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NBOME’s Dr. Gretta Gross Discusses COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE at PCOM Georgia

February 27, 2019

First and second year osteopathic medical students were recently given an overview of COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE (performance evaluation) testing from Gretta A. Gross, DO, MEd, Vice President for Clinical Skills Testing for NBOME. Dr. Gross, a graduate of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), discussed the mission of the NBOME and ways to prepare for this exam, which assesses the fundamental clinical skills necessary to enter into supervised graduate medical education.

The NBOME, founded in 1934, is an independent, nongovernmental, nonprofit organization with the mission of protecting the public by assessing competencies for osteopathic medicine and related healthcare professions. The COMLEX-USA series is the primary pathway to licensure for physicians seeking to practice osteopathic medicine and surgery.

Dr. Gross explained that the performance evaluation is a standardized patient-based assessment of fundamental clinical skills essential for osteopathic patient care, while the COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE (cognitive evaluation) examination is a computer-based application of osteopathic medical knowledge concepts related to clinical sciences, patient presentations and physician tasks.

To take Level 2-PE and 2-CE exams, students must have completed their second year at an accredited college of osteopathic medicine, must have passed the COMLEX-USA Level 1 exam following their second year of medical school, and be in good academic and professional standing at their school.

According to Dr. Gross, the performance evaluation occurs at two NBOME testing centers—one in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, and the other in Chicago, Illinois. The test takes place during a six hour period and includes 12 standardized patient-based cases allowing 14 minutes for each patient encounter plus nine minutes to document findings in an e-SOAP note, also known as a Subjective Objective Assessment Plan format. In addition, she said, 15 minute breaks take place after every four patient encounters stretching the time at the testing center to seven hours.

Dr. Gross explained that the exam, which tests whether or not students can demonstrate competency in the fundamental clinical skills and related competencies, is graded in two domains – the humanistic domain which tests physician/patient communication and interpersonal skills, as well as professionalism, and the biomedical/biomechanical domain which tests medical history taking and physical exam skills, documentation skills and osteopathic manipulative treatment. The exam, scored by 30 individuals, is “not designed to provide feedback,” she said, as results are provided solely as pass/fail and generally reported 8-10 weeks after the examination has been taken.

The most common ways students prepare for the test, she explained, are through clinical rotations, standardized patient encounters, books and courses on physical diagnosis, as well as a COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE prep course. But the basics of preparation include reviewing the NBOME website, reading the Level 2-PE orientation guide, watching the NBOME video and practicing with eSOAP notes.

Dr. Gross explained that the pass rate for the exam is historically between 92 and 93 percent. She said that students usually prefer to take the exam between the spring of their third year and the summer of their fourth year while the exam is offered year round. She advised students to consider scheduling the exam, which costs $1,295, as soon as they are eligible as seats are released on a rolling basis one year in advance.

About PCOM Georgia

PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit branch campus of the fully accredited Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a multi-program institution of educational excellence founded in 1899. PCOM Georgia offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, the doctor of pharmacy degree, the doctor of physical therapy degree, as well as graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. The campus, located in Suwanee, Georgia, is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit www.pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.



To read this article as it originally appeared on PCOM’s website, click here.

To access additional information about COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE, click here.