MS 1 failing already

Parietal Lobe

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    I failed our first exam and now I think I just failed the next one today. That means I failed the block. My first block. I'm having serious doubts about whether I belong in med school. I want to turn things around, but I don't know how. I feel like I understand everything. I just have problems recalling all the specifics, like enzymes in biochemical pathways and the such.

    I'm really scared of being kicked out at this point. Has anyone else had a rough start and turned things around?
     

    SouthernSurgeon

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      I failed our first exam and now I think I just failed the next one today. That means I failed the block. My first block. I'm having serious doubts about whether I belong in med school. I want to turn things around, but I don't know how. I feel like I understand everything. I just have problems recalling all the specifics, like enzymes in biochemical pathways and the such.

      I'm really scared of being kicked out at this point. Has anyone else had a rough start and turned things around?

      Yes, you can turn this around, but that doesn't mean it will be easy.

      1) You failed the first exam: What did you do differently after that to prepare for your second exam? Why didn't it work?

      2) The first year of medical school isn't really about "understanding everything" - success depends on your ability to "recall all the specifics" - if you walk into the test not having memorized the enzymes in the biochem pathways, or not having memorized the muscular attachments/insertions, etc. you are likely going to do poorly

      3) What resources does your school have? Tutoring, etc? Are you studying alone, in groups, and are you sure you are using your time effectively?
       
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      Jolie South

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        It really just boils down to how bad you want it. Since 95% of the people in med school pass, you just have to be better than those 5 other kids.

        great advice. :rolleyes:


        OP, I think you can turn it around. You just need to focus in on what you're doing wrong, though it sounds like you already know. Unfortunately, med school exams aren't really about the "big picture." I'd say to work on different study methods that allow you to know the details cold. Maybe, that could be making charts or flashcards or writing things down on a dry erase board until you know them. You could also use review books to guide your study to the large points. Then, refine your knowledge with class notes.

        I find that repetition is the key to everything. The more you see the material, the more you'll remember. I cover all the material during the block then use pre-test study days to review and cement the knowledge.

        EDIT: I also agree with SouthernIM on the group study thing. More often than not it's a complete waste of time.
         

        Perrotfish

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          Where are you at? Are you at a school that fails a lot of people out? Do they offer a lot of tutoring? Chances are your school also wants you to turn this around, and if you're not sure how to do it there's a good chance they're the ones you should ask.
           

          AlexMorph

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            I failed our first exam and now I think I just failed the next one today. That means I failed the block. My first block. I'm having serious doubts about whether I belong in med school. I want to turn things around, but I don't know how. I feel like I understand everything. I just have problems recalling all the specifics, like enzymes in biochemical pathways and the such.

            I'm really scared of being kicked out at this point. Has anyone else had a rough start and turned things around?
            as others have said, your issue seems to be memorizing. the key to memorization is repetition, but how you choose to repeat is up to you and what works best for you. unfortunately, you need to figure out what works best for we can't provide you with that answer

            you can still turn it around, don't be so dejected
             

            fizzle

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              Where are you at? Are you at a school that fails a lot of people out? Do they offer a lot of tutoring? Chances are your school also wants you to turn this around, and if you're not sure how to do it there's a good chance they're the ones you should ask.

              This. All US allopathic schools have an interest in making you pass, and if you go to the student services office, they'll more likely than not be willing to offer tutoring services or other. While group studying definitely isn't efficient, getting one-on-one help from a med student who has already been through it all will definitely help.
               

              Bonesaw45

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                If its primarily an issue with memorization just find buzz words and make notecards to review them. If they are processes memorize them the context of the pathway, and understand how to manipulate the pathway. Most important though is to review these things every few nights to ensure memorization, and that things will trigger when you get the question. If it is simply an issue of memorization this should work.

                If the notecards seem to be very overwhelming (they were for me) try to stagger each night based on subject or body area (Thorax Tuesdays....Foot Fridays....). If that proves difficult there is software out there that manages the notecards for you and puts you on a learning schedule to follow. I use supermemo and its great, especially if you get great note transcripts from lectures.

                If it is a problem with understanding the material vs understanding how to answer the question you need to do pathway manipulation and practice questions. For example find questions that give clinical question: this man has dorsal furrowing on his hand...why? nerve damage whats causing it? trauma what is the name for it? radial nerve etc. Ask these questions as you move through material really try to work through the possibilities instead of passively reading.

                Hope any of this is pertinent or helps at all.
                 

                VoiceofReason

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                  if you're losing enough points on specific details thats its costing you a passing grade then I think its clear that you need to start memorizing details.

                  review books are good guides for which details are important. if you can regurgitate every detail in a review book for that particular block or unit then i really don't see how you can fail said block or unit.
                   

