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COMLEX Level 1 to Become Pass/Fail!

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A Pass/Fail COMLEX Level 1 form with the word "Pass" circled.


COMLEX Level 1 is Going Pass/Fail!


Big news for DO students today as news breaks that the COMLEX Level 1 exam will be shifting over to a pass/fail model starting May 1, 2022.



The NBOME has stated that this decision had been made in support of student wellness, with a mission to protect the public. This change is similar to the switch to pass/fail scoring for the USMLE Step 1 that is planned by the NBME for 2021. This change will continue the parallel organization of both the COMLEX and the USMLE. It is unclear how this change will affect DO students, but based on our earlier analysis (link here) of the USMLE scoring change, we expect similar effects.


First, this scoring system may put pressure on osteopathic institutions to adjust the organization of their preclinical curriculum. A typical 2-year preclinical term may be condensed into a 1.5-year preclinical term, ultimately extending the clinical term and rotations.


Second, we expect a greater emphasis and importance will be placed on Level 2 and shelf exam scores. Students may need to adjust their schedules and to devote attention to Level 2 exam preparation while balancing the requirements of working on their clinical rotations. We expect students may feel more pressured as they may have less preparation time for these exams.


In response to the expected change in emphasis and shift in curriculum, institutions may allot less dedicated study time for Level 1 and add/increase dedicated study time for Level 2. Other effects may occur as we get closer to the switchover date. The effects of all these changes on residency applications is still too difficult to predict.


More information to come in the upcoming days. If you need additional information to help you prepare for your exam or think that it may be time for you to get a COMLEX tutor, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

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