How to Make the Most of M2 Repeat Year?

RadOncMD

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    MD, mid-tier program.

    I’m repeating M2 year after withdrawing from path and pathophys before our final organ systems block. Long story short, this was due to my lack of proper use of resources from the beginning + ineffective advice from my big sib. I spoke with a few high achieving students in my class over winter break and made the necessary changes for second semester and my grades improved, but it was too little too late. There were major holes in my knowledge from first semester and I didn’t want to gamble with a potential F on my transcript or failing Step 1 so I thought it‘d be best to reset and apply the proper strategies from the beginning. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this repeat will be a red flag for residency programs.

    The good news is there’s no F on my transcript and I’m going in with the proper strategies. At the moment I’m close to completing Rx and Pathoma. I’m spending a few hours a day this summer working through the Anking Pathoma section and LY. My goal is a 250+ on Step 1.

    Question: Would you recommend I do anything more than classes this year to make up for the red flag? I’ll have a lighter course load and want to make the most out of it (no micro, pharm, etc.).
     

    RadOncMD

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      Good question.
      A) Engage in research,
      B) Start light Board prep of the material from M1 and the M2 that you passed. Go heavy at the right time in Spring of next year, just as you would if you were in your regular M2.

      On research, how many hours/days a week is reasonable?

      I‘ve definitely thought about it but always shied away. But I’ll admit my situation does seem like the perfect opportunity especially since I’m still gunning for a competitive residency despite the red flag.
       
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      collegestud2013

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        Focus on your classes, as this is what you failed in the first place. If your school is not P/F for M1 and M2, I would be more careful about passing your classes. I wouldn't worry too much about Step 1 (unless you think you're not going to pass) since its going to be pass/fail if you take it after your M3 year (and possibly next year as well since there is the possibility of retroactively converting scores to pass/fail next year).
         
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        RadOncMD

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          Focus on your classes, as this is what you failed in the first place. If your school is not P/F for M1 and M2, I would be more careful about passing your classes. I wouldn't worry too much about Step 1 (unless you think you're not going to pass) since its going to be pass/fail if you take it after your M3 year (and possibly next year as well since there is the possibility of retroactively converting scores to pass/fail next year).

          This is my top priority. However, I also recognize that for my goal specialty I need to engage in research as @Goro mentioned. If not next term when my course load will be lighter, what alternative time period would you suggest?
           

          RadOncMD

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            I think it would be a good time to start a research project. Find something to which you can devote 2 or 3 afternoons a week, if you can manage that with your course load.

            That does sound manageable. I do believe this is a chance for me to at least continue to build a research portfolio. I worked on a bench project my M1-M2 summer but it led to no publications so I definitely have some work to do in this department.

            I do have another question: Would residency programs look at bench research more favorably than clinical research publications? I personally love clinical > bench.
             
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            LunaOri

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              I think that most residency programs would value clinical research at least as much as bench research. After all, you are going into clinical medicine. I think they are happy if you show initiative and academic potential. Other faculty may feel differently, so check with a few others.
               
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              RadOncMD

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                I think that most residency programs would value clinical research at least as much as bench research. After all, you are going into clinical medicine. I think they are happy if you show initiative and academic potential. Other faculty may feel differently, so check with a few others.

                Gotcha, will do. Thank you.
                 

                Angus Avagadro

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                  I agree with all of the above. I particularly think that turning your grades around can be the biggest thing you can do to help yourself with regards to matching. If you graduate in the bottom quartile of your class, I'm not sure how much that research project will convince PDs you might be a good candidate for their peogram. I'm glad you are turning things around. Good luck and best wishes!
                   
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                  RadOncMD

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                    I agree with all of the above. I particularly think that turning your grades around can be the biggest thing you can do to help yourself with regards to matching. If you graduate in the bottom quartile of your class, I'm not sure how much that research project will convince PDs you might be a good candidate for their peogram. I'm glad you are turning things around. Good luck and best wishes!

                    Agreed. Thank you!
                     
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