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I may have failed........should I quit

BoneTwister

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Hey all,

so I failed a test in yr 1 and retook it and passed. Unfortunately I just may have failed a test this year (2nd yr) i will soon find out. How will this affect me in taking the usmle???

And will i still be able to get into an ortho program (I have bench research publication) and plan on getting a 240+ on usmle step 1. Do i still have a chance even in like utah, or should I just call it quits??

No I am not dumnb. When taking those tests half way though I got massive migraines and had to just pick answers to finish. Both tests I may have missed passing by just 1 %..

Depressed and distressed
 

cpants

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A couple of failed tests won't keep you out of any residency. You should be fine if you actually get a great score on your USMLE, ace your rotations, especially surgery (and ortho elective if you can take it), have some publications, and get some letters from people in the field. That said, they aren't gonna want to hear migraine excuses if you get a 205 on the USMLE.
 
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Dedikated2liftn

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How are you "planning" on a 240+ on Step 1? Only about 15% of people who take it can do that well. Try to keep some realistic expectations.

I agree that 240 is a difficult score to get; however, I don't think cutting this guy off at the knees is the way to go. He's yet to take the test, and if he's really motivated to match into ortho, he'll do what it takes to pull a score like that. To the OP, as others have said. you're gonna have to rock the **** out of any surgery rotation you do. If I were you, I'd start talking to practicing surgeons and get as much of an advantage prior to actually starting the rotation (not by getting chummy with them, but finding out what skills your gonna have to perfect in order to honor). Best of luck.
 

Re3iRtH

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I agree that 240 is a difficult score to get; however, I don't think cutting this guy off at the knees is the way to go. He's yet to take the test, and if he's really motivated to match into ortho, he'll do what it takes to pull a score like that. To the OP, as others have said. you're gonna have to rock the **** out of any surgery rotation you do. If I were you, I'd start talking to practicing surgeons and get as much of an advantage prior to actually starting the rotation (not by getting chummy with them, but finding out what skills your gonna have to perfect in order to honor). Best of luck.

I agree with TheProwler. You have to be realistic, if you are getting
'migraines' halfway through a 2 hour class exam, how do you expect to
get through a 6 hour USMLE and not get any migraines, and get a 240+?
I haven't started pharm yet but aren't there meds for migraines?
 

Isoprop

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Hey all,

so I failed a test in yr 1 and retook it and passed. Unfortunately I just may have failed a test this year (2nd yr) i will soon find out. How will this affect me in taking the usmle???

And will i still be able to get into an ortho program (I have bench research publication) and plan on getting a 240+ on usmle step 1. Do i still have a chance even in like utah, or should I just call it quits??

No I am not dumnb. When taking those tests half way though I got massive migraines and had to just pick answers to finish. Both tests I may have missed passing by just 1 %..

Depressed and distressed

bring this up with your doctor and get the problem corrected.
 

SpookyDoc

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bring this up with your doctor and get the problem corrected.

I agree with this, and I doubt that set of 15% or so who fail multiple tests in medical school matches up with the set that does in the top 15% on the USMLE.

Your goal should be to figure out if there is a medical problem or a learning disability involved as migraines during a test may be migraines, or it might be the excuse you used on a forum to say "Headache from worry because I didn't prepare enough." Get a diagnosis and try treatment, or try to get special circumstances through your school for test-taking, such as more time.

Beyond that, your goal should be to pass all your classes. While not impossible, I DO think it is very unlikely to perform how you'd like on the USMLE if you cannot pass multiple courses. Considering you failed a second year test, which may be in a subject such as physiology or path, you'd need to do ALOT of personal study to EXCEL in those subjects before you attempt to get a 245 on the USMLE.

Get the problem fixed, and study your ass off on your own.

EDIT: Also, fix your original post, as "I'm not dumnb" isn't very flattering.
 
Last edited:
I agree that 240 is a difficult score to get; however, I don't think cutting this guy off at the knees is the way to go. He's yet to take the test, and if he's really motivated to match into ortho, he'll do what it takes to pull a score like that. To the OP, as others have said. you're gonna have to rock the **** out of any surgery rotation you do. If I were you, I'd start talking to practicing surgeons and get as much of an advantage prior to actually starting the rotation (not by getting chummy with them, but finding out what skills your gonna have to perfect in order to honor). Best of luck.
I'm not trying to hit him while he's down. I just don't want him to have unrealistic expectations of how Step 1 is going to go. It's a really hard test that takes a ton of preparation, and getting a score over a 240 requires a mixture of intelligence, diligence, efficient study habits, and maybe a little luck. Besides, you most certainly don't need that high of a score to get into ortho. Lots of people match into ortho with much lower scores than that. In response to the OP's question, NO, you shouldn't quit. Crap happens, exams turn out to be brutal, but you can continue on. I completely failed a neuroscience exam as an M1, but I let that serve as an incentive to study harder. I pulled off a high pass by studying relentlessly for the final.
 