                  Chuck's Right Foot

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                    GET HELP.

                    Tutors. Counseling. Whatever is offered. Don't wait. Attack the next block. You can do it. My school gave us an entire day on services available to us. I hope your school has given you access to help... if not, ask for it from upperclass students who are available and Professors.
                     

                    SpookyDoc

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                      GET HELP.

                      Tutors. Counseling. Whatever is offered. Don't wait. Attack the next block. You can do it. My school gave us an entire day on services available to us. I hope your school has given you access to help... if not, ask for it from upperclass students who are available and Professors.

                      You'd have been foolish not to do this after the first exam, and a COMPLETE idiot not to do it now. Get some help.
                       

                      riceman04

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                        You'd have been foolish not to do this after the first exam, and a COMPLETE idiot not to do it now. Get some help.

                        ouch!

                        not that I should be giving anyone advice on how to address a poster, considering my recent stint of "probationary status" :smuggrin:....but do you have to be terse with the OP?....Actually, your response was beyond terse....it was kind of over the top.
                         
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                        SouthernSurgeon

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                          ouch!

                          not that I should be giving anyone advice on how to address a poster, considering my recent stint of "probationary status" :smuggrin:....but do you have to be terse with the OP?....Actually, your response was beyond terse....it was kind of over the top.

                          Kind of disagree. It was a little bit harsh, but it's "wake-up call" time for the OP. If he/she didn't get help after the first failure, it is very important that they get it now.
                           
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                            I agree, but why imply the OP is an idiot...?

                            I think the OP would be an idiot not to seek the help everyone is describing after failing a block. That's all the previous poster was saying.

                            Ideally, the OP would have thought about this prior to taking the test. That's not entirely his/her fault as it's hard to know what's expected prior to the first exam.
                             
                            I failed our first exam and now I think I just failed the next one today. That means I failed the block. My first block. I'm having serious doubts about whether I belong in med school. I want to turn things around, but I don't know how. I feel like I understand everything. I just have problems recalling all the specifics, like enzymes in biochemical pathways and the such.

                            I'm really scared of being kicked out at this point. Has anyone else had a rough start and turned things around?

                            First of all, many medical students find themselves in a position of failure (often for the first time in their academic careers) early in medical school. This does not mean that you are:
                            • Going to be kicked out of medical school or don't belong there
                            • A complete failure (or stupid)
                            • Worse off than your fellow students
                            You need to figure out your problems and start from there. The first thing I would do would be to make an appointment with the person who did the lecture and see where you got off track. The next person that I would speak with is the Dean of Students/Academic Affairs to find out how you will remediate your block. Once you know what is required for remediation, you can make arrangements to get that done when the time comes and now focus on what needs to be mastered for the material that you are currently studying.

                            Many, many medical students take a bit of time to adjust to the volume of material. You may need organizational help or you may need to change some things that you are doing that might be interfering with your mastery of the material. If your school has any tutoring services, take advantage of them. If not, then ask the professor to help you with organizing the material.

                            Don't panic and don't keep telling yourself that you don't "belong in medical school". There is nothing in medical school that cannot be mastered with the right approach and organization. You have to get busy finding the help that you need so that you don't get behind and so that you can turn things around too. Good luck!
                             

                            gman33

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                              I failed my first block in med school. I did so bad on the first exam, there was really no hope of passing.

                              It's a real blow to the ego,etc.
                              It doesn't mean you can't survive and do well in med school.

                              Step 1, go see the course director. Figure out what you can do to improve. Step 2, see the dean of students, academic coordinator or anyone who can help you get on a better study plan. Do this ASAP.

                              I eneded up getting a tutor which helped tremendously. There were a few exams since that I didn't do the greatest on, but overall I did really well the rest of the year. Everyone adjusts a little differently and different people have different learning styles. You need to figure out what works best for you and stick to it. One problem is that each class may require a slightly different strategy. Having a tutor or someone to talk to, may help you adjust to each class.

                              One book I liked was, How to Excel in Medical School.
                              It might be worth checking out if you can get a copy.

                              :luck:
                               
                              OP, I haven't anything to say that hasn't already been said. Just wanted to chime in and say that, well, you should probably just lean into the wind, figure out what's lacking in your routine, and run with it.

                              For example: I was always one to hand-write notes and annotate handouts in college with some trusty pen or another, so for me, trying to "adopt" the flashcard mentality or some such may -- or may not -- be a good idea. Pretty sure a little bit of trial and error is par for the course for us.

                              I know a lot of people I've talked to about our first exams/practicals were feeling pretty dejected about it; you're not the only one.

