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Dismissed from DO School, Want Back In, Need Help!!

Discussion in 'Osteopathic' started by 504girl, Apr 12, 2012.

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  1. 504girl

    504girl

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    Hey Everyone .... I need your advice!

    I'm a 3rd year Osteopathic Medical Student and I've just been dismissed for failure of the COMLEX Level I 3 times. I've got so much training (and debt) and passion for this that I'm trying to find a way back in. "But you failed out No way they should let you back in!" ... yes, but let me explain.

    This is long, so in hopes of weeding out the ignorant comments, let me first state that I absolutely accept full responsibility for my failing scores and under no circumstance do I mean to shift accountability onto any other person. I am writing this in hopes that the details of my circumstances might provide a more thorough picture so that someone reading this can offer me hope or help. Because NO - my scores do NOT reflect my abilities as a physician, and my knowledge has CERTAINLY been confirmed via rotations so i'm not a liability to patients.

    1. MCAT score was weak - 25. High school gpa 4.0. B.A. gpa 3.5. M.S. gpa 3.3.

    2. Got into med school - 1st year went fine. I was an average student.

    3. During my 2nd year, I failed a course that was remediated successfully. I then failed a 2nd course but this was due to a very controversial exam that more than 50% of the class failed. It turned into a political battle and there was conflict of interest and it was handled very poorly on the school's part. Nonetheless, many students failed but I was one of the few who had to repeat the year due to 2 overall failures.

    4. I repeated 2nd year of medical school with no failures, studied my butt off for the Level I and moved on to 3rd year feeling very confident about my performance on the Level I.

    5. Rotations - During 3rd year, I completed 3 rotations in-between studying for my Level I retakes. I scored very highly on all 3 rotations, passed the COMAT exams, and even got letters of recommendation from attendings who were impressed with my love for learning and patient skills. Best part though, was the many patients who remarked on how much it meant to them that I loved my job. I've even been requested by returning patients. Plus, the research I've looked at shows that third year academic performance is a strong indicator of Comlex Level II scores. So it looks like Level I really is my last hurdle.

    6. The Level I scores: 375, 380, 398 (400 is passing). So what went wrong?

    a) My first attempt was 12 hours in the library 7 days a week for 6 weeks with a group of friends. I went through the entire USMLE World Q Bank (2,072 questions) and took notes in First Aid. As recommended by the creators of that Q Bank, I used it more as a learning tool than an assessment tool. Additionally, I used Savarese to study for the OMM content.

    b) My second attempt - I paid for a Review program where I expected to learn things I somehow missed or had not previously understood. While taking classes with other students, I discovered instead that my knowledge base was rather thorough and needed only light reviewing. Moreover, I was scared by the lack of knowledge displayed by the other students who are now somehow still in medical school, but I don't mean to judge because I honestly don't know their situations.

    c) My third attempt - I made many changes on this round.
    1) I met with a highly recommended clinical psychologist who revaluated me for my previously diagnosed "Learning DO NOS" - the old documentation was outdated so now I got a more detailed H&P and we poured over all of my old documentation to administer tests that might hone in on my deficiencies. I was officially diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, and YES it may be over diagnosed but NO not in this case. I am a great example of genetic involvement in ADHD.
    2) I was referred to a neurologist who specializes in adult treatment of ADHD who was able to adjust my medications.
    3) I met with a Learning Specialist who specializes in learning disorders as they affect medical board examinations. The specialist was able to explain to me that my ADHD actually causes me to process material too quickly and thus miss the big picture. Additionally, my hyperactive nature requires intense focus to slow down and concentrate, and that it causes me to get more easily fatigued than the average student. These two conditions create quite the conundrum when sitting down for a long timed exam. We worked to find a solution and we were further able to establish that I have a good working knowledge of Level I content.
    4) I followed a study plan that involved some material review with a heavy focus on doing the COMBANK questions. I averaged about 50/60%.

    7. 1 week before I was scheduled to take my 3rd attempt, I suffered a severe injury that required immediate surgery. This injury not only derailed my study plans but also delayed my return to rotations and forced me to reschedule the Comlex for a month later.

    8. Having previously been denied accommodations by the NBOME and NBME (I took the step as well), I now had time to request them again. The NBME granted my request but the NBOME did not. Because of my injury, there was a lot of pain involved during the test that affected my concentration when I took it again one month later.

    9. Regardless of all the pain I was in during the exam and the pressure to return to rotations, and despite the lack of accommodations from the NBOME when the NBME clearly saw a need, my school has dismissed me after my 3rd failure on the COMLEX. 2 FREAKING POINTS!

    To say that this dismissal has been traumatic and devastating is to put it mildly. I have dedicated my life to medicine because I feel a calling to help people. I have spent thirteen years on this mission to serve as a physician and to lose it now, under circumstances that prove I would be an amazing physician with really bad exam taking abilities - just makes it worse. I'm called to this life. I'm already trained for this life. And it has taken ample sacrifices (lets just say i'm not in my 20's anymore). But will someone out there believe in me any further? Let's just say my school is more about the numbers than the student, and while the dismissal is hard, I certainly won't miss that school.


