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Changes to COMLEX-USA Level 3 Examination to Begin September 2018

March 16, 2018

Important changes regarding the COMLEX-USA Level 3 examination are taking place. As part of enhancing the COMLEX-USA examination series, a new COMLEX-USA Master Blueprint is being implemented, beginning with Level 3 in September 2018, and following in Levels 1 and 2 in 2019.

With the change to the enhanced COMLEX-USA Master Blueprint, COMLEX-USA Level 3 is transitioning to a two-day examination. This change is in response to the substantive changes in the evolution of osteopathic medical practice and to ensure COMLEX-USA remains current in meeting the needs of the state licensing boards. The two-day examination will consist of multiple-choice, single best-answer test questions and clinical decision-making (CDM) cases.

Transition period

Level 3 examinations administered before April 28, 2018 will continue to follow the one-day format and blueprint. From May through August, the NBOME will prepare for the new two-day Level 3 examinations which begin in September. During this transition period, no Level 3 examinations will be administered.

Scheduling the new COMLEX-USA Level 3 examination

Scheduling for the two-day Level 3 examination begins March 16, 2018. The last day to register for the current Level 3 examination administered as a one-day examination is March 15, 2018.

Changes to eligibility

There are new eligibility criteria for Level 3 examinations—residency program directors will attest to the fact that the licensure examination candidate is a resident in good academic and professional standing at the residency program and is approved to take the Level 3 examination. Good standing denotes that the resident has met the academic and professional requirements of the residency program and is eligible to continue as a resident in the program. The new criteria include a recommendation (not a requirement) that the Level 3 examination be taken after a minimum of six months in residency. The NBOME is working with residency programs, colleges of osteopathic medicine, osteopathic medical students, residents and other key stakeholders to inform them about the new attestation requirement.

Preparing for the new COMLEX-USA Level 3 examination

A new Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Self-Assessment Examination (COMSAE) Phase 3 test form, designed for osteopathic medical students and residents preparing for the COMLEX-USA Level 3 exam, and aligned with the enhanced master blueprint will be available in June 2018.

Information and resources are available

The NBOME website contains information on the transition to the new COMLEX-USA blueprint. Other website resources include changes to Level 3 frequently asked questions (FAQs), the bulletin of information and Level 3 practice examinations. A link to a recorded webinar for residency program directors is also available. The NBOME provides updates to the medical education community at national, regional and local meetings around the country, including presentations and workshops for residency programs and faculty throughout 2018.


About the NBOME

The NBOME is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit assessment organization committed to protecting the public by providing the means to assess competencies for osteopathic medicine and related health care professions. NBOME’s COMLEX-USA examination series is a requirement for graduation from colleges of osteopathic medicine and provides the pathway to licensure for osteopathic physicians in the United States and numerous international jurisdictions. For more information, visit www.nbome.org or call 866-479-6828.


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