Thank you for joining us on Thursday, May 21st. We appreciated hearing your questions directly and gaining a stronger understanding of the very real impact the pandemic has on your #RoadtoDOLicensure.
As there were so many questions that focused on similar issues, we have compiled this list of frequently asked questions to provide the best information we can, given the uncertainty that exists in this ever-changing landscape. In addition, we are hosting a follow-up session on Friday, May 29th at 1 pm ET. Hope to “see” you there!
Finally, if you have questions that relate to a personal situation, we encourage you to contact the NBOME at 866-479-6828 or Clientservices@nbome.org to see how we may help.
Computer-Based Testing (COMLEX-USA Levels 1, 2-CE, and 3)
How can I verify my examination date?
You can verify your exam dates through the Prometric website
. You will need to provide the confirmation number you received when you initially scheduled your exam. If you do not have your confirmation number, please contact the Prometric customer service center
If you are unable to reach Prometric, or need additional assistance, please contact the NBOME at 866-479-6828 or Clientservices@nbome.org. Client Services Representatives are available between 7am and 7pm ET, excluding weekends and holidays, and are here to support you to the very best of their ability.
How can I reschedule my examination?
Prometric continues to make additional technological and process changes to ensure they can successfully support candidates seeking assistance for their appointments. This includes working toward automated rescheduling, providing phone support for candidates in all regions, and streamlining all email inquiries through their Contact Us page
Are current registrations for July and August safe from being canceled or is cancellation still a possibility as time goes on?
Unfortunately, as we have all learned, anything is possible during a pandemic. That said, however, if the current health situation continues to improve, we anticipate that your current testing sessions will proceed as scheduled. In the coming months, there may be even more sessions opening up if it is safe for larger groups to be accommodated in some geographic areas. The NBOME is also exploring options for alternate test delivery
of COMLEX-USA outside Prometric test centers.
Is the NBOME adding more testing dates? Is Prometric adding more testing dates?
The NBOME has requested from Prometric that additional test dates be added. Currently, we have added 60+ testing dates to each level between May and December 2020:
- (61) Level 1 dates have been added
- (67) Level 2-CE dates have been added
- (68) Level 3 dates have been added
An additional (14) Level 1 dates and an additional (13) Level 2-CE dates are also being planned for September 5th to 20th.
What is the contingency plan if there is a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall?
The NBOME has 2 dedicated task force teams working to develop solutions for COVID-19 issues related to candidate examinations. They are evaluating all feasible short- and long-term solutions, including plans in the event of a second COVID-19 wave, provided the solutions are aligned with our mission to protect the public. The NBOME COVID-19 microsite
will continue to provide the most up-to-date information available about the NBOME’s strategy for managing these challenges.
Can you provide any further insight in regards to the possibility of medical schools proctoring COMLEX-USA exams to help alleviate the backlog of testing at Prometric centers?
The NBOME has been exploring alternate delivery options for computer-based examinations since March. Our goal is to keep our stakeholders updated without making predictions we cannot substantiate.
The universal, hard-earned trust that state medical and osteopathic medical boards have in the COMLEX-USA licensure examination to assist with medical licensure decisions requires an extremely careful approach to maintain the program’s integrity. The first phase of evaluating alternate administration options for COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE includes identification of technical and security requirements to protect the validity, reliability, and fairness of the examinations. This first phase is currently underway and also includes proof-of-concept testing of alternate proctoring solutions. The NBOME continues to explore several potentially viable delivery options, each with different levels of risk, but all in proctored environments, including:
Satellite Test Centers at COMs (small number of COMs)
- Remote Proctored Exams at COMs
- Test Events at existing testing centers with simultaneous, web-based delivery (numerous COMs)
- Remote Proctored Exams available anywhere
The NBOME is currently surveying all COMs to identify those who can demonstrate the necessary technical and other requirements and have the ability to participate in on-site pilot testing. The NBOME will partner with select COMs in early June for pilot testing. After evaluating the results of these pilot tests, we anticipate implementing one or more alternate test delivery options as early as mid to late July.
Since only a small sample size (586) of candidates tested from May 4th to 22nd, how will computer-based examinations affect the curve and validity of scores? How will this particularly affect COMLEX-USA Level 2 since the exam was only available until May 14th?
The COMLEX-USA computer-based examination forms for the entire testing cycle (e.g. June 2019 – May 2020 for Level 2-CE) are all scored and equated to ensure scores across exam forms for the entire testing cycle are reliable and valid regardless of the testing window within which candidates take the examination. An examination date of May 14th, for example, is included in the 2019-2020 testing cycle.
Clinical Skills Testing (COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE)
If COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE is continued as is starting July 1st, how can we be sure that there will be appropriate safety measures to maximize social distancing guidelines and prevent COVID-19 transmission in a center where students from all over the country will be gathering?