    What do I plan to do?
    1. I plan to seek legal advice regarding accommodations for the 4th attempt, though all my research shows that I would spend way too much money on attempting a lawsuit and would not win if it were against either the NBOME for accommodations or my school for dismissing me.
    2. I plan to meet again with the Learning Specialist who has some additional approaches in mind.
    3. Should I take the Level I a 4th time??? The NBOME allows a student 4 chances to pass the exam (not 3) and based on statistical trend alone, it is reasonable to assume that my 4th attempt will be successful, with or without accommodations. So - should I take the exam a 4th time? Can I even do this if i'm not enrolled?
    4. Call other osteopathic schools (i'd like to keep my D.O. training if at all possible) and ask if I can join the Class of 2014 in July to repeat my 3rd year. Does anyone have any suggestions on schools that might allow me to attend if I do pass the exam on the 4th try? I don't mind starting my 3rd year all over again. That would be preferred to starting medical school all over again. Things are complicated by my spouse being in the 1st year of a 3 year residency, though my spouse is very understanding!

    I could really use some sage advice right now. I feel incredibly lost.

    [To those who have read this far, thanks a ton. It means a lot. For those who have negative or unsupportive comments, pretend you wrote them and move on. I've already heard more than enough of them from my school and they don't benefit anyone but you and your own need to vent.]

    **UPDATE 1** I have registered for a 4th COMLEX Level I - I am still technically enrolled and am unsure if I would be able to register once I'm not enrolled, so I went ahead and did it while I still can. I am taking the exam in the very end of May. I figured if I can rock the exam, I have one month to call around and ask schools to let me into their 3rd year class. But scores take a month to come back, so I'm feeling pressured to move that date up. Perhaps I can just get an acceptance on the contingency that I passed the exam. I know i can do well on/pass this exam - to be honest, I have NO IDEA why it hasn't happened already. I know this stuff!!

    **UPDATE 2** So I'm now going to wait until I get my results back from my Level I to call and beg for a chance at other schools. Probably won't get them until about June 30, but some students take a vacation month to study for their exam and then start rotations in August so I think it's still doable. Against the advice which i even agree with, i'm trying to find a lawyer in my area who deals with this kinda stuff but i have no idea where to start - I really do feel like I have a case based on a few points specific to my situation. As for my school changing my dismissal to a leave of absence to help me out, I don't think they'd go for that simply because that would actually be kind and helpful. That's not really their focus.

    **UPDATE 3 (May 15, 2012)** No actual update here, just saw the posts wondering what the status was. As it stands, I take the COMLEX for a 4th time in about 2 weeks. I have a plan for what actions I will take after that, but it's just easier to post those updates when they occur.

    **UPDATE 4 (Oct 11, 2012)** Sorry for the long delay. Here is what has happened thus far. I was scheduled to take my 4th COMLEX on May 25th. I got an email from the NBOME on May 20th saying that my test had been cancelled. I made a phone call and after a little digging, discovered that my school had actually called the NBOME about me specifically to make sure that it was clear I was not enrolled and thus could not take the exam. What I have not mentioned yet is that on my exit interview I mentioned to the Dean that I was going to take it again for at least personal satisfaction, and he made some pretty condescending comments. Yes, it is customary practice for a medical school to email the National Board every year with a list of students eligible to take the exam, but it is NOT routine practice to single out any students. Anyways, what matters is that in the end I did not get to take the exam after studying for a month. So my next step was to find a lawyer - and it has taken me 6 months, 5 referrals (each one telling me that this was a complex case outside their scope of practice or experience), and countless hours of internet searches and phone calls to find the right lawyer. And I finally have. I have found a lawyer that has been highly successful in these type of cases in the past, and this lawyer thought I had a fair case. So - I am currently mid-lawsuit and fighting for my right to take the test with the proper accommodations. Once we have a decision there, we intend to approach the school. Until then, I have gotten a job in the medical field that will help me keep material fresh and still pay bills. If anyone you know is having this sort of trouble, please tell them to CONTACT ME FOR THIS LAWYER'S INFORMATION - this is such a niche' aspect of law and time can be critical, so I'd really like my efforts in finding this lawyer to help others too.

    **UPDATE 5 (Dec 23, 2013)**So it has been over a year since my last update and I don't want to post any details until things are finalized. A Lawsuit is currently in progress with hopes of getting wrapped up very soon. Once things are settled, I will put more details on here. For now however, I'll just say that despite the incredibly long timeline, i have NOT given up NOR WILL I. When you find your place in this world, what you are good at, where you are happy - you must hold on with a death grip. Again - please contact me IF YOU NEED MY LAWYER'S INFORMATION!

    **UPDATE 6 (May 16, 2014)** My lawsuit against the NBOME was settled within the last few months and we are very pleased with that outcome. However, my school still refuses to readmit me for the purposes of taking the exam. Currently, I am suing my school and we do expect this to be a full blown trial because I am unlikely to settle now, after they have had multiple chances to appeal their decision. It does appear that the school has some sort of personal grievance with me that I am unaware of, but I have faith that it will resolve justly. That is it for now. Again - please contact me if you need a lawyer that specializes in this niche sort of law.
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
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  2. 572776

    572776

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    Holy crap dude. I'm sorry this happened to you, especially the 2 points. I'm not sure how to help you, but I hope that you get back in. Maybe there's some way for you o take several months off to study and pass the test and they would take you back after:confused:
  3. costales

    costales

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    So sorry to hear. Be aware that many DO schools have a 3-strikes policy for Step 1; you can probably find this info on their websites. The 3-strikes rule is also used by many state medical boards for licensing (http://www.fsmb.org/usmle_eliinitial.html - note that there are states that allow unlimited attempts).
  4. DrMediterranean

    DrMediterranean

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    I think after your first attempt you should have focused on COMBANK questons sooner than later (why did you wait until your third attempt to start using it?) especially when you know you are a poor standardized test taker.

