I recently became part of the beta testing group for COMBank‘s upcoming COMLEX PE video review program, and I can say that so far I am excited! I haven’t taken the PE yet, but I definitely feel that this is a great way to calm your nerves before going in to take that test. I have always been nervous about the PE. Not that I fear patients at all. I worked in hospitals and clinics for 6 years prior to medical school where I would interview patients and present to physicians; however, the PE is a different beast. There is a bit of mystery surrounding the COMLEX PE… never knowing what is most important to the NBOME and when to use OMT. I’ll give another update further down the road, but I thought I’d let everyone know that this is a resource coming out soon.
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Preparing for COMLEX is a big task. There’s a lot to study for, and it’s hard to know if you’re studying the right things. Often students to study programs that are designed for the USMLE, which isn’t a bad choice; however, USMLE programs don’t cover all the topics that are found on the COMLEX. Don’t get me wrong, the USMLE and COMLEX exams have a lot in common but USMLE study programs like the osteopathic practices and principles that are needed to get a high score on the COMLEX.
When you talk to osteopathic medical students about OMT you get a wide variety of responses. Some students absolutely love it, and others find it to be the most frustrating thing they have to deal with. I was one of those students that loved it. I always did well in my osteopathic principles and practices class; however, there were other areas of medical school that I struggled and when I went to take the COMLEX I wanted to make sure that my osteopathic principles scores could help balance out areas where I was not as strong.
I had the opportunity to try three different OMT review programs. Each program had its pluses and minuses, but my favorite program that I used was the OMT review program by Doctors in Training. I know that Doctors in Training is a program designed for the USMLE by MD physicians, but they hired a couple of osteopathic physicians to do in review program using the green OMT Review book by Savarese. Many students look at this and say, “I can read that book on my own. I don’t need someone else to go through for me.” And I can understand that feeling. In fact, that is exactly how I felt when they heard about their program. After trying the two other programs my opinion changed. Savarese did a better job than anyone else that I’ve seen in creating OMT review. The guy’s a DIT have a knack for recognizing quality review book. None of the other programs that I tried seemed to have the same quality of focus back to green book has.
The guy’s a DIT walk you through the green book in about 18 videos. The videos do not cover every single thing talked about in the OMT Review book, but they definitely cover the Hi-Yield topics and they do a very good job of it. Not only do they cover the Hi-Yield topics, but they throw in a few extra golden nuggets that are not covered in the green book that definitely showed up on my COMLEX exam.
Just like a full COMLEX review program may not be necessary for every one the OMT review may not be necessary for every one, but if you want to get a high score on the COMLEX you need to make sure that you will get high scores on the osteopathic practices and principles sections of your COMLEX exam. For me the Doctors in Training osteopathic review was the right match for me.
As my site continues to grow I’m going to be putting together a full COMLEX preparations section, and in that section I will give a more specific review of each of the programs I’ve tried. Until that time I hope this review help you get a better idea of what the doctors in training videos can do for you.
I was provided with free access to the DIT OMM course in order to provide this review. Everything in this article is my own opinion and accurately reflects my experience with the product.
Three days ago I took the COMLEX Level 1 exam. I prepared for my test using the ComQuest level 1 question bank, and I am glad I did. Unfortunately, it was not my first time taking the COMLEX. Every time the test is administered there are people that fall short, and last summer that was me. I didn’t fail by much, but I didn’t pass on my first try and that really hurt.
When I took the test back in June I felt like I was prepared. I had done a live review course where they even took time to tutor us in how to approach questions, but there was one problem, they required us to use a USMLE based question bank. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a ton at that program, but I was not prepared for the way that questions appear on the COMLEX. On test day back in June I was really thrown off by the style of questions and the way the test asked things. While doing the live program I purchased a COMLEX based qbank to use too, but on test day I was shocked by the stark difference in question styles and topics. The qbank I purchased at that time did not represent the actual COMLEX very well.
This time around I used ComQuest, and I feel it made a big difference (UPDATE: I know it made big difference! I recently received a much higher (passing) score on the COMLEX). In fact, in my first two sections on the COMLEX exam I just took I had 4 questions that felt like they were almost word for word questions that I’d seen using the ComQuest level 1 question bank.
