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Letters to the Editor  |   October 2009
Personality Types and Performance: COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE
Author Affiliations
  • Donald J. Sefcik, DO, MBA
    Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Downers Grove, Illinois
    Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, East Lansing
    Senior Associate Dean
Article Information
Medical Education / COMLEX-USA
Letters to the Editor   |   October 2009
Personality Types and Performance: COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, October 2009, Vol. 109, 524-525. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2009.109.10.524
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, October 2009, Vol. 109, 524-525. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2009.109.10.524
To the Editor:  
In the June edition of JAOA—The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, a team of researchers (myself included, D.J.S.)1 presented recent findings regarding the relationships among the four Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) mental-function pairs2 and performance on Level 1 of the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA (COMLEX-USA) by 263 osteopathic medical students at Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove, Illinois. 
Based on subsequent inquiries and comments received from colleagues and students, we decided to investigate the relationship between the MBTI mental-function pairs and student performance on Level 2-CE of COMLEX-USA. 
The primary question we sought to answer in this new investigation was the following: Is the performance of students with each of the four mental-function pairs the same or different in Level 2-CE vs Level 1 of COMLEX-USA? 
Subsequent to review and approval of the new study by Midwestern University's institutional review board, we began to analyze data from the original 295 osteopathic medical students—including 32 students who were excluded from the first study1 because they did not meet criteria specified for participation. This group consisted of 132 students from the class of 2008 and 163 students from the class of 2009.1 Because 12 of these students had transferred to another college of osteopathic medicine or had extended their course of study, the final cohort for the new analysis consisted of 283 students, including 130 in the class of 2008 and 153 in the class of 2009. 
Analysis revealed that the rank order of students' MBTI function-pairs with regard to mean test scores was the same for both portions of COMLEX-USA (Table). 
Table
Mean COMLEX-USA Scores for Osteopathic Medical Students by MBTI Mental-Function Pair


Level 1

Level 2-CE
MBTI Mental-Function Pair
n
Score, Mean (SD)
n
Score, Mean (SD)
Sensing-thinking52535.2 (76.8)59561.5 (76.7)
Intuition-thinking 42 529.0 (90.5) 42 547.2 (83.5)
Sensing-feeling59515.9 (71.9)68533.3 (72.1)
Intuition-feeling 110
493.5 (61.7) 114
522.2 (69.3)
Total
263 512.4 (73.8) 283 536.8 (74.9)
 Abbreviations: CE, Cognitive Evaluation; COMLEX-USA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA; MBTI, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
Table
Mean COMLEX-USA Scores for Osteopathic Medical Students by MBTI Mental-Function Pair


Level 1

Level 2-CE
MBTI Mental-Function Pair
n
Score, Mean (SD)
n
Score, Mean (SD)
Sensing-thinking52535.2 (76.8)59561.5 (76.7)
Intuition-thinking 42 529.0 (90.5) 42 547.2 (83.5)
Sensing-feeling59515.9 (71.9)68533.3 (72.1)
Intuition-feeling 110
493.5 (61.7) 114
522.2 (69.3)
Total
263 512.4 (73.8) 283 536.8 (74.9)
 Abbreviations: CE, Cognitive Evaluation; COMLEX-USA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA; MBTI, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
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Our results demonstrate that the performance of osteopathic medical students on Levels 1 and 2-CE in COMLEX-USA, based on MBTI mental-function pairs, is similar. This finding should encourage faculty at osteopathic medical schools to further evaluate the use of the MBTI during student assessment and training. We believe that information gained from the MBTI can be used to enhance student learning and improve academic performance in osteopathic medical school. 
In our opinion, the next two questions that need to be answered by researchers are as follows: 
  • How are MBTI function-pairs related to evaluation of osteopathic medical students by preceptors?
  • How are MBTI function-pairs related to student performance on COMLEX-USA Level 2-Performance Evaluation (PE)?
These—and other—questions offer excellent opportunities for further research efforts. 
Sefcik DJ, Prerost FJ, Arbet SE. Personality types and performance on aptitude and achievement tests: implications for osteopathic medical education. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2009;109:296-301. http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/content/full/109/6/296. Accessed September 23, 2009.
Myers IB, McCaulley MH, Quenk NL, Hammer AL. MBTI Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. 3rd ed. Mountain View, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press; 1998.
Table
Mean COMLEX-USA Scores for Osteopathic Medical Students by MBTI Mental-Function Pair


Level 1

Level 2-CE
MBTI Mental-Function Pair
n
Score, Mean (SD)
n
Score, Mean (SD)
Sensing-thinking52535.2 (76.8)59561.5 (76.7)
Intuition-thinking 42 529.0 (90.5) 42 547.2 (83.5)
Sensing-feeling59515.9 (71.9)68533.3 (72.1)
Intuition-feeling 110
493.5 (61.7) 114
522.2 (69.3)
Total
263 512.4 (73.8) 283 536.8 (74.9)
 Abbreviations: CE, Cognitive Evaluation; COMLEX-USA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA; MBTI, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
Table
Mean COMLEX-USA Scores for Osteopathic Medical Students by MBTI Mental-Function Pair


Level 1

Level 2-CE
MBTI Mental-Function Pair
n
Score, Mean (SD)
n
Score, Mean (SD)
Sensing-thinking52535.2 (76.8)59561.5 (76.7)
Intuition-thinking 42 529.0 (90.5) 42 547.2 (83.5)
Sensing-feeling59515.9 (71.9)68533.3 (72.1)
Intuition-feeling 110
493.5 (61.7) 114
522.2 (69.3)
Total
263 512.4 (73.8) 283 536.8 (74.9)
 Abbreviations: CE, Cognitive Evaluation; COMLEX-USA, Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA; MBTI, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
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