                              Hang in there. :thumbup:
                               

                              calihope

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                                To the OP, I hope this makes you feel a little better. I failed the first anatomy test as a MS1. Our class average was like 86%, and I failed! I got like the third lowest score in the class. I am now a fourth year and I am now in the top 20% of my class, and I got a 247 on the step 1 exam. There is hope, you just need to buckle down, figure out where you are weak, and keep plugging away. I promise, med school does get better. The material gets more interesting, and you will get better at test taking if you just stick with it. The key is to study even harder for the next test (spend every free minute studying if you have to) and pull a decent score. This will help your confidence and you will find your "groove." I think 80% of succeeding in med school is confidence. If you walk into a test thinking everyone in the room is smarter than you and you don't know the material well, you will likely choke and flunk.
                                 
                                If you walk into a test thinking everyone in the room is smarter than you and you don't know the material well, you will likely choke and flunk.

                                SO much truth to this. At least from my POV, it's a cross between not letting any self-flagellation or comments from classmates get to you -- you know, the look-how-smart-I-am commentary/questions -- and still being cognizant of what it is you need to review the most.

                                Do what you need to do, have faith in your ability to recall that information and reason out what you need to reason out, and call it a day. That's it. :thumbup:
                                 

                                phospho

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                                  To the OP, I hope this makes you feel a little better. I failed the first anatomy test as a MS1. Our class average was like 86%, and I failed! I got like the third lowest score in the class. I am now a fourth year and I am now in the top 20% of my class, and I got a 247 on the step 1 exam. There is hope, you just need to buckle down, figure out where you are weak, and keep plugging away. I promise, med school does get better. The material gets more interesting, and you will get better at test taking if you just stick with it. The key is to study even harder for the next test (spend every free minute studying if you have to) and pull a decent score. This will help your confidence and you will find your "groove." I think 80% of succeeding in med school is confidence. If you walk into a test thinking everyone in the room is smarter than you and you don't know the material well, you will likely choke and flunk.

                                  that was an awesome post, thank you! :)
                                   
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                                    just because you are having a difficult time adjusting does not mean that you are not meant for med school. It is completely impossible for me to say what the problem is--you need to go see an academic advisor immediately so that they can help you. And just because you may have failed a block, it doesn't mean that the med school is just going to kick you out. Again--you need to find someone to help you with your specific situation--you have got to take steps that prove that you actually want this and that you want help.
                                     

                                    bassfishindoc

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                                      I'm going to reiterate, get some help. Also, it is important to realize that understanding the big picture is hard with the limited knowledge we are gaining early in medical school, and the big picture is not the point of the first couple blocks. They are meant to give you the building blocks so that eventually the big picture will make sense. So what does that mean for you? That you need to find some technique to memorize all the little details. If you know them, eventually, the big picture will come into view and make a whole lot more sense.

                                      It will be HARD. We all know because we are doing it too, but it comes down to MEMORIZE, MEMORIZE, MEMORIZE! Good luck!
                                       

                                      Law2Doc

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                                        ...However, you do need to study on a daily basis in order to pass.

                                        First, ignore what other people are doing or say they are doing. Some of your classmates probably are saying they study an hour a night and take the weekends off, but unfortunately you are not going to be one of these people. Second, explore what the school has in the way of counseling or tutoring. It might not be much, but the school is at least going to get the sense you are trying and proactive, which will make them slower to take action against you. Third, you need to change up your studying. Throw out everything you did before and try something different. Try groups if you haven't, alone if you have. Get different books. Make your studying less passive-- write stuff, outline, make flash cards. Put in more hours if you weren't before. Take frequent breaks to clear your head. Study someplace different with fewer distractions. Lock away your tv for a month, etc.
                                         

                                        HPSPpayissues

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                                          if you're losing enough points on specific details thats its costing you a passing grade then I think its clear that you need to start memorizing details.

                                          review books are good guides for which details are important. if you can regurgitate every detail in a review book for that particular block or unit then i really don't see how you can fail said block or unit.
                                          :thumbup: You might not get an A or Honor, but a review book should be sufficient enough for you to pass
                                           

                                          VoiceofReason

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                                            Really depends on the class... doesn't it? For example, our biochem, genetics, molecular biology block was way more intense than First aid of the BRS series.

                                            wellllllll some classes may go over things for which there is no specific review book. There is no review book for genetics specifically, for example.

                                            but i more or less stand by what i said.
                                             

                                            nancy0223

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                                              I failed our first exam and now I think I just failed the next one today. That means I failed the block. My first block. I'm having serious doubts about whether I belong in med school. I want to turn things around, but I don't know how. I feel like I understand everything. I just have problems recalling all the specifics, like enzymes in biochemical pathways and the such.

