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How Bad is it to Fail a Class?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by pigglewiggle, May 8, 2007.

  1. pigglewiggle

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    If you fail a class but don't have to repeat the year, how big of a deal is it when applying to residencies? What about (internal) low passes? Does anyone else have those godforsaken things at their school?
     
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  3. Critical Mass

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    We have A-B-C-"see you in the summer" 2 "see you in the summer's" mean "see you next year"

    It might be a red flag if you have repeats on your transcript, but I think that the most important part of your preclinical education is step 1.
     
  4. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    It's not going to make too much of a difference unless you are aiming for a super competitive specialty (or residency at a super competitive location). Even in those cases, if you have a very strong second and third year, in addition to passing your remediation, you can do well on Boards, get good LORs and still be fairly competitive for a competitive specialty. Do your remediation in the summer; pass your remediation and don't look back. There are quite a few people who get off to a slow start and then pick up the pace from second year on.

    Most people who fail in medical school, fail by a couple of points. Since this is the case, the summer remediation/review will make them stronger in that course than some of the people who just passed by one or two points. In every case of the folks who re mediated at my school, they were aces on that material for USMLE Step I.

    My school didn't not have a low pass. We had Honors, Pass and Fail. Honors was 86 and above; pass was 71 to 85 and Fail was 70 and below. Another medical school near mine, had a conditional pass (if you failed one exam) so that those folks only had to re mediate the material that they failed instead of an entire course.
     
  5. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon

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    Not going to lie, for certain fields (derm, ophtho, ent, ortho) it's probably a deal-breaker. Someone will probably jump in with the annecdote about how their friend failed 3 classes and still matched in ENT at Hopkins but this is the minute exception rather than the rule.

    If you fail a class, you need to start working with an advisor very quickly. Preferably in the field you think you might want to do. It is a big deal despite what the cheerleaders might say.
     
  6. Medical123

    Medical123 Senior Member

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    A friend of mine actually failed biochem her first year. She did fine otherwise, honoring quite a few of her basic science courses and getting all High Passes or Honors during her 3rd and 4th year. Though she actually knew her biochem very well, she had difficulty with this particular professor's essay exams. The man had a rule where if you failed one exam, you automatically get a Conditional and fail two, you fail the course regardless of average. She failed two biochem exams by just a matter of a couple of points and the guy didn't show her any mercy. She remediated over the summer at another university and did extremely well in the remedial course, ending up with an A average. Her Step 1 was around 220. I think that her Step 2 was a little higher, but I am not sure.

    However, when it came to the Match, she was extremely worried as she wanted to go into surgery. She applied to something like 35 programs. She did get rejected from some of the more competitive programs and she thinks that failing biochem may have had something to do with that. However, she wound up getting enough interviews at other places that she had to start cancelling them because she could not possibly go to them all. She says that at almost every interview she went to, she was asked about what happened to her in biochem, but most of those places were impressed with the fact that she did well in everything else, particulary her surgery rotation and her surgical electives. Though she didn't get a few interviews that she really wanted, she did match at her #2 program at a major state university. Though biochem was definitely a setback for her, she bounced back well and was very happy with the final outcome.

    I am not going to lie. Failing a course may hurt you somewhat at some of the more highly competitive programs and you will have to answer some questions about it. However, it is not the end of the world. Concentrate on doing well from here on out, especially in the clinical years. Letters of recommendation and performance evaluations go a long way in helping you obtain the residency that you want.

    When you get to your third year, I would suggest making an appointment with the program director in your field at your school. They can probably offer you some suggestions as to how you can improve your application. Also, make sure you apply to your own school's residency program. If they like you and know that you work hard, they may tend to overlook the failure when they rank you for residency.
     
  7. Droopy Snoopy

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    Good lord, that's one of those things I'm going to store in the it-could-always-be-worse box. Like, "Yeah, I'm post-call with Step 3 coming up, a veritable truckload of paperwork to catch up on, and my yard hasn't been mown in three months. But at least I don't have to take essay exams in biochem."
     
  8. beefdelight

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    biochemistry is pretty tough indeed.. failing can do you two things, its either it can make you a better doctor in the future or break you..
     

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