2-year LOA and failed Step 1...how screwed am I?

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Feb 25, 2017
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As the title says. Been having a rough time over here. I'm a US MD who took a 2 year leave of absence after M2 for medical reasons and also have a failed Step on my record. Am I still able to match into residency? I'm not looking to go into anything competitive. Is it worth even continuing medical school at this point? I feel so low and barely feel like a medical student. Any advice or perspective is appreciated.

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Do you have any other red flags? What are you aiming to apply?

I haven't seen anyone match the likes of surg or higher in competitiveness with those red flags. But FM, IM, Psych etc... is feasible. Although, you gotta make concessions on where you may end up. Had a friend who matched FM with terrible scored Step 1 (may as well be failed) and 2 attempts on step 2. The 2 year LOA may not matter depending on how justifiable the medical reasoning is.
No other red flags. I passed the first two years of med school just fine. FM, peds, and psych are my top choices.

That's helpful and reassuring to know, thank you! It certainly makes me feel less alone in my situation.
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The vast majority of med schools will bend over backwards to help you. I hope you are communicating with administration, and be sure you are very open and honest with your dean. You can't afford more time off, so I hope your health is good now.

Just remember, there are many, many unsuccessful med school applicants out there who would gladly be in your shoes now!
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Did you eventually pass step 1?

Do you still want to be a physician knowing that most fields won’t be open to you?

If those are both “yes,” then probably worth continuing assuming there’s a reasonable chance you can do it health wise. You’ll certainly have explaining to do for residency apps, but everyone loves a good comeback story and if you are able to turn things around and do well then programs may take an interest.

2 years is an awfully long gap though so you will want to stay close with your admin as well as whatever academic support services you have. Clinical shelf exams are tough and you’ve had trouble with tests before plus you definitely have big foundational knowledge gaps that need to be addressed. You will need some help from the admin to make sure your third year schedule eases you back in gently. Don’t wanna jump right in to IM or surgery with their notoriously challenging shelf exams on top of fairly grueling rotations.
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