am a second yr DO student preparing for COMLEX. I use practice questions from both USMLE and COMLEX. from my experience, USMLE is much more detail oriented than COMLEX.
USMLE place empahsis on molecular concept like mechanism of action, specific enzymes, rate limiting steps, while COMLEX is more clinically oriented; asking more of diagnosis and treatment. COMLEX seem to be more buzz words oriented also with very little biochemistry compared to USMLE.
For most institution, COMLEX 1 and USMLE 1 are now considered equal. Most programs except for few accept both. When the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) president came to my sch, he specifically said, "if you call up a program and they tell you they don't take COMLEX 1, call the AOA office and they will contact the hospital" because there is an agreement in place now.
For step 2 and 3, that hasn't been finalized yet, so if an osteopathic students is going into an allopathic programs, he/she might need to take USMLE 2 and 3 but not USMLE 1.
DO and MD medical education is of the same standard, and it will be a misconception to think otherwise but the exam is written differently with emphasis on different aspect of knowledge. Since my realization of the differences between the two exams, I decided to actually use the USMLE Qbanks to prepare for the basic sciences for Boards and use the COMLEX Qbanks for the osteopathic principles component of COMLEX.
Irrespective of which one you end up in, the bottom line is your success on boards is dependent on you.
"for what u believe in... stand up!
If u think that u sleeping...rise up!
You got to fight for urself,
before u find urself, by urself with ur hands up!"