masterofnone

10+ Year Member
May 21, 2007
85
0
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I am an AMG and struggled my first 2 years of med school (firmly in the bottom 1/4). My step 1 was equally disappointing- it took me 3 tries to pass. I am sharing my story because I found out today that I passed step 2 on the first attempt with a 229/95 and I hope that I can provide encouragement to a other students who have also struggled. It is never to late to make a U-turn.

Good luck
 

jon stewart

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2005
1,179
9
Status
i know what IMG/FMG is...whats AMG? australian medical graduate? Austrian medical graduate?
 
About the Ads

Mehrdad1

New Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 5, 2005
59
0
Status
Medical Student
I am an AMG and struggled my first 2 years of med school (firmly in the bottom 1/4). My step 1 was equally disappointing- it took me 3 tries to pass. I am sharing my story because I found out today that I passed step 2 on the first attempt with a 229/95 and I hope that I can provide encouragement to a other students who have also struggled. It is never to late to make a U-turn.

Good luck
This is indeed very encouraging. If you have any advice on how to pass Step 1, please pass it along. I have already failed it once, and would love to hear what you did to finally pass it. Thanks again for having the courage to post this. I really appreciate it.
 

masterofnone

10+ Year Member
May 21, 2007
85
0
Status
Resident [Any Field]
People fail for a variety of reasons and the obvious, though difficult, task you must undertake is taking a serious objective look at why you had problems. I told myself a variety of excuses but the truth is, for me, I hadn't done enough the first two years to prepare myself. This caused significant anxiety as it is one of the few things you can't just "fix."

I felt like I had memorized FA but still was missing a lot of questions so I really focused on question/test taking to improve. To study for my final, passing, attempt I used almost exclusively questions to study. I did all of kaplan Qbank and Qbook (which I found to have better explanations), Robbins qbook, webpath (google it), and Lange's qbook. I also took the first 2 NBME exams. I made notes of all missed questions or questions that I got right but didn't understand well then read the notes from each day that evening before I went to sleep.

I also tried to keep my anxiety down by stopping caffeine and etoh, re-started my exercise routine, and giving myself study rewards/breaks. I talked to a physician friend of mine who prescribed propranolol for me which I took a few times while taking all day mock-exams (to make sure I could tolerate it) then took one the test day. If you have anxiety, which is hard not too after you have failed, then I'd recommend you talk to someone to see if this is a viable option for you- it helped me tremendously.

After I learned I passed, I re-dedicated myself to school and worked hard 3rd year for each rotation. I bought all the top step 2 books the first day of 3rd year and read the corresponding sections for every rotation while studying for the shelf. The month before step 2 I again did thousands of questions, made notes on those I missed, and skimmed the review books.

Good luck!
 

DOCTORSAIB

Ophtho or bust!
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 15, 2000
1,660
11
43
Baltimore, MD
Visit site
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I am an AMG and struggled my first 2 years of med school (firmly in the bottom 1/4). My step 1 was equally disappointing- it took me 3 tries to pass. I am sharing my story because I found out today that I passed step 2 on the first attempt with a 229/95 and I hope that I can provide encouragement to a other students who have also struggled. It is never to late to make a U-turn.

Good luck
Very inspirational story! Congrats.

Your 229/95 is like a 270+ in my eyes..:)

G'luck!
 

Baditude

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2003
241
3
50
Michigan
Visit site
Status
I got a 184/74 when I took the exam in Aug and I am furious with myself!! I went back and changed a couple of answers even though I knew better! I was sick as a dog the day I took it and just didn't trust myself!! I feel like such a failure because I already have the IMG strike and I am 37 with 2 kids which doesn't help when applying for residency, I had my heart set on EM and I think I have ruined that chance now. I am trying to get over the depression or go back to reviewing and take the monster again! Your story makes me feel there is hope for me yet!! :)
 

Baditude

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2003
241
3
50
Michigan
Visit site
Status
I was told by a med school during an interview that my age and having children would be a problem not matter where I go because the way a school will look at me is that because of my age and that children are expensive by the time I pay back my loans I would never be able to contribute back to the school or organization as an alumni. Then I was asked flat out if I planned to have anymore children or not.
So I guess I am kind of jaded by that experience.
 

osli

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 13, 2005
1,279
6
44
Status
Medical Student
I was told by a med school during an interview that my age and having children would be a problem not matter where I go because the way a school will look at me is that because of my age and that children are expensive by the time I pay back my loans I would never be able to contribute back to the school or organization as an alumni. Then I was asked flat out if I planned to have anymore children or not.
I believe if I had been told/asked such things in a med school interview, I would have smacked the interviewer and told the dean of admissions a thing or two as well. And I would have withdrawn my application that day, in front of all the other interviewers, to make it very clear that I did not want to be considered for acceptance by their institution. The truth is that practically all med students will have children by the time they are able to contribute to their alma mater. And borrowing limits are capped by institutions, with most students that are loan reliant taking out the maximum allowed... putting most students on equal financial footing.

