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Failed COMLEX unfairly? Collusion?

Discussion in 'Osteopathic' started by Morgan2003, Mar 14, 2011.

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  1. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    I have just failed Comlex II for the second time. It is impossible. I studied for six weeks, I did the entire COMQUEST bank, 60% of USMLEWorld and over half of COMBANK. The first time I failed by 3%. This time I failed by 3%. Many of my scores went DOWN by more than 100 points. HAS THIS HAPPENED TO YOU? Step 1, 2 or 3? PE?

    I am outspoken and I have unintentionally stepped on some admin toes. I am seriously beginning to believe that my school must have a mole in the NBOME. I knew enough to pass the first time; this time I knew FAR more. THIS SITUATION IS NOT POSSIBLE.

    If this has happened to others, we need to band together and DO SOMETHING. I don't know WHAT, but together we will figure it out. If you have a friend in this situation, PLEASE pass this on. Many people who went through this will have been tossed out of school, and are no longer reading this site. PLEASE PASS THE WORD. AND PLEASE REPLY IF IT'S YOU.
  2. peppy

    peppy Senior Member

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    Sorry to hear that happened to you. :( What categories did the score report say you were weak in? Were they consistent between the two tests?
  3. DocEspana

    DocEspana I shall cast a spell on your roster

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    I'm the mole.

    but in all seriousness. Was it the PE section or the CE. The PE tends to be an all or nothing thing. You either have a good day or a bad day. The CE on the other hand is KNOWN to mess people up bad. Its a test that requires you to answer a *lot* of questions that give purposely deceiving but frequently selected answers. (e.g. most common presentation of pituitary tumor. More people on the CE will incorrectly select some form of blindness rather than the correct answer, impotence. They know that. They ask questions purposely meant to make you think you definitely got it right by having 'frequently understood incorrectly' choices on there).
  4. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    Thanks. No, not consistent at all. Two scores skyrocketed, the rest plummeted--most over 100 points each. That's I how wound up with the same average each test. This does NOT make SENSE!! ~Now there is something I just learned (or re-learned). Those careless mistakes!! (I just fixed the one mis-typed, and the two missing, words in my original mail.) Breath, slow down, make SURE you are reading the Q properly and checking the right box. When I am anxious it's easy for me to screw up stuff like this. Thanks for the support and the "lesson"!
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  5. EastWestN2grt

    EastWestN2grt White Coat, Raised Fist!!

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    I am sorry this has happened to you, because I realize how frustrated you must feel right now. But in all reality, instead of looking for an outside scapegoat or mole who did this to you, I would instead more productively use your energy on understanding why you may not have passed the exam.

    From your post above, there are specific red flags which already stick out to me:

    1)"I studied for 6 weeks" - For your second time around, I would have spent maybe double the amount of time studying. You need to be honest with yourself and understand the way you study. Some of my classmates study for only 4 weeks, I started studying for Step II 4 months ahead while I was in my Internal Med rotation. I didn't spend all day studying, but I was in my usual coffee shop studying from 5 pm to 10 pm Mon-Fri and longer on weekends. You got to be realistic about your study habits.

    2)"I did the entire COMQUEST bank, 60% of USMLEWorld and over half of COMBANK." - I studied the entire Qbank of both Comquest and Combank. Finished every question, and started repeating sections which I felt I was weaker. Some of my classmates who decided to use UWorld finished the entire qbank as well, and Combank or Comquest. And these students still consistently repeated that Uworld is such a different type of question than the COMLEX they felt they would have been better off studying just the 2 Com Q banks. There is too much potential variation in questions in the Comlex that missing any of the qbank questions could seriously screw you up. I highly recommend to anyone studying for Comlex to go through the entire Combank, and Comquest qbanks. There were so many Comquest practice questions that resembled Comlex questions it almost felt like cheating.

    These are just some suggestions, but truly only you can figure out what went wrong. But let me reiterate, dont waste your precious time and energy looking for a mole - there isnt one!! Look instead to how you, yourself, can improve.

