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How bad is an LOA?

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doc2025

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Long story short, I failed a bunch of classes and I requested an LOA to repeat M1 because I know I don't have the material down. Throughout the semester I had multiple makeup exams for those classes but failed those due to limited time to study. Now they are being put over the 5 week summer "break" that we get. I have not had a break since last August.

Part of me wants to try and pass the makeup exams because I am not the kind to quit. But another part, the more realistic part, is telling me that passing multiple makeup exams in 5 measly weeks is almost impossible. And if by some miracle I do pass them, I will be going into another hectic year with 0 rest since before matriculating and risking wrecking my grades in M2 as well.

I was told if I do take LOA, all incomplete classes/makeups will be listed as F's on my transcript. Now I obviously do not want this, but I am out of energy. Please advise.
 
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Spectreman

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Shooting from the hip here, but unless you had a significant life event leading to this struggle, you may be better off cutting your losses and choosing a more manageable careering path. You’re going to always feel like you’re not getting enough time to rest, there will always be another thing with an insane deadline. You could switch to PA and cut your stress level significantly. It’s still a great career with good pay and satisfaction, and you’re not so far along that the debt is going to crush you.

Assuming none of that deterred you, and you’re getting steadily more pissed off as you read it, I would get off my a$$ and gun for that [email protected]&king makeup like my life depended on it. You’ll have time to rest in 3rd and 4th year. Pain is temporary.
 
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doc2025

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Shooting from the hip here, but unless you had a significant life event leading to this struggle, you may be better off cutting your losses and choosing a more manageable careering path. You’re going to always feel like you’re not getting enough time to rest, there will always be another thing with an insane deadline. You could switch to PA and cut your stress level significantly. It’s still a great career with good pay and satisfaction, and you’re not so far along that the debt is going to crush you.

Assuming none of that deterred you, and you’re getting steadily more pissed off as you read it, I would get off my a$$ and gun for that [email protected]&king makeup like my life depended on it. You’ll have time to rest in 3rd and 4th year. Pain is temporary.
Its really just burnout that's killing me. I dont mind redoing it at all. And PA school is just as rough.
 
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Rogue42

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Having that many F's on your medical school transcript is going to be a death sentence for residency almost. If it is not an immediate death sentence, it will definitely make things a lot tougher.

I personally, would say take the tests and do your very best.

But here is my real advice and the real advising that you need:

If you are struggling that badly, then you need to fundamentally understand that it does not get easier. The tests get harder, the nights get longer, the fatigue builds, and academic burnout will get worse. Taking a break would probably be in your best interest, but not at the expense of making "Fs" in multiple classes that show up on your transcripts. Multiple Fs will reflect as a huge red flag for residency programs and a low GPA to go with it will not be favorable either. By doing that, you may find yourself in at the end of fourth year - 5 years in medical school debt - with no residency to call home, and no way to repay your loans. Now that, that would really be a travesty.

What you need to do, is look deep within yourself, and determine what you really want out of medicine - for better or for worse. Because the way I see it, you really only have two options; decide this is what you really want and pass those tests, go into year two and keep grinding it as best you can OR cut your losses, not that deep in debt and a chance of financial recovery, understanding that you are not a failure, but simply someone who decided they wanted more for their mental and physical well-being than what medical school had to offer.
 
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Spectreman

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Its really just burnout that's killing me. I dont mind redoing it at all. And PA school is just as rough.
I tutored PA students during my preclinical years. Can confirm, the curriculum is not nearly as brutal.
You can fight the burnout with a proper weekend long break. You don’t need weeks off. Work hard, play hard.
 
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Dame_Maggie

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OP it sounds to me like you’re not ready to give up, but you’re anxious about the upcoming exams. What happens if you don’t pass one or all of them? Will you be allowed to repeat or will you be dismissed?

If you’re going to fight, dig deep and give it your all, but you need to be doing some things for yourself first. Set aside those five weeks and remove any social obligations you’ve made. Set up a schedule that allows you sleep 7-8 hours a night, work out 30 min a day, and have some downtime each evening. Stock your apartment with healthy foods so you’ll eat well. If you can, take one full day off each week to recharge or two half days. Adding some self care can help you with the burn out you’re feeling, without having to give up another year and risk a red flag on your residency app.

You’ve been working hard all year, and you’re tired and mentally drained, I get that. Current second years have been working hard all year, and they’re just now entering their 8 week dedicated period, during which they might get 1-2 weeks off before starting rotations, depending on how ready they are to take boards. 3rd years worked all year and won’t get breaks at all between their last 3rd year rotation and their first 4th year one. You can do it, OP, but you’ve got to take care of yourself too.
 
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doc2025

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OP it sounds to me like you’re not ready to give up, but you’re anxious about the upcoming exams. What happens if you don’t pass one or all of them? Will you be allowed to repeat or will you be dismissed?

