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What You Need to Know About the New COMLEX

It can be frightening going into an exam without knowing exactly what you are going to find. The NBOME for this year’s exams cycle is implementing a “new COMLEX” Level 1 and 2. The “new” Level 3 examination has already been in effect since September of 2018. This post is going to focus on the few things we know about the new Level 1 and 2 based on what the NBOME has revealed thus far.

The New COMLEX: Things aren’t all that different

The Level 1 and 2 COMLEX format has remained, overall, relatively unchanged. There are still 400 questions administered over 2 sessions, in a single day. However, the user interface has changed. It is unclear which of the two types of new user interfaces showcased on the NBOME’s website will actually show up on test day, unfortunately. It would be a good idea to try out both interfaces and get a feel for their functionality before taking your exam. One of them is really similar to the past interface, and the other is quiet different, at least in appearance.

The New COMLEX has an Updated Exam Blueprint 

The blueprint for all COMLEX exam levels has been overhauled. The exam blueprint guides what is included in exam content. That being said, it wasn’t super helpful to use the exam blueprint for the old COMLEX to guide which topics to study, and I don’t think that will change.

Likely, questions will be reassigned to different categories within the new blueprint, possibly lengthened, or changed slightly to include exam features introduced recently such as imbedded lab values. The practice questions provided by the NBOME seem similar to prior iterations of the exam, so I would not expect a drastic change in content or style.

COMLEX scoring will be re-evaluated once enough data from test takers has been accumulated. While we have been told this will happen, it is unclear how exactly this will be carried out.


The NBOME has released new COMSAE examinations to reflect the new COMLEX exam blueprint. The NBOME has also caveated the accuracy of these exams predicting a Level 1 or 2 score until more data is collected on new COMLEX scores. Therefore, tread with caution and make sure you have a large cushion in your score before sitting for your exam.

The New COMLEX Exam is Only Kinda New

All in all, the “new” COMLEX doesn’t sound all that different from the “old” COMLEX. It remains to be seen exactly what the new exam will look like, but from the information we’ve been provided with from the NBOME, I wouldn’t expect anything massive. We will continue updating this post as more information becomes available.


Are you preparing to sit for the COMLEX exam? We have some great resources to help you get started:

MST’s COMLEX OMM Cheat Sheet: The Highest of Yields

Do I need a COMLEX Q-Bank?

How I Scored a 847 on COMLEX Level 2, a 271 on USMLE Step 2, and Lived to Write This Blog Post Too