Hey all,

so I failed a test in yr 1 and retook it and passed. Unfortunately I just may have failed a test this year (2nd yr) i will soon find out. How will this affect me in taking the usmle???

And will i still be able to get into an ortho program (I have bench research publication) and plan on getting a 240+ on usmle step 1. Do i still have a chance even in like utah, or should I just call it quits??

No I am not dumnb. When taking those tests half way though I got massive migraines and had to just pick answers to finish. Both tests I may have missed passing by just 1 %..

Depressed and distressed

Here is your plan of action:
  • Figure out why you failed and correct the problem (read the posts above).
  • Stop trying to "bail" at the first sign of trouble. There will be things that "throw you" and there will be things that you will do well.
  • If you are shooting for a high score on USMLE Step I, your first goal is to master your coursework. A score of 240 doesn't happen without knowledge mastery. Forget about 240 from memorizing review books alone.
  • If you haven't gone thorough third year, you actually can't make an informed decision on any specialty. You may be in love with ortho now but a surgical rotation may change your mind. This is the norm as opposed to the exception.
  • Research, LORs and extracurriculars do NOT offset poor academics. Get your stuff together as others have told you.
  • In the end, it's the whole package (third year grades, Board scores and academics) that will largely determine your options. The higher your academics, the more options you will have.

Depression isn't going to solve the problem. Getting busy and getting as much objective information that will help you is what you need to do. Migraines can be treated and thus if this is your problem, get that problem taken care of. You can't "bail" at every obstacle in medicine or you will be "bailing out".
 

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If it's your migraines that are really messing you up, then find some medical treatment for them. Because if you can't get through a test without having a migraine, how are you gonna get through granny's hip replacement surgery? You know what I mean? I don't agree with people who tell you that can't do this or that--*but* you need to address your underlying problem.
 

BoneTwister

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I understand what you guys are saying. But I don't have migrain medicine becasuse I dont always have migranines. I have only got a migrain once last year (failed test) and once this year (maybe failed).......during all the other tests/ in normal life I have never gotten a migraine let alone a normal headache. And I usually scored 90% or higher. I study quite a bit and was probably the most prepared for this last test that I had ever been.

I just am bummed because I know I will rock the usmle (through hard work and dedication) since my practivce usmles (nbme) I have been getting around 235-254. And I am still learning new stuff every day.

I just am worried that I will automatically get rejected and get no interviews once they see that 1 fail (maybe 2). I am just thinking that If I have no chance then maybe I should just leave instead of wasting more of my life and getting stuck doing Family practice (not any thing bad about this speciallty just not for me at all)
 
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ScootDoc

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Hey all,

so I failed a test in yr 1 and retook it and passed. Unfortunately I just may have failed a test this year (2nd yr) i will soon find out. How will this affect me in taking the usmle???

And will i still be able to get into an ortho program (I have bench research publication) and plan on getting a 240+ on usmle step 1. Do i still have a chance even in like utah, or should I just call it quits??

No I am not dumnb. When taking those tests half way though I got massive migraines and had to just pick answers to finish. Both tests I may have missed passing by just 1 %..

Depressed and distressed

Even in like Utah??? UofU Orthopedics program is highly ranked. Most residency applicants who interview with the program (40-50 people) rank it in their top 5 on the match list. I am willing to bet that most of those who even interview at the UofU will have passed all their courses w/out remediation and have 235+ on step 1. That said, remediating coursework is not going to help your situation. Also, plan all you want, but planning 240+ vs. scoring 240+ are two totally different things. Also, is ortho all you would be happy doing? Regardless, quitting is not the answer, you have come to far to quit. Just step it up! work harder, especially if your want ortho.
 

OncoCaP

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I understand what you guys are saying. But I don't have migrain medicine becasuse I dont always have migranines. I have only got a migrain once last year (failed test) and once this year (maybe failed).......during all the other tests/ in normal life I have never gotten a migraine let alone a normal headache. And I usually scored 90% or higher. I study quite a bit and was probably the most prepared for this last test that I had ever been.

