The Complete Guide to COMLEX: Medical Board Exam for the Osteopathic Student

I am in the middle of preparing for the COMLEX (Step 1). And I gotta tell ya … It really sucks! There’s no way around it though. If you attend an osteopathic (DO) medical school, the licensing exam is one of the many hoops you must jump through to become osteopathic physician.

This section will help you prepare for the medical licensing examinations (which are also called “boards” or “board exams”), namely the COMLEX and USMLE. I will focus more on the COMLEX because it pertains to me more. With that being said, the first COMLEX is quite similar to the first USMLE (or that is what I have heard). So for those in allopathic (MD) medical schools, this section can still pertain to you. Lots of the materials I am using to prepare for the COMLEX are also being used by those taking the USMLE.

comlex - mr. onionhead and seal

Mr. Onionhead and Seal are preparing intensely for the medical board exam. If you want to do well, you must prepare, prepare, and prepare!

With that being said, let’s get started.

What Is the COMLEX?

COMLEX (COMLEX-USA or Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination of the United States) is a 4-part medical licensing exam for osteopathic physicians:

  • COMLEX Step 1
  • COMLEX Step 2-CE
  • COMLEX Step 2-PE
  • COMLEX Step 3

You must pass all four parts of the exam to be licensed as an osteopathic physician in the United States. It is administer by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME). These guys decide if you get your DO license or not.

COMLEX is the osteopathic equivalent of the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination). So DO students will take the COMLEX; and MD students will take the USMLE. (DO students can take the USMLE also, but I will discuss the reasons for doing so or not doing so later on.)

The section will have everything to help you prepare for COMLEX. I’ll start with Step 1 and add the other parts as I prepare for and take them.

comlex - four horsemen of the apocalypse

The medical board exams are like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. You will face them sooner or later and they are not going to be fun.

COMLEX Step 1

COMLEX Step 1: White Horse of the Apocalypse
You may have many questions about Step 1. When will you take it? What subjects will it test? How is it scored? How long does the test take? How much will it cost? This section will answer all those questions. If you have absolutely no clue what it is, this is a very good place to learn about COMLEX Step 1.

My COMLEX Step 1 Experience: You Call This an Exam?
This section will show you what my first board exam was like. Even after 6 months if intense studying, I was sorely disappointed with it. Read more to find out why and what you can do to be more prepared.

No Textbooks Need for COMLEX Step 1: So What Resources Did I Use?
Click on the link above to learn about what resources you should use to prepare for your first board exam. I can make one promise: no textbooks! In this section, I talk about each resource and why you should use it. If you want to save money and get only the high-yield resources, this is the article for you.

How to Study for COMLEX Like a Rockstar
You seriously cannot miss this section. I reveal loads of study techniques to rock the COMLEX without rote memorization. This is my personal study technique to effortlessly pass my first 2 licensing exams. (I’ve heard that the Step 2 had one of the highest fail rates, too!) This was so good, I should have charged for it.

COMLEX Step 2-CE

COMLEX Step 2-CE: Red Horse of the Apocalypse
Everything you will need to know to over-prepare for Step 2 is right here. Don’t miss it. (I gotta admit though, a lot of it is a repeat of Step 1. The first time is always the most memorable, heh?)

How to Study for COMLEX Like a Rockstar (repeat)
You seriously cannot miss this section. I reveal loads of study techniques to rock the COMLEX without rote memorization. This is my personal study technique to effortlessly pass my first 2 licensing exams. (I’ve heard that the Step 2 had one of the highest fail rates, too!) This was so good, I should have charged for it.

COMLEX Step 2-PE

COMLEX Step 2-PE: Black Horse of the Apocalypse
Get the insider scoop on what the PE is like, in this section. I seriously wished I had something like this when I prepared for COMLEX Step 2-PE. But lucky for you … you don’t have to miss out!

COMLEX Step 3

COMLEX Step 3: Pale Horse of the Apocalypse
See my secret for spending only 3 weeks to prepare for COMLEX 3 and passing on the first try. And there is a twist … I had no exposure to medicine for almost a year!

How to Study for COMLEX Like a Rockstar (repeat)
You seriously cannot miss this section. I reveal loads of study techniques to rock the COMLEX without rote memorization. This is my personal study technique to effortlessly pass my first 2 licensing exams. (I’ve heard that the Step 2 had one of the highest fail rates, too!) This was so good, I should have charged for it.

Reviews of Question Banks

Question banks are used to prepare for the COMLEX or USMLE. Currently, there are several different options. I will review all the question banks I have used and let you know the good, the bad, and the ugly about each one.

Combank Question Bank Review
This section will review the Combank question bank, one of the two question banks that is specifically used for COMLEX preparation. Should you buy it? Read more to find out.

COMQUEST Question Bank Review
This section will review the COMQUEST question bank, one of the two question banks that is specifically used for COMLEX preparation. Should you buy it? Read more to find out.

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