COMLEX-USA Level 3 Site Changes for January

July 25, 2022


The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) is a non-profit organization that assesses the competencies of osteopathic and related medical professionals. The Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination of the United States of America (COMLEX-USA) is a three tier national standardized exam that medical students must pass for licensure to practice osteopathic medicine.

The high-quality licensing examination emphasizes a primary care approach to medical knowledge, fluency, problem-solving, and cognitive skills for the application of osteopathic principles, practices, and treatment. The NBOME announced this year that starting with the COMLEX-USA Level 3 exam in January 2023 the administration of the two-day test will transition to Pearson VUE test centers.

A Culture of Professional Accountability

Almost thirty years ago, Clarke Porter, Steve Nordberg, and Kirk Lundeen founded Virtual University Enterprises (VUE) as a training services company. Six years later the company would be acquired by Pearson. As the gold standard in exam development and test security, Pearson Professional Centers has led the way to become one of the leading computer-based learning assessment companies in the world. Today, Pearson VUE maintains the company’s inherent belief in the life-changing impact of professional credentialing. NBOME’s decision to partner with Pearson VUE is based on the team’s ability to deliver expert testing services across the entire exam lifecycle and to empower osteopathic students to recognize their full potential and continue the progression for future generations of competent physicians.

Partnering with the right source for testing and assessment is crucial for an organization’s long-term success. That’s why NBOME selected Pearson VUE to ensure a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine has a proven path to demonstrate he or she has what it takes to succeed. Moreover, the VUE integrated platform eliminates duplication of efforts by serving as a single source solution for scheduling, registration, delivery, results processing, and reporting with information streamlined into a single candidate record. At some point in our lives, we all have to put our trust in medical professionals to care for us during a health event. With the world’s largest comprehensive test center network, Pearson VUE offers convenience for physical testing centers with superior security for determining professional certification.

COMLEX-USA Master Blueprint for Licensure

The practice of medicine demands quality assessments to certify the competencies of each student who chooses to provide advanced patient care. The COMLEX-USA defines the pathway to licensure for osteopathic physicians as a blueprint for practicing medicine and surgery. The transition to partnering with Pearson VUE addresses one of the most important objectives of the NBOME Master Blueprint by offering reliable and consistent testing that utilizes the most robust technology and latest platform.

Beginning January 2023, all COMLEX-USA Level 3 examinations will be administered at Pearson VUE test centers, followed by Level 1 in May 2023 and Level 2-CE June 2023 (date tentative), respectively. The transition date for Level 2-CE will be confirmed by December 31, 2022. – NBOME

Under the guidelines of this newly formed partnership, Pearson VUE will deliver the COMLEX-USA examination series across its network of some three hundred Pearson Professional Centers across the United States. The move ensures test takers will have a professional, highly secure, and consistent testing experience. In recognizing that the transition will no doubt raise questions for many osteopathic students, the NBOME suggests test takers review their FAQs for the most current testing information.

Core Osteopathic Recognition Readiness Examination

Since its testing cycle is first up in 2023, COMLEX-USA Level 3 examinations will be the initial exam series delivered by Pearson VUE in coordination with stakeholders and various departments at the NBOME. Pearson VUE will also begin delivering Core Osteopathic Recognition Readiness Examination (CORRE) in January. CORRE is designed for non-DO physicians and medical students applying to residency programs who have completed (or are scheduled to complete within the next 12 months) all of the requirements for graduation with a medical degree and completion of elective Osteopathic Principles and Practice rotations or courses at an accredited osteopathic medical school.

All COMLEX-USA licensing exams will continue to be offered at Prometric test centers prior to each Level’s announced date for transition to Pearson VUE. The inclusion of the COMLEX-USA Level 3 examination is devoted to assessing the knowledge and skills of osteopathic physicians who are assuming independent responsibility for providing general medical care and surgery to patients. Results of the COMLEX-USA series are recognized for medical licensure in all fifty jurisdictions of the United States by the Federation of State Medical Boards and is used as an accreditation requirement for all schools and colleges of osteopathic medicine by the Commission on Accreditation of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine of the American Osteopathic Association.

Testing to Measure Real-World Skills

Certification of skill sets in the medical world is a challenging and complex process. After all, communities place their trust in the NBOME to ensure the expert credentialing of osteopathic doctors who can deliver a wide array of critical health care and wellness services. The COMLEX-USA medical examinations are the only licensing series that cover osteopathic principles, practices, and the application of osteopathic manipulative treatments. The medical licensure series includes three computer-based exams, including:

  • COMLEX-USA Level 1 – The initial licensure exam assesses the competent application of foundational and basic biomedical and osteopathic knowledge relevant to clinical science and patient presentations. Test emphasis is placed on measuring the scientific concepts and principles that a medical student needs for understanding the mechanisms of health, clinical problems, and disease processes.
  • COMLEX-USA Level 2 CE (Cognitive Evaluation) – The second licensure exam assesses the competent application of a student’s knowledge of clinical concepts and principles of osteopathic medicine for clinical problem solving. COMLEX-USA Level 2 emphasizes the biomedical and osteopathic concepts and principles needed for a physician to make the appropriate clinical diagnoses by applying the information obtained from a patient history and physical examination.
  • COMLEX-USA Level 3 – The Level 3 examination was changed to a two-day examination in 2018 as a planned enhancement in the licensure process. NBOME’s goal was to ensure that the evolution of osteopathic medical practice meets the needs of state licensing boards. As the final step in meeting the testing requirements to become a practicing physician, Level 3 assesses a student’s competence in the foundational domains required to deliver safe and effective osteopathic medical care in an unsupervised clinical setting.

The NBOME recommends students take the COMLEX-USA Level 3 examination after he or she has completed a minimum of six (6) months in their residency program. In fact, a student’s residency program director must attest to the fact that a student is in good academic and professional standing for approval to take the exam. Periodic reviews allow the NBOME to reset pass/fail standards for all COMLEX exams to ensure the osteopathic medical licensure examinations reflect current educational achievements for medical practice.

Here at WOLFPACC, we believe passing the COMLEX-USA shouldn’t rely on a student’s short-term memory, which can obviously fad with time. For those reasons, our instructors focus on teaching students how to think their way through each question or clinical situation in order to identify the best answer. Power 5 utilizes proven concepts to help each student integrate pertinent materials they have learned by applying the basics through a clinical understanding of the task at hand. Let Dr. Hans Wolf and his experienced staff empower you with the information, tools, and skills to achieve exceptional results on your COMLEX-USA medical licensing exams.