    You mentioned the NBME made accommodations for your USMLE while the NBOME failed to do so. Did you end up passing your USMLE step 1? I think this information may assist those trying to help you find a solution.
  5. 504girl

    504girl

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    572776 - thanks for the support! You'd be surprised how much I need the encouragement. At this point, I can't help but wonder if I'm crazy to keep pursuing my dream. But then again, you only live once right?

    costales - thanks for the info. I have already visited that site and in fact, that was part of my argument to my dean - only 9 states have a 3 strikes policy about practicing there. 41 of the 50 states still allow a physician to practice/residency with 3 failures on the Level I. (ND, SD, NC, NH, TX, and 4 others i don't remember off the top of my head). As for medical schools policy though, that is exactly what I need to look into (and fast) to find out who might let me in. And this is the part that bugs me the most - from a standpoint of justice, I just think that the national and state law should both agree, so either the NBOME should move it up to 3 strikes, or the states should push it back to 4. But that's a whole new problem.


    DrMediterranean - great question. I knew I must have left something out. To clarify for the Step - i didn't receive accommodations until my 3rd attempt - and then, I didn't get any extra time on my exam - I only received physical accommodations for my injury which was actually very helpful in the end because less pain = more concentration. My scores were 171, 161, 179 respectively. So I never passed the Step. Also it's important to note that my 2nd attempt, the score went down because i did focus more on COMLEX material (i.e., much heavier micro and less biochem) even though I didn't do the COMBANK questions. After my first attempt, you're right - I should have focused more heavily on the COMBANK. But honestly, the Step isn't harder content-wise, but it is harder in the way it is organized so I thought that my preparation from the STEP would be enough content wise and that I needed to just work on the content that was heavier on the COMLEX (more micro, OMM, less biochem). For the STEP, the question stems are much longer and vague which makes each question much more draining. However, the COMLEX is harder in terms of overall endurance because it has more questions and much fewer breaks (10 min break every 100 questions, with a total of 400 instead of 1 break every 50 Q with a total of 322?? or however you choose to use your breaks on the Step). Thanks so much for asking this, I appreciate that you asked in the spirit of helping me problem solve!!!
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  6. DocEspana

    DocEspana I shall cast a spell on your roster

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    1. Do not seek legal advice. You will lose. As you saw. Huge legal history on the matter where physical injury and AD(H)D do not deserve accommodations and the NBME/NBOME are actively attempting to stop the MCAT from allowing these accommodations to happen on their test. Waste of time and money. Schools always win these suits unless there is proof of some sort of discrimination because of a group you belong to (and learning disorder doesnt count. Needs to be a census group).

    2. Do you really think you need to meet with a learning specialist? My suggest is get out of medicine (more on that below). Learning specialist seems like a waste of money to me. I buy into the medical school catch 22 defense that if you were able to make it into medical school you clearly are not disabled enough to deserve special treatment, and if you are unable to cut it once in medical school you're clearly too disabled to be a physician. I dont suggest you try again, so i dont suggest you waste your time and money trying to pin down "what went wrong" and obsessing over it, and instead move on with your life

    3.Absolutely do not take it a 4th time. Most states and schools have a 3 strikes rule. You wont be accepted by any school that I can think of (likely there are a few that dont follow the 3 strikes law, but I cant see you having enough of a redeeming quality for them to buy in on you. Just being honest). And there will be a mess of states you wont be allowed to train/practice in.

    4. see answer #3. (and #2 for that matter). Get out of the medical field. Its not for you. Become a drug rep. My favorite drug reps are people who were either dropped from medical school in their third year, or people who couldnt match at all after getting the degree. They are amazingly well spoken, they know their crap, and they climb the ladder very quickly within the drug rep ranks. Its a lucrative career and one that seeks out people like you specifically.

    I'm sorry to be blunt. But I do not believe in coddling or sugar coating it. You don't belong in medicine unless there is some big secret youre hiding from us that totally redeems you. Swallow the defeat and turn the lemons into lemonade by turning your highly desired pre-clinical education into a rapidly rising career in pharma or even doing drug research
  7. Total180

    Total180

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    Normally I would say keep trying there is always a way! But, I have to admit, I agree with DocEspana...it seems unlikely that another school would accept you with 3 failed attempts at boards and 2 failing grades during the pre-clinical years. It just seems like an insurmountable obstacle. Even if you did get in somewhere I think you would have a really really hard time matching, and then you would be even more in debt and invested and I think it would be even more devastating. I really am not trying to be mean or negative, I just honestly think at this point it would be a waste emotionally and financially to keep trying to go down this road. However, I hope, if you do decide to keep trying, that is all works out for you! Keep us updated as it may help others who are in your situation.
  8. thepoopologist

    thepoopologist Ph.D in Clinical Meconium

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    http://www.fsmb.org/usmle_eliinitial.html
    If you do get reaccepted and manage to graduate by passing Step 2 PE/CE, and you find what will most likely be a FM DO spot, you haven't limited yourself much.

    The problem is getting reaccepted, and I think it's worth trying if you find you've passed your 4th attempt. I wouldn't take anyones word on whether you get in or not. You just have to apply and see if it will happen.

    On the flip side, please be realistic about it. If you god forbid end up failing your 4th attempt, it's time to reevaluate your priorities and go about a different pathway.
  9. thepoopologist

    thepoopologist Ph.D in Clinical Meconium

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    I think it's unreasonable to call these extenuating circumstances. We all deal with tremendous pressure to pass exams. You had three chances to pass. Whether it was a fail by one point or a hundred, you failed. Someone set a line and you didn't pass it, so move on.
  10. payme2

    payme2

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    How many times did you take the MCAT? If it took you multiple times and the highest you could get was a 25, then you clearly are a weak test taker.

