these examinations previously. The percentage of candidates who pass or fail the examination is not predetermined. Some items may be included in the examination primarily for research purposes and do not contribute to the candidate’s score.

For more information on interpreting COMLEX-USA scores, refer to the FAQs.

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