Finding the right COMLEX prep course can be a challenge with so many options to choose from, but you can whittle down the process by considering what you need from a prep course and how it can help you ace this licensing exam. The COMLEX series of examinations are an important part of your education, and are a requirement if you plan to become a doctor of osteopathy (DO). If you’re still deciding between DO versus MD, the prep and level of difficulty between the USMLE, the allopathic licensing exams, and COMLEX are very similar, and you always have the option take both! In this blog, we’ll explore whether COMLEX prep courses are worth the investment, how they can help you and how to choose the best prep course for you.


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Article Contents
6 min read

Are COMLEX prep courses worth it? How to decide if a COMLEX prep course is for you Steps for choosing the best COMLEX prep course Conclusion FAQs

Are COMLEX prep courses worth it?

If you’re studying for the COMLEX Level 1, COMLEX Level 2 CE or the COMLEX level 3, you may have considered enrolling in a prep course to help you take these challenging tests. These exams are required if you want to pursue a career in osteopathic medicine, and they are not easy to ace. But with so many COMLEX prep courses to choose from, how can you decide if its worth the investment?

The COMLEX is a challenging series of licensing exam for a few different reasons. The first is that the exams cover a large breadth and depth of topics under osteopathic medicine, so they require you to digest, comprehend and recall a great deal of scientific and medical information. All levels of the COMLEX are also very long, even longer than the USMLE Step 1 for MD students. COMLEX Level 1 and 2 are both comprised of over 350 multiple choice and short answer questions. Students are given 8 hours to complete the entire exam, with occasional breaks. The COMLEX Level 2, with a more clinical focus to its content, includes a variety of audiovisual attachments to its questions.

The sheer length of these exams can be mentally exhausting to many students, and multiple-choice questions can sometimes trip up students who dislike taking tests. Even if you are confident in your studying habits and knowledge that will be tested on the exam, the structure and style of a test can still be an obstacle to success.

Something worth considering too is that the COMLEX cannot be retaken to boost a low score. You’ll only be able to retake the exam if you fail. There is a limit of 4 tries to pass the COMLEX, so if you’re a particularly nervous test-taker, a prep course could be ideal to prepare you. It’s important to know that while failing COMLEX Level 1 means you can retake the test for a passing score, failing COMLEX Level 2 even once can have more serious consequences, as this will be seen as a “red flag” when you begin applying for residencies. This is especially true when taking the COMLEX Level 2 PE evaluation, though this part of the exam has been postponed indefinitely at this time.

Earning a competitive COMLEX score is important not just for passing your licensing exams but its important prep for your residency application, too. Residency programs will take your COMLEX scores into consideration and having a competitive score can significantly boost your chances of matching into your desired program. If you show a good score on your COMLEX Level 2, especially, this is a good sign to residency programs of your clinical aptitude. And if you plan to apply to a medical fellowship after your residency, a high COMLEX score will be another plus on your application.

Because of these factors, it might be in your best interest to take a COMLEX prep course so you can learn the strategies and tips you need to excel at these exams. A good COMLEX prep course, like an ideal USMLE Step 1 prep course, will not only help you study the materials on the exam, but it will also teach you effective strategies for taking the test, answering questions and managing exam stress. A good prep course offers personalized preparation, quality study materials and proven strategies to help you.

Need a breakdown of the COMLEX exams? Read this helpful infographic.

How to decide if a COMLEX prep course is for you

When studying for your medical licensing examinations, it’s hard to decide which sort of prep is the best one for you and which resources you will need to pass with flying colors. There are so many prep materials and study aids out there, how do you know which one is the best fit for you and which one is worth the time and money? And how do you decide that you need a prep course at all?

Prep courses are not the right choice for everyone, but as we’ve seen, the COMLEX is a very long and dense examination. Passing with a competitive score is important, and like any exam it means hitting the books for some long hours of studying. This is on top of your medical school coursework, clinical rotation hours and preparing for your residency applications. It’s imperative to make the most of your studying time so you don’t need to retake a test or repeat a step. A prep course can help you save that time and money you’ve already invested in your medical education and ensure your future success. Even if you’re a confident test-taker, a prep course may help smooth out the stress and give you some guidance ahead of exam day.