    Even if you were reinstated, you still have step 2ck, step 3 and specialty boards. If you can't correct your weakness then quit now.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  11. thepoopologist

    thepoopologist Ph.D in Clinical Meconium

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    It's called supply and demand.
  12. 504girl

    504girl

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    DocEspana
    1. Yes, I figured that a lawsuit wouldn't exactly be productive, but the matter still stands that highly-educated adults with learning disorders are discriminated against. But as you said, waste of time and money - not my battle to fight right now. So I agree there.

    2. Yes, I do you think I should meet with the learning specialist again because if anything, she can help me with test taking strategy and who knows when i'll take another test in my life (the odds are favorable). But I most certainly don't agree with your "catch 22" statement - the ability to take a multiple choice test and the ability to problem solve real-life diseases are 2 very different things. And just because I can't do the first, doesn't mean i'm too disabled to do the second. We've all heard it before, but patients don't present with "a. b. c. d. options." And i've already proven on rounds that I can solve these problems in real life when i'm not prone to overanalyzing the wording or restricted to a 30second per question time limit. They really are 2 very different things, but that is a whole other thread.

    3. I am taking it for the 4th time - if anything, for my own sanity. As I said, I know this stuff. And i'm going to prove it. Even if my career is DOA.

    4. I appreciate your honesty completely and you don't need to apologize - your opinion is a very valid one and certainly nothing I haven't heard before. However, the mistake you make is judging of "redeeming quality's" because that would require you to know me, and you don't. Which is proven by your suggestion to be a drug rep - a very good alternative actually. But if you knew me personally, you would see that I fit in MUCH MORE as a physician than I do as a drug rep, and ladder-climbing, money making, and hierarchy have no appeal for me. But I appreciate that you offer alternative ideas - it certainly gives me things to think about. But whether or not I end up a Dr., you're absolutely wrong about one thing - I sure as HELL belong in medicine - i've seen some of the idiots that end up as Doctors so there is evidently a spot for everyone to fit in. Good suggestions!!!


    Total180 - i know it seems like i'm as low as it gets here. But i gotta follow my gut and it tells me that I'm down but not out. As for matching, I'm just going to have to deal with that when I get there because as it stands, if there is even one single residency slot unfilled, then there are people out there who need help. And I can help. I can do this!

    thepoopologist - first of all, nice name. I do believe based on my COMAT scores and evaluations/rotations scores so far, that I will have an easier time passing Level II than I have had with Level I. I seem to understand/retain things a lot better when I've physically done them or been involved hands-on. I agree that I need to take the exam a 4th time and just call/apply and go from there. But if I do fail the 4th time - I think even I will have to call it game over. But when you're $200,000 in debt, what's another $500? But the only reason the 2 points bugs me, is because i'm pretty sure I would have passed that arbitrary 400 line if I hadn't been in pain from my injury. That's the reason this seems so unfair to me.


    EVERYONE - Thanks, Good Comments. It helps me either cement or veto my decisions when I have to defend them.
  13. bleeker10

    bleeker10

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    Another problem I forsee is you also failed USMLE 3 times (why did you retake it twice?) which to me says you don't have a minimum level of knowledge to become licensed regardless of the exam. I can maybe understand if you passed USMLE but not COMLEX but you failed both three times. So it really has nothing to do with which test is easier/harder. You failed the COMLEX by 25 points and failed the USMLE by 19 on your lowest scores. The USMLE has an approximate SD of 20 so you were almost 1 SD below the minimum passing. That's pretty significant.

    Many of us have taken COMLEX Level 1 so you aren't going to get any sympathy from us about the length and amount of breaks. COMLEX Level 2 is the same, the PE is 7-7.5 hours with only two breaks and Level 3 is a two day exam. Not to mention having to take written and oral boards. It's the same for everyone so you need to build up that stamina by doing blocks of 100 questions without taking a break. Take a COMSAE. Do something to help you last that long mentally.
  14. johnnydrama

    johnnydrama I'm no Superman

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    By all means, take the test a 4th time for your own edification, but be realistic. Even if you pass, you clearly have a serious issue with standardized tests. With the amount of studying you did, there's no other reason for so many failures.

    So most likely, you would have serious problems with Step II and with any board certification exams. With such a clear track record, other schools will be very wary to accept you and even if they do residency programs will be incredibly unlikely to rank you.

    You really need to reevaluate your career options. While there's an argument to be made that standardized tests are poor markers of physician competence, they're all we have. You also had to repeat a year for failing multiple courses, so it's more than just the boards.

    There are other healthcare fields that may still be open to you and may be a better match. Good luck.
  15. bleeker10

    bleeker10

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    Maybe on a different day with a different curve you would've passed easily. Or maybe you would've failed by 50 points. Ever seen the Mighty Ducks? Remember the line by Gordon Bombay where he said if it would've been a quarter of an inch to the left he would've scored instead of hitting the post? Then Charlie says a quarter of an inch the other way and it would've missed completely? You need to own up to your failures. First step is to stop blaming it on the pain. I had classmates who had similar and worse exam experiences and they didn't let it get in their way of passing. You can't dwell on what already happened if you want to pass. Go into it thinking you have nothing to lose. Study your butt off. Do everything you possibly can and if you don't pass, then you know you tried your best. That's all you can do in life
  16. 504girl

    504girl

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    "25 MCAT is carribbean stats?"