    Good luck!
  6. SmokD

    SmokD

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    Your right, its almost certainly someone out trying to get you. Because its in the admin's best interest that you fail your COMLEX and bring down the school statistics :rolleyes:

    I totally see how you might end up stepping on peoples toes. You remind of someone I know. Admin didn't like this person much either.
  7. DocEspana

    DocEspana I shall cast a spell on your roster

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    I know *exactly* who you are talking about and thought the exact same thing when I read this. I looked up this guy's school cause I was curious if it might have been the same person :laugh:.
  8. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    I'm the mole.

    but in all seriousness. Was it the PE section or the CE. The PE tends to be an all or nothing thing. You either have a good day or a bad day. The CE on the other hand is KNOWN to mess people up bad. Its a test that requires you to answer a *lot* of questions that give purposely deceiving but frequently selected answers. (e.g. most common presentation of pituitary tumor. More people on the CE will incorrectly select some form of blindness rather than the correct answer, impotence. They know that. They ask questions purposely meant to make you think you definitely got it right by having 'frequently understood incorrectly' choices on there).[/QUOTE]

    Dear Mole :-},

    Thank you for the kind and helpful e-mail. It was the CE, and while I have long known these are all poorly written tests, I didn't realize the extent of "purposeful deceiving" that is employed by the test-writers until I read your mail. I was doing well on the Qbanks this time, which is one reason I was so freaked by my ultimate score going down by two points! I know SO much more than I knew the first time, and the first time I only missed it by 3%. Anyway, can you tell me HOW to take this test without falling into those traps? How do YOU recognize those "frequently understood incorrectly" choices? Is that completely from your body of knowledge, or is there a way to learn to "spot" those answers? I am not exaggerating when I say I did 2500 practice questions; and clearly I still have not learned how to jump this hurdle. If you can/if you have time to give me an idea about how you are successful with those tricky things, perhaps I can learn to do this better.

    In any case, thank you for your time, and for your thoughtful response.
  9. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    Thank you for the lengthy and gracious response. I would, in fact, MUCH rather NOT think there is a mole anywhere, because I have NO control over that situation. I was extremely distraught and confused by HOW this could have happened (and I did say "beginning to believe"). Just wanted to see if anyone else out there had similar thoughts.

    I appreciate your suggestions. I am, though, very aware and realistic about my study habits. I do agree that UWorld is a VERY different type of q--the kinds of q's that happily will never turn up on a Comlex. I used that more as a learning tool than a practice bank. I thought Comquest was by far the better of the two Com qbanks, and like you, when I had finished it, I went back through and re-did several of the questions. I did mostly the ones I missed, although I also sometimes pulled from the whole bank. I didn't have time to finish Combank, though I would have had I not done UWorld. I see your recommendation to use the 2 Coms and never mind UWorld. I'm a little bit afraid to do that because it feels to me like UWorld has such better CONTENT, and it really is a great learning tool. I get frustrated with Combank because so many of the questions are SO poorly written, and I thought I had found several that were flat out wrong. So my choice in terms of time was to repeat some Comquest qs and do UWorld, and only peck around in Combank ("Peck around"--well, I did do ~400 of them.) I will have to re-think that choice. Thanks for the input.

    And thanks for your time and your courtesy.
  10. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    You know that the stat that is posted is the total percentage of students who passed, right? Schools do not post the question we REALLY should ask when we are applying: How many of your students passed on the first attempt? I have one more shot before I am thrown out of school and if I make it this time, I, too, will be among the glorious percentage of "Our board pass rate is 99%!" And in the meantime, I lived through unbelievable hell, which may be pleasing to some people. Or not. I don't know; I was just asking if anyone else felt the same. But I must say that if the above is an example of how you respond to PATIENTS who are terrified, exhausted, stressed beyond belief and depressed to the point of having spent the previous four hours sobbing, then I hope you are going into forensic path. Your patients are already dead and you do not have to demonstrate ANY compassion, courtesy or concern. Sounds like a good field for you.
  11. DocEspana

    DocEspana I shall cast a spell on your roster

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    If Step I is any indication, the number listed is actually the % passed on the first try. I can't speak to the trend on step II reporting, but I'm *assuming* its the same way.