I just am bummed because I know I will rock the usmle (through hard work and dedication) since my practivce usmles (nbme) I have been getting around 235-254. And I am still learning new stuff every day.

I just am worried that I will automatically get rejected and get no interviews once they see that 1 fail (maybe 2). I am just thinking that If I have no chance then maybe I should just leave instead of wasting more of my life and getting stuck doing Family practice (not any thing bad about this speciallty just not for me at all)

Would you say that it's pretty much ortho or nothing for you? Is there any other area of medicine that interests you besides ortho?

Also, just hypothetically speaking, let's say you did quit medical school, what would you like to do? What career outside of medicine excites you?

I'm a big believer in aiming high and doing your best but also in having options, especially if your goal is to be the starting quarterback of a specific NFL team, an orthopedic surgeon, or President of the USA (not that these are equally difficult to to achieve, but let's just admit that they are completely out of reach for most people we encounter in our lives, whether in medical school or elsewhere). Even if you have what it takes to reach your career goal from an ability standpoint, it may not work out for other reasons you have no control over.
 

SpookyDoc

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I understand what you guys are saying. But I don't have migrain medicine becasuse I dont always have migranines. I have only got a migrain once last year (failed test) and once this year (maybe failed).......during all the other tests/ in normal life I have never gotten a migraine let alone a normal headache. And I usually scored 90% or higher. I study quite a bit and was probably the most prepared for this last test that I had ever been.

I just am bummed because I know I will rock the usmle (through hard work and dedication) since my practivce usmles (nbme) I have been getting around 235-254. And I am still learning new stuff every day.

I just am worried that I will automatically get rejected and get no interviews once they see that 1 fail (maybe 2). I am just thinking that If I have no chance then maybe I should just leave instead of wasting more of my life and getting stuck doing Family practice (not any thing bad about this speciallty just not for me at all)

Ah good, ok. I was afraid you were making excuses, cause nobody wants to say "i failed cause i'm stupid," but you layed out your case pretty well here. You need to get some migraine medicine STAT, talk to your doctor, and read some books on test-taking... there are ways to deal with test anxiety, and as your migraines ONLY come on test days, its assuredly related to the stress. THIS is a problem you'll need to take before the USMLE.

I'm glad you're getting great scores, and that means you'll probably do well in the future, BUT, you're doing THOSE practice tests at HOME when you are not stressed about a test that will affect the rest of your life. Get the migraines dealt with before they hit you on the USMLE.
 

BoneTwister

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Yeah, I guess I should get that checked out. I hope it not like brain cancer or something.....that would really suck!

BTW I dont hate utah and I know their program is good. I just used them as a lower tier back up based on their weather (cold and snowy). I am used to the florida heat so for me that program is a no go (even though its one of the best)

PS> thanks for the advice guys!!
 
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dragonfly99

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bonetwister,
1) The fact that you would consider quitting after 1 or 2 bad exams makes me wonder about your commitment to medicine. If there's really nothing other than ortho that you want to do, then I think you made a bad choice going to med school because a good number of the people who want to do ortho won't be able to, either due to things within or outside of their own control.
2) Preclinical grades don't count for a whole lot in the residency match, although a couple failed exams (if they appear on your transcript) won't be helpful in getting any competitive residency.
3) If you want to do ortho you need to impress the orthopedic surgeons (and all the other surgeons) during 3rd year and get a good USMLE Step 1 score (230+). If you do that you'd still have a shot at ortho, but you need to have a backup plan.
4) Better have a backup residency plan as well.
? general surgery
? physicial med/rehab
? ER with sports medicine fellowship
You get the idea.
 

bambi

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Not sure how to put this without sounding a bit rude and/or harsh so I will just say it- the migraine thing sounds made up. Even if it's true you still could have carried on, you might not have done as well but you still should have passed if you prepared properly. I suffer from horrendous migraines, have done for years but if I had to I would certainly finish an exam I was in the middle of and I can't see out of 1 eye or move 1 arm when I have one! It's a personal thing but it really bothers me when people use excuses like that.

Anyway, it's a bit weird to think about quitting, suck it up and work harder.
 

BoneTwister

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I couldnt finish the test my whole central vision had gone black. I could only see peripherally and therefore had to just picki answers and get out of there. So unless you know how bad my migraine are then dont put me down. I would love to have your type of migranes and their comfort.