If you’re going to fight, dig deep and give it your all, but you need to be doing some things for yourself first. Set aside those five weeks and remove any social obligations you’ve made. Set up a schedule that allows you sleep 7-8 hours a night, work out 30 min a day, and have some downtime each evening. Stock your apartment with healthy foods so you’ll eat well. If you can, take one full day off each week to recharge or two half days. Adding some self care can help you with the burn out you’re feeling, without having to give up another year and risk a red flag on your residency app.

You’ve been working hard all year, and you’re tired and mentally drained, I get that. Current second years have been working hard all year, and they’re just now entering their 8 week dedicated period, during which they might get 1-2 weeks off before starting rotations, depending on how ready they are to take boards. 3rd years worked all year and won’t get breaks at all between their last 3rd year rotation and their first 4th year one. You can do it, OP, but you’ve got to take care of yourself too.
If I dont pass the exams, they may either make me retake the year anyways or even move me forward but keep me back after the 4th year. Its all very confusing and the vibe I get is they are making it up as they go because a number of students are struggling.
 

doc2025

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IMO you should at least give it a shot and study like your tail off for the makeup exams. You can definitely learn enough in 5 weeks to pass the remediations. At my school these are not as difficult as the block exams. If you just give up and take a LOA, you'll always wonder what could have been. You're already selling yourself short by saying stuff like "passing multiple makeup exams in 5 measly weeks is almost impossible" and that it would be a "miracle" if you do actually pass them. Well medical students like yourself make crazy stuff like this happen all the time and overcome those seemingly insurmountable obstacles. You'll just have to dig deep and tell yourself it will be worth it in the end (it will be). Medical school is probably the most stressful time in an aspiring doc's career. But you do have some outside factors that were affecting your performance. So you'll have to do whatever it takes to get those under control before M2, because they will keep you from reaching your full potential otherwise. Maybe once your remediation exams are over you can address them head on. Right now it's time to put all your effort into your makeup exams.
I should point out in these 5 weeks, there will be 4 makeup exams all staggered about a week from each other, the first being about a week after the current term ends. I wont have 5 weeks to study, I will have about 1 week per exam.
 

zNoodlez

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If I dont pass the exams, they may either make me retake the year anyways or even move me forward but keep me back after the 4th year. Its all very confusing and the vibe I get is they are making it up as they go because a number of students are struggling.
Are you attending one of the newer schools?
 

doc2025

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Are you attending one of the newer schools?

Kind of, don't want to dox myself but its a new branch under a very old school. The major factor here is coronavirus, because of that they are shuffling things around so much, cancelling all breaks, the school may as well be new. The curriculum certainly is after all these changes.
 

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If I dont pass the exams, they may either make me retake the year anyways or even move me forward but keep me back after the 4th year. Its all very confusing and the vibe I get is they are making it up as they go because a number of students are struggling.

My school has had a similar situation. My class has had a record number of students struggle academically this year, and they've had to change the remediation & repeat policy to account for the numbers. I imagine the class of 2025 is going to be very large, due to the number of students who will have to repeat once the summer remediation period is over.

Have you addressed whatever caused you to struggle, and did you fail all of these courses in the fall or a combo of fall and spring? If you were to take a LOA and repeat the whole year, how will the repeat classes look on your transcript? Will you have 4 Fs and then whatever you make in the repeat courses, or will the Fs be removed? Your school's remediation policy doesn't seem to be setting you up for success, tbh.

So you know you're not alone, I repeated OMS-1 this year, because I struggled academically my first time through. I failed one course and it is listed as an F on my transcript (my school shows actual scores too, to add insult to injury), and then a W-F because I withdrew during an active course but I was failing at the time. All my other courses I either passed, or I withdrew with a W-P because I was passing them when I withdrew. I addressed my issues during my LOA (which was the entire spring semester & summer) came back this year, and scored at 10 points higher on every course I repeated, whether I passed it the first time or not. I never was hoping for a competitive specialty, community FM would make me very happy, and I've spoken to many repeating students who have successfully matched and how they handled the questions during residency interviews. The common thread was that every one of them addressed what was wrong, corrected it, learned from it, and moved on successfully.
 
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doc2025

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Have you addressed whatever caused you to struggle, and did you fail all of these courses in the fall or a combo of fall and spring? If you were to take a LOA and repeat the whole year, how will the repeat classes look on your transcript? Will you have 4 Fs and then whatever you make in the repeat courses, or will the Fs be removed? Your school's remediation policy doesn't seem to be setting you up for success, tbh.

I have already failed every one of the upcoming summer remediation exams already. As I officially failed the courses during the term, they would schedule makeup exams about 10 days into the following term making me study for both the makeups and the next courses simultaneously. I ended up failing both makeups and the courses. That process repeated 2 times and lead to where I stand now. This is why I asked for the LOA (I read a few threads her eon SDN about it, even Goro was suggesting it) so that I could take a break and just do it over but from what I am being told by the administration and other posters here, this is academic suicide.
 
