COMLEX Level 1 vs. COMLEX Level 2 Examination Differences


All of us have experienced a pulled muscle or a compressed nerve at some point because of long hours at desk jobs. We stress about our jobs to the extent that we forget to take a break and stretch our legs and back. Sitting hunched all day at a desk is like crumpling a fresh piece of paper. It might not rip right away, but the creases get weaker. That’s what happens to our body! Bad posture strains muscles, pinches nerves and puts stress on the spine. These small injuries might seem invisible now, but over time they can lead to lasting pain and aches. And when the pain is chronic and unbearable, osteopaths come to our rescue. 

Osteopaths use gentle, hands-on manipulations to address restrictions and imbalances in the fascia, which is a web of connective tissue that connects everything in the body. They are trained to be DOs and clear COMLEX Level 2 preparation usually in the second year of the school. Osteopath’s field of work does overlap with physiotherapists and chiropractors, but they have a holistic approach and work on the benign and underlying problems and solve them at the root level. They treat postural problems, sports injuries, age-related musculoskeletal issues, sciatica, and cervical pains.  

COMLEX is a three-level exam that is taken during osteopathy school so that one can practice on their own after they clear all three levels. Primarily each level covers different topics that test the caliber of the future DO. Here are some points that outline the differences between levels 1 & 2 of the exam:


Both are computer-based multiple-choice exams. Level 1 focuses more on foundational sciences like anatomy and physiology, while Level 2 emphasizes the clinical application of that knowledge. Owing to this reason, it is recommended to take level one as soon as you start med school and still have your science major concepts fresh in your mind. In your second year in school, you will start clinical rotations and can relate to level 2 questions. 

Study Hours

Level 1 typically requires more dedicated studying due to the broader science base. Level 2 might be closer to 300-500 hours as it builds upon that foundation.


Level 1 assesses your grasp of medical knowledge. Level 2 focuses on applying that knowledge to diagnose and manage patient cases you might encounter in practice. The first level is the foundation for the second. 

Exam Day

Both are long days, approximately eight hours long, and have scheduled breaks.


Practice questions and resources are crucial for both exams. Level 1 might prioritize memorization, while Level 2 emphasizes clinical reasoning skills. It is recommended to take NBOME tests for both exams so that you get exposure to the real exam and are aware of the weak areas that need extra attention to get you by successfully in the main exam


A healthy body and mind are nutrition and exercise-driven. If any muscle is overused, it will strain and develop injury. Only a qualified doctor can align our backache to how we align our computer and strain the neck muscles connected to the spine. 

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