Sunday, September 03, 2006


What is the NBOME?

The NBOME is the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners. It's a nonprofit corporation dedicated to serving the public and state licensing agencies by administering examinations testing the medical knowledge of osteopathic medical students and interns. The NBOME was established in July 1934. Its website is at

What is the COMLEX?

In order to more accurately measure the knowledge required by today's physicians, the NBOME initiated the three-level Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA) to replace the former three-part NBOME examination series. The COMLEX is a three part exam. Each exam is administered over a two day period, and employs an osteopathic primary care approach to patient care fully integrated throughout the examination.

What is the USMLE?

The USMLE is the United States Medical Licensing Exam -- it is taken by allopathic medical students and interns. It is administered by a Committee Consisting of representatives of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMGSM), the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), and the public. The Composite Committee establishes policies and procedures for the USMLE program. The USMLE website is at

When do medical students and interns take the COMLEX?

The first COMLEX is usually taken at the completion of the second-year of medical school. The next COMLEX is taken during the fourth year of medical school. The final exam is taken during the internship (first residency year).

Why do I need to take the COMLEX?

All states require you to have passed a licensing exam before they will issue you a license to practice. Most osteopathic medical schools require COMLEX as part of the process towards graduation. It is also used by residency programs to make selections of who they will interview and accept for their program. Usually this decision is made only with the scores from the first COMLEX.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Vadlo would be a good place to look for clinical powerpoints.

Here is an article about Vadlo and powerpoint published in

By Hope Leman: Vadlo has been featured here, but I decided to give it a good look-see as well. I am always on the lookout for free tools that might help me in my work in a medical library.

Like many of us, I’m a search engine junkie and like taking spins in the latest and greatest of them. The About page says, “Vadlo search engine caters to all branches of life sciences. This beta offering allows users to search within five categories: Protocols, Online Tools, Seminars, Databases and Software.”

Now I am not heavily into the more abstruse realms of protocols, but did decide to check out various of the other tools. I got a chuckle out of the endearingly jocular wording of the About page, “Databases will take you to, well, databases, resources, compilations, lists etc. It is here that you can also search for your favorite genes and proteins.” It is sweet to think that there are people out there who have such things as favorite proteins.

But joking aside, this is an extremely worthwhile project and a potentially valuable resource for medical and consumer health public librarians, high school science/technology teachers and novice health science researchers who need examples of well produced PowerPoint presentations. It is also a boon to humanity that research projects of genuine value by earnest, talented undergraduates or graduate students should be preserved and rendered more findable than has heretofore been the case. Kudos to the creators of Vadlo for benefiting patients, researchers, librarians and clinicians in this fashion.

Here is a case in point: As readers of this blog will learn, I tend to test out health-related search tools by searching for items on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). In this case, I used that term in the category, “Seminars” in Vadlo. I got a wealth of PowerPoint presentations on many aspects of ALS. For instance, I looked over the one called, “Neckbrace Design for Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)” which featured some really handsome, lush and detailed illustrations and helpful, authoritative discussion. Thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of the creators of Vadlo, valuable resources like that will no longer languish in impotent obscurity in the archives of university biomechanics departments (if they even are stored there) or in the personal portfolios of the former graduate students, but can be accessed and utilized for research proper or for training sessions for novice researchers.

And the generosity of the many donors who help advance science can be recognized—that is a desirable thing to for those of us care about the advancement of science. For instance, I have never met Dr. Hal Wrigley & Dr. Linda Baker, but they helped finance the study above. Good for them.

PubMed is the premier tool for researchers and medical librarians and is utilized by rising numbers of ever more sophisticated, web-savvy proactive patients. But many talks and presentations never make it into the journals cited in PubMed but contain information on devices (such as better neck braces) or services that could improve the daily lives of patients. And Vadlo can breach disciplinary barriers. A neurologist might not have attended a seminar in biomechanics, but she ought to be able to learn easily about neck braces.

Let us hope that Vadlo will blossom and eventually include a huge repository of podcasts, vodcasts, screencasts and include RSS feeds of what is new in the Seminars categories. One can visualize an entrepreneurially-minded user of noting that there is dearth of patents for a patient care need in some condition or other browsing through the Seminar results in Vadlo and finding such graduate students working on a related technology. The possibilities are endless. Scholars and researchers should look into submitting their links:

Want you paper cited? This might be one way to render it findable and to leverage the PowerPoint you gave last year to an elite but small audience. It will be interesting to see if Open Access bloggers like Peter Suber and leading medical librarians like David Rothman write up Vadlo.