If you’ve decided a COMLEX prep course is for you, the next thing to do is to consider your personal situation, your studying habits and what you are able to invest in a prep course.

There are several factors to consider when you’re searching for the best COMLEX prep course. Below we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the factors you should keep in mind when choosing a prep course.

Knowing what you want and what you need out of a COMLEX prep course is the first step to choosing one. But it can be hard to tell whether a prep course will deliver just from reading reviews about its services or comparing notes on one prep course or another. It’s hard to tell if a prep course will really help you without taking it, and you simply don’t have the time and budget to try them all. Next, we’ll look at a step-by-step guide to choosing your ideal COMLEX prep course.

Still deciding which DO school to apply to? Check out these DO school rankings.

Steps for choosing the best COMLEX prep course

Choosing the best COMLEX prep course is a sort of prep in and of itself, but it can be broken down into some quick steps.

If you’re preparing for your COMLEX Level 2 CE exam, its important to devise your ERAS timeline so you have all the time you need to both prepare your residency applications and have the time to study for your exam while you complete your final year of med school.

As you’re researching the available prep courses, aim for the courses which offer the most value for your money and are built on quality study strategizing. Benefits of the best COMLEX prep courses will be personalized, one-on-one instruction and feedback from qualified instructors, as well as comprehensive coverage of the test content, timed practice exams or practice questions, and diversified learning materials.

Lastly, you should be able to book a free consultation so you can gauge whether a prep course is right for you. If the process of choosing a prep course isn’t transparent and you can’t ask questions or learn more about the service without signing up, it’s probably not right for you.

Conclusion

Choosing the right COMLEX prep course for you can be tricky, but its best to be systematic in your approach. Decide whether a prep course is the right study prep for you, define what you need from a prep course, and then start searching for the best one. As you search, consider your budget and the amount of study time you have before exam day. Also remember to identify the COMLEX prep courses which offer comprehensive, quality instruction. Keep your eyes open for the prep course which offers you the best value, including the best study strategies, an inclusive learning philosophy and qualified, personalized feedback on your study prep.

FAQs

1. How do I prepare for COMLEX?

The best ways to prepare for COMLEX are to use effective study materials and resources such as timed practice tests and practice questions. Another important tip is to start studying early and lay out a good study schedule. There is a large volume of information to learn and understand for the test, so start your studying as early as possible.

2. How long should I study for COMLEX?

There is no magic number of weeks or months you should study for COMLEX, however you should start studying as early possible. Students normally take COMLEX 1 within the first two years of medical school, so it’s a good idea to start studying as soon as you start med school, while keeping in mind you’ll need to balance studying with your coursework.

3. Is COMLEX harder than USMLE Step 1?

While the COMLEX is structured very similar to the USMLE, it is almost twice as many questions. The content of the COMLEX focuses on basics of osteopathic medicine instead of allopathic medicine, but otherwise they are both considered challenging exams which evaluate a wide breadth and depth of scientific and medical knowledge.

4. What percentage of people pass COMLEX?

COMLEX has a high pass rate, with over 90% of first time test takers receiving a passing score over 400. Only around 4% of test-takers fail COMLEX on the first try. Earning a competitive score on COMLEX is more of a challenge.

5. Can I retake COMLEX?

Yes, you can retake the COMLEX exam a total of 4 times in any 12-month period, but only if you have failed the exam, not to boost a low score.

6. Do COMLEX scores matter?

Yes, most DO residencies will consider your COMLEX scores with your application, and medical fellowships may also require you to submit your COMLEX scores. Seeing a failed COMLEX test may be considered a red flag in your application, but a very high COMLEX score may give you an edge over the competition when it comes to matching competitive residencies.

7. Is a COMLEX prep course worth it?

Enrolling in a COMLEX prep course is worth it if it helps you develop the strategies and study habits needed to earn a high score on your licensing exams. Passing this test on the first try and receiving a good score can save you time and money, as well as give you a boost when you begin applying for residencies after medical school.

8. How do I find the right COMLEX prep course?

You’ll want to carefully consider each COMLEX prep course option available to you in picking the right one. Look for prep courses which employ personalized feedback, practice tests and questions, teach effective study strategies and have qualified, quality instructors.

To your success, 

Your friends at BeMo 

BeMo Academic Consulting 


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