As for residency, I can see the reasoning for a slight bias against family laden applicants, since the concern is no longer about "money donation" in the future but rather your time commitment in the present. Perhaps a general surg residency might think a married woman with four children will not be able to make the "appropriate sacrifices" to put in 90 hours a week. But as far as I am concerned, any married w/children applicant with good scores/grades/recs has proved that they can handle academic and career obligations just fine. In fact, if a student can pull off competitive stats while having to manage time with a family, odds are that they can sustain a higher level of focus and performance in residency than the applicant who required 6 hours a night after class and 12 hours a day on weekends plus holidays to "gun" their way to top scores... and then meets that special someone in residency and suddenly can't maintain that same level of performance.

Or are residencies wanting students these days to sign contracts stating that they will remain single, uninvolved, out of the dating pool, and will keep hobbies and TV time to a bare minimum for several years?
 

Baditude

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2003
241
3
50
Michigan
Visit site
Status
Osli- I wish everyone felt the way you do but I have found that not be true in many places.
I was too stunned by my interviewer to say anything the day of my interview because I had never encountered an age bias before. I only got really mad after I thought about it and the tone it was delivered in.
Now all I can hope is to pull it together and move on!
 

Mehrdad1

New Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 5, 2005
59
0
Status
Medical Student
People fail for a variety of reasons and the obvious, though difficult, task you must undertake is taking a serious objective look at why you had problems. I told myself a variety of excuses but the truth is, for me, I hadn't done enough the first two years to prepare myself. This caused significant anxiety as it is one of the few things you can't just "fix."

I felt like I had memorized FA but still was missing a lot of questions so I really focused on question/test taking to improve. To study for my final, passing, attempt I used almost exclusively questions to study. I did all of kaplan Qbank and Qbook (which I found to have better explanations), Robbins qbook, webpath (google it), and Lange's qbook. I also took the first 2 NBME exams. I made notes of all missed questions or questions that I got right but didn't understand well then read the notes from each day that evening before I went to sleep.

I also tried to keep my anxiety down by stopping caffeine and etoh, re-started my exercise routine, and giving myself study rewards/breaks. I talked to a physician friend of mine who prescribed propranolol for me which I took a few times while taking all day mock-exams (to make sure I could tolerate it) then took one the test day. If you have anxiety, which is hard not too after you have failed, then I'd recommend you talk to someone to see if this is a viable option for you- it helped me tremendously.

After I learned I passed, I re-dedicated myself to school and worked hard 3rd year for each rotation. I bought all the top step 2 books the first day of 3rd year and read the corresponding sections for every rotation while studying for the shelf. The month before step 2 I again did thousands of questions, made notes on those I missed, and skimmed the review books.

Good luck!
Thank you so much. I'm sure this will help many of us tweak our study habits. Best of luck in the future. Take care.
 
About the Ads

psm19

10+ Year Member
Sep 23, 2007
1
0
Status
Medical Student
it took me 3 tries as well to pass step 1. the 2nd time i failed by 2 points, which was very depressing. 3rd time i passed with a 217! which made me really happy and was such a relief. failing step 1 is really tough to deal with, but you can and will get through it. on my last attempt i took a class through UMKC. it's called board prep-IPP. you should be able to google it. It really helped me to stop focusing on what i didn't know, and instead focus on test taking strategy and how to get the points with what i did know. the class has been really helpful for everyone who has taken it. they also pay a lot of attention to your general mental health and physical health. after the class was over, i did all of USMLE World which i found VERY helpful. I really didn't read too much as far as review books, because that's what i did the 1st 2 times and it didn't help me. So try to be positive, figure out where you went wrong, think about taking the class, and remember Questions, Questions, Questions!
Hope this helps!
 

Terpskins99

Fear... The Stig
10+ Year Member
Mar 8, 2005
3,435
9
Status
Resident [Any Field]
it took me 3 tries as well to pass step 1. the 2nd time i failed by 2 points, which was very depressing. 3rd time i passed with a 217! which made me really happy and was such a relief. failing step 1 is really tough to deal with, but you can and will get through it. on my last attempt i took a class through UMKC. it's called board prep-IPP. you should be able to google it. It really helped me to stop focusing on what i didn't know, and instead focus on test taking strategy and how to get the points with what i did know. the class has been really helpful for everyone who has taken it. they also pay a lot of attention to your general mental health and physical health. after the class was over, i did all of USMLE World which i found VERY helpful. I really didn't read too much as far as review books, because that's what i did the 1st 2 times and it didn't help me. So try to be positive, figure out where you went wrong, think about taking the class, and remember Questions, Questions, Questions!
Hope this helps!
lol, I know this program. Or at least, I know some of the instructors in it.