Staff at the NBOME’s National Centers for Clinical Skills Testing are following heightened safety measures to ensure the safety of candidates and staff. Masks are required to be worn by everyone at the testing site. All candidates and staff are screened upon arrival. Thermal temperatures are taken, and social distancing is strongly enforced. Increased cleaning and disinfecting measures are also being followed. We encourage any candidate with symptoms to not come to the exam; the NBOME will assist in rescheduling.
To help ensure the safety of all test takers and staff, you will not be permitted to test if you have been sick within the past 2 weeks or were recently exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Please contact NBOME Client Services for assistance with rescheduling your exam.
We realize that travel is an issue and encourage any student who is uncomfortable traveling at this time to look for later dates to test.
Has there been any consideration for changing how the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE exam will be administered in the future? Are virtual visits being considered?
Decisions regarding the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE examinations are made based on the role the exam plays in the NBOME’s mission to protect the public. The examination is valid and reliable in assessing minimal competence in the clinical skills deemed necessary to enter GME. Assessing physical exam skills and OMT skills are an integral part of the examination and deemed essential for this process.
Being mindful of a potential viral resurgence in the fall, we have not yet released all of the potential fall and winter dates. We will closely monitor the changing situation and will add additional sessions as necessary.
Is the NBOME planning to open more testing dates for the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE in 2020?
Yes. We expect to release more 2020 seats as the exam resumes, however, we encourage students to schedule seats now.
I’ve rescheduled into a 2021 test date, but I need to take my COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE exam in 2020 (before the ERAS deadline). Will I receive rescheduling preference from the NBOME if I give up my 2021 test date? Will more dates be added for COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE before the new ERAS deadline?
At this time, if you have an examination scheduled, you should keep your testing date. We know many students feel an optimal time to take COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE is early in PGY-4. With this in mind, we will be adding additional seats in the fall, once we resume testing.
Why is COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE a necessary exam for students that have already successfully completed 2 years of standardized patient simulations (during didactic years) and 1 year of clinical rotations? Why are we required to pay $1300+ traveling to IL or PA for an exam? Do we not trust COMs to appropriately prepare students for patient interaction?
The American public relies on a medical credentialing system that requires physician candidates to be evaluated against a common standard. While osteopathic medical students are evaluated by their schools and on clinical rotations, there is significant variation among the osteopathic medical colleges in assessment of clinical skills. As such, state medical licensing boards and the public rely on the NBOME and COMLEX-USA for independent assessment of medical competencies.
In the interest of reducing medical errors and medical malpractice, many incidences of which are directly related to deficiencies in clinical skills and doctor-patient communication, the NBOME developed the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE to assess these skills for licensure. Finally, numerous studies in medical education document the lack of actual verification of clinical skills and even the lack of direct observation of these skills.
More information on the development and validity of these types of clinical skills examinations can be found on our website:
Residency Program – Applications (for Level 2-PE/-CE) and Advancement (for Level 3)
How can the NBOME guarantee that students who take COMLEX-USA and/or receive scores after rank order lists are due will not be at a disadvantage?
The NBOME has worked with ERAS, OPDA, AACOM, AOA, ACGME, NBME and the Coalition for Physician Accountability to remind Residency Program directors that in this unusual application cycle, many medical students (DO, MD, and IMG) will not have all of the usual metrics that they are accustomed to using for interview selection and even Match lists.
My program recommends that 1st year residents take the exam as soon as possible before fall 2020 because there is an expectation of a second wave of COVID-19. Are GME directors and program directors being notified of mass cancellations of exams?
DOs are already the minority of total applicants. What are your thoughts regarding DO residency applicants who will have incomplete applications when ERAS opens up? It has been made clear that program directors do not review applications until they are complete.
Residency programs are aware of the unique challenges to the residency applications process and modified timeline this year and want to provide students with a fair and equitable application process. A recent set of recommendations from the Coalition for Physician Accountability
, a cross-organizational group of medical education stakeholders, provides guidance to medical schools, residency programs, and others involved in medical education on the application timeline, away rotations, and virtual interviews. In addition to the Coalition’s member organizations, a number of specialty organizations have issued statements in support of these recommendations. In order to help with some of the delays this year, ERAS has moved the date for residency programs to gain access to applications and release MSPEs to programs ‒ see ERAS 2021 Residency Application Timeline
Not receiving passing COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE scores or Level 2-CE scores prior to ERAS submission places DO students at a significant disadvantage compared to MD students who have completed all of their requirements. Why has the NBOME been so inflexible with assisting students in completing these exams through alternative methods?
This year all students, DO and MD (US and IMGs), are experiencing challenges in providing COMLEX-USA Level 2 and USMLE Step 2 licensing exam scores when applying to residency. To improve the situation for DO students, the NBOME has added almost 70 new exam dates for the Level 2-CE exam. By the end of May, most 2021 graduates were re-scheduled to take the Level 2-CE exam between June and August. In addition to expanding testing opportunities, the NBOME is pursuing alternate test delivery methods with plans to begin pilot testing in June 2020 ‒ read more here
Additional 2020 and 2021 test sessions have also been added for COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE. For the latest information on Level 2-PE, click here