Standardized Test Issues - COMLEX-USA

What Is the COMLEX-USA?

The COMLEX-USA is the licensing examination, or more accurately the series of licensing exams, for osteopathic physicians. Osteopathic medical students and graduates take the COMLEX-USA, sometimes referred to as the NBOME for its administrator, the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, as a series of step exams before, during, and after residency. You'll need to take and pass the COMLEX-USA to get a license in your state as an osteopathic physician. If you face COMLEX-USA exam misconduct charges or other issues sitting for the exam or getting your exam results to qualify for licensure, retain national discipline defense attorney advisor Joseph D. Lento to help you overcome those obstacles.

COMLEX-USA Format and Content

The COMLEX-USA series of osteopathic physician licensing exams includes Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 components. Each series level has a different format and content. The National Board distributes osteopathic physician competency domains and clinical presentation skills across the three levels. Competencies include osteopathic principles, practices, and manipulation, professionalism, continuous learning, and systems-based practice, among other areas. Clinical presentations include wellness, reproduction, and endocrine, nervous, musculoskeletal, circulatory, gastrointestinal, and other systems. Candidates for licensure take each COMLEX-USA series level at a different time during their osteopathic medical education and residency. The COMLEX-USA series includes:

  • the COMLEX-USA Level 1 400-question, mostly multiple-choice exam taken during the student's osteopathic medical education;
  • the COMLEX-USA Level 2 CE 400-question mostly multiple-choice exam also taken during the student's osteopathic medical education; and
  • the COMLEX-USA Level 3 two-day exam involving 420 multiple-choice questions, clinical decision-making cases, and other novel test item formats, taken during or after residency.

Who Administers the COMLEX-USA?

The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, a private independent nonprofit organization, administers the COMLEX-USA series of licensing exams for osteopathic medical students and graduates. The National Board's mission ensures the public that osteopathic physicians have the necessary knowledge and presentation skills. The National Board only develops and administers the COMLEX-USA series of licensing exams. The National Board does not license osteopathic physicians. Instead, licensing boards in each state receive and accept National Board COMLEX-USA scores as a part of the licensing process. If your state licensing board has not received or will not recognize your COMLEX-USA score, retain national school discipline defense attorney advisor Joseph D. Lento to help you regain your qualifying score and license status.

Who Must Take the COMLEX-USA?

The COMLEX-USA is the critical pathway to licensure as an osteopathic physician for practice in any U.S. state or territory. Any osteopathic medical student anticipating graduation, licensure, and practice must take the COMLEX-USA beginning with Levels 1 and 2 during the osteopathic medical education. While graduation may be possible without taking the COMLEX-USA, osteopath program graduates who do not take and pass the COMLEX-USA will not qualify for licensure and practice. Unlicensed osteopaths may have career opportunities in medical administration, public health, or related fields and professions but not in the clinical practice of osteopathic medicine. Retain premier discipline defense attorney advisor Joseph D. Lento to overcome COMLEX-USA misconduct charges or other issues and to preserve your ambition to practice osteopathic medicine.

Qualifying for the COMLEX-USA

The National Board requires COMLEX-USA student applicants to obtain their school of osteopathic medicine's attestation of good academic and professional standing before sitting for the Levels 1 and 2 COMLEX-USA exams. The National Board further requires the graduate applicant to provide an attestation of good academic and professional standing from the residency program director to take the Level 3 COMLEX-USA exam. Misconduct charges or discipline at your school of osteopathic medicine under codes like the one in the Student Handbook for Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine or in your residency program can interfere with your ability to sit for the COMLEX-USA exam. Fortunately, colleges of osteopathic medicine maintain procedures like those at Nova Southeastern University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, enabling students to protect themselves from false or unfair misconduct allegations. Retain national school discipline defense attorney advisor Joseph D. Lento to clear your school record so that you can sit for the COMLEX-USA exam.

COMLEX-USA SAP Disqualification

To get your school's letter of good academic standing to take the COMLEX-USA, you will also need to maintain satisfactory academic progress, meeting your school's SAP standards like those at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. If poor grades or frequent course incompletes and withdrawals have caused your school to place you on SAP probation or suspension, retain national school discipline defense attorney advisor Joseph D. Lento to pursue your SAP appeal. Your school may reinstate you due to your unique circumstances, if your SAP appeal shows good cause, documents that show, and articulates a strong plan for remediation. Your school will likely have an SAP appeal procedure like the one at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Misconduct Disqualifying for the COMLEX-USA

The National Board requires that candidates taking the COMLEX-USA agree to terms and conditions outlined in its Bulletin of Information. Several of those terms and conditions address misconduct before or after the exam that can disqualify you from sitting for the exam. If you cannot qualify to sit for the COMLEX-USA or have had the National Board revoke or refuse to release your score, retain national school discipline defense attorney advisor Joseph D. Lento to help you overcome that challenge. Under the National Board's Bulletin of Information, disqualifying outside-the-exam actions include that the candidate must not:

  • “in any manner whatsoever, discuss, disclose, paraphrase, publish, or otherwise make known to anyone any test item” not publicly available on the COMLEX-USA website;
  • “in any manner whatsoever contribute to or participate in the development or administration of any test preparation service” for the COMLEX-USA until at least eighteen months after taking the exam;
  • fail to report examinees who offer test preparation services within that eighteen month window;