First, let me caution you…not only is the format of the exam vastly different from the USMLE Step 1; but also the structure of the exam. The three 'P’s that Nat refers to: Path, Phys & Pharm VERY MUCH apply to the COMLEX! In fact, I think the COMLEX emphasized Pharm substantially more than did the USMLE.
The COMLEX Step 1 is a very clinically oriented exam. The information tested is the same as you will encounter on the USMLE…afterall, we all took the same courses! However, the manner in which COMLEX tests this data is much more from a disease and clinical perspective. I used the same exact books to prepare for the COMLEX as I did for the USMLE. But, the way I prioritized them is very different. In as far as preparation strategy, I will refer you to the thread on “USMLE Step I & Step II” as Nat does an excellent job of describing exactly how you should do it.
COMLEX Step 1:
#1: Step Up to the Boards: Honestly, if the title did not state otherwise, I would swear that this book was designed to prepare for the COMLEX instead of the USMLE. Friends & Romans, this is how the COMLEX tests the information from years 1 & 2. It is essentially the same data that you find covered in First Aid, Kaplan Q-Bank, Buzzwords and all of the others, but it is presented in a succinct, down & dirty, systems or disease based format. This is how you will need to be able to relate to this info come test time!
#2: First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 - KNOW this book! You should have read it, cover to cover, at least 5 times PRIOR to taking the COMLEX. No, it is not presented from a clinical perspective as in Step Up. But, it is a succinct, down & dirty presentation of a wealth of info that you must be very familiar with to score well on the COMLEX. No, it is not highly detailed – but overloading your noggin with details or minutiae is not how your score well on the COMLEX. You score well by understanding conceptually what was taught in years 1 & 2 and applying it to clinical vignettes and stand alone style questions. The COMLEX expects you to be ably to apply this information and not simply regurgitate it. The COMLEX also loves to test your recall through stand-alone questions over most common this, least common that, rate limiting this, most common side effect of __.
#3: Buzzwords for the Boards: Step 1 - Since they are typically lower yield topics, I chose to review Micro & BioChem in this books format, which is literally one-liner statements organized under broad topics: most common this, least common that, rate limiting this…
#4: Kaplan Q-bank - I did not feel that Kaplan Q-bank was very helpful with COMLEX prep. I actually enrolled specifically for the purpose of USMLE prep. Had I done so in prep for the COMLEX, I would have felt that I blew the fee without much yield. Again, as the USMLE is striving to become more & more clinical in its testing perspective, the Kaplan Q-bank will follow suit. I suspect, as this process evolves, the Q-bank will become progressively more valuable for COMLEX prep.
Another tactic I employed, and felt was highly beneficial, was quizzing one another. I had a study partner…one that was very very low maintenence!!! We actually did not study together, per se…we simply studied in the same room and fielded questions or talked through problems when we encountered them. But, 2x per week early on, and more frequently closer to the testing date, we would allot 2 hours to simply quiz one another, 1 hour each. We’d randomly pick up any of the three books we were using, randomly open to a page and make up questions…over time, you’ll get much better at using key words & phrases to zero in on answers. It is especially helpful to know these when playing the POE game .

geez – nobody has replied here at all – !!!
thanks for the tips Dave – I will be doing Comlex level one next June and am begining to panic a little already – and we are only in the middle of Musculo skeletal. A group of us “Olde Phartes” at UNECOM have formed a study group to start to focus a little with the intent of hitting it hard after Christmas –