Writing A COMLEX Exam Item, Part 2 [The Writer’s Series]
In Writing a COMLEX Exam Item, Part 1, we covered dimensions, item types, basic principles and distractors on the COMLEX exams. In this article, we continue to take a look at the COMLEX item writing process by covering the use of OMM/OPP and the osteopathic core competencies.
OMM and OPP
The NBOME integrates OMM and OPP through the entirety of COMLEX exams. There are two subsets of OMM/OPP items: pure and integrated.
OMM items focus on somatic dysfunction, whereas OPP items focus on neural, vascular and/or lymphatic findings. Pure OMM/OPP items are presented in four ways: OPP diagnostic items, OPP treatment items, OMM diagnostic items and OMM treatment items.
Likewise, integrated OMM/OPP items are presented in two types: those that integrate somatic dysfunction findings into a non-OMM/OPP case, and those that integrate OMM/OPP distractors into a non-OPP/OMM where the correct answer does not involve OMM or OPP.
These items are meant to cause confusion for the student, so it’s key you be aware that just because a question has an OMM/OPP related answer choice, that does not automatically mean it is the correct choice.
OMM/OPP plays a major role in what sets the COMLEX exams, and osteopathic physicians, apart from their allopathic counterparts. We realize this and have followed suit by ensuring COMBANK has hundreds of OMM/OPP questions, both integrated and pure, across all topics just like you’ll see on actual COMLEX exams.
The NBOME has developed a list of core competencies in which all osteopathic medical students must demonstrate adequate knowledge in order to pass the exam. All item writers are instructed to address at least one of these competencies in their item:
- Osteopathic philosophy and manipulative medicine
- Medical knowledge
- Patient care
- Interpersonal and communication skills
- Practice-based learning and improvement
- System-based practice
In the next article of The Writer’s Series, we’ll start to explore the USMLE item writing process.