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Osminog

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Take a LOA. You clearly need time to reflect on your professional goals, stress management skills, and study strategies. If you end up deciding that medicine is still for you, it would better to graduate and apply to residency with a LOA and multiple pre-clinical F’s than it would be to flunk out and desperately seek readmission.
 
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doc2025

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Take a LOA. You clearly need time to reflect on your professional goals, stress management skills, and study strategies. If you end up deciding that medicine is still for you, it would better to graduate and apply to residency with a LOA and multiple pre-clinical F’s than it to flunk out and desperately seek readmission.

What about the Fs? Some here are saying residencies frown on that. Are you saying its not as bad others are saying?
 

AlbinoHawk DO

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A leave of absence is not going to destroy your career. What will destroy your career is not addressing your problems appropriately. Instead of focusing on how some PD will interpret your leave, how about passing your next exam?
 
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Ho0v-man

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If you apply to residency with a repeat year or LOA + multiple Fs on your transcript you’re really limited to community IM/FM and even then the chance of soap is high. Are you okay with that?

For reference, I know someone who repeated the first year and had no other red flags. He failed one class by 1/10th of a point. Passed boards, including steps, on first attempt. Applied very broadly and reasonably to IM in the Midwest. Barely any interviews and soaped. Can you handle that? Because that makes the stress you’re going through now barely even register.

It really does get much harder from here on in. The pace, the stress, the self-doubt, the feelings of inadequacy, they never really stop. They only get worse.

If I were in your shoes, I’d try to pass the remediation exams because...heck why not? The moneys spent anyways, right? If you can stop those marks from showing up on your transcript do it. Then I’d figure out if I really wanted to go into second year once I knew if I even had the option.

If I failed those retakes then I’d quit. Having those grades show up on your transcript might make it hard to even soap.
 
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danielblank313

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Is it possible to do both? Take the exams and hopefully pass, then take a leave of absence to really fix what brought you here in the first place?
 
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Osminog

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What about the Fs? Some here are saying residencies frown on that. Are you saying its not as bad others are saying?

It would be a red flag. You’d be limited to uncompetitive specialties (FM, community IM, peds, path, etc.) and uncompetitive programs (IMG-heavy, undesirable locations, etc.). Also, you’d have to apply far more broadly than your classmates who don’t have any red flags. But if you’re burning out and failing during your first year, you’re not a position to succeed, even if you were to pass the retake exams. You need to consult with a learning expert and mental health professional, and you need to reflect on your own goals and priorities. If you end up deciding to continue on the medical path, you’ll thank yourself for choosing to take time off over flunking out.
 
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Goro

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Take a LOA. You clearly need time to reflect on your professional goals, stress management skills, and study strategies. If you end up deciding that medicine is still for you, it would better to graduate and apply to residency with a LOA and multiple pre-clinical F’s than it to flunk out and desperately seek readmission.
Best advice given here, OP.
/thread.
 
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doc2025

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OP, are you at ICOM? Your past history suggests you're doing more passive studying rather than active. And it usually takes a few years for new schools to work out the kinks in the curriculum. So it may just be that there's a little less handholding and more figure it out on your own type of environment in a new class.
Not ICOM but it is a new branch that overhauled the curriculum.
 

zNoodlez

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If you apply to residency with a repeat year or LOA + multiple Fs on your transcript you’re really limited to community IM/FM and even then the chance of soap is high. Are you okay with that?

For reference, I know someone who repeated the first year and had no other red flags. He failed one class by 1/10th of a point. Passed boards, including steps, on first attempt. Applied very broadly and reasonably to IM in the Midwest. Barely any interviews and soaped. Can you handle that? Because that makes the stress you’re going through now barely even register.

It really does get much harder from here on in. The pace, the stress, the self-doubt, the feelings of inadequacy, they never really stop. They only get worse.

If I were in your shoes, I’d try to pass the remediation exams because...heck why not? The moneys spent anyways, right? If you can stop those marks from showing up on your transcript do it. Then I’d figure out if I really wanted to go into second year once I knew if I even had the option.

If I failed those retakes then I’d quit. Having those grades show up on your transcript might make it hard to even soap.
I am afraid that the lack of scored Step 1 and Comlex 1 will make the situation even worse for OP.
 
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I agree with those saying to take a leave of absence. I think you might find it helpful to get tutoring. Find an upperclassman that would help you out. You can even try a learning specialist.
 
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NotAProgDirector

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You have no choice. Just from reading your post, trying to take all those exams in 4-5 weeks isn't going to work, and gives you no time to recover.

You need an LOA, and then restart so you have all the time to try again.

I don't think all those F's will be a death sentence. If you restart, do well, and pass your boards, you can spin it as being unprepared for medical school, getting your **** together, and then succeeding. Will you get a spot at a top ivy? Probably not. Will yo get neurosurgery? Probably not either -- simply because your goal is going to be going from failing to middle of the pack. But you'll get something decent.

