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How to Choose the Best COMLEX Prep Resources

  • by Joel Harding
  • Mar 31, 2016

We asked Cram Fighter coach Joel Harding, a student at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, how best to approach a COMLEX Level 1 study plan.

Which resources should I use to study for the COMLEX Level 1?

That’s a common question and a major concern of any Osteopathic student who is preparing for COMLEX. I often hear “How do I approach this differently than the USMLE?” I respond by saying that you should study for the COMLEX like you’re taking the USMLE. Allopathic resources, such as First Aid, are the gold standard.

The only difference in content between the USMLE and the COMLEX is the inclusion Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment Medicine, called “OMM” or “OMT.” First Aid has developed a special “First Aid for the COMLEX.” It’s very similar to First Aid for the USMLE Step 1, except for the addition of OMT content. You’ll see the same pathology and physiology concepts as you would find in First Aid for the USMLE.

Most osteopathic students will use a book called “OMT Review” by Savarese, which we call “the green book.” I have talked to a lot of different osteopathic students; we have 150 osteopathic students in our class. Every single person says that they used the green book for OMT review.

Allopathic resources, such as First Aid, are the gold standard.

How should I incorporate OMT content into my study plan?

Many students have asked me if there is an optimal time to begin studying OMT. Most students students don’t integrate OMT into the bulk of their daily or weekly study plan. I always ask osteopathics how they feel about the OMT education they got from their classes. Osteopathic students often report that their program thoroughly and repeatedly covers OMT material. That being said, you are already well-prepared to handle the OMT content tested on the COMLEX.

It’s important to note that anywhere from 5% to 30% of questions on the COMLEX Level 1 may be OMT. That’s a significant amount of your test. So about a week before your exam, I suggest taking one day to go through the entire green book. Then, the next day, do about 200 of just OMT questions. This should absolutely be enough to prepare for the OMT content on the COMLEX.