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Aug 7, 2016
Medical Student
Seriously, I am too ashamed to post this with my real username. I feel like a sole loser. I am scheduled to take my Comlex CE on Aug 17th but its not gonna happen.

I just took COMSAE B and scored an embarrassing 416!! And I have been studying for 2 freakin months, my COMSAE A was 389 without even studying. And now, just a small increase is a slap on my face.

I am currently on EM rotation and next one is also EM audition. I am not sure what to do. Try to study with the rotation or take a leave of absence and then study. If I take LOA, I won't graduate on time and probably won't match.

I am just so stressed and depressed lately. I have accumulated so much loan. And I come from a poor family. My parents try to help me out but I am 27, at this point I should be the one helping them out. I have no job, massive loan and I just want to cry.

I have been studying from UWORLD - 90% done with 55% score ~ I wrote down all mistakes. Combank I did averaging 65% (did about 50%). I don't like COMBANK. My friend gave me COMQUEST subscription and I have been doing that - 70%

Please help, I am so sick of my living and med school


7+ Year Member
Jul 11, 2010
Medical Student
Dear friend,

Your post really concerns me, so I want to make sure that you are doing ok. I am going to message you my number, if you need someone to talk to...please feel free to contact me. I want you to call either your family, your support group or friends to be with tonight.

It is really important to put yourself first before Medicine. Yes, there's loans, lots of stress, etc. but none of that matters if YOU are not doing well mentally. Have you ever thought that maybe you are struggling in school because of your mental health? Think about it this way...what's the worst thing that could happen? You fail a test. You drop out of medical school with debt. Whatever. In the grand scheme of life, it's just a blip.Worst case scenario--you have a mid-level job and you pay off your loans. Yes, you will be disappointed, but whatever. You might be happier. That's the WORST case scenario.

What's the best case scenario? You do well on your tests and you match.

Now, I would advise that you even take a year off if you feel like you can't perform well/you just need a break. That's OK. It's OK not to be doing well on a test. IT'S OK to put yourself first. That's incredibly important to take care of yourself before you take care of others. That's human. We just have to figure out where we can improve and go after it. It's just a TEST. Please do NOT hurt yourself.

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2+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2015
COPD 50/50 Club
Resident [Any Field]
I am just so stressed and depressed lately.
Please help, I am so sick of my living and med school
I'm really sorry for what you're going through, but you need to see a professional. Everything is fixable--nothing about your life looks irredeemable to me--but it's hard to have perspective when you're in the pits. I wish you the best of luck.
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Staff member
10+ Year Member
Apr 28, 2007
Attending Physician
Thread closed. OP, please seek out professional evaluations if you are feeling down, depressed and questioning the legitimacy of going on.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

In regards to all this, you are not alone. Read this post I made a while ago:

Had a hard time deciding if I should write this post, but based on it ask me what you must. Please be respectful, because this is a story that probably <20 people know between family, friends, classmates, coresidents.

My academic career was tenuous. I like to call myself "fake smart." I did well in undergrad, 3.55 and 29 on the MCAT. Only got into osteopathic programs after applying to both. Those choices were LECOM/VCOM/PCOM. As everyone knows, I ended up at PCOM. The biggest differences going from undergrad to medical school were trying to cope with the amount of material and the amount of freedom one has. I didn't cope well and quickly found myself slapped in the face by my first exam grade. I trudged along and continued to pass, but not be "above my peers" or even average. By the time the insanity of anatomy ended, I was finding myself most likely attending the makeup course. The only thing that saved me was when I cleaned out my anatomy locker and found a practical I hadn't calculated into my grade. I passed by the skin of my teeth. Thank ****ing God. There was an insane amount of pressure on myself throughout the entire course to try and do well. There wasn't direct pressure from my parents, but the indirect pressure from them and family/friends was great: first family member to graduate high school and go to college, first to graduate from college, first to go to medical school. So failing not only affected me, but my family.

This same process continued for the rest of the year, through second year, but with my grades getting mildly better. My best basic science block was immunology. And, then I was just above the class average. It brings me to a very, very important point however. If you're not doing well, don't try to trudge through. GET HELP AS SOON AS THERE IS A SIGN OF DISTRESS. You'll hurt your pride finding yourself in the 5% who fail out moreso than if you ask for learning/studying help. I didn't ask for help and I regret it immensely. I did so "well" in immunology, because of my prior teaching in undergrad. I can say that now, in hindsight.

