Last year I was able to talk with Dr. Joshua Courtney, DO, the founder of COMBank and he mentioned that they were coming out with a product to help students get ready for the COMLEX Level 2 PE. He offered to let me try the COMBank COMLEX PE program and see what I thought before it was released. Here are a few of my thoughts on the product:
First, I’d like to talk about getting ready for the PE. I think that I am not alone when I say that I was a litt
le nervous going into the PE. Dr. Kauffman breaks down the
different parts of the PE in a way that made me feel more comfortab
le heading in to the big day. At my school we did OSCE testing and they expressed that it should be sufficient for us to do well when we went to take the PE, but my experience with my school has had ups and downs and I had a little doubt built up about my preparation. Now that I have finished the test and received my results I would say that my school had prepared me to a point. I know that they did a good job with teaching me to interview a patient, do a thorough physical exam, and write a SOAP note based on that experience; however, the PE experience is a little different from my school’s OSCEs and I was
glad that I had a little bit of insight from the COMBank program. One part of the program I really liked is the introduction videos. He goes into detail telling you what the NBOME is looking for in every aspect of the PE. He highlights what is important before entering the room, what they are looking for in your interactions with patients, and what they want to see in your notes. More than anything else this seemed to ease my mind.
The second thing I liked was his pattern for organizing your approach. I won’t go into it here because I feel that his pattern is something you should view the program to understand, but I can say that on test day it helped me. His method was not what I used before studying for the exam, and it is not what I use today, but on test day I felt organized, fast, and thorough.
The third thing I’d like to touch on is the variety of cases. Due to confidentiality required by the NBOME people who take the test are not allowed to talk about their cases and what they saw there, but I can say that the cases from COMBank are incredibly helpful. Obviously not every case I saw was a topic COMBank covered, and if the topic was similar, the flow of the experience varied. I really liked Dr. Kauffman’s ability to break down the cases and give me insight into differential diagnoses and plans. He gives a full synopsis after each case. He runs through scenarios with patients with chronic illnesses, acute problems, and healthy patients and gives assessments and plans for all of them. On test day this gave me the most calming feeling. Knowing that what I was putting in my notes was organized, rational, and legitimate helped the day go more smoothly.
Not everything was perfect for the experience. The interface I used was a little goofy. It could have been a little more intuitive. Also, some video titles didn’t match the title listed or didn’t match their SOAP note they provided. With this said I did get to use the system before it was released for use by the general public. Some of those issues may have been addressed. COMBank has always had solid products with quality content, but over the years of using them they do have a few grammatical and spelling errors fall through. I’m not sure how much I can complain about grammar and spelling since I understand how easy it is for such mistakes to slip through. Again, many of these things may have been fixed by now. The only other complaint I have is that on a few videos he took more than the allotted time, but usually they were fairly well timed.
Overall, I highly recommend their COMLEX PE program. I’ve already recommended it to many of my friends. They offer it in 2 week, 1 month, 2 month, 3 month and 6 month subscriptions. I can’t imagine getting through all 40+ videos in only 2 weeks unless you weren’t busy with rotations. They gave me access for 1 month and I almost finished them all (not quite), but I wish I had finished them all because some of the topics would have been helpful.
As a disclaimer I would like to mention that I have not been financially compensated for this review but was allowed to use their program for free. All opinions are my own.