Sunday, April 24, 2011

COMLEX Level 2 Performance Evaluation

This "vacation" month has been quite useful. I started with an extended hospital stay, added a little at-home recovery time, and will shortly be taking my practical board examination. This test, known as the COMLEX 2 PE, is just the next hurdle on my path to becoming a physician.

Board Exam Number 2

The COMLEX 2 PE tests students' ability to obtain a patient history, conduct a physical exam, and write a patient note within an allotted time of 23 minutes. We are graded in two domains: biomedical/biomechanical and humanistic. The former is a conglomerate of skills performed with the patient, information gathering and written communication of associated findings, while the latter is derived by the patient/actor in response to our interpersonal skills and professionalism. Students must pass both domains to effectively pass the examination. We will interact with 12 patients throughout the seven hour day. Although this is an exam we have prepared for in school and on rotation, it is a standardized board exam and that means high-stress.

Normally, with enough practice an examination such as this should be second nature. In fact, most students return with the feeling that it was not a difficult process at all. The stress comes in the details surrounding the exam. From here in Las Vegas, I must travel 2,500 miles across the country as there is only one test site. The exam itself is expensive, a small investment of $1,100. Then there are the airfares, lodging, and travel expenses to include. The time commitment is not too overwhelming, but requires a couple days off for traveling. It's easy to see why we want to pass on the first time so badly. This is not an exam anybody wants to repeat for a number of sound reasons. In one week's time, it will be behind me and hopefully for good. Unfortunately, I will not know my fate for another two months when scores are reported. In the meantime, I am thinking positive thoughts and trying to enjoy the remainder of my so-called vacation.

Question of the Week
A 46-year-old woman presents with complaints of feeling as if she
has "sand in her eyes" and reports difficulty swallowing such foods
as crackers or toast. Which of the following pairs of tests would
likely yield positive results in this patient?

A. Anti-centromere antibody and rheumatoid factor
B. Anti-Scl-70 antibody and anti-Smith antibody
C. Anti-Smith antibody and anti-double stranded DNA antibody
D. Rheumatoid factor and anti-double stranded DNA
E. Rheumatoid factor and anti-SS-A antibody

Answer & Explanation

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