The key here is fixing things. You need help to figure out what went wrong. Maybe you need antidepressant meds. Maybe you need a learning disability eval. Just resting and trying again is almost certainly going to result in the same thing, and then you'll be booted out. You should assume you wont get any more tries -- if you start failing things again, they will dismiss you outright.
 
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Doc_Ock

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Both me and a close friend of mine in med school started with an LOA and taking some time away out of that environment gave us space to breath and realize that medicine wasn't for us (or at the very least we chose the wrong medical school) and now that we've left we're soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much happier. I have friends that are still in school but they're miserable.
 
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BorntobeDO?

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Long story short, I failed a bunch of classes and I requested an LOA to repeat M1 because I know I don't have the material down. Throughout the semester I had multiple makeup exams for those classes but failed those due to limited time to study. Now they are being put over the 5 week summer "break" that we get. I have not had a break since last August.

Part of me wants to try and pass the makeup exams because I am not the kind to quit. But another part, the more realistic part, is telling me that passing multiple makeup exams in 5 measly weeks is almost impossible. And if by some miracle I do pass them, I will be going into another hectic year with 0 rest since before matriculating and risking wrecking my grades in M2 as well.

I was told if I do take LOA, all incomplete classes/makeups will be listed as F's on my transcript. Now I obviously do not want this, but I am out of energy. Please advise.
Take a leave and apply elsewhere. Even if you come back all those failures will haunt you come application time, as well as the rest of med school where there will be zero room for error.

if your gonna restart just go to a different DO school and leave this one in the dust. I had one friend who did this who just graduated. Not sure what would of happened if he continued but I do know that the fear of failing again was too much. You only list on ERAs schools that contribute to your degree so first DO school won’t have to be listed unless you try to get transfer credit. Anyway, do what you want. If it was just a leave without the failures I might support coming back, but when it’s multiple failures I think a leave is kind of putting off the inevitable at that school.
 
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xffan624

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Take a leave and apply elsewhere. Even if you come back all those failures will haunt you come application time, as well as the rest of med school where there will be zero room for error.

if your gonna restart just go to a different DO school and leave this one in the dust. I had one friend who did this who just graduated. Not sure what would of happened if he continued but I do know that the fear of failing again was too much. You only list on ERAs schools that contribute to your degree so first DO school won’t have to be listed unless you try to get transfer credit. Anyway, do what you want. If it was just a leave without the failures I might support coming back, but when it’s multiple failures I think a leave is kind of putting off the inevitable at that school.

How many medical schools (even newer DO schools) are eager to take a student that just failed all of their first year courses?
 
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doc2025

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Both me and a close friend of mine in med school started with an LOA and taking some time away out of that environment gave us space to breath and realize that medicine wasn't for us (or at the very least we chose the wrong medical school) and now that we've left we're soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much happier. I have friends that are still in school but they're miserable.
Your title still says medical student? Did you go to another school?
 

doc2025

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Take a leave and apply elsewhere. Even if you come back all those failures will haunt you come application time, as well as the rest of med school where there will be zero room for error.

if your gonna restart just go to a different DO school and leave this one in the dust. I had one friend who did this who just graduated. Not sure what would of happened if he continued but I do know that the fear of failing again was too much. You only list on ERAs schools that contribute to your degree so first DO school won’t have to be listed unless you try to get transfer credit. Anyway, do what you want. If it was just a leave without the failures I might support coming back, but when it’s multiple failures I think a leave is kind of putting off the inevitable at that school.
I was unaware that applying elsewhere was even an option. I thought taking leave and quitting would have been the same as dropping out which was a death sentence.
 

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The key here is fixing things. You need help to figure out what went wrong. Maybe you need antidepressant meds. Maybe you need a learning disability eval.

This is one of my biggest gripes about medical school. If the curriculum is so tortuous that people have to go on mind altering drugs just to pass, then is the problem really with the student? I found that I was rested and ready to grind again after taking a day off and leaving town but due to breaks being cancelled, I never actually had time to do that.
 

xffan624

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I was unaware that applying elsewhere was even an option. I thought taking leave and quitting would have been the same as dropping out which was a death sentence.
I wouldn't readily jump at that option. If you could leave the program without the F's you might have a better chance, but I can't see given the competitive medical school process that you would have a sure or even likely chance of restarting at a new school.
 
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doc2025

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I wouldn't readily jump at that option. If you could leave the program without the F's you might have a better chance, but I can't see given the competitive medical school process that you would have a sure or even likely chance of restarting at a new school.
That was my thought as well. I asked the admin why retaking the classes would result in Fs, after all retaking the year is more thorough than taking a remediation exam but "policy" is more important apparently.
 

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This is one of my biggest gripes about medical school. If the curriculum is so tortuous that people have to go on mind altering drugs just to pass, then is the problem really with the student? I found that I was rested and ready to grind again after taking a day off and leaving town but due to breaks being cancelled, I never actually had time to do that.
Could you perhaps summarize your study methods and how your curriculum is presented (lectures, PBLs, etc)? The answer could be efficiency, and if you improved that you would have more free time to rest & get a mental break from the workload.

