COMLEX Equivalent to USMLE, AMA Says

January 3, 2019


If you’re studying osteopathic medicine and wondering whether you should take both the COMLEX and USMLE exams to boost your chances for a choice residency program, relax. The American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates recently voted unanimously to approve a resolution promoting equal acceptance of both exams by all residency programs nationwide. Further, the resolution calls for the AMA to work with multiple stakeholders to help educate residency program directors on using and interpreting COMLEX scores.

Administered by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), the COMLEX is a graduation requirement for earning a DO degree. It’s the osteopathic equivalent to the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) for allopathic students. And now, the two exams are on a more level playing field than ever. That’s a good thing for DO students, according to American Osteopathic Association President William S. Mayo, DO. 

“Although studies have shown that the exams are comparable for residency program directors’ use in assessing applicants, osteopathic students have been confused by misinformation in the era of the single accreditation system for GME, many electing to also take USMLE,” Dr. Mayo said. “Knowing that the ACGME [American Council for Graduate Medical Education] accepts COMLEX and USMLE, and now that the AMA also supports equal acceptance of COMLEX and USMLE, helps to clarify the issue.”

Both the COMLEX and USMLE exam are pricey, may require travel and can be mentally taxing. Further, many pre-medical students have the misconception that, despite being in an osteopathic program, passing the USMLE or completing an ACGME residency means becoming a M.D. rather than a D.O. On the contrary, the title a student obtains is dependent solely on the medical school from which he graduates, not the boards or residency he completes.

No matter your chosen specialty or which exam you choose to take, St. Augustine, FL-based WOLFPACC can help assure you’ll ace your effort. Call 904-209-3140 to find out how.