I actually thought of doing anesthesia too. Would that be more likely considering my situation?
 

bambi

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I couldnt finish the test my whole central vision had gone black. I could only see peripherally and therefore had to just picki answers and get out of there. So unless you know how bad my migraine are then dont put me down. I would love to have your type of migranes and their comfort.

I actually thought of doing anesthesia too. Would that be more likely considering my situation?

Comfort? Are you out of your mind? Wonder what my neurologist would say to that? Not meaning to get into a who has worse migraines fight but I would much prefer your 2 in a lifetime to my 4 a week for nearly 5 years. Also in migraines, what you have described doesn't actually happen, so, either you are lying or it's not migraines.
 

OncoCaP

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I couldnt finish the test my whole central vision had gone black. I could only see peripherally and therefore had to just picki answers and get out of there. So unless you know how bad my migraine are then dont put me down. I would love to have your type of migranes and their comfort.

I actually thought of doing anesthesia too. Would that be more likely considering my situation?

See a physician about the unusual test headaches. It's not something we are going to be able to diagnose around here (or at least we shouldn't be). If you have some kind of medical problem, the schools will work with you but you would need a diagnosis.

With respect to your career, look at a lot of different possibilities and learn more about your options. For medical career guidance, some people like Iserson's Getting Into A Residency or Freeman's The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Medical Specialty. You should be able to get them at your school library or preview them on Google Books. Talking to physicians in the fields you are interested in should give you some perspective as to how competitive each specialty is. According to Iserson, getting into anesthesiology is difficult (3/5) but not nearly as competitive as ortho (5/5). How you do on your clinical rotations and STEP 1 could certainly offset problems you had during your preclinical years to a certain extent.
 

bubabugster

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If this is just something that has just happened twice due to medical reasons-- why the freaking out about quitting? Could you have told someone that you were having a horrible migraine during the exam like an instructor or proctor? I understand quitting because nothing helps with studying but you were fine until you had the headaches-- maybe these are stress induced and it's better to target that problem? Otherwise, it sounds like you are doing fine--I can see why you're frustrated but think this is something that can be addressed and hopefully prevented via a migraine prophylaxis prior to exams etc.
 

mercaptovizadeh

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I couldnt finish the test my whole central vision had gone black. I could only see peripherally and therefore had to just picki answers and get out of there. So unless you know how bad my migraine are then dont put me down. I would love to have your type of migranes and their comfort.

I actually thought of doing anesthesia too. Would that be more likely considering my situation?

I think that first thing you need to do is clarify what sort of headache you have. Then clarify why it's associated with your exams. Then determine how to prevent it. The USMLE Step 1 is 6 hours long and given the amount of stress you'll have going into it, if you don't fix the headache problem it could strike then. The blackout headaches are going to be an issue in your rotations and in any residency program, especially surgery.

As for 240+ Step I, I wouldn't count on it. It's a steep curve and up there just a few odd questions or careless errors can decide between 245 and 235.

I suffered from migraines as a kid and they were pretty awful. However, they were not the sort of thing that would be the deciding factor in passing or failing a test.
 

J1515

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Also in migraines, what you have described doesn't actually happen

Sure it does. It's called migraines with aura. The aura can range from seeing flashing lights or spots, holes in your vision, or loss of central vision. It usually precedes the migraine but can continue during the attack. See a neurologist, gets some triptans, and move on.
 

Tired

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Someone who has failed two tests, for whatever reason, is unlikely to score in the 240's.

Similarly, someone who has failed two tests, even if they manage to pull a 240 out of their rectum, will still have a very tough time matching into Ortho.

Add that to the fact that I smell FMG, and it all seems like a huge longshot.
 
Last edited:

sirus_virus

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Hey all,

so I failed a test in yr 1 and retook it and passed. Unfortunately I just may have failed a test this year (2nd yr) i will soon find out. How will this affect me in taking the usmle???

And will i still be able to get into an ortho program (I have bench research publication) and plan on getting a 240+on usmle step 1. Do i still have a chance even in like utah, or should I just call it quits??

No I am not dumnb When taking those tests half way though I got massive migraines and had to just pick answers to finish. Both tests I may have missed passing by just 1 %..

Depressed and distressed


What's the deal with Utah?
 

Tired

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What's the deal with Utah?

As the above poster pointed out, U of Utah has a very well-respected, quality Orthopaedic Residency.

Presumably somebody who uses a phrase "even in like Utah" was operating under some youthful prejudice that all things in a place as "lame" as Utah must be of low quality and therefore undesirable to most.
 
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