In April, Nari, Stacey and I completed our COMLEX 2 PE in Philadelphia.
Just wanted to share a few tips/tricks for those of you who have the exam coming up:
- Go with friends!
- We planned it so that we could go together, cutting down on hotel and rental car costs. It was also an a great way to meet up as we have all been at different rotation sites for the year. Thanks to Stacey for the pictures!
- Schedule it ASAP!!!
- Slots fill up FAST! I wanted to make sure my exam was during a more laid back rotation, preferably at the beginning (far from the shelf/COMAT exam) or during ER (there is no shelf/COMAT exam).
- ***Pro tip: plan wisely! If you have to be gone for more than 3 week days, it counts as an entire week off at our school. So, you end up being required to make up that extra week later on! This can screw up your entire third year schedule! So make sure you only officially take off for two week days.
- Try to finish it off towards the end of your third year (we took it April 1, 2016), that way you can just focus on COMLEX 2 CE / USMLE 2 CK till you have to take them!
- Give your self time to adjust
- If you go 2-3 days before your exam, your body will have time to adjust to the time difference. We did not do this (we went 1 day before), and definitely struggled to sleep/wake up, BUT we powered through (and it is possible to do it!).
- Make a mini-vacation out of it
- Some of our classmates were brilliant and turned the trip into a fun getaway. You’re close to a ton of places on the east coast and you just completed a board exam–go have fun!
- Stay close to the exam site
- We stayed at the Residence Inn Marriott in Conshohocken (Website), walking distance to the testing location (although I would NOT recommend walking the morning of–can get sweaty as you go uphill). It offered a really nice breakfast in the mornings too!
- Again, planning is KEY. Hotel rooms fill up fast, make sure you book it ASAP. Thanks to Stacey for getting this organized!
- Rent a car
- We had a classmate who didn’t and had to do things in a very round about (and long) fashion… definitely wouldn’t recommend going car-less (at least before the test!) if you can help it! Thanks to Stacey for getting this organized!
- Book your flight ASAP
- To get the best possible prices and decent timings, make sure to book soon! We booked it around $450 round trip, but I know of classmates who booked around $300! Thanks to Nari for getting this organized!
- The COMLEX 2 PE
- Dr. DiMeo and the clinical skills department do an EXCELLENT job of preparing us. So, if you went through your OSCE/ standardized patients with no problems, that’s a good sign! I will say that I found the test to be harder than what was provided at PNWU (because of my stress level, the strict time, the fact that we had to go through 12 different cases, and the atmosphere in general).
- We went through cases on the flight from the JB Review book and found it to be EXTREMELY helpful! Especially going through the cases together! I also had a game plan, I had memorized my questions and exam in a particular format (CC, HPI – OLD CARTS, PMH, PSH, MEDS, ALLERGIES, FHX, SHX-FED TACOS, HCM, etc) and that really helped me stay on track during every single encounter.
- They do provide a lunch with various options (I got a vegetarian pesto pasta dish I think, it was quite good).
- They provide a locker as well for anything you brought, but you have limited access to it.
- Don’t forget your Driver’s License or your confirmation sheet (they want you to have your AOA #).
- Get there early (you are told the time on the sheet).
- Places to check out in Conshohocken:
- We went out for dinner the night before our exam. There are a ton of places on Fayette street, check them out on Yelp! To be honest, I don’t remember the name of the place we went to, but we ended up getting lighter fare (salads) which were tasty.
- Places to check out in Philadelphia:
- We went out to the city after our exam and met up with Priyanka and Kapil. It was a lot of fun to walk around and check stuff out. We did eat out at an Italian place but it really wasn’t very good… I would recommend making a reservation at one of the better places (check out Yelp) beforehand because we walked to two before getting to one that had space for us.
- After dinner we went to Ritas frozen custard (http://www.ritasice.com/)!
- so yummmmmy!!!
- We left Pennsylvania the next day, so we spent Saturday am in the city and went to Reading square and the Mutter Museum!
- Reading Square (http://www.readingterminalmarket.org/)
- We had falafels and amazing cookies here! A really cool place to check out!
- Mutter Museum (http://muttermuseum.org/)
- A really, really cool place to check out (Nari’s idea). Lots of amazing medicine and rarities. They had a case of acromegaly next to a dwarf–the contrast was mind-blowing!
- There are a ton more! We just didn’t have time to check it all out.
- The east coast is great. Remember that it’s a bit humid (my hair wasn’t happy). There’s also a ton of Dunkin’ Donuts… it’s like Starbucks on the west coast… We also met up with friends at the airport both ways! On our way home, we ran into Sara and the gang–it was really nice to meet up with them!! There are lots of places to check out–so do it with friends!
Good luck to you on your exam!!