Dec 6, 2010
4
0
Status
Non-Student
Hello all,

I am seeking advice as my fiance has failed step 1 twice and I am not sure what else I should suggest she do to help her pass.

She was an A and B student in medical school never failed a class, or test yet this one for some reason is giving her a hard time.

Her worst section was Scientific Understanding of Mechanisms, however all but one other she was off the charts (like at the top of her class)...

I purchased her boards boot camp after the first time she failed and she did as much as she could in the limited amount of time she had before she took her second test (she was trying to still be able to graduate on time which is no longer an issue.) She did maybe 50% of the program.

Also, she has never been a good standardized test taker. She has test anxiety and gets very stressed out in these longer tests.


She did not like the kaplan course however did that. Also I think it would be very important to have her do as many test questions as possible. Where can I find\ purchase extra test questions for her to do?


Any advice as to material, or what I could do to help her pass would be greatly appreciated. Clearly she needs to work on Scientific Understanding of Mechanisms as that's like 70-85% of the test, but I fear she is studying the wrong things and wasting her time.


 

dermpathdoc

DO Path
10+ Year Member
Aug 24, 2005
477
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Pacific Northwest
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Scientific understanding of mechanisms means do you understand the pathophysiology of diseases and the basic underpinnings of medicine....what she needs to know is which section of that broad group did she do poorly in..ie....pathology, anatomy, physiology or pharm. If she hasn't figured out where her weaknesses are despite being an upper portion of class student, she needs to sit down and take an intensive review course..even if she hates it
the other thing to consider..does she really want to be a doctor? is she sabotaging herself?
and why isnt she doing this soul searching herself?
the final consideration is..what does her school do if she does not pass this next time? some schools step up now to help the student(some did it after the first fail...I would have prefered to be in THAT school!)some schools unfortunately will expell you after the 3rd fail(the rubbish tip philosophy)..



Hello all,

I am seeking advice as my fiance has failed step 1 twice and I am not sure what else I should suggest she do to help her pass.

She was an A and B student in medical school never failed a class, or test yet this one for some reason is giving her a hard time.

Her worst section was Scientific Understanding of Mechanisms, however all but one other she was off the charts (like at the top of her class)...

I purchased her boards boot camp after the first time she failed and she did as much as she could in the limited amount of time she had before she took her second test (she was trying to still be able to graduate on time which is no longer an issue.) She did maybe 50% of the program.

Also, she has never been a good standardized test taker. She has test anxiety and gets very stressed out in these longer tests.


She did not like the kaplan course however did that. Also I think it would be very important to have her do as many test questions as possible. Where can I find\ purchase extra test questions for her to do?


Any advice as to material, or what I could do to help her pass would be greatly appreciated. Clearly she needs to work on Scientific Understanding of Mechanisms as that's like 70-85% of the test, but I fear she is studying the wrong things and wasting her time.


 
OP
R
Dec 6, 2010
4
0
Status
Non-Student
Scientific understanding of mechanisms means do you understand the pathophysiology of diseases and the basic underpinnings of medicine....what she needs to know is which section of that broad group did she do poorly in..ie....pathology, anatomy, physiology or pharm. If she hasn't figured out where her weaknesses are despite being an upper portion of class student, she needs to sit down and take an intensive review course..even if she hates it
the other thing to consider..does she really want to be a doctor? is she sabotaging herself?
and why isnt she doing this soul searching herself?
the final consideration is..what does her school do if she does not pass this next time? some schools step up now to help the student(some did it after the first fail...I would have prefered to be in THAT school!)some schools unfortunately will expell you after the 3rd fail(the rubbish tip philosophy)..
Thanks for the reply. She is currently doing the boards boot camp (ultra). I also told her she needs to take every question possible, she has access to the kaplan question bank along with a question bank for boards boot camp. I hope that will help her figure out what she needs to do to beef up on her weak spots. If you suggest anything else please let me know.

She does want to be a doctor, that's not the problem.

Now, the biggest problem though is she has never been a good standardized test taker. For whatever reason she has troubles. I think it has to do with anxiety issues. Is there some kind of doctor, or someone who she could go to see to work on those issues? So that she isn't freaking out and not doing as well as she could have done during the test every time.

As for her school, that's the other issue, if she doesn't pass this time they do expel her (which does not help her stress\anxiety). Her clinical affairs office is HORRIBLE. The guy who she has to talk to about these issues has simply said she needs to study more, never once given her any help. Hence me in a last ditch effort trying to find anyone who knows anything to try to help her.
 

dozitgetchahi

10+ Year Member
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Oct 21, 2008
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Thanks for the reply. She is currently doing the boards boot camp (ultra). I also told her she needs to take every question possible, she has access to the kaplan question bank along with a question bank for boards boot camp. I hope that will help her figure out what she needs to do to beef up on her weak spots. If you suggest anything else please let me know.

She does want to be a doctor, that's not the problem.

Now, the biggest problem though is she has never been a good standardized test taker. For whatever reason she has troubles. I think it has to do with anxiety issues. Is there some kind of doctor, or someone who she could go to see to work on those issues? So that she isn't freaking out and not doing as well as she could have done during the test every time.

