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Personal Rant

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by whopper, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    Not so much psyche, though any of you can act as my therapists.

    Took USMLE Step III, day 2 today.

    Thought I was doing very well. Felt much better about it than Step I & II.

    Then halfway through the exam today a bomb scare happened in the prometrics buildilng.

    They assured me I'd be able to take the exam from where I left off once the police cleared the building.

    They were right--except that the program froze 15 seconds after I resumed it, yet even though the program froze, the clock still was counting down on the time allowed for the section.

    So then I call the proctor, and she said the problem would be solved by rebooting the computer.

    Reboot---and I'm back to the same exact section I was last on, except now it won't let me put in anymore answers into the section (I was only 10% done on it) and gave me either the choice to either just sit there and reviewed the answers I put down or go to the next section but it wouldn't let me put anything else down even though I had barely touched the section. The proctor told me she couldn't do anything about it other than report the incident.

    I thought I'd be sitting pretty having finished that exam, now I don't know if I passed or not, and even if I did pass, I don't know if the computer will grade me fairly or nix off 10-20 points off of it that I might've deserved.

    I of course called prometrics and NBME, and haven't gotten anything of substance of a reply back yet.

    Figure one of 2 things will happen.

    They'll either 1)make me take the test over again even though I pretty much used all my vacation days for this exam & to study for it
    or 2) they'll pretty much blow me off and just give me my score as is, whether or not I unfairly lose some points.
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  3. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon Physician Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2004
    Left of Center
    Just remember the score doesn't matter for anything, as long as it's a pass.

    But still--you wuz robbed.

    Go out and down a couple of strong ones. (But don't drive.)
  4. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    Well I could have been shorted about the $700 for the exam.

    The program only lets you use 2 days a year for exams and I just used them...

    And on top of that in NJ you only have a finite amount of times you can fail it. Not taht I expect to fail this one, or expect to reach NJ's limit.

    I'm just ticked.

    OK now to drink some booze.
  5. freudforall

    freudforall 7+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2007
    Whopper, what prometric site was that??? I have taken my steps in fair lawn over the past few years, and let me just tell you, the staff is INCOMPETENT!

    I actually had to ask them when I was taking step 2 to stop ordering their chinese lunch or discuss family situations during my first section. Then, the afternoon crew comes in and is in the room every 10 mins looking over my back and staring at me for like 30 secs, even when I was the only person in the room. Combine that with the jerk behind me cursing really loudly every few minutes during his exam, with everyone just looking at him, and my experience sucked. But, the exam went OK, thankfully.

    And the rest of the day got a lot better once I hit the bar 2 hours later.
  6. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    Was the prometric at Deptford.

    When I took step II the computer crashed for 6 hrs. Supposedly it was nationwide when it happened. The idiots at that site (this one was in Hamilton NJ) they kept telling me every 15 minutes that everything would be fine and up and running in just a few minutes.

    Then 6 hrs passed.

    Them: "Don't worry, everything will be up and running in just a few minutes"

    me: "you told me that about 15 times and its been 6 hrs".

    I figured, if they really don't know how long it'll take, just tell me. Better that than to give me that BS for 6 hrs.

    I wouldn't have cared except for that you weren't allowed to leave the testing site, or forfeit the test with NO REFUND. I was expecting to have left the site by 5 pm. It was about 8 pm and I hadn't had dinner yet and they still wouldn't let me leave the site. I started demanding that they provide us dinner or I was going to call a lawyer and sue.

    They eventually let me leave the site so I could get some dinner, but they insisted that I keep it secret. Everyone else who was waiting there for 6 hrs, I offered to get them food if they paid me their share of the bill.

    It was a mess. Those people didn't give a damn. They only started to be rational and let us eat after I threatened them with legal action.
  7. DCMDtobe

    DCMDtobe New Member 2+ Year Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    A similar sort of thing happened to a friend of mine. His computer turned off part way through section 3. When they rebooted, he never even got to see about 40 questions in that section. The staff told him not to worry and to just do his best on the remaining sections. He was thinking they'd score his exam based on the questions he did get to see. A few days later, he's told they had to mark all of the questions that he didn't see as incorrect. He's given two options: he can accept his score when it comes out, or he can retake the entire exam.

    When the score did come out, he actually passed, but just barely. He ended up getting a lawyer involved. He also ended up accepting his score (didn't want to retake it), and he got a letter from NBME explaining that he got a 185 or whatever without even getting to see 40 questions.
  8. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    That's just plain horrible. I'm crossing my fingers for you and hoping you pass. :luck:
  9. Anasazi23

    Anasazi23 Your Digital Ruler Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    I have to say, I've heard more bull**** happening at step III testing centers than anywhere else in the world, including the U.N.

    Whopper, I'm sorry that happened to you, but if it makes you feel better, you're not alone. I have to say that my experience was pretty excitement or drama thank God, but I have heard a number of outrageous stories to now add to yours.

    I've heard:
    The classic computer freeze.
    Fellow tester with acute asthma exacerbation.
    Power outage with loss of all data.
    Someone being taken out in the middle of exam and being accused of being someone else.
    Now you with the bomb scare.

    It seems like it's just too strange for all these wacky things to be happening during these testing sessions. It's probably another unwitting experiment being conducted upon medical residents and will be published in the journal of irreproducible results sometime in the next few years.

    Another stone is that I think you CAN'T retake step III if you pass. Am I right in remembering that they won't let you if you pass it?

    Anyway, it's over - hopefully forever, and you can move on to the next exciting and mind-altering step...licensing and DEA!
  10. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    Yeah well I'm thinking that if I passed, even if its an unfair grade maybe I'll just let it go. We'll see.

    My wife was majorly ticked off because for the past month, she had to tolerate me while I basically just treated her like a servant. She did my half of the cooking, cleaning and bent over backwards. Then I come home and tell her I might have to retake the damn exam.

    Assuming I pass, I'm wondering if this will affect applications into a fellowship. I don't know how much faith they're going to put into a USMLE step III score.

    And if I don't pass, that'll suck. Emailed NBME, haven't heard anything back yet. Its been less than 24 hrs but there's a lot of anxiety in not knowing what's going to happen or how they'll handle this.

    I'm in an uncomfortable rutt where I don't know if I should still study my stuff or just let it go and resume life.

  11. Anasazi23

    Anasazi23 Your Digital Ruler Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Resume life until you know for sure that you have to re-take it. I'm betting you passed.

    I'm only learning now that you shouldn't worry about things twice.
  12. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    Heard back from the USMLE people at NBME.

    They told me they would look into the matter and get back to me in the "next several weeks" without any further details.

    Wow, next several weeks could be months from now.

    This blows. Well I can't spend any more time being mad about this anymore. Life is too short. I'm also not going to study for the exam specifically unless I have to take it again. I'll study stuff to make me a better doctor, but not for USMLE.

    Anyways, the idea of getting a lawyer involved is on my mind. If they screw me over--e.g. I fail and only failed by a small margin that could've been that margin lost by the section I couldn't complete, I'm damn well going to sue them if they don't let me take the exam again for free and without a failure on my record. Heck, IMHO they'd owe me more than that. They'd owe me 2 vacation days, maybe some more because I'm going to have to spend a few weeks studying for it over again.

    We'll see. Keeping my fingers crossed.
  13. Well hopefully you passed anyhow so you can just put this all behind you.
  14. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Feb 8, 2004

    Sorry for the rant!
    OK...get back into my meditation position...

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