Mar 21, 2013
10
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Pre-Medical
I failed my comlex level I and have had to remediate two classes in my first two years (one each year). I want to go into family medicine. I'm wondering how difficult it will be to match...assuming I pass on my second try? Anyone have advice, similar experience, or board study plans they could share? Thanks!
 

Leggomyeggo128

7+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2010
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I'm very sorry about your COMLEX...those tests aren't easy.

I won't lie to you...you are in a bit of hole. But you can do it.

First thing first....self reflection. Really consider why you want to be a physician. Re-establish the fire. Is this really what you want?

Next...reassess why you have been struggling. Is it your study schedule? Is it the material? Is it time management? Make an appointment with your advisors and hammer it out.

Take a leave of absence to study for level 1. Then Crush it! 500+. Show programs it was a fluke.

Work hard in third year. The real learning starts now. Step 1 is important, but programs want to know you can crush on the wards. Show them. Honor the family rotation and shelf of course.

Prep early for step 2. Crush it on the first attempt. This will further put step 1 behind you.

Do some auditions at programs familiar with DOs. Show them what an outstanding doc you will be. Get some good letters from program directors.

Apply broadly to programs. Interview at all of them and rank them all.

Lastly...match and forget step 1 ever happened.

A lot to do, but not much more than what everyone else will be doing. You can totally do it... If this is something you really want. I believe you can do it. Good luck!!!
 

IslandStyle808

Akuma residency or bust!
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Aug 5, 2012
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I had a side question to this. If a person feel they have a weak foundation, then could they just retake 2nd year (or just sit in on classes during a LOA)? Would this incur extra costs to the student if done?
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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I had a side question to this. If a person feel they have a weak foundation, then could they just retake 2nd year (or just sit in on classes during a LOA)? Would this incur extra costs to the student if done?
I'm not sure people take LOAs when they fail COMLEX as much as their school reworks their curriculum and puts them through the hoops.
 

IslandStyle808

Akuma residency or bust!
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Aug 5, 2012
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I'm not sure people take LOAs when they fail COMLEX as much as their school reworks their curriculum and puts them through the hoops.
Not sure if I am interpreting what you mean correctly. So schools can structure a modified curriculum for students with failed COMLEX scores so they can prepare them for the retake?
 

Leggomyeggo128

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Nov 3, 2010
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i did not fail step 1, so this information is purely anecdotal.

At my school, if you fail the school requires you take a 3 month leave of absence (1 rotation block) to re-study. They meet with you and set you up with resources. You are not eligible to repeat a year because of board failure. Besides that wouldn't really help. You can't repeat two years in one year. It doesn't make sense. Take 3 months to UFAP and you should be golden if you go hard (and had some head start from your previous study attempts)
 

IslandStyle808

Akuma residency or bust!
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Aug 5, 2012
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i did not fail step 1, so this information is purely anecdotal.

At my school, if you fail the school requires you take a 3 month leave of absence (1 rotation block) to re-study. They meet with you and set you up with resources. You are not eligible to repeat a year because of board failure. Besides that wouldn't really help. You can't repeat two years in one year. It doesn't make sense. Take 3 months to UFAP and you should be golden if you go hard (and had some head start from your previous study attempts)
Thanks for the info. What I meant by my last response was could a person repeat only the 2nd year since this is the year with the highest yield of material (at the very least)? This could give them a solid foundation before retaking. From what I have seen on here, this is the root cause for a large chunk of retakes (this may apply to OP with her course failures). However, it could also be true the study techniques for the exam didn't work either.
 

Brorthopedic

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How and for how long did you study for your first attempt?
 

Leggomyeggo128

7+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2010
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Thanks for the info. What I meant by my last response was could a person repeat only the 2nd year since this is the year with the highest yield of material (at the very least)? This could give them a solid foundation before retaking. From what I have seen on here, this is the root cause for a large chunk of retakes (this may apply to OP with her course failures). However, it could also be true the study techniques for the exam didn't work either.
Gotcha. Repeating a year might be something you could ask for when you present your case in front on the performance committee. But I doubt they go for it. Reasons being:

1) a lot of what you learn during first or second year is not really relevant to the boards. Pre-clinical (at least for me) was 60% board relevant, 35% was strictly prep for rotation, and 5% was rather worthless. So IMO you don't need a year. Just a better study schedule and some time off to implement it.

2) you only have a limited time to graduate. Taking a whole year off would put you in the position of having zero wiggle room to mess up down the road. This includes personal reasons as well.
 
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OP
T
Mar 21, 2013
10
2
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you very much for your advice and compassion!

I had definitely lost site of my passion and drive in the past few years, mostly after failing and trying to adjust and being unsuccessful in doing so multiple times. I do very much want to become a physician. I completed one rotation before finding out the news and do feel refreshed and slightly more confident because I feel I will succeed on the "wards".