As for her school, that's the other issue, if she doesn't pass this time they do expel her (which does not help her stress\anxiety). Her clinical affairs office is HORRIBLE. The guy who she has to talk to about these issues has simply said she needs to study more, never once given her any help. Hence me in a last ditch effort trying to find anyone who knows anything to try to help her.

If she really has such severe anxiety that it's limiting her ability to pass, she needs to see a psychologist/psychiatrist. There are a variety of treatment options for that sort of anxiety - everything from CBT and other behavioral therapies to certain drugs could really help her cause. Some people with performance anxiety really benefit from beta blockers (I've personally seen this in a couple musician friends of mine). However, if her anxiety is this bad it doesn't quite make sense that it'd be presenting right now out of the blue. How did she get through the MCAT and do well enough on her med school exams to end up an A/B student?

I also agree that she really needs to take an intensive course if she's failed twice. What did she use to study before she took the COMLEX the first time? Was she using the "holy trinity" (FA, Goljan, UWorld)? If not, why not?
 
Last edited:
OP
R
Dec 6, 2010
4
0
Status
Non-Student
If she really has such severe anxiety that it's limiting her ability to pass, she needs to see a psychologist/psychiatrist. There are a variety of treatment options for that sort of anxiety - everything from CBT and other behavioral therapies to certain drugs could really help her cause. Some people with performance anxiety really benefit from beta blockers (I've personally seen this in a couple musician friends of mine). However, if her anxiety is this bad it doesn't quite make sense that it'd be presenting right now out of the blue. How did she get through the MCAT and do well enough on her med school exams to end up an A/B student?

I also agree that she really needs to take an intensive course if she's failed twice. What did she use to study before she took the COMLEX the first time? Was she using the "holy trinity" (FA, Goljan, UWorld)? If not, why not?
Thanks for the reply.

She never did very well on tests like the MCAT's I mean sure she did fine well enough to get in, but not nearly as well as she should have. Further any other major standardized test she never did well on. Exams or shorter tests never bothered her much though. She worked really hard at her school work, is very organized, and is also very smart so my guess is that's how she was an A\B student. But when it comes to these big (long) tests she like becomes an idiot, and gets stressed out. (I think it also didn't help that both times she took this COMLEX test she was on her period, which makes her an emotional wreck).

As for what she studied before the test the first time. I know she took the Kaplan course, with lectures and all the books. She did more but to be honest I was busy with work and did not pay much attention. She was getting around 80% of the Kaplan questions right though... so she thought she was fine...

Are these all books: "holy trinity" (FA, Goljan, UWorld). If so can you give me their full titles so that I can get them for her if she doesn't already have them.
 

karizma098

Neon Tiger
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 8, 2005
489
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Medical Student
I p.m'd you..

the fact that she got through 2 years of med school ( in america ) without failing a course shows that it's not about not working hard, just that she wasn't studying the right things, and spending enough time studying either. it's very doable..check my PM, i've been there.

kaplan isn't the best..it's way too broad and their qbanks are weird...but 80% right should be passing. she needs to do uworld and combank. she needs to be scoring higher than 55% on uworld and higher than 63% on combank to insure passing.
 

FutureInternist

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Aug 23, 2007
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Thanks! Quick question though isn't the USMLE test different from the COMLEX? Or does it really matter for the question bank?
UWorld is a slight overkill for the COMLEX, but their explanations are great and that will likely benfit her with the 'scientific understanding'. I thought that the Kaplan Q bank for COMLEX was too easy, giving way too many hints etc that the real COMLEX did not have.
 
Dec 26, 2010
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Status
I am in the same boat as your fiance. In my first attempt I used First Aid, took a school provided board prep class, and used COMBANK for questions; this landed me a 320. On my second attempt I switched to USMLEworld questions, studied my previous notes from FA/board prep class, and added a few drugs and bugs flashcards. My score improved to 360. I really would like to knock it out of the park this time, so I was wondering if anyone had any opinions on what to do next. I am currently deciding if another prep program like Doctors in Training or Boards Boot Camp would be helpful; and if so, which would be best? Any suggestions would be welcomed with open arms.
 

gman33

Moderator Emeritus
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Aug 18, 2007
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I only took the USMLE, but i think the tests are pretty similar.

After second year I spent about 3 weeks studying hardcore and took my first practice exam. I got around 175, which would be failing. I sort of freaked out a little a tried to figure out what to do to improve.
At that point, I started focusing more just on memorizing all of FA and using the USMLERx question back. What I really liked about USMLERx was the questions reinforced the points from the FA book and there were links to the pages etc. I felt this helped me learn what was in FA. In 2-3 more weeks, my practice scores improved by 40-50 points. So I went from a failing score to right around the national average. My real score was right around the same.

I think intially my plan was to use too many sources and some of that stuff wasn't as "high yield" as other sources.
Also, you need to focus on using stuff that matches your learning style. Lecture based courses and wordy texts are great for some. For me, I'm more of a "just the facts" type of learner. If I need more details, I'll go luck them up somewhere else.

:luck: