Brain Bucket

Oh man, I forgot to bring the marshmallows.
May 7, 2013
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Instead of worrying about what to do three years down the line, focus on now. Which classes did you fail? Remedial courses are typically much easier. If they were Physio/Biochem, you'll really want to get them down.

I know it's easy to say 'do well in the rest and ace the boards', but typically it isn't so easy. People who fail for whatever reason tend to not ace the boards and/or honor rotations. If you somehow manage it, then worry about where you'll end up. For now, be glad that you're an AMG and don't slip up. If we fail a single class in the first two years - it's sayonara.

As for explaining yourself, I'm no expert but my instinct: don't offer it, but don't hide it. If they bring it up during the interview process, be honest, but spin it in a positive light. i.e. what you learned from it / how it makes you a better physician etc. Don't play the victim.
 
OP
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Dec 3, 2013
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Instead of worrying about what to do three years down the line, focus on now. Which classes did you fail? Remedial courses are typically much easier. If they were Physio/Biochem, you'll really want to get them down.

I know it's easy to say 'do well in the rest and ace the boards', but typically it isn't so easy. People who fail for whatever reason tend to not ace the boards and/or honor rotations. If you somehow manage it, then worry about where you'll end up. For now, be glad that you're an AMG and don't slip up. If we fail a single class in the first two years - it's sayonara.

As for explaining yourself, I'm no expert but my instinct: don't offer it, but don't hide it. If they bring it up during the interview process, be honest, but spin it in a positive light. i.e. what you learned from it / how it makes you a better physician etc. Don't play the victim.
I wasn't playing the victim-- I was only stating the facts. Maybe I should have phrased it like "I was violently assaulted" or something and not used the word "victim"?
Point is, life happens and although I tried hard, it turned out that I wasn't academically talented enough to have the unfortunate events not affect my schoolwork. What's done is done, and I want some input on how I can best move forward.

The classes were not biochem or physio; we haven't taken physio yet and I did well in biochem. I did not fail the two classes by a large margin, so all I had to do was retake the exams (same question bank, different questions), so I still mastered the knowledge in the end.

I agree, doing well in "the rest" may be challenging, but all I can do now is look forward and not focus on the trends and tendencies of other students who fail preclinical classes and do my individual best.
 
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Brain Bucket

Oh man, I forgot to bring the marshmallows.
May 7, 2013
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Two steps from Hell
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Medical Student
I understand. I wasn't berating you, merely giving an idea as to how I think you should present it.

I don't think you have much to worry about, you seem like you know what you're doing. You've made your life harder, but I don't think it's impossible for you to get into academia.

Hopefully who's actually taken this road or is qualified to offer their opinion will comment. Good luck!
 

evilbooyaa

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Okay, so you remediated them successfully on the first attempt? Meaning it will not show on your transcript that you failed two classes? For example, I needed to remediate my pharm final (not the whole course, just that I got a 69% on the original final) but my pharm grade was a P once I passed remediation.

If your transcript says P and you have no LoA to explain, I can't even imagine how a residency program would find out about it, unless it's mentioned in your MSPE (Dean's letter).

Based on how my US Allopathic school works, if there is no evidence on your transcript of these two failures (which there wouldn't be at my school if you passed remediation [although 2 legitimate failures at my school are a pretty serious problem]) then this doesn't affect your long-term prospects (compared to passing the same courses).

Since you failed because of a life event that caused PTSD and you are on the up-and-up now, all I can say is to keep recovering, keep doing better, and it'll all work out. If you had failed due to just lack of ability to study well and/or retain info, then I would be a little more worried about your situqation.

Once you are comfortably in MS2 (I'm assuming you're a MS1 now) I would speak to the Dean about what effect those failures had to your transcript (if any). An argument could be made for also asking that question while you are a MS1, but I would rather you focus on passing every other course comfortably than worrying about things that are out of your control.

As for your career choices, Neuro/IM/Path are competitive at top locations. You should be able to get into a mid-range academic program as long as you are not borderline failing throughout medical school.
 
Jun 1, 2013
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focus on finishing the courses, i think thinking ahead too much can hinder you.
 

Akali

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Still no delete post function. Wonderful :)
 
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Dec 3, 2013
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Thanks. Does anybody have any more suggestions? It's a little discouraging to feel like I've ruined my career before it even had a chance to begin. :(
 

evilbooyaa

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Thanks. Does anybody have any more suggestions? It's a little discouraging to feel like I've ruined my career before it even had a chance to begin. :(
Did you read the post I did yesterday? You haven't 'ruined' your career by any definition.
 

mcloaf

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The fails show as F/P so it shows on my transcript.
They still list them as failures even though you passed on remediation? That's harsh.
 

sobored

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Consider yourself lucky that you go to a school that advances you following 2 failures (although I'm not sure they're doing you any favors by doing this). 2 fails and you repeat the year at my school (and I know many schools have a similar policy). Anyways, I'm not a PD, but I've spoken to PDs in a few different fields and the consensus seems to be that they place much less weight on preclinical grades. So, assuming you do well on Step 1/2 and your rotations, you should have a good shot at matching neuro, IM or path at a decent academic program. Basically, it doesn't look good that you failed 2 classes, but what's more important is bouncing back and proving to people that this was a fluke and you have persevered. Perception is everything - convince people you're over the struggles by excelling academically from now on. You can do it.
 

evilbooyaa

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The fails show as F/P so it shows on my transcript.
Okay well that's unfortunate.

All that being said, pre-clinical grades aren't a huge problem. It'll be a red flag but not something that can't be overcome for your current career prospects.
 

JM26

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I had some difficulty in my first year of medical school, mainly because I had no idea how to study. I actually took a med school study skills class that literally saved me. If you want any information about it, let me know.