I get what you’re saying, and I agree to a point. The medical education system shouldn’t be so bad that everyone ends up on medication to cope, but there are some students who truly need to be anti-depressants or adhd meds to function. All I needed was a little time to figure out where I was studying wrong, improve my efficiency, and rebuild my confidence, but others need more. I did seek out an education specialist to help with my studying and test taking skills.
 
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doc2025

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I agree with @Dame_Maggie . Your previous posts show more passive studying (looking at slides etc) and not passive. So if you tell us how you're studying and what your curriculum is like we could better help. Also, feel free to share your college GPA and MCAT. Before I get the "iT dOeSnT mAtTeR iF tHeY gOt In", it does matter if the undergrad study habits are not improved/adjusted for college, or also faced with other stressors which compounds the problem.
Could you perhaps summarize your study methods and how your curriculum is presented (lectures, PBLs, etc)? The answer could be efficiency, and if you improved that you would have more free time to rest & get a mental break from the workload.

I get what you’re saying, and I agree to a point. The medical education system shouldn’t be so bad that everyone ends up on medication to cope, but there are some students who truly need to be anti-depressants or adhd meds to function. All I needed was a little time to figure out where I was studying wrong, improve my efficiency, and rebuild my confidence, but others need more. I did seek out an education specialist to help with my studying and test taking skills.

I am a very hands on/visual learner. For example, I scored just shy of 100% on my last anatomy practical and it saved my grade in Anatomy 2 after bombing the written exam. Basically my problem is I can't read hundreds-thousands of powerpoint slides and memorize the material. Sketchy/Pixorize are like crack for me and they work wonders because it presents information in a visual manner. But these too have their limits due to the sheer amount of information that is being presented, they begin to bleed together (hence the need for breaks).

Working practice problems works well too, but time is tight and our tests aren't always board focused. During our physiology class, I was working board questions and beating the other students easily, I walked into the test room confidently and still failed the exam. Turns out the professors preferred to ask questions out of their own powerpoints. This seems to be a recurring theme, so I don't prioritize practice problems anymore.

Regarding college GPA, I had a 3.6 overall and 3.2 sGPA with Honors. Did very well in Chemistry and Physics (mostly A's and a few B's). Struggled in the core Biology classes because it was all context-less memorization of powerpoint slides. I had to take the MCAT a couple times, when I was just studying the material I didn't do well, once I started applying the information into practice questions, my scores shot up.

Not to sound egotistical but I took an IQ test a few year back after failing a test a few years back and scored in the top 10% percentile. To be perfectly frank, I would consider quitting before having to take Aderall, SSRI, etc.
 
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Dame_Maggie

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I am a very hands on/visual learner. For example, I scored just shy of 100% on my last anatomy practical and it saved my grade in Anatomy 2 after bombing the written exam. Basically my problem is I can't read hundreds-thousands of powerpoint slides and memorize the material. Sketchy/Pixorize are like crack for me and they work wonders because it presents information in a visual manner. But these too have their limits due to the sheer amount of information that is being presented, they begin to bleed together (hence the need for breaks).

Working practice problems works well too, but time is tight and our tests aren't always board focused, so I don't prioritize them.

Regarding college GPA, I had a 3.6 overall and 3.2 sGPA with Honors. Did very well in Chemistry and Physics (mostly A's and a few B's). Struggled in the core Biology classes because it was all context-less memorization of powerpoint slides. I had to take the MCAT a couple times, when I was just studying the material I didn't do well, once I started applying the information into practice questions, my scores shot up.

To be perfectly frank, I would consider quitting before having to take Aderall, SSRI, etc. Not to sound egotistical but I took an IQ test a few year back after failing a test a few years back and scored in the top 10% percentile.

I love hands-on visual learning as well. I don't do well sitting in a lecture style classroom being "talked at", like my husband does who is very auditory. He can listen to a book on tape and tell you every word, I can listen to the same thing and maybe tell you the title of the book & what the cover art looks like.

Have you tried taking the powerpoints and making diagrams, flow charts & drawings for the material? Nothing too detailed, but just something that gets the images into your head in a way that makes processing the info easier for you. I have to start big picture and then go small, so I start with a giant whiteboard and a huge framework or map, and then fill in smaller details in later passes. I have also found that for me, to combat that "bleeding together" of material from hours of studying, I give myself 15-30 min to get through a powerpoint (ours average 50-ish slides each), get something new mastered each time, and then move on. I can make more passes that way and the concepts come together with enough passes. I don't do anki because I cannot stand it...it works, it's a great tool, but I despise everything about it after struggling all year to try and make it work. I do my own spaced repetition, and while it might not be as efficient as anki, I make good grades with it and it doesn't suck out my will to live. If practice questions work for you, you can start them as early as your second pass, after you watch lecture or review the powerpoints. A good qbank can be your main way of learning if you can do enough questions before the exam. If your curriculum isn't always board relevant and you can't use board qbanks for them, do your professors provide practice questions, have you tried review books with questions like BRS, Grey's Anatomy Review, PreTest, etc? What about PQs in your textbooks, or questions your classmates maybe make and share?