I'm trying to remain as positive as possible and am determined to pass on my second time around! I know I hadn't studied enough for the first exam for many reasons. I had to remediate my course and then had to re-remediate and take a bunch of small exams after that that are mandatory before you can take the boards at my school. By the time I had finished all of that I had less than a week to solely focus on comlex. Of course, I had been studying board related material on those exams and had studied before that, but it really threw me off. So, I'm hoping with this time and newfound clarity I can redeem myself.

Just feel that all of these failures will make it almost impossible to match into any residency :(
 
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OP
T
Mar 21, 2013
10
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm very sorry about your COMLEX...those tests aren't easy.

I won't lie to you...you are in a bit of hole. But you can do it.

First thing first....self reflection. Really consider why you want to be a physician. Re-establish the fire. Is this really what you want?

Next...reassess why you have been struggling. Is it your study schedule? Is it the material? Is it time management? Make an appointment with your advisors and hammer it out.

Take a leave of absence to study for level 1. Then Crush it! 500+. Show programs it was a fluke.

Work hard in third year. The real learning starts now. Step 1 is important, but programs want to know you can crush on the wards. Show them. Honor the family rotation and shelf of course.

Prep early for step 2. Crush it on the first attempt. This will further put step 1 behind you.

Do some auditions at programs familiar with DOs. Show them what an outstanding doc you will be. Get some good letters from program directors.

Apply broadly to programs. Interview at all of them and rank them all.

Lastly...match and forget step 1 ever happened.

A lot to do, but not much more than what everyone else will be doing. You can totally do it... If this is something you really want. I believe you can do it. Good luck!!!
Thank you very much for your advice and compassion!

I had definitely lost site of my passion and drive in the past few years, mostly after failing and trying to adjust and being unsuccessful in doing so multiple times. I do very much want to become a physician. I completed one rotation before finding out the news and do feel refreshed and slightly more confident because I feel I will succeed on the "wards".

I'm trying to remain as positive as possible and am determined to pass on my second time around! I know I hadn't studied enough for the first exam for many reasons. I had to remediate my course and then had to re-remediate and take a bunch of small exams after that that are mandatory before you can take the boards at my school. By the time I had finished all of that I had less than a week to solely focus on comlex. Of course, I had been studying board related material on those exams and had studied before that, but it really threw me off. So, I'm hoping with this time and newfound clarity I can redeem myself.

Just feel that all of these failures will make it almost impossible to match into any residency :(
 
OP
T
Mar 21, 2013
10
2
Status
Pre-Medical
How and for how long did you study for your first attempt?
I went through pathoma once (read through the book again a second time), went through FA once, sketchy micro once, and did about 25 questions in Combank per day before my remediations and about 50 per day the last 2 weeks. I did a COMSAE a week before my exam and focused on the areas I did the worst in in FA for ~ last week. I did not feel properly prepared when I took it and definitely know I hadn't studied enough and felt very rushed :/ I know that this time around I need to stick to a more specific schedule.

My plan currently:
  • I'm starting with my weakest areas: pharm, micro, and path (based on my COMSAE and COMLEX score breakdowns)
  • I have started doing ~5 DIT videos a day and going through First Aid in concordance with this
  • Then doing about 40-50 questions on combank per day (making sure to go through the answers slowly and make sure I understand all of the reasons why the answer is what it is)
  • Watch all the sketchy micro again, watch pathoma again
  • Will be taking another 1-2 assessments through my school and going over them and plan to take 1 COMSAE
  • Take the exam in 2-3 months
Do you have any advice on things I should add or take away from this? Also, should I buy uworld and is 50 questions per day not enough?

Thanks in advance for any help!
 

Brorthopedic

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I would definitely switch out Combank for Uworld. Do 1-2 (preferably 2) blocks each day. Spend an honest amount of time heavily reviewing your incorrects. Once you're done with Uworld for the day, hit Pathoma/FA/Sketchy. Rinse and repeat.
 

Leggomyeggo128

7+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2010
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I would definitely switch out Combank for Uworld. Do 1-2 (preferably 2) blocks each day. Spend an honest amount of time heavily reviewing your incorrects. Once you're done with Uworld for the day, hit Pathoma/FA/Sketchy. Rinse and repeat.
This is solid advice. Good luck! Keep us posted.
 

ortnakas

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I would definitely switch out Combank for Uworld. Do 1-2 (preferably 2) blocks each day. Spend an honest amount of time heavily reviewing your incorrects. Once you're done with Uworld for the day, hit Pathoma/FA/Sketchy. Rinse and repeat.
Solid advice. Maybe do a uworld/combank combo. You will absolutely learn more with uworld so do more of that, but the COMLEX question style is so odd you don't want to get totally out of practice.