    I'm so tired of hearing these things - it's NOT ABOUT COMPETITION!!! Its about TAKING CARE of people.

    And while half the research is still unable to definitively link MCAT score to performance on Level I Boards, those that do have only been able to consistently show 2 correlations : 1) the verbal score is the highest indicator of success [and my MCAT verbal was a 12] 2) as for overall score, the only statistical significance is seen at an MCAT score of 22 - those who scored above a 22 have a statistically significant chance of passing Level I boards, while those who score at or below 22 do not. THATS IT. NOTHING MORE. Standardized test taking has become ingrained in our society as a way to size up people's capabilities. But just like any other stereotype, it's only valid when it's applies to a general population, NOT specific individuals. Like someone already said, 25 is simply a caribbean stat because of supply and demand. Nothing else. It's not reflective of my intelligence or capability as a physician. And neither are the Level I Boards. That being said, I do need to pass them to prove that I have the knowledge. All I'm saying is that I have it and I CAN PASS THIS EXAM. Why I haven't yet, is the weirdest thing to me!

    I do sincerely think that if I make it through this, I will not have as difficult of a time with Level II or III.

    "You really need to reevaluate your career options. While there's an argument to be made that standardized tests are poor markers of physician competence, they're all we have. " -well said Johnnydrama

    bleeker10 - good quote reference. I often feel like I might be the "Rudy" of medicine. You're right - work my butt off and thats all I can do. I'm going to do just that for the 4th try and i'm going to take it when i'm healed fully. And then if i still fail, then it's just not meant to be. But if i pass...... :)
  17. johnnydrama

    johnnydrama I'm no Superman

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    I think you misinterpreted me. I don't mean to offend, but given your scores I would be worried about your ability to provide suitable patient care. Standardized tests are an incomplete metric, but in your case they're a clear warning sign.

    It appears that you have a serious deficiency in the basic science comprehension necessary for medical practice. Getting an MCAT of 25 with a 12 in verbal means that you have the reading comprehension necessary for standardized testing but must be incredibly deficient in the rest (the verbal curve is much steeper than for the physical/biological sciences).

    Real life is harder than a standardized test. You have an infinite number of options and no verbal cues to give you a hint of the right answer.

    I'm not sure why you think you will have no problems with Step II etc, if I were a school dean I would assume you would, and if I were a residency PD I would assume you would have trouble with Step III and with board certification.

    Why are you doing this to yourself? Unless you've really turned a leaf and can blow this 4th test out of the water, you really should pursue other options.
  18. thepoopologist

    thepoopologist Ph.D in Clinical Meconium

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    You've been around the culture enough to know that it is most definitely about competition, and it is also about taking care of patients.
  19. thepoopologist

    thepoopologist Ph.D in Clinical Meconium

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    I agree its an arbitrary line, but you didn't pass it. As for your injury, you could've taken the year off if it was such a big issue. Instead you decided to take the test. If you suit up for a game, you're there to produce a desired end result. Not being in pain doesn't guarantee that it would've gone the other way.
  20. avabio

    avabio

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    What school did you go to?
  21. grayscaleart

    grayscaleart

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    dang, your situation sucks! anyway, you shouldve taken a full year off after the 2nd failure. doing rotations while studying for the boards = no bueno. very bad planning and your school is not any good because 1) they did not advice you to do the right thing, 2) they obviously did not teach you well. wish you luck on your 4th attempt, you should at least get a degree out of this, don't know about being able to practice, but a D.O. after your name is something.
  22. acesup123

    acesup123

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    I say just retake it, you have nothing to lose. Who knows, if you score high they may let you back in.
  23. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!' Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    Many medical schools (MDs and DOs) have a formal policy on 3 attempts at the steps before formal dismissal. However, all schools will have some sort of appeal process, and depending on the school, the committee may decide not to dismiss the student (or reinstate the student) - however, some policy are set in stone and cannot be ignored by the committee.

    (random sampling)
    UCLA School of Medicine -
    Failure of Step 1, Step 2 CK, or Step 2 CS three times will result in dismissal from medical school.
    http://www.medstudent.ucla.edu/offices/sao/policies/usmle.cfm

    George Washington University School of Medicine
    Students who fail Step I three times or who do not meet these testing deadlines are at risk for academic dismissal.
    http://smhs.gwumc.edu/mdprograms/currentstudents/academicinformation/regulationsformdcandidates

    TCOM-UNTHSC
    All students are required to pass COMLEX I (per the minimums established by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners) for promotion to the third year. Students who do not pass Level I must appear before the Student Performance Committee (SPC). The SPC may recommend re-examination. If allowed to re-test, students will then continue in the third year classification on a provisional basis pending results of the second examination. Medical students must pass COMLEX Level I to continue in clinical clerkship rotations. A student who does not achieve a satisfactory result on the second examination will be removed from clinical clerkships. Failure of a third attempt will subject the student to dismissal from TCOM.
    http://www.hsc.unt.edu/catalog/2011-2012/38-Comprehensive Examination Policy.htm

    AZCOM
    A student who fails the COMLEX-USA Level 1 examination a third time will be dismissed. ...