I didn't suggest you needed to be on ADHD meds or SSRIs, I just stated that for some students they are necessary, and they're not just a product of medical school being very difficult. I'm not sure what your IQ test statement was about, unless it was about me saying that I used an education specialist to help me. I also have a top 10% IQ level, but that doesn't mean that I came into medical school knowing how to study correctly for the sudden influx of material I was given.
 
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Goro

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To be perfectly frank, I would consider quitting before having to take Aderall, SSRI, etc. Not to sound egotistical but I took an IQ test a few year back after failing a test a few years back and scored in the top 10% percentile.
I know that you're in a very sensitive place, but your IQ means nothing. What you need is to figure out how to drink from the firehose, while you're running after the fire engine.

Read this for starters; you have to learn how to learn. Then contact your school's learning or education center ASAP. You need help with not only your learning style, but also time management.
 
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doc2025

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I know that you're in a very sensitive place, but your IQ means nothing. What you need is to figure out how to drink from the firehose, while you're running after the fire engine.

Read this for starters; you have to learn how to learn. Then contact your school's learning or education center ASAP. You need help with not only your learning style, but also time management.
Im sorry if that came of as bragging, I promise didn't mean it that way. I agree the IQ is meaningless, that was the reason I mentioned it.
 

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I love hands-on visual learning as well. I don't do well sitting in a lecture style classroom being "talked at", like my husband does who is very auditory. He can listen to a book on tape and tell you every word, I can listen to the same thing and maybe tell you the title of the book & what the cover art looks like.

Have you tried taking the powerpoints and making diagrams, flow charts & drawings for the material? Nothing too detailed, but just something that gets the images into your head in a way that makes processing the info easier for you. I have to start big picture and then go small, so I start with a giant whiteboard and a huge framework or map, and then fill in smaller details in later passes.
This works well also, I have my notebook full of schematics for all my classes, when I had the time to make those, then answer questions while referring back to those, I excelled.
 

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This works well also, I have my notebook full of schematics for all my classes, when I had the time to make those, then answer questions while referring back to those, I excelled.
Ok, so you know what works well for you, that’s great! At what point did you start running out of time to do these?
 

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Have you reached out to any academic specialist at your school or sought out any type of tutoring? It seems like you've asked for advice but any time someone recommends something you have a reason that you don't like it or that it wouldnt work for you. There has to be a point when you stop making excuses. There is simply too much information to consume in medical school for you to be dead set on learning it only one way and expecting it to work across every subject or system. I doubt you expected this road to be easy, much less manageable. But I'm assuming the majority of your classmates haven't failed every single class, so even if your school isn't helping you or providing your preferred learning environment-people around you are still performing through it and passing. As you've seen through these comments-it is only going to get harder, burnout is going to get worse, and you will get less and less breaks.

And another thing, if your plan is to become a physician, you need to evaluate how you discuss aspects of mental illness and medications. I don't think medications need to be thrown at everything and I know the statistics of prescription medication abuse, but I'm sure there are people at your school who had to go through that disability evaluation, had to divulge details of their mental illness, and do have to take medications for one thing or another. You're clearly going through something and I feel for you in what you've shared, but if classmates around you (medicated and not) aren't failing every single class or remediation exam, then I don't think the problem is whether or not they need "mind-altering drugs." Be gentle when talking about diagnoses that you may very well have. Just because you refuse to be evaluated for them doesn't mean that nothing is wrong, and that's obvious through your performance so far. Having to take medications for whatever diagnosis youve been given doesn't make your success any less valid than someone without one.
 
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hallowmann

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I am a very hands on/visual learner. For example, I scored just shy of 100% on my last anatomy practical and it saved my grade in Anatomy 2 after bombing the written exam. Basically my problem is I can't read hundreds-thousands of powerpoint slides and memorize the material. Sketchy/Pixorize are like crack for me and they work wonders because it presents information in a visual manner. But these too have their limits due to the sheer amount of information that is being presented, they begin to bleed together (hence the need for breaks).

Working practice problems works well too, but time is tight and our tests aren't always board focused. During our physiology class, I was working board questions and beating the other students easily, I walked into the test room confidently and still failed the exam. Turns out the professors preferred to ask questions out of their own powerpoints. This seems to be a recurring theme, so I don't prioritize practice problems anymore.

Regarding college GPA, I had a 3.6 overall and 3.2 sGPA with Honors. Did very well in Chemistry and Physics (mostly A's and a few B's). Struggled in the core Biology classes because it was all context-less memorization of powerpoint slides. I had to take the MCAT a couple times, when I was just studying the material I didn't do well, once I started applying the information into practice questions, my scores shot up.