If you're having trouble with path Goljan audio might be helpful too. Wouldn't do it instead of anything else, but I used to listen to it while I did all those regular life things you can't totally ignore (cooking, driving, laundry, etc) and it was super helpful.
 

1lifeleft28

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Def uworld, pathoma & FA. Those 3 are plenty and plenty to learn in themselves. Less resources is definitely more. Definitely 2 blocks/day, timed and in the morning when you would be taking your test.

One thing I wish I had done was buy two comsae's and take them back to back just to get a feel for the brutality of an 8 hour exam and 400 questions. Give yourself 40 mins & no more than that between the first and last 200 as your lunch. I really think this is a good idea and wish I would have considered it prior to my exam.
 

Goro

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It's doable. Most students who fail on the first try pass on the second.

One of my all time worst students had to repeat a year and had multiple course failures and remediations in OMSII. He's now an anesthesiologist and is probably killing patients somewhere in the Northwest.

We've tightened up our standards since that time as well.

I failed my comlex level I and have had to remediate two classes in my first two years (one each year). I want to go into family medicine. I'm wondering how difficult it will be to match...assuming I pass on my second try? Anyone have advice, similar experience, or board study plans they could share? Thanks!
 
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GUH

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OP, as of right now it's still possible to match or at least scramble into AOA FM with red flags like yours. I do not know for sure whether this will carry over to ACGME FM but imagine that it's more likely if you apply broadly enough and pass everything from here on out, given the fact that there were quite a few ACGME FM spots left for the SOAP this year.

I had a side question to this. If a person feel they have a weak foundation, then could they just retake 2nd year (or just sit in on classes during a LOA)? Would this incur extra costs to the student if done?
I know at least one student who voluntarily retook all of second year, giving this student an extra year to learn the core boards material before actually taking the COMLEX. The student did have to pay for the extra tuition.
 
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JustPlainBill

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I went through pathoma once (read through the book again a second time), went through FA once, sketchy micro once, and did about 25 questions in Combank per day before my remediations and about 50 per day the last 2 weeks. I did a COMSAE a week before my exam and focused on the areas I did the worst in in FA for ~ last week. I did not feel properly prepared when I took it and definitely know I hadn't studied enough and felt very rushed :/ I know that this time around I need to stick to a more specific schedule.

My plan currently:
  • I'm starting with my weakest areas: pharm, micro, and path (based on my COMSAE and COMLEX score breakdowns)
  • I have started doing ~5 DIT videos a day and going through First Aid in concordance with this
  • Then doing about 40-50 questions on combank per day (making sure to go through the answers slowly and make sure I understand all of the reasons why the answer is what it is)
  • Watch all the sketchy micro again, watch pathoma again
  • Will be taking another 1-2 assessments through my school and going over them and plan to take 1 COMSAE
  • Take the exam in 2-3 months
Do you have any advice on things I should add or take away from this? Also, should I buy uworld and is 50 questions per day not enough?

Thanks in advance for any help!
As someone who had to repeat first year due to low grades and failing the last class by 3 questions -- no, I did not fail COMLEX I, just repeated 1st year --- a few things:

1) This is not about passive studying -- I'm seeing some of that in the way you describe your volume of the new plan -- you can "watch" and "read" all you want to and still not grasp the concepts or the information -- this is about active, effective studying.

2) Micro, pharm, path are your known weaknesses -- focus like hell on these and review the material for the other areas. Get a tutor from your school and meet with them twice weekly -- get a block of material that you both agree that you will cover and then have them pimp the crap out of you during your meetings over that material -- the idea here is to get it embedded into your memory for fresh recall -- and it should be cumulative -- anything you've talked about is fair game.

3) I would get both UWorld for learning the science and Comquest for getting into the COMLEX way of doing things/asking questions. Those last 2 weeks would be almost 75% Comquest -- I would get through that Q Bank at least twice randomly -- pretty soon you'll be able to immediately grasp what the question is really asking, not the distraction rabbit trails they present.

4) I use DIT for Comlex 2 and it was marginally useful for me -- I found I spent so much time attending class and listening to him lecture that I didn't have enough time to cement the stuff in my head. COMLEX 3 -- I used Comquest and spent hours with that and either FA or Step UP to step 3 -- scores went up and some of those questions were almost verbatim off the exam -- or at least felt that close -- it was almost like the savarese green book where the dude is channeling the comlex writers.

This is not the time to be passive and get into a "check box" mentality -- well, if I do 25 questions or 5 videos or 2 trips through pathoma, I'll be ready -- BS on that -- if you take the relevant subject matter and topics and study them like you'll need to use them professionally in a few years, then you'll be ready --

I can't stress enough that if you pursue passive studying techniques, you will fail.