There's a thread just like this in the Allopathic forum with some great responses.
From what I've learned, very few fail out, and if they do, they usually are invited back to try again. I think if you can get into med school, you'll be able to get through it as well. Besides, what could be more difficult than getting through the application process?
No joke. I don't know anything about this, but I'm figuring that the application process is such a pain in the @$$ that once you finally make it in, med schools know you're for real and won't be out to KILL you. Hopefully I'm right because just taking mcats and applying has probably taken about 10 years off my life.
My dad said that when he went to optometry school, there was a horrible curve, and the people at the bottom were kicked out---they actually weeded out the class on purpose!
If a med school accepts you, they expect and WANT you to succeed....but it's still gonna be tough! It's their investment on you, so they'll do all they can to see you succeed, but you have to put the work in too.
No worries, I ain't no slacker. I'm just saying that I don't think the higher-ups are sitting in their offices plotting and burning students in effegy, ya know? I would guess that they don't WANT you to fail out, so they're going to try to help you if you're struggling. Well, in theory at least. In practice maybe it's different. I suppose I'll find out when I get there... IF I EVER GET THERE!!!
The big down side to failing in med school (as if that weren't bad enough) is that you'll probably have to pay big $$$ to make up what you failed.
At my school (as far as I've been told), if you fail a class you are given a chance to make it up over the summer. If, for some reason, you don't successfully complete it the 2nd time you have to take the entire YEAR over again...even if you only failed one subject. Think about paying a 5th year of tuition!
I've heard that failing depends on the school. Smaller in-state schools tend to be more accepting of students who fail classes, and let them retake.
But I have friends at larger, private schools who say their deans and profs don't care at all about the students who fail. According to them (they are from boston & jeff) there are several students who drop out in each class, usually by the second year. :-(
It's tougher when classes are graded on curves too, and you are with classmates who are super smart.
Between my med school and those I'm familiar with via friends, etc. flunking out of med school is pretty rare. Maybe there are a few schools that are exceptions, but that hasn't been my experience. Yes, people struggle; those who have a hard time passing are 'helped along' by the administration---given tutors, academic advisors, etc.--in order to prevent attrition within the class.
That being said, those who are having extreme difficulties are allowed to drop *some* classes and take them the following year (hence join the following class & taking a lighter class load) or take a leave of absence (drop all classes) until the following year (still ultimately joining the next class).
At my school, I haven't heard of anybody actually flunking out. Some people realize medicine isn't for them (irrespective of grades) and voluntarily leave (rumor was that a med4 dropped out halfway thru the last year!) and others are kicked out for other reasons (misconduct and the like)...but I haven't heard of anybody who wanted to stay in med school who was booted for failing too many classes. Bottomline: the majority of med schools want to keep you there---it makes them & their teaching methods look bad if students are failing out. Afterall, who wants to attend a school that is known for having an unusually high dropout rate?