Developments in ethical decision making are increasing demand for more accurate predictions of outcome in coma. New neurophysiologic tests are needed to improve the ability to predict awakening as well as poor outcome. We have recently reported that the P300 event-related potential (P300) correlates with awakening and depth of nontraumatic coma. In this companion study, the predictive value of the P300 was compared with median nerve somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) and EEG in 20 patients in non-traumatic coma. We also evaluated the predictive value of a simplified grading scale for both the EEG and SEP (the USC SEP scale and USC EEG scale). The presence of a P300 was significantly associated with higher Glasgow coma scores (GCS) and awakening. Severe abnormalities of the somatosensory evoked potentials significantly correlated with the absence of awakening and a low GCS. Moderate abnormalities of the SEP were significantly associated with awakening and higher GCS scores. The EEG was significantly associated with GCS score and severe abnormalities of the EEG were predictive of the absence of awakening and very low GCS scores. The data indicates that the P300 and SEP are more effective than the EEG in predicting awakening, and that the SEP and EEG are more effective than the P300 in predicting poor outcome. We conclude that, in addition to EEG and SEP, the P300 should be considered in the prognostic evaluation of patients in nontraumatic coma. Further, simplified scales for the EEG and SEP are predictive of depth of coma and outcome.