    Any student who fails the COMLEX-USA Level 2 CE examination three times regardless of their performance on the COMLEX-USA Level 2 PE examination will be dismissed, and any student who fails the COMLEX-USA Level 2 PE examination three times regardless of their performance on the COMLEX-USA Level 2 CE examination will be dismissed.
    http://www.midwestern.edu/catalogs/Arizona Catalog/



    What I find disturbing is that you have failed Step 1 of USMLE/COMLEX 6 times. You can proclaim that you know the material as loudly and as vehemently as you want, but you clearly did not meet the bare minimum requirement as set forth by both NBOME and NBME. Once you realized you failed COMLEX and USMLE the first time, why didn't you put all your effort into passing COMLEX? Why take USMLE the second and third time? Passing USMLE (after a failure) makes absolutely no logical sense - you are not going to impress programs with excellent USMLE scores (after a failed USMLE attempt) and it diverted resources and attention away from your main priority - to pass COMLEX. Either you got bad advice from your school, or you ignore the advice from your school and went ahead and took USMLE (again and again).

    As to whether you can join another DO school midway - unlikely. Usually transfers are done for students in good standing who have good reasons for transfers. You are not in good academic standing.
  24. ruiner

    ruiner

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    I hope it works out for you OP, good luck
  25. ensuii

    ensuii PGY1

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    Sorry to hear all of this OP. I think your situation is the nightmare all of us hope we can avoid. Have you tried doing UWorld? Even for COMLEX I felt like it was a pretty good prep. Best of luck to you going forward!
  26. Phelanpi

    Phelanpi

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    No matter how poorly written a standardized test may be, you should still be able to get the minimum score if you know the material the way you say that you do. I must admit, your situation is the "nightmare" of most medical students, if you are able to pass the comlex this next time it might give you a bargaining chip to apply to other schools. IF you are accepted and make it to your step 2 you should only focus on the COMLEX. Standardized tests are a necessary evil in medicine, there are much larger, scarier, and more difficult tests out there than step 1.
  27. doublefrick

    doublefrick

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    How did you do in your classes?
  28. Phelanpi

    Phelanpi

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    in a previous post she said that she failed two in her second year and had to repeat that year.
  29. Bones DO

    Bones DO

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    Your situation is the worst I've read to date on these forums. While people on here can be very blunt, several valid points have been expressed and it is important that you recognize just how dire your situation is. That said, I think you understand where you stand and I don't see the harm in giving the 4th try to comlex. If I were in your position, I would see no other choice but to try. If you are able to pass, your scope of practice will likely be limited, but it will still exist. I looked up my school's policy regarding this and they auto-eject you after the 3rd failure as well, but I also looked up LMU-DCOM's student hand book and on page 61 it says:

    "Students are not allowed to start the second semester of their third year unless they have passed COMLEX Level 1. A student who fails COMLEX Level I a second time will be placed on a LOA until they pass the exam."
    http://www.lmunet.edu/DCOM/pdfs/lmudcom_handbook_09_10.pdf

    There appears to be at least a little hope for you. I by no means did an exhaustive search, so there may be other places you would be considered, but If I were you I'd get in touch with their admissions and possibly set up a meeting with their dean to discuss your situation asap. I think simply passing COMLEX would be insufficient at this stage of the game.

    Extend your subscriptions to all the question banks (UWorld, COMbank and I'd add kaplan too, the more questions, the better) and do eight 50 question sections per day until your exam. Get a notebook for each system and take physical hand-written notes on every single question you miss. Do 2 sections of 50 and take 30-40 minutes off to do nothing and let it sink in, then go back and do another 2 sections and repeat until you've done 8. Then take an hour off, and passively flip through the notes you have taken in the evening. I think you could take one day a week to do nothing but review your hand-written notes to give yourself a little break. Attacking the material from three angles (actively answering questions, physically writing notes and passively reviewing your weaknesses) will force your brain to make the connections necessary to be successful in taking this exam. I think if you get through all three of these 3 times in this manor and do NOTHING else but prep for the test, there is no way you will fail a 4th time, esp given the 2 point margin of your 3rd attempt. Forget about USMLE and work your ass off and do your best, that's all you can do at this point. I think you can do it, and I wish you the absolute best of luck. :luck:
  30. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!' Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    I agree that simply passing COMLEX would be insufficient if the OP wants to transfer. And you have to make a good argument to the transferring medical school to accept you as a transfer (and that you can succeed and won't be a headache and liability to them).


    DCOM/LMU - Page 60 (of the same link) - bolded part added by me


  31. Bones DO

    Bones DO

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    Crap def didn't see that sorry :-( Maybe you can get TCOM to change it to a leave of absence so elsewhere that allows the 4th retake of COMLEX would be more apt to consider your transfer? Looks like WCU might consider you..

    WCU-COM:

    "Students failing to achieve a passing score on COMLEX Level 1 will be permitted to matriculate to third-
    year rotations but will be required to pass COMLEX Level 1 prior to June 1 at the commencement of
    their fourth academic year. Failure to achieve a passing score will result in the removal of the student
    from clinical rotations. The student then may be allowed to participate in an independent study program
    until a passing score has been received by WCU-COM. During this period of independent study, the
    student will be relieved of clinical rotation responsibilities. The student will be allowed to return to
    clinical rotations only after a passing score has been received by WCU-COM. Exact placement will be
    determined by the Associate Dean, Clinical Sciences to meet the graduation curricular requirements"

    and transfer policy:

    "WCU-COM does not encourage transfers; however, in special circumstances transfers will be considered.
    In accordance with the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and Southern Association of Colleges
    ad Schools (SACS) standards, the transfer student must matriculate at WCU-COM for at least two
    academic years. "

    both page 34 of
    http://www.wmcarey.edu/media/16/57/_document/wcustudenthandbookaugust2009.pdf
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  32. bleeker10

    bleeker10

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    I'm gonna bet that "special circumstances" doesn't involve taking Level 1 four times. They are probably referring to things like moving closer to an ill family member, being near a spouse, etc.