    And as to how you learn to avoid the 'most commonly wrong' questions: take a step II prep course (I know, no time) or really get down to basics. These "commonly wrong" ones tend to present where youre asked for the most common presentation and there is the correct answer and something you associate with. For example: pituitary tumors --> blindness, buproprion --> seizures, Owl Eye Inclusion --> CMV.

    You shouldn't automatically make these connections, but the step II is hoping you do and never look back or give it a second thought. Pituitary tumors usually present as impotence before blindness. Buproprion has no increased risk of seizures at normal dosing, but it was previously thought there was a risk so the untrue association has stuck. While owl eye inclusions are 'specific' for CMV, they really aren't. They happen in VZV too (and a few of the other herpes viruses), which is MUCH more common and thus could be the right answer, but no one (Except for a step II question) does pathology on VZV since the external symptoms say it all.

    More or less, bring it back to basics and dont rely on "tight associations" that work so well on step I. Our class had some issues with Step II for this exact reason. Too many people assumed they had gotten them all right by constantly selecting the 'most commonly wrong' answers based solely on knee jerk reflexes. Cant promise this is your case, but its something to at least keep in mind.
  12. Colbert

    Colbert

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    "The Most Common Wrong Answer" is the one you need to be studying. I did an online review course and the instructor would ask a question. I'd immediately think in my head, "Oh that's so easy it's X." Then, almost on que, he's say, "I bet you said X, and I'm glad you did, because that's the most common wrong answer. Here's why."

    For standardized tests, you need to know what the wrong answer is so you don't pick it, not just what the right answer is.
  13. Taty

    Taty Senior Member

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    :thumbup:
  14. desijigga

    desijigga Newbie

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    Wrong, even if it takes multiple tries to pass your still included in the board pass rate. Many schools will have 80-90% first time pass rate, but will post high 90s on their website. Why wouldn't they, its common sense...

    As for OP, sorry to hear about your situation. No matter how much you gripe and moan, it will not change your score. Still have one more shot left, so buckle down again study usmleworld, combank, comquest, take DIT for Step 2. Make sure to take couple NBOMEs and see how you are doing and take the exam again. Comlex is a poorly written exam, but thats what we have to deal with. Good luck and don't let up...
  15. DocEspana

    DocEspana I shall cast a spell on your roster

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    I agree on the "Why wouldnt they", but despite that, it's not what they do with step I. Guess I extrapolated out incorrectly.
  16. EMT2ER-DOC

    EMT2ER-DOC Why so Serious?????

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    you failed. Simple. Stop trying to blame someone else, study harder and do better. Own it and move it.
  17. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    I did take a board prep course--DIT 2, and actually reviewed it in its entirety, as well. What did you take? I am totally open and willing to take another review course, assuming it's beneficial.

    Your thoughts on the associations is really helpful; thanks. Will definitely keep all that in mind.

  18. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    Actually did ALL that, everything you list, including 2 COMSAEs. Took DIT 2 (and reviewed it once), did all three qbanks (tho only 60% of UWorld and just over half of Combank. Did Comquest entirely and had time to go back and re-do some). And did flashcards and read texts. That's why this thing is so crazy! I am not stupid and I worked my tail off. Any other suggestions? I am willing to do whatever it takes. I DO run out of time. Am sure that is related to my anxiety level, because I do NOT run out of time when using qbanks. Any thoughts on how to quell really high anxiety? I have an alprazolam Rx for this reason but will NOT take a benzo before work, school or tests. Slows down my brain too much--not good for patients or learning.

    Thanks for your mail. Appreciate the input.

  19. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    Thanks, Colbert. I did not see this before posting my last. This is the name of a review course? I googled it and got a ton of hits (the very first one is this post--your words are bold-faced. Cyberspace! Wow). Anyway, I looked through them but did not find what you seem to be referring to. Could you please post the URL? I will DEFINITELY do this course. It sounds like EXACTLY what I need. Thanks a lot for the heads-up!! And if you have time to post the URL, that would be GREAT!

    Thank you!!