Second year is over, on to rotations!

But there was one hurdle to get over and it was the biggest one yet. COMLEX I. I had prepared for it. Took the test; got my scores back, and realized I had not prepared enough/properly/using the correct resources. I could make a ton of excuses, but ultimately it fell on me. The passing score for the exam is 400. I scored a 390 (and this is when some of you longtime members might remember some of this sounding familiar under a different username). There I was, just slightly below passing. I was wrecked. I thought it was the end of the world, I felt as if I had no future options, I had failed myself/school/family/friends. I would say at this point I probably met DSM criteria for dysthymia/MDD. But, I continued on. I had to. There was a lot of weight on my shoulders before all of this and it still need to make it to the end of the line (graduation). I now had the challenge of studying again for the COMLEX while on rotations in surg/anesthesia/IM/Cards/Pulm. Not necessarily the best time to be doing this. I hunkered down, almost shut myself off completely socially except for a few events here and there, and invested an unexpected $500+ on Boards Boot Camp. Other classmates had used it and done well. I was desperate and at that point, money was no limiting factor. Looking back, if I had to carry that charge on a credit card until I died, it was the best investment I made. Test day came, at that point only my ex-SO, best friend (X2) and immediate family knew I had failed. I was so embarrassed I didn't tell anyone else. That was the wrong move; I know my friends would have helped me in whatever way possible and I wouldn't have had to keep it all in. Even more distressing was my mom calling me, because I seemed so upset, to make sure I was not planning on "coping" with this any other way besides the conventional way. (It was never that bad).

Took the test, felt 100X better than when I took it the first time. As an aside, I knew I failed the exam the first time after the post-exam celebrations we had.

The day finally came when scores were released. It was make or break time. Do I want to log on and get my scores or should I have someone else do it? I had to pull the trigger; so I logged on and saw my score. It had to be a mistake; absolutely had to. 576. Five-seventy-six. 186 point increase. Largest increase in the history of my school for anyone who had to retake. I finally found a way to prepare for these exams and was feeling a bit better. At that point, it being December, I had already decided I was using BBC for COMLEX II. There was no other option.

I wish I had used BBC initially. A 576 is an impressive score, well above the average of 500. At that time, sans super competitive specialties, I probably could have pulled off any specialty choice I would have considered. But, of course, I had failed initially. Now, many would say the failure is why I am in a primary care specialty. Maybe so, partly, but wholly I made the decision to do FM because I loved my experiences. Would I have considered other specialties initially if I didn't fail? Yes. I loved anesthesia as well. But, my self doubt and positive experiences on my FM rotations drove me down that path. Doubt is a powerful thing. It's hard to get over self-doubt, no matter how well things are going.

I was doing well on my rotations. I high-passed and honored most of them. Then, COMLEX II came around. I prepared with BBC again. Took the test; felt awesome after it (if that's possible). Got my score back...564. I was amazed. I also got my PE score back around the same day. Passed. I could graduate! I could match! I could finally be a doctor! But of course, there was still doubt hanging around. I mean, there were still in-training exams and specialty boards.

Things have been going much better since getting out of school. I'm learning a ton on my PGY-1 rotations and have gotten an amazing amount of positive feedback from my faculty and co-residents. I'm well liked not only among our program, but other parts of the hospital. People see me as dependable, helpful, and a team player. It's nice to be appreciated. Its nice to be out from under the blanket of "academia" in the sense of medical school (both in the classroom and on rotations). This is how I am meant to learn. On the job, supplementing with reading of course, and not worrying about monthly or more frequent exams. The doubt has somewhat gone. There might be a little bit here or there, but I would now call it humbleness (not to a pathologic point) and cautiousness.

The final caster of the doubt was my in-training exams. I did really well for a first year. I didn't study for them, because they are a baseline for you. You don't want to falsely elevate the score, since you're expected to progress yearly. Plus, I was only a few months into intern year. I was still trying not to drown.
Osteopathic exam: Scored a 572 (scaled), with we being on par with our PGY-2s. The national PGY-1 average was 460. National average overall was 500.
Allopathic exam: Scored a 440 with a PGY-1 mean of 395 nationally and PGY-2 mean of 448 nationally.

This goes to show, I think my test anxiety is behind me. The stress of "not having to do well" on the ITEs let my acumen shine through and helped to erase my doubt I was having at me being a successful physician.
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