COMLEX-USA Content Outline · Patient Presentations and Physician Tasks
The COMLEX-USA examination series is designed to assess the osteopathic medical knowledge and clinical skills considered essential for osteopathic generalist physicians to practice osteopathic medicine. The foundation of COMLEX-USA is based on the osteopathic philosophy of whole person health care, underlying structure-function relationships and the interdependence of body systems, self-healing and self-regulatory mechanisms, and the osteopathic approach to patient care, including osteopathic manipulative medicine.
In the Level 2-PE examination, patients present with complaints and reasons for their visit that are common to osteopathic medical practice in the outpatient, primary care, or emergency room settings. Symptoms and problems are classified according to the following systems:
- Other (e.g., genito-urinary, behavioral, etc.)
The set of psychometrically equivalent cases administered on any given test date will match a predefined blueprint that balances cases across the criteria mentioned above. Essential to the construct of the examination is the ability to interact with patients that vary in age, gender, and ethnic and cultural background. They will present with clinical complaints that could be acute or chronic or are opportunities for health promotion and disease prevention.
While candidates are likely to encounter potentially life-threatening conditions that require prompt diagnosis and intervention, the Level 2-PE does not currently test advanced cardiac life support or invasive procedures.
The following clinical skills are evaluated in the examination. Demonstrating competency in these two distinctive domains is required to pass Level 2-PE:
- Osteopathic Principles* and/or Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT – evaluated in 25-40% of encounters)
- History-taking and Physical Examination (Data Gathering)
- Integrated Differential Diagnosis and Clinical Problem-Solving
- Documentation and Synthesis of Clinical Findings (eSOAP note format)
- Physician-Patient Communication
- Interpersonal Skills
*Osteopathic principles are integrated throughout all areas of the examination.
Implementation of New Blueprint
Based on extensive research and expert consensus, a new two-dimensional blueprint for COMLEX-USA examinations was developed and implemented beginning with COMLEX-USA Level 3 in 2018. COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE implemented the new blueprint in 2019. For more information, see the current COMLEX-USA Master Blueprint.
Practice & Preparation Resources