chillaxbro

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bashwell

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Wondering how other people did this. Do you literally talk about failing biochemistry or failing a block exam, and how you remediated and improved? Or do you speak more vaguely about having successes and failures and growth and change and it was a learning experience etc etc?
A PD (especially in the specialty you want) would be the obvious gold standard for advice here, but I personally wouldn't think I'd need to talk too much about a failure in the pre-clinical years. And not especially if I had a good Step 1 score, because that speaks for itself.

However, if it's something you have to talk about, it never helps to be vague, but be specific, address the issue head on, and be specific about what you learned from it and how you changed from it too.
 
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Goro

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Why bring attention to a negative?
 
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Cura_te_ipsum

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Wondering how other people did this. Do you literally talk about failing biochemistry or failing a block exam, and how you remediated and improved? Or do you speak more vaguely about having successes and failures and growth and change and it was a learning experience etc etc?
Not sure about how you have done on other types of interviews but in general, an interview is to sell yourself. Take charge of presenting you. Confidence sets the tone, being quick with responses, answering the questions put forth, then returning to your objective

If you lose control of the message, then youre sunk.

Practice with a faculty member or advisor on your interviewing skills. Ive met many people who looked great on paper, but were liabilities in person, and vice versa (they looked questionable on paper but in person were fabulous)
 
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Stagg737

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This is a pre-med theory. Most residents and PDs often suggest addressing red flags in PS when applying to residency.
Really? The PDs and residents I've talked to have said not to mention red flags at all unless they're major ones (having to repeat a year, Step failures, etc). Was told not to draw attention to stuff like failing a pre-clinical block or a shelf exam outside your specialty, as most PDs won't care. Maybe that's just for the field I'm entering, but idk.
 

jw3600

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Really? The PDs and residents I've talked to have said not to mention red flags at all unless they're major ones (having to repeat a year, Step failures, etc). Was told not to draw attention to stuff like failing a pre-clinical block or a shelf exam outside your specialty, as most PDs won't care. Maybe that's just for the field I'm entering, but idk.
Read your first sentence. Sounds you agree with major red flags.
 

CaptainSSO

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Don't point out the zit on your face.
 

operaman

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Failing one exam - don't mention it. Assuming you successfully remediated, just let it slide and focus on the positives. Some people may never even notice it depending on how your mspe and transcript read.

If you had to repeat a year, yeah you should probably include it, especially if your step score is really strong. Personally I find incongruent things to be bigger red flags as they tend to speak to underlying mental health and substance issues. Add the fact that it will be immediately obvious that you took 5 years to finish and you're basically forced to speak to it.
 
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Stagg737

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Read your first sentence. Sounds you agree with major red flags.
Major red flags yes, but not all red flags are equal. It sounded like you were implying any red flag should be addressed, I've been told otherwise by PDs.
 
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jw3600

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Major red flags yes, but not all red flags are equal. It sounded like you were implying any red flag should be addressed, I've been told otherwise by PDs.
Fair. I was just disagreeing with the mantra "why bring attention to something negative" because it's often what you should do.
 
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rrxr

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I would advise addressing it -- when we review applications, our team never misses something like failing a block/shelf/whatever. If you have some major issue that will show up somewhere else in your application (e.g. Dean's letter), better address it up front.
If you missed it, you never would have realized you missed it... You don't know what you don't know. That said, I agree fails are obvious in all of the dean's letter samples I've ever seen. Eg my MSPE has a section asking "has this student ever remediated a course or rotation?" My school does lie on this question, but that's another story...
 
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If you missed it, you never would have realized you missed it... You don't know what you don't know. That said, I agree fails are obvious in all of the dean's letter samples I've ever seen. Eg my MSPE has a section asking "has this student ever remediated a course or rotation?" My school does lie on this question, but that's another story...
I'm confused -- you're suggesting we miss it when an applicant failed a shelf or clerkship?
 

rrxr

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I'm confused -- you're suggesting we miss it when an applicant failed a shelf or clerkship?
I'm pointing out that you have no way of knowing you never missed anything. As I said above, I agree that in most cases it is obvious. But I'm just saying that if possible, for their own sake OP should find out for sure what the rest of the application will say, and reveal no more. At my school, failing an OSCE technically means you have to remediate a course, but for some reason (uncharacteristic mercy?) the school will still answer "no" to the remediation question if this is all you had to remediate.
 
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I'm pointing out that you have no way of knowing you never missed anything. As I said above, I agree that in most cases it is obvious. But I'm just saying that if possible, for your own sake you should find out for sure what the rest of your application will say, and reveal no more. At my school, failing an OSCE technically means you have to remediate a course, but for some reason (uncharacteristic mercy?) the school will still answer "no" to the remediation question if this is all you had to remediate.
I stand by my earlier statement -- never! ;)
 

rrxr

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I stand by my earlier statement -- never! ;)
Well, I don't know of anyone in my class who had to remediate that particular course and is applying to surgery, so I can't prove you wrong... If you tell me your program, I'll tell them to apply and then you'll have officially missed a failure! =p I'm sure you pick up 99% of failures, though. Still... applicants with this red flag should check if they're one of the 1%.
 

Syncrohnize

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Why bring attention to a negative?
You need to @Goro . It's almost expected that if you have a red-flag like an academic failure that you address it because it's one of the few places you can do so on your terms. Sure, there's the interview but you're in front of people and you may be nervous, The PS is the one chance you have to think through and present your red-flag in the best possible light. As to how to do it, I'd imagine @aProgDirector might be a good resource to ask.
 