Was the pathology taught by Dr. Friedlander? :cool:
 

wiwi0816

10+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2007
8
0
Status
Medical Student
It took me three times to pass step one, too. I just got my passing score on Wednesday - I am so happy! I am meeting with my Dean on Thursday to discuss my rotation schedule, etc. (I have been on a leave of absence until I passed step one) and I definitely need to talk to him about my options. I am worried about when I apply for residency. I'm considering doing research or an MBA or MPH to try to make myself more attractive for residency positions. Granted, I know I am going to apply to Fam Med (not exactly competitive :p) but I still worried that I am going to move really far away or end up in a crappy program. I am also already concerned about Step Two...so the OP's encouraging story about kicking a$$ on Step Two was really wonderful to hear.

As far as how I passed Step One the third time, I took a review class. It was Northwestern Review and it was REALLY GREAT - http://northwesternmedicalreview.com (no, I am not getting kick-backs). I pretty much exclusively used the materials and Q-bank that came with the class and stayed away from FA, Kaplan Q-bank, and Step Up - which I had used the prevous two times when I didn't pass. I've never used UW but am considering it for Step 2 and would have used it for Step 1 if I had more time because I hear such good things about it. I guess the best advice I can give to repeat test-takers is to change your study strategy. Don't study the same things and use the same materials because it didn't work for you before. Take a class, they are expensive, but they help. And as far as how to relax...I really couldn't tell you. I stayed pretty stressed out through the whole experience;)
 

Terpskins99

Fear... The Stig
10+ Year Member
Mar 8, 2005
3,435
9
Status
Resident [Any Field]
btw, congrats to all of you guys for getting over the USMLE hump.

I don't know if I could handle taking Step I three times like that.
 

valquiria

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 23, 2007
1
0
Status
Medical Student
I am an IMG and I got my results for the Step 1 a week ago. I failed 175/70 and this was my second attempt.:(
I am so depress these days, reading your expierences is helping me a lot to get back to the road.
I am worried , even though if I pass this step 1 and the other ones,do I have a chance to be accepted in a surgery program? The odds are not in my favor , I know that already.
Any way I am following some of your suggestions and I hope this time I'll make it.
 

Terpskins99

Fear... The Stig
10+ Year Member
Mar 8, 2005
3,435
9
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I am an IMG and I got my results for the Step 1 a week ago. I failed 175/70 and this was my second attempt.:(
I am so depress these days, reading your expierences is helping me a lot to get back to the road.
I am worried , even though if I pass this step 1 and the other ones,do I have a chance to be accepted in a surgery program? The odds are not in my favor , I know that already.
Any way I am following some of your suggestions and I hope this time I'll make it.
Well, first things first... focus on passing the test. Take a hard look what went wrong. Did you do enough practice questions? Did you do them all random timed? Did you address your weakest subject? Did you remember to review your best subjects? Did you take an NBME? Did you give yourself enough time to prepare? Did you study efficiently? Did you study enough?

Take the time to address this (and more), then write up a study schedule for your retest.

As for surgery, my hospital has several foreign medical grads (including one caribb island grad) in the surgery program. General surgery does not fill with the match every year as many students do not rank community hospital programs and/or hospitals in undesirable locations. Also, I've heard some people argue that failing Step I and re-taking it with a high score is actually better than passing the first time with a low score. Not sure how many residencies would share that view, but I'm sure there are a couple that only care about the higher number.
 

Arch Guillotti

Senior Member
Staff member
Administrator
Lifetime Donor
15+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2001
8,272
2,733
Status
Attending Physician
I didn't do very well on Step I, got a 200. I know this isn't too bad in the grand scheme of things - but as a DO applying to a moderately competitive specialty (anesthesia) I didn't exactly help myself with this score. For me Step I was a real bear and honestly I feel lucky I passed. I managed to pump out a 241 on Step II and even got 230+ on Step III. If a dumb old DO like me can improve USMLE scores like this then anubody can.
 

koolkat83

10+ Year Member
Nov 28, 2007
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I am an AMG and struggled my first 2 years of med school (firmly in the bottom 1/4). My step 1 was equally disappointing- it took me 3 tries to pass. I am sharing my story because I found out today that I passed step 2 on the first attempt with a 229/95 and I hope that I can provide encouragement to a other students who have also struggled. It is never to late to make a U-turn.

Good luck
I was wondering...are you able to take step 1 again if you passed it but were not satisfied with the score you got?
 
About the Ads