  20. DrWBD

    DrWBD Formerly 'wanna_be_do' Lifetime Donor

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    Hopefully you took the USMLE and aren't applying to osteopathic programs only.
  21. nlax30

    nlax30 Now with pumped up kicks

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    What were you scoring on the COMSAEs and question banks?
  22. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    No, I didn't. I want to be a DO! My dad is a DO. I love OMM and can see applications for it in EVERY field. I'm also into alternative medicine and see far more acceptance of that kind of thinking in osteopath-land.
  23. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    After three weeks of studying, which included scoring ~70% on Combank, 80% on Comquest and not nearly as well on UWorld (which was OK with me; I use that one as a learning tool) I took a COMSAE and scored 391. Freaked out. Studied two more weeks, took another and scored 361!!!!!!!! TOTALLY freaked out, re-scheduled the Comlex, gave myself even more time, did even more questions and my second real Comlex score went DOWN from my first Comlex attempt. It is completely crazy and the only thing I can think (besides my erstwhile freak-out re: conspiracies :-}) is it's anxiety-related. If you have other ideas I am totally open to hearing them.

    I am also wondering about the COMSAEs--half the people I talk to say, "It was within 2-3 points of my ultimate score." The other half say, "Those are so screwed. It was not anything near my score"--either way up or way down. I did not take a COMSAE prior to Comlex I and I passed it on the first try, so I don't have a personal comparision. Am interested in opinions on this, if anyone wants to contribute.
  24. nlax30

    nlax30 Now with pumped up kicks

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    Honestly I don't know what to say. Many view it as a poorly written test but for whatever reason it seems to be really alluding you.

    I think you really need to sit down in some sort of organized review course and/or with someone at your school going over a practice exam and really trying to get down to the bottom of why you are not doing well.... ie, reading comprehension problems? Picking the most common wrong answer? Overall knowledge base not up to speed? Etc... It just sounds like you're not picking up on whatever nuance the question is trying to convey to you and picking what they want you to think is the right answer.
  25. DrWBD

    DrWBD Formerly 'wanna_be_do' Lifetime Donor

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    Suddenly all is clear.
  26. ks2005

    ks2005 Junior Member

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    hello morgan2003, can you tell me what you did that helped you the third time you took the exam in order to pass it? You must be a resident now and I would appreciate any help you can give me as I have already failed COMLEX twice and have to appear for the exam a third time. Please please please help me! Thanks in advance
    ks2005
  27. danzman

    danzman The Ace of Spades

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    Are we talking step1, step 2 or the PE?
  28. ks2005

    ks2005 Junior Member

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    COMLEX Step II CE
  29. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    I simply do NOT understand why so many of you on this site are so rude. We are supposed to be working towards helping people HEAL. If this is a sample of your compassionate, empathetic bedside manner, I am glad I will never be YOUR patient.



  30. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    Hi KS, I wanted to tell you I did see this and I WILL get back to you, but I can't at this very moment. What I can tell you at this very moment is TRY TO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP OVER THIS. Lots of very smart people fail board exams. It does NOT mean you are stupid. It does NOT mean you are incompetent. It does NOT mean you won't be a good doctor. OK? OK.

    Someone responded to me privately (still anonymously, of course) and I would prefer to do that with you because I am sick to death of rude people on this site. Do you happen to know how one can accomplish that private message response? I haven't been able to figure it out. If you know, please let me know. Otherwise I will respond to you here, okay.

    HANG IN THERE. Don't give up!! One foot in front of the other, with your eyes on the goal, all right.

  31. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    Is comlex not handled by 3rd party organizations? How would pissing off school admin affect your ability to pass?
  32. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    Pissing off someone who has influence over someone(s) in the organization in questions--connections, nepotism, like that. 3rd-party organizations of ANY type are not immune to outside influences.

  33. K31

    K31 EM PGY-1 Gold Donor

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    Probably ought to talk to a psychiatrist about this. Delusions of persecution is a common symptom of schizophrenia.
  34. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    Still seems like quite a stretch
  35. Zercolops

    Zercolops

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    This is such a great thread
  36. J-Rad

    J-Rad Moderator Emeritus

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    Don't do that. Invoking Burnett's Law isn't going to get you anywhere.

