Medical EducationOriginal Article

Comparison of COMLEX-USA Scores, Medical School Performance, and Preadmission Variables Between Women and Men

Donna Dixon, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: October 1, 2014

Accepted: October 23, 2014

Published: April 1, 2015

J Osteopath Med; 115(4): 199-200

Context: Previous studies by the author showed differences in preadmission variables and Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA (COMLEX-USA) scores between women and men at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYIT-COM). It is pertinent to reexamine the preadmission variables, medical school performance, and COMLEX-USA scores of women and men to determine whether these differences still exist.

Objectives: To examine the relationship between student sex and performance on COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-Cognitive Evaluation (CE), performance during medical school, and preadmission academic variables at NYIT-COM.

Methods: Scores on COMLEX-USA Level 1 and COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE, grades in all courses taken during the first 2 years of medical school, the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners’ clinical science subject examination scores, Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores, and undergraduate grade point averages (GPAs) were compared between women and men in the classes graduating between 2009 and 2012.

Results: Data from 748 students were analyzed. Men had statistically significantly higher scores than women on COMLEX-USA Level 1 in 2009 (540 vs 500; P<.001) and 2010 (537 vs 496; P<.001). No statistically significant difference in COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE scores was found between women and men. The performance of women and men was comparable during the first 2 years of medical school and on clinical science subject examinations in years 3 and 4. Men had statistically significantly higher MCAT scores than women, but no statistically significant differences were found between women’s and men’s undergraduate GPAs.

Conclusions: Men were found to have higher scores than women on COMLEX-USA Level 1 and the MCAT. However, the reasons behind these data have yet to be elucidated. Although a stronger background in basic science could explain the discrepancy in scores between women and men, women were found to have equally high science GPAs and performed comparably to men in osteopathic medical school. The results were in agreement with previous studies at NYIT-COM. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2015;115(4):222-225 doi:10.7556/jaoa.2015.044

Read Full Article