TUGM

5+ Year Member
Apr 8, 2013
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You have quite an uphill battle. Neurology, however, is about as competitive as internal medicine. As I've mentioned to countless other applicants, the top programs are super competitive, because literally everyone applies to them. In your scenario, especially if you're strapped financially, would forego applying to any of the "top 10" high-powered academic programs. Consider university programs in "less desirable" locations... Consider places like Utah, Ohio, others in the midwest. Unlike internal medicine, there aren't as many community-based neurology programs. Keep your options open, and apply broadly as you plan on doing. The specific programs you should consider are the places you are invited to interview. It's September 9th, there's not much you can do at this point, other than secure additional exceptional LORs, if possible, or maybe have departmental heads make phone calls on your behalf. Good luck.
 

rjgennarelli

Senior Member
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Apr 5, 2005
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If you don't mind me asking, what were your NBME's/COMSAE's looking like before you took Step 1/2? Would it be possible to argue that you are not a very good test taker? It would be nice to hear some updates on your situation and outcome. Thank you!
 

TUGM

5+ Year Member
Apr 8, 2013
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If you don't mind me asking, what were your NBME's/COMSAE's looking like before you took Step 1/2? Would it be possible to argue that you are not a very good test taker? It would be nice to hear some updates on your situation and outcome. Thank you!
I've heard people trying to justify their test scores. It's one thing to state that a test score is an assessment of your knowledge and luck on one particular day. Being in medicine, however, is a series of objective tests at this point in time. Think about it >> SATs/ACTs, then MCAT, then USMLE/COMLEX, then board exams...which you repeat every 10 years.

I would advise against making any excuses for shortcomings in your application. You scores are what they are. Yes, you wish you could've done better. But the most important think to take away from your failures and shortcomings, is that you a person in progress. You are still learning, and you are still growing, and you are still improving. Yes, your scores are low, but you are not defined by your test score.

Also something to keep in mind, that you can't really argue very many things on an objective application. I have yet to hear about any applicants justifying their examination scores in a CV or personal statement... and I recommend staying away from that. Accept responsibilities for the times you faltered, and have good examples of what you took away from that experience. Failure can be a strength, depending on what you take away from it.
 
OP
A
Aug 7, 2013
9
1
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Medical Student
Thank you, guys. I appreciate your input.

I definitely don't intend on applying to any "top" programs. I don't think that's prudent. I may not know the ins and outs of the application process, but I can strongly ascertain that an applicant such as myself wouldn't get far at more "elite" programs. I will certainly look into "less desirable" locations - the midwest especially. I'll keep my fingers crossed for interviews. I do feel I'm a strong interviewer. I articulate myself well. I also write well, so hopefully my personal statement will be notable.

As for practice exams ... I was scoring 15+ points higher on my NBME exams, which I happened to have taken just two-three days prior to my real exam. That was a huge blow. I think test day anxiety got to me. In addition, I was battling an upset stomach and had to make frequent trips to the restroom to address that. I certainly wasn't "in the zone" for the real exam as I was for my practice NBMEs. The score is unfortunate, and I find contentment in knowing that residency programs do consider every aspect of an applicant, not just their scores, but I don't intend to draw attention to it during the process. If asked, I can explain.
 

TUGM

5+ Year Member
Apr 8, 2013
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Thank you, guys. I appreciate your input.

I definitely don't intend on applying to any "top" programs. I don't think that's prudent. I may not know the ins and outs of the application process, but I can strongly ascertain that an applicant such as myself wouldn't get far at more "elite" programs. I will certainly look into "less desirable" locations - the midwest especially. I'll keep my fingers crossed for interviews. I do feel I'm a strong interviewer. I articulate myself well. I also write well, so hopefully my personal statement will be notable.

As for practice exams ... I was scoring 15+ points higher on my NBME exams, which I happened to have taken just two-three days prior to my real exam. That was a huge blow. I think test day anxiety got to me. In addition, I was battling an upset stomach and had to make frequent trips to the restroom to address that. I certainly wasn't "in the zone" for the real exam as I was for my practice NBMEs. The score is unfortunate, and I find contentment in knowing that residency programs do consider every aspect of an applicant, not just their scores, but I don't intend to draw attention to it during the process. If asked, I can explain.
Test taking days can be stressful. There's a lot of weight put behind these "objective" measures. I would not dwell on them any further. Have some faith in your abilities and make the most of the interviews you get. There is no harm in applying to any program - the worst that will happen is that you will have spent some $$ only to be screened out. Your chances of becoming a neurologist are still high. Once again, I wish you luck.
 

Gnocchi Monster

5+ Year Member
May 27, 2010
71
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Medical Student
TUGM- by Utah you mean university of utah? Is SLC really that non desirable? Thought they had a pretty decent program
 

TUGM

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Apr 8, 2013
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Oh I think they have a very strong program, from what I've read and heard. And in my opinion, I think SLC has it's own charm, and is a really cool geographical area of the United States to be in. Per SDN vocabulary, desirable locations = California, NYC, Chicago.