                                              I'm really scared of being kicked out at this point. Has anyone else had a rough start and turned things around?

                                              Hey there, also a MS1 here who just failed her 1st anatomy practical :(. Since our school doesn't have any writtens for anatomy (which I probably would have passed if there were one), a failing grade on the 1st block really sucked.
                                              Interestingly I actually managed to score > class average on all the other exams I've had so far. Just the damn practical that got me...:confused:
                                               

                                              Revilla

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                                                I don't know if this will make you feel better or worse, but I failed my first year for pretty much the same reason. I've found notecards work wonders for me this year and this website: http://ichi2.net/anki/index.html makes it fast and easy!

                                                I've been looking at this site and I can't find an efficient way to do it. It seems like you can either type in the questions and answers or you can important them from a spreadsheet. The problem is, we go through so many notes a day that if I did this, I'd have to spend a couple of hours each night going through line by line to make the notecards. Is that how you do it? I guess it would save time when reviewing on the weekends.
                                                 

                                                Jumpin JAK STAT

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                                                  I've been looking at this site and I can't find an efficient way to do it. It seems like you can either type in the questions and answers or you can important them from a spreadsheet. The problem is, we go through so many notes a day that if I did this, I'd have to spend a couple of hours each night going through line by line to make the notecards. Is that how you do it? I guess it would save time when reviewing on the weekends.

                                                  Just make notecards of the things you're having a hard time remembering
                                                   

                                                  Revilla

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                                                    Just make notecards of the things you're having a hard time remembering

                                                    The reason I haven't done that yet is because there are a lot of things I have a hard time remembering. LOL. It sucks up so much time to make all those notecards. Unlike most people, I don't learn from the actual writing of the notecards. I learn by quizzing myself, but writing them takes hours each night that I could spend reviewing the material.
                                                     

                                                    seelee

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                                                      I've been looking at this site and I can't find an efficient way to do it. It seems like you can either type in the questions and answers or you can important them from a spreadsheet. The problem is, we go through so many notes a day that if I did this, I'd have to spend a couple of hours each night going through line by line to make the notecards. Is that how you do it? I guess it would save time when reviewing on the weekends.

                                                      Exactly, you spend a few hours each night making flash cards. The process of making them is study time in and of itself. The stuff I focus on are the lists of minutae and important concepts.

                                                      Nerves (name on one side, location, spinal segment, end organ/muscle on the other)
                                                      Muscles (name on one side. origin, insertion, action, innervation on the other)
                                                      Bolded terms and their definitions
                                                      Clinical correlations
                                                      Important relationships

                                                      Make the cards, and then go through them once a day. As you learn the material better, Anki will circulate the card less frequently. Many of my note cards I see once every 2 or 3 months. Enough for me to jog my memory. I have been using this since the beginning of medical school and I have gotten As on 2 of my 3 tests.

                                                      The bulk of medical study is memorizing/familiarization with the lingo. For anatomy, I spend the bulk of my study time memorizing the name of the structures and their relevant associations. The last thing I do is go into the cadaver lab and spend a few hours finding everything.
                                                       

                                                      sosarah

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                                                        I've been looking at this site and I can't find an efficient way to do it. It seems like you can either type in the questions and answers or you can important them from a spreadsheet. The problem is, we go through so many notes a day that if I did this, I'd have to spend a couple of hours each night going through line by line to make the notecards. Is that how you do it? I guess it would save time when reviewing on the weekends.
                                                        I make flashcards on the first run-through of the material. While I'm reading it. I don't even really read the material again after that; I just use the flashcards. The weekend before the test I might skim through the material to see if there's anything I'm totally unfamiliar with, but it's really all flashcards and practice questions for me.
                                                         

                                                        Non-TradTulsa

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                                                          This thread has re-inforced my belief in my school's policy of what are called "WUME" - warm-up mini-exams that are given in the first block of first year, three weeks before the real first block. Instead of 100-125 questions, the exams are about 75 questions and the exam is 10-15% of your grade, instead of 25-35%.

                                                          At first I thought this was kind of coddling students. It isn't. If you don't pass the WUMEs, you get called to the dean's office - but they don't yell at you, they spend time with you looking at your study strategies and figuring-out what went wrong. If you need a tutor, they get you one.

                                                          I realize this doesn't help the OP. The OP needs to get to the dean's office ASAP - some people who do fairly well in medical school have study problems that don't come out until the first set of exams. Yes, it'll ding your first semester grades, but they are highly unlikely to dismiss you. If worst comes to worst, repeating first year is not the end of the world. We usually have 5-6 people who have to repeat first year who ultimately do fine.
                                                           
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