As you progress through your osteopathic studies, you’ll find yourself preparing for the COMLEX Level 2 CE and possibly the COMAT exams as well. As you prepare for these exams, it’s important you know the key differences between the two.
The NBOME’s COMAT exam series currently tests on eight core clinical disciplines: Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Osteopathic Principles and Practice, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery.
Each subject exam is designed as an end-of-course or clinical rotation assessment. COMAT examinations assess an osteopathic student’s achievement level on those subjects, with an emphasis on clinical application. COMAT is the only osteopathically distinctive subject examination series.
Unlike COMLEX Level 2 CE, COMAT exams are not explicitly required for osteopathic certification. However, depending on your institution, COMAT exams may play a significant role in your class standings. While the COMAT exams are taken in a very similar format to other COMLEX exams, the number of questions (125) and length of the exam (2 hours and 35 minutes) is significantly shorter. In 2015, the NBOME started to allow COMAT exams to be administered at either a testing center or by your institution via tablet.
THE COMLEX-USA LEVEL 2-CE
COMLEX-USA Level 2-Cognitive Evaluation (CE) is a problem-based and symptoms-based assessment.
The exam covers a wide array of topics including: emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, osteopathic principles and neuromusculoskeletal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, and other relevant areas.
Unlike COMAT exams, the Level 2-CE exam is much longer at 400 items and is broken up into two four-hour sessions in the same day. This exam must be taken at a certified testing center. Questions on the Level 2-CE exam can range from single answer, multiple choice, matching items, and questions with audio-visual components.
Much like your Level 1 exam, 400 is the minimum passing score for the Level 2-CE. Unlike the COMAT exams, it is required by the NBOME that you pass the Level 2-CE exam in order to continue on your path to becoming a licensed osteopathic physician.
DSM IV VS DSM 5 ON COMLEX EXAMS
In May of 2013, at the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting, the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) was released, setting new guidelines for the diagnosis and management of mental disorders.
Starting in the 2015-16 testing cycles, the NBOME states the following in its formal DSM5 update published in 2014.
COMLEX-USA Levels 1 and 2-CE will include diagnostic criteria and terminology from both DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5. For items including respective terminology, the DSM-IV-TR term will appear first, followed by the revised terminology provided by the DSM-5 parenthetically.