Not to sound egotistical but I took an IQ test a few year back after failing a test a few years back and scored in the top 10% percentile. To be perfectly frank, I would consider quitting before having to take Aderall, SSRI, etc.
It honestly sounds like you went to the wrong school. There are a lot of schools with curricula more inline with board based review, with less powerpoints and more independent learning, etc.

That said, the way you describe struggling with even visual based material that bleed together is a real issue here. You need to find a way to function more efficiently. I am not someone who loves memorizing materials, and I learn best by learning concepts in context and watching patterns. Memorizing minutiae was never a strong suit (and still isn't). But medical school requires it, so you have to find a method that works for you. You find that out when you fail that first test that you walk in thinking you're going to ace it (something almost everyone in med school experiences). It takes a lot of trial and error, finding the method of learning that works for you. I'm sorry that your school didn't give you the opportunity to take a break earlier, but unfortunately that's pretty common among med schools and especially DO schools. For better or worse, part of the gauntlet of medical education and training is not just the sheer volume of material but the relentless nature of it.

As for the IQ comment, this is med school, probably half your class has an IQ >90th percentile, and a probably not minute percentage >95th percentile. There is also minimal if any correlation (actually the data suggests if a correlation exists it might actually be positive) between depression and baseline IQ, and as far as ADHD goes, the correlation is likely more associated with confounders.
 
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BorntobeDO?

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How many medical schools (even newer DO schools) are eager to take a student that just failed all of their first year courses

I will say the friend who did this remediated the course then reapplied. He had old professors vouch for him. I don’t have anything else to add beyond that.
 

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Another DO student I know matched rads with <490, no ECs or USMLE and failed a block first year. Barely spent any time on campus and was always home chilling with his friends or going on vacations. He always knew he "had it set" from the get-go because his dad could help him match.
So discouraging to read about stories where people can coast through med school and still land competitive residencies. Do you think there would be any deficiencies for someone who goes through a radiology residency but didn't put the effort before as in your story? Maybe it's naive but I do put a lot of hope in the fact that the work I put in today will hopefully make me a better doctor later. Perhaps it only goes so far, there is a point where learning more doesn't really correlate to being a better doctor?
 

hallowmann

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So discouraging to read about stories where people can coast through med school and still land competitive residencies. Do you think there would be any deficiencies for someone who goes through a radiology residency but didn't put the effort before as in your story? Maybe it's naive but I do put a lot of hope in the fact that the work I put in today will hopefully make me a better doctor later. Perhaps it only goes so far, there is a point where learning more doesn't really correlate to being a better doctor?
It'll make you a better doctor and it will also make you happier doing what you're doing. I can't imagine being happy treating people in a half-a**ed way. Some people can, but it doesn't sound like that's your personality, nor is it good for medicine.

That all said, there's nothing to say that these people don't go on to work really hard/harder in residency. I've known people like that who just needed to find that thing they are inspired by or enjoy before they really push themselves (not everyone, but some).
 
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Nevergiveupok

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It'll make you a better doctor and it will also make you happier doing what you're doing. I can't imagine being happy treating people in a half-a**ed way. Some people can, but it doesn't sound like that's your personality, nor is it good for medicine.

That all said, there's nothing to say that these people don't go on to work really hard/harder in residency. I've known people like that who just needed to find that thing they are inspired by or enjoy before they really push themselves (not everyone, but some).

That's true. I can think of one particular resident I know whose more interested in the business side of medicine but doesn't slack off in residency. Generally likes their specialty but often shares his business/materialistic perspective on insta.

If anything, I'm kind of happy he's genuine about it. A ton of cringe worthy people on insta who I know are medical residents -- try to talk about certain "hot topics" where they're trying to become insta famous and I can't stand them. Especially kind of humorous when I personally know one of them who really wishes he never pursued medicine.
 

Nevergiveupok

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I don't know tbh... I'm sure many people match (or improve their odds) through personal connections and no one ever finds out. There was a CASE student who matched derm then terminated by their residency before starting then they found out he sexually harassed a patient during med school, skipped out on a taxi, and stole (IIRC). I think his school tried to help him by not mentioning any of it in his MSPE. After getting kicked out he went to some shady school in Panama (or maybe just paid for the degree itself) and is now an IM resident at his dad's hospital.

You also have the drunk Anjali Ramkissoon who assaulted an Uber driver and threatened to lie to the police about what happened. Her dad got her another residency after she was fired (she attended Ross)

There was another Canadian IMG who bribed a hospital $400k for a FM spot, then they kicked him out and he sued. These are just a few stories that are public. Imagine how many smaller instances occur where word never gets out. Or imagine if the bribe was done all cash (maybe smaller amounts of ~50-100k if the applicant only needed a little bump in competitiveness). I had friends offered $100k to trade residency locations (rich guy who wanted to be near his fiance) so it's not that far-fetched. The only thing we can do is work hard and match out of merit.