    Also I don't think the OP ever said which school she went to. The TCOM reference was from group_theory posting random school's policies.
  33. bleeker10

    bleeker10

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    I can't imagine any school would accept you on the hope you pass your 4th try at the exam. You will need that passing score in hand before being accepted anywhere. In fact, I wouldn't even apply for transfer until you have the score.
  34. Bones DO

    Bones DO

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    I agree with this. I thought OP said something about TCOM, my bad.
  35. Makati2008

    Makati2008 Moderator

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    1.)TCOM-they won't let her for the following reasons-
    a.) the failures on the comlex/usmle as well as the failing of preclinical courses(if I read her post correctly.
    b.)I am willing to bet she doesn't have any state ties in that state(like a former resident). I applied there after living there for a few years and got no interview(although I did get accepted to my home states school (MD) also TCOM imho TCOM has very high board scores and wouldn't risk theur pass rate with an applicant with so many failures.)

    LMU-DCOM- why would they risk lowering their pass rate by having an applicant that has failed both usmle/comlex several times. I also agree with the above poster her circumstances are not "special" in the normal sense.

    WCU-I don't know anything about this school? Are they accredited at this time? They might be her best bet(if any) to get into a D.O. school

    I am a VERY sorry this happened to her with so much debt. It is quite depressing. Has she considered going to Chicago and using PASS or some other program? I would also consider going to PA school. There is good money in being a PA and if you are truly trying to "help people" this is the perfect route and you can also work for a rural hospital or apply to NHSC and get those loans chipped away much faster than you would if you do private practice.

    sorry if typos and rambling typing on the go.
  36. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee. Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    UNECOM also has a three strikes and you're out policy. You get three tries for each board level. And you are not permitted to even start third year rotations unless you have a passing COMLEX score in hand. Not just taken the day before rotation starts, you must have a passing score reported. You must also pass level 2 (both parts) before graduation.

    Also you need to look at each state's requirements a little more closely - Alaska has a "no more than five attempts for all steps combined". OP, you will never be allowed to practice in Alaska. Several other states have similar restrictive number of attempts. You will be restricted in where you can get a residency and where you can practice if you should manage to pass your boards.

    I also agree that transferring into another institution will be difficult at best. That being said, you have nothing to lose by calling, visiting, begging, and pleading your case to every school you can get hold of. Be advised, most will tell you to pound sand. Your job here, should you pass your level 1 boards, will be to find one that would even look at you with your track history. This is something you won't find here on the forums, you will have to do some considerable investment of time, charm, and talk to get your answers. Your situation is not common, and it frankly does not look good.

    OP good luck to you. You need to focus first on passing the exam. Your other option might be to start over at another school and repeat the first two years. You might actually have more luck with that path than with transferring in as a third year somewhere. In fact, you might start calling schools now to see if that might be a possibility. Truly, you sound like you have some significant lapses of basic knowledge needed to pass your level 1 boards and repeating the first two years might not be a bad idea.
  37. st2205

    st2205

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    If I were in your shoes, I'd retake as you have absolutely nothing to lose and I'm not sure why people would advise against it. If by any chance you passed, that's your only hope. It won't be a lot, but it's something to work with, compared to having absolutely nothing to work with if you don't pass it. Hard to say if getting back in is possible, but one would have to assume that numerous schools would like to collect 40k/year from you for absolutely nothing (if you're out on rotations somewhere that relies on community volunteer preceptors). This varies widely from admitting someone into the preclinical years where the profit margin isn't nearly as high. So, from a purely economical standpoint it may be argued one of these schools could pick you up. Maybe doubtful, but I wouldn't underestimate the almighty dollar.
  38. 504girl

    504girl

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    Ok so there has been a lot of chatter, which is great. But i'm only going to respond to the productive stuff.

    1) i have not stated any identifying factors like what school I go to or my gender. I'm doing this for a ton of reasons but mostly for privacy purposes. I intend to continue with the anonymity, so any statements otherwise are assumptions made by other posters.

    2) i'm aware of the policies by now regarding dismissal, 3-strikes, transfers etc. and i'm not arguing them (ALTHOUGH I do think its bogus that 9 state's rules don't agree with the national ones) - All i'm saying is that, I feel strongly that had I not been in pain it would have gone better. And the fact that the NBME considered this level of pain to be justification of necessary accommodations to allow for an even playing field, I expected the NBOME to do the same. But they didn't. And this wouldn't be such a big deal if it hadn't occurred on the final exam that ended my career.

    3) a good point has been made that I do wish my school had advised me to take more time off instead of pressuring me to get back onto rotations, because then I may not be in this situation.

    4) despite having to repeat a year which was due to a controversial exam at best, my g.p.a. is hovering somewhere between 2.9 and 3.0 (I friggin rock anatomy). And only in med school would that be considered sub-par.

    5) I couldn't agree more with you st2205. And bleeker10 - i was actually wondering about that and I think I agree that I need to have the 4th exam score actually in my hand before i bother even calling these other schools. So that's what I plan to do at this point. Thanks for pointing that out.

    6) I really appreciate all the feedback and ideas and discussion going on. But i'd just like to add that those of you fearing i'd make an incompetent physician because i repeated a year and have failed the boards this many times - don't lose any sleep. Because of my situation, I've actually studied that material way more times than you and regardless of my ability to display this knowledge on a multiple choice exam, my attendings and patients have never had a moment's hesitation about my capabilities. So you may not know i'm good, but that's because you don't know me. I'm good. And if anything, my future (fingers crossed) patients will get a physician who knows how to FIND the answers when I don't know them off the top of my head. So i'm going to exhaust this thing until I have nothing left because that's how much medicine means to me.