Now not everything was perfect. I really feel like they have the best questions 6 different question banks that I was able to use, but their overall analysis of you individual questions sets is not as robust as other companies. ComQuest gives you your percentages in each of the subjects, but they are small and harder to follow than other companies. They also lack a clear line for how well you need to perform on the qbank to be successful on the COMLEX; however, most question banks leave that a little vague. They do provide a question by question breakdown of how many other people got questions right and what answers they chose so you can tell if you are up to par with your peers.
One area they could improve on is the ability to create focused tests. No COMLEX based qbank, that I am aware of, lets you focus tests very well. Some of the USMLE qbanks will let you make a test that focuses on cardiology pharmacology or reproductive physiology, but all the COMLEX qbanks only allow you to focus on subjects as a whole like cardiology, reproductive, or pharmacology
Pros of ComQuest:
- Questions on topics that show up on the real test.
- The most accurate feel of questions.
- Look of the questions bank match COMLEX’s look exactly.
- Going from COMQuest’s bank to the real COMLEX feels seamless.
- Their explanations are thorough but not overkill.
- The “Bottom Line Points” give insight on the most important parts of the questions.
- Not filled with grammar and spelling errors (which is a huge problem with another bank).
- It is an osteopathic question bank, not one designed just for the USMLE.
Cons of ComQuest:
- Lack of a mobile app.
- They give you a breakdown of your knowledge, but could be more detailed.
- Reports for your scores are tiny and could be easier to read.
- Cannot create extremely focused tests.
- Not able to highlight text in question stems (but no COMLEX qbank can at this time).
ComQuest is the question bank that I would recommend most for students taking COMLEX level 1. I was thoroughly impressed with how accurately the portrayed the style, feel, and topic of each question in their bank. When test day came the only difference was that I was doing questions at a Prometric center instead of my home.
A deal for OsteopathicMedStudent.com readers:
ComQuest has agreed to give a 10% discount to readers of this site. Just use the
promotional code OMS10 CODE Expired!. This code is good through February 15, 2013. You can purchase a COMLEX question bank using the comquestmed.com coupon code OMS10 at any time and activate your qbank when you are ready. I feel like they made a big difference for me, and highly recommend them to anyone.
I received this product for free from COMQUEST to facilitate in providing this review. By purchasing through my code I receive a sales commission which helps maintain this site. My opinions are my own and reflect my experience with their product accurately.
Most people that go to medical school follow a similar pattern. Majority of my classmates went through their undergrad courses and mixed the pre-med courses into their majors and minors. I, however, didn’t do that.
When I started going to college I was already 21 years old. After high school I lived in Hokkaido, Japan, for two years. After that I came home and started school. I always felt that I wanted to work in the medical field, but I wasn’t sure what level I could handle. Undergrad had its ups and downs, fortunately more ups, By the time I applied to medical school I was 27 years old and we were expecting our second child.
The nice thing about osteopathic schools is that they have a fair number of “non-traditional students.” One of the nice things about not being a typical applicant meant that I had a lot of non-traditional things to talk about during interviews. Over the next while I’ll be touching on a few topics that have come up in my med school journey thus far. Topics ranging planned are:
- Letters of Recommendations
- Choosing a School
- Paying for School
- Grades in Undergrad
- Grades in Medical School
- Remembering Everything From the First Two Years
- Preparing for the COMLEX / USMLE
I’ve been in medical school now for a few years. I think it’s time I share my whole story. I am gathering my thoughts now and will start to share my experiences over the next while here on the under used blog portion of my site. Med school isn’t easy and has it’s ups and downs. I hope that as I share my thoughts and feelings that they will be useful to some of you out there.
I just added MCAT scores and average GPAs for students starting at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in California (TUCOM-CA). On their site TUCOM provides brief class profiles for the classes of 2011 and 2012. I like when schools give a year to year update of their stats. It lets you see that schools are quickly becoming more and more competitive. Take a quick look at TUCOM’s average GPA and MCAT scores and see how you compare.