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Syncrohnize

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Wondering how other people did this. Do you literally talk about failing biochemistry or failing a block exam, and how you remediated and improved? Or do you speak more vaguely about having successes and failures and growth and change and it was a learning experience etc etc?
OP, like others have said, if it's just a block exam that you re-took without consequence to your transcript don't mention it. When I hear red-flag I think failed courses, boards, clerkships, etc. This is my opinion as someone about to apply.
 

FantasticDoctorFox

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I have a question along these lines that I would be interested to hear peoples' opinions on. Is a below average/low step 1 score (~210, no failures) + a significant improvement in step 2 (~265) something that is "major" enough to warrant discussion in your personal statement? My instinct was to let the improvement in step 2 speak for itself and not bring up the low step 1 in my personal statement, but now I'm not sure.
 

bashwell

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I have a question along these lines that I would be interested to hear peoples' opinions on. Is a below average/low step 1 score (~210, no failures) + a significant improvement in step 2 (~265) something that is "major" enough to warrant discussion in your personal statement? My instinct was to let the improvement in step 2 speak for itself and not bring up the low step 1 in my personal statement, but now I'm not sure.
A low Step 1 score is not a red flag. A low Step 1 score is still a pass. So I really doubt you would have to address a low Step 1 score in your PS, especially since you have a high Step 2 score.
 

Stagg737

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A low Step 1 score is not a red flag. A low Step 1 score is still a pass. So I really doubt you would have to address a low Step 1 score in your PS, especially since you have a high Step 2 score.
I think a caveat to this may be if you're applying to a very competitive field and something happened which prevented you from doing better on Step 1. Example would be someone applying to ortho who had a family death around boards time. They could potentially explain that they expected a much higher Step 1 but terrible event X happened which hurt their score, then go on to say their outstanding Step 2 score supports that they're better than their Step 1 result. Obviously not a typical situation, but worth explaining if they're applying to fields that have high Step 1 cutoffs imo. Some residents/attendings who are actually in one of those fields would give a better answer to that though...
 

Goro

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You need to @Goro . It's almost expected that if you have a red-flag like an academic failure that you address it because it's one of the few places you can do so on your terms. Sure, there's the interview but you're in front of people and you may be nervous, The PS is the one chance you have to think through and present your red-flag in the best possible light. As to how to do it, I'd imagine @aProgDirector might be a good resource to ask.
Many thanks for the enlightenment, all! As you are well aware, GME is still a learning curve for me.
 

rabbott1971

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Don't point out the zit on your face.
This would make you and your date both self-conscious and uncomfortable. It is better to acknowledge the zit in a humorous way, and get on with things. "I have this huge zit, sorry if it grosses you out. I think it is alive. Its like Kuato from Total Recall, I can hear it saying 'Open your miiiiiiind.' But anyway it'll be gone in a few days." And then your date says something extremely nice like how the same thing happened to her once, etc. And you live happily ever after.
 

jw3600

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You need to @Goro . It's almost expected that if you have a red-flag like an academic failure that you address it because it's one of the few places you can do so on your terms. Sure, there's the interview but you're in front of people and you may be nervous, The PS is the one chance you have to think through and present your red-flag in the best possible light. As to how to do it, I'd imagine @aProgDirector might be a good resource to ask.
I like you because you agree with me. What are your credentials?
 

Syncrohnize

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sammiesings

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A very m1 question, but if you fail an exam, is that the same as failing a block? I'm confused as to why your school would say you "remediated" if you failed an isolated exam but passed a course?
 

Syncrohnize

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A very m1 question, but if you fail an exam, is that the same as failing a block? I'm confused as to why your school would say you "remediated" if you failed an isolated exam but passed a course?
It depends on your school and the class in question. I thought about it and my rule of thumb is any failure that is reflected on your transcript/MSPE needs to be explained. If you will fail something, talk to your course director/administrators and see how it will be reflected in your MSPE/Transcript. Program Directors are still humans and are all different and MSPEs vary by school so I imagine even PDs will have varying opinions on how to interpret things.
 

rrxr

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It depends on your school and the class in question. I thought about it and my rule of thumb is any failure that is reflected on your transcript/MSPE needs to be explained. If you will fail something, talk to your course director/administrators and see how it will be reflected in your MSPE/Transcript. Program Directors are still humans and are all different and MSPEs vary by school so I imagine even PDs will have varying opinions on how to interpret things.
This is the tl;dr (much more clearly expressed) of my posts. Just make sure everything in your app lines up , that is the safest thing to do.
 
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Would having very low pre-clinical grades (bottom 25%) be considered a "red flag"? Should this be addressed in the PS? Or should this not be mentioned if the clinical grades are in the top 25%... therefore showing "improvement"?
 

Oso

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Would having very low pre-clinical grades (bottom 25%) be considered a "red flag"? Should this be addressed in the PS? Or should this not be mentioned if the clinical grades are in the top 25%... therefore showing "improvement"?
No.
Red flags that should be addressed include things like USMLE failure/barely passing score, clerkship failure/remediation, etc.
You still passed your pre-clinicals, yeah? I don't see how that's a red flag at all if you passed. Also pre-clinical grades don't matter as much as step and clerkship grades.
Good luck!
 

libertyyne

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A very m1 question, but if you fail an exam, is that the same as failing a block? I'm confused as to why your school would say you "remediated" if you failed an isolated exam but passed a course?
you passed your classes. You are fine. A remediation would mean you would have to retake the class in summer.
 
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