    Got to your private messages (use that drop arrow next to "Your Notifications" at the top right). Click on "Unread messages" (it doesn't matter if you have no unread messages, it'll bring you to your inbox). Click on desired message. Either type in the "Quick Reply" box at the botton and hit "submit message" when you are done (if you hit the "Go Advanced" button it brings up the full menu of things like emoticons, etc, should you want that. You can also erase the text in the quick reply box to make it cleaner if you want) or hit the "Reply" button and it will bring up a box for you to type your message. Hit "send". Easy peasy.
  37. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But...There's a troponin

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    Well wannabedo is not going into psychiatry so i think you both can rest assured that isnt going to happen anytime soon
  38. ks2005

    ks2005 Junior Member

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    Thanks morgan2003 I would appreciate any and all help/advice you can give me. I want to put this behind me and move on with my life.
  39. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    Thanks--appreciate the info a lot. Now I can get off this site that is so overflowing with clodheads. Poor saps, they think they are being funny when what they are actually being is rude, ignorant and insensitive. When I allow my better self to take over, I feel a great deal of compassion for how stuck they are.



    Got to your private messages (use that drop arrow next to "Your Notifications" at the top right). Click on "Unread messages" (it doesn't matter if you have no unread messages, it'll bring you to your inbox). Click on desired message. Either type in the "Quick Reply" box at the botton and hit "submit message" when you are done (if you hit the "Go Advanced" button it brings up the full menu of things like emoticons, etc, should you want that. You can also erase the text in the quick reply box to make it cleaner if you want) or hit the "Reply" button and it will bring up a box for you to type your message. Hit "send". Easy peasy.[/QUOTE]
  40. J-Rad

    J-Rad Moderator Emeritus

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    And yet, you are incredibly quick to judge, based on little more than one or two pithy replies. Will you judge your patients as quickly and as dogmatically? Look, internet message boards, SDN included are a mixed bag. There's a lot of ego tied up in them, some of it built around being the snarkiest or most glib. But look a little deeper at some replies, even those that offend you. You haven't been around long enough to have a bead on some of the posters who are harsh, but actually have a lot to offer if you are willing to dig to what they are saying.

    Take WBDO's first response: think about whether there might have been some solid advice there. Some people actually do better on USMLE than COMLEX due to the more clear writing of the questions and the known format. Applying to allo FM residencies doesn't necessarily require you to abandon the osteopathic roots you fear you would, and in fact, in many cases, you would probably get stronger training in a program that allowed and encouraged you keep those roots strong. Ventura in CA, one of the more respected (allo) FM residencies-unopposed, known as one of the "cowboy" residencies-routinely takes DOs and has had an active OMM clinic. Maine Medical is a great opposed FM residency that has had many DOs and has an "integrative medicine" track. I think either would give you a better education than a lot of the lesser AOA FM residencies. I'm not saying USMLE is right for every DO student-some have hurt themselves with a failure while passing COMLEX-but it's a risk to at least think critically about, even if the answer is that it's not right for you.

    My advice is to settle down. Your conspiracy theories help you not one whit (and set the background for a lot of the negative responses you got). You failed because you weren't as ready for the test as you thought. Get ready next time. Be as open minded to others as you think you are, but demonstrate-in a limited sense here-that you aren't. Remember that people who push you to be better aren't always the ones who make you feel warm and fuzzy. And stay around; sift through the chaff and find the good stuff here.

    Good luck.

    PS If you want to initiate a pm to someone, click on their user name and choose the "Send Private Message" option from the drop down.
  41. Buckeye(OH)

    Buckeye(OH) 5K+ Member

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    Yeah, it doesn't.
  42. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    lol that is basically what I was getting at. Although I didn't know if comlex was proctored differently or handled in-house or something like that. even if it were, the degree of hot water a school would get into for doctoring the scores of even the most irritating of students... pretty sure a school admin would cross his or her fingers and wish to swap for a sex scandal any day.
  43. Morgan2003

    Morgan2003

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    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Thanks for the mail. You make some good points. But look back, my friend--"one or two pithy replies"? Look back to when this started, in FEBRUARY. Far more than one or two and they are STILL coming in; and "pithy" is not exactly the word I would use. I have been beaten up enough with this whole experience and do not need ANY more, especially from my future colleagues.