Wait is that actually true?

Also I think you may be overplaying how much connections help get into programs (at least for the most part). Knew a Carib grad (now an IM attending I believe in private practice) who had high Step scores but had one attempt on Step 1. Despite being in an extended family with multiple doctors (some who were connected to local medical schools that had access to multiple primary care residencies) and having at least 10 other doctors outside of their family trying to help get them a program -- he went unmatched. Ended up working very hard for a doctor in research who happened to be affiliated with a residency program that often accepted IMGs/Caribbean. Got a prematch offer but worked his a** off under the guy to get it (70-80 hour weeks and even picking up administrative work to help out with his preceptor's practice).
 

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Long story short, I failed a bunch of classes and I requested an LOA to repeat M1 because I know I don't have the material down. Throughout the semester I had multiple makeup exams for those classes but failed those due to limited time to study. Now they are being put over the 5 week summer "break" that we get. I have not had a break since last August.

Part of me wants to try and pass the makeup exams because I am not the kind to quit. But another part, the more realistic part, is telling me that passing multiple makeup exams in 5 measly weeks is almost impossible. And if by some miracle I do pass them, I will be going into another hectic year with 0 rest since before matriculating and risking wrecking my grades in M2 as well.

I was told if I do take LOA, all incomplete classes/makeups will be listed as F's on my transcript. Now I obviously do not want this, but I am out of energy. Please advise.

A medical emergency left me in a similar situation this year. I missed a substantial amount of time and had to choose between taking a medical LOA or attempting to finish the block on an accelerated schedule. Taking the LOA went against everything in me as I did not want to go back to square one. But in hindsight, I'm thankful I did. I believe my prior experience and a more "normal" learning environment will put me in a much better position to be successful long-term than hoping to cram and pass the material in a short amount of time.

I understand your position is slightly different, but an LOA can be a time to regroup personally and professionally.
 
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bnedr431

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Definitely do what is best for you! Talk it over with your loved ones and I highly advise speaking with faculty in your program (not just the academic advisors) in those classes that you have struggled in. Often times, they can help provide insight and study advice you may not have thought of. Also, as a non-pharmaceutical approach (although nothing wrong with that if a professional thinks it may help!) but still wellness, reach out to your campus wellness coordinator/counselor and either go over options with them and/or the company your school uses. Virtual learning this year has been very tough, add in the fact for a lot of us first years we missed out on creating that social support/rapport with our classmates, I think it's valid that so many people have struggled. The schedule they have you on for remediation sounds tough and going into 2nd year with regular academics plus board prep, that feeling of burnout is not going to leave if you don't get a chance to decompress some this summer, so highly recommend talking it over. I would also ask the school to clarify whether or not the F's stay on your transcript if you come back after the LOA. Some schools initially report F's but if you come back after the LOA and pass your courses, your grades will be replaced @doc2025.
 

hallowmann

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I don't know tbh... I'm sure many people match (or improve their odds) through personal connections and no one ever finds out. There was a CASE student who matched derm then terminated by their residency before starting then they found out he sexually harassed a patient during med school, skipped out on a taxi, and stole (IIRC). I think his school tried to help him by not mentioning any of it in his MSPE. After getting kicked out he went to some shady school in Panama (or maybe just paid for the degree itself) and is now an IM resident at his dad's hospital.

You also have the drunk Anjali Ramkissoon who assaulted an Uber driver and threatened to lie to the police about what happened. Her dad got her another residency after she was fired (she attended Ross)

There was another Canadian IMG who bribed a hospital $400k for a FM spot, then they kicked him out and he sued. These are just a few stories that are public. Imagine how many smaller instances occur where word never gets out. Or imagine if the bribe was done all cash (maybe smaller amounts of ~50-100k if the applicant only needed a little bump in competitiveness). I had friends offered $100k to trade residency locations (rich guy who wanted to be near his fiance) so it's not that far-fetched. The only thing we can do is work hard and match out of merit.
I wasn't aware that that guy got a new residency (looks like he didn't even finish 2 yrs though), worked as a GP for 8 mos, then became real estate broker and is working on the business side of his family's clinics. That was a crazy story. His school rescinded his medical degree after the fact, then he went to an international school for a year to buy his MD. His license still looks like it's active. Crazy.

As for the neurology resident, I don't believe she got a new residency, I think she just working in "psychiatry" with a GP license. She completed almost 4 yrs of GME anyways.

That Canadian family thing was also quite messed up. The CEO of the hospital basically sold GME spots to foreign grads with wealthy parents to the tune of $200k-$500k. My understanding is that they were investigating, lost that lawsuit, and I believe the hospital is going through bankruptcy. Sounded like a terrible FM program, with an inpatient service that literally had a total census of 18 pts at a time, many of them post-op pts. Really sounded like terrible training. For anyone interested: Pay-to-play residency lawsuit adds to Pontiac General woes
 
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