    Which leaves me with one last thing - i'm trying to find a lawyer in my area who deals with this kinda stuff but i have no idea where to start - I really do feel like I have a case based on a few points specific to my situation. If anyone has any idea or advice about this, like what type of lawyer to look for or even previous court cases (win or lose) agains the NBOME for lack of accommodations or against a school for dismissal, please PM me or post it here. thanks a ton!!
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  39. tkim

    tkim D-d-d-dilaudid

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    504 ... girl ...
  40. 504girl

    504girl

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    haha yes, i'm a girl. But as for 504 - thats just where I was born. There aren't any osteopathic schools there anyways.
  41. OATAcer

    OATAcer

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    Hey, they cannot deny accommodations. That is illegal. Americans with disabilities act. Why did they deny it?

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk
  42. OATAcer

    OATAcer

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    Trust me. Americans with disabilities act includes adhd as a mental health impairment. Its in the act. Lawsuit will go thru.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk
  43. johnnydrama

    johnnydrama I'm no Superman

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    If you had a clear record of ADHD, you'd have a case. The board exams do give accommodations to those who qualify, and your case for ADHD was not convincing.

    Finding a single doctor who gives you that diagnosis is not enough.

    There are unfortunately plenty of people in medical school who seek temporary diagnoses of ADHD to get prescribed stimulants (and possibly qualify for extra time on tests).

    Who doesn't have trouble studying for boards? Medical school requires above average concentration and attention to detail, someone well within the range of normal would suddenly find their level of concentration lacking --> easy diagnosis of ADHD if you want it.

    I'm not saying you don't have a real disorder, but you will not win trying to prove it. Why do you want more time anyway? Unless you're leaving questions blank, it probably won't help you much. And if you are, just practice more questions in a timed setting.

    You will not get accommodations in real life, so even if you have a disorder, you just need to be able to work that much harder to overcome it.

    Someone who is blind or has seizures can't be a surgeon. If you can't focus enough to take one of these tests and pass (not a high bar), maybe you don't have the concentration (even with treatment) to be a physician?
  44. crmellon

    crmellon

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    I've made it a policy in life to never trust anyone who starts a sentence off with, "Trust me". It has done me pretty well so far.
  45. bleeker10

    bleeker10

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    So you want to find a lawyer to help you bring legal action against the NBOME because they didn't allow accommodations and the NBME would? What kind of accommodations were you seeking? You were able to reschedule your exam for a month later. Why take it so soon after the injury? This doesn't sound like the NBOME is being unfair or prejudiced against you. It sounds like you came back too early to take the exam. You can cancel/reschedule the exam up to and including the day you take it. You may have to pay a fee but it doesn't go on your record as a failure. I will bet you can find A lawyer who will take on your case. There may be someone desperate willing to take on your case (and take your money). Don't assume because you get a lawyer that you have a good shot at winning.

    What action are you trying to bring against your school? They have a stated policy (like most schools) detailing the number of acceptable failures before dismissal. You went over that number so you were dismissed. How is that unfair? Is it unfair they had a "bogus" test that a lot of people failed? Sure but that doesn't mean it's illegal. I had a test my first year that only half the class passed. They had to curve the exam (which rarely happens at my school) just so more people would pass. Were students angry? Sure. Did they threaten legal recourse? No way.

    Earlier I posted that you need to own up to your failures and stop blaming outside influences such as a "bogus exam" or a rough testing day. You have chose to do the opposite of that advice. You need to look in the mirror and blame the person looking back at you.

    Here is the NBOME's stance on accommodations: http://www.nbome.org/docs/ADAApp.pdf
    While they do follow the ADA, there is an exception to the policy which states "Even though the candidate has a Disability, the NBOME is not required to
    accommodate that individual if the accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature
    of the performance evaluation program or what the examination is intended to measure,
    or would unreasonably burden the NBOME or other candidates."
  46. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    I may be wrong, but I don't know that medical schools (especially private, as most DO schools are) are under any legal obligation to provide accommodations. Many do... but there are also the technical standards that you agree to at the get-go, which could easily include the ability to stay focused. This is why there are not many hook-handed surgeons out there (and in other contexts these guys WOULD be covered by the ADA)
  47. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    words to live and die by. But in keeping them, more living and less dying :thumbup:
  48. rad0nc

    rad0nc

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    I really think you should give it one more shot. I don't think the pre-clinical years matter much, and if you can were doing well on your shelf exams you should be fine. Good luck!
  49. 504girl

    504girl

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    Bleaker - while I appreciate the feedback, don't repost the same advice just because I'm not in agreement. When there are a lot of posts to read with valuable and insightful criticism, it's really annoying to have to reread the same post with the same close-minded comments. I get your point, but if you don't like the way I choose to progress then stop reading this thread and move on.
  50. irJanus

    irJanus

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    I think he's just encouraging you to be realistic about your (somewhat bleak) options. We all wish you luck - no one wants to see a fellow student fall. Take the test, get the score, see what happens. It's all you can do right now. Asking more questions on here about it, and people postulating outcomes for you are not going to get anyone anywhere. All schools have policies in place regarding transfers, retakes and academic standings pertaining to both. These policies are easily accessible. I'll cross my fingers for you, and, as my dad always says... plan your 'plan B' while you pursue your 'plan A'. It's not admitting failure to look into options other than DO/MD... it's just smart. Good luck!

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