    Oh, somehow you misunderstood--I am not going into FM. (And I don't care how many people INSIST that I have to now because of this board stuff. No, I don't--no one does--and I am not. So when all of you who are reading this want to beat me up about THAT, please note I am done with this site and will not be reading your replies.)

  44. K31

    K31 EM PGY-1 Gold Donor

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    Your thread was bumped by one of your multiple-Step failing brethren. I'm sure most of the people who replied didn't even notice that it was an old post. Regardless, if you want to take your toys and go home than none of us are going to care.
  45. bbake87

    bbake87 Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Sin City (Milwaukee)
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    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Buckeye would no. Hah!
  46. J-Rad

    J-Rad Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
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    Physician SDN 10+ Year Member
    My mistake; scanning back, I'm not sure where I got that (the FM thing). However, in one way, the example is still relevant, as were other points made. While SDN is no requisite for anyone's life, going forth with a sense of maturity and a realistic sense of how to achieve one's goals-sometimes against obstacles, self made and otherwise-is. Again, good luck.
  47. Buckeye(OH)

    Buckeye(OH) 5K+ Member

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    Which, of course, is the same as knowing. I failed boards like 96 times.
  48. DocEspana

    DocEspana I shall cast a spell on your roster

    Joined:
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    A year ago this thread was amusing because of the paranoid posters with the tinfoil hats and conspiracy theories.

    Now I'm tired of it. No freemasonic grand schemes here. So take this old tinfoil hat thread elsewhere.
    [​IMG]
  49. Cancer Man

    Cancer Man

    Joined:
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    Post Doc
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I crashed and burned twice on the COMLEX step 2. My school actually worked with me to help me get out of the hole. The problem I had was that I wasn't understanding what the test question was asking. I had to take a week long course in Kansas City to teach me how to take the board exam. I pulled a 70 point gain. Another guy in my class pulled a 140 point gain. The website is below.

    http://www.theinstituteofmedicalboards.com/

    I'm planning on taking a refresher course because it helped me so much. Shoot me a PM if you want to know anything else.

    Later
  50. danzman

    danzman The Ace of Spades

    Joined:
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    ks2005

    I will give you my advice, but be warned it is worth exactly what it costs...nothing

    Since you failed twice, find out just how many times your school will let you take it before dismissing you, pretty sure some places its 3. Sit down and talk to someone about taking a LOA for 3months (this may set you back a year but so be it, this is for all the marbles..)

    Figure out what sections of the COMLEX you are failing and what it is that is holding you back.

    Are you a good student?
    Have a crappy schedule during rotations?
    How where your level 1 scores? Did you just barely pass?

    Either way, stepping back for 3 months will give you a better shot at doing this right.

    My next advice may seem a little extreme, but again, this one counts.
    Get a psychologist/therapist and go every week to discuss this topic. Swallow your pride and go to a physician and discuss ADD medications to help you study. Demand it. For Gods sake, psychiatrists sling this crap around like its candy and if anyone could make an argument for needing it, it is you. I promise you can find it. I don't care what anyone says, you may only get one more shot at this for the rest of your life. Even if you think its amoral, unethical, or just plain cheating. Do it. If it does not help you, then stop taking them and push forward, but maybe, just maybe, it will reveal some pent up learning disability in your past.

    Buy Master the Boards by Conrad Fischer and make flash cards for topics. Read it slowly and highlight everything you didn't already know. If you don't understand something, Wiki it. Hit the flash cards every night for one hour before bed, and try to study for 8 GOOD hours a day. Not facebook for 3 and study for 2. Don't even look at OPP until the last 2weeks of study time

    Buy COMBANK and COMQUEST, they are the best 50 bucks you can spend. I would venture that 10-20% of my COMLEX topics came from them, and some of the medicolegal stuff was word-for-word. Don't do any OPP until the last 2 weeks.

    Use Dr Boesler's study guide ONLY for OPP. Make a chart of those stupid somatic reflexes and chapments points and copy it down 20 times a day until you can do it in your sleep. (This is actually quite easy and super simple points). Last two weeks hit OPP hard. Everyday study a different topic and do questions from combank/quest

    Study this for two months, no more, no less, take test and move on with your life.

    Good luck and keep your chin up.

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