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question about failing..

Ganz

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Haven't taken step 1 yet, but was just wondering what residency programs would rather see: barely passing the first time around, or failing the first time and doing great on the second attempt (>230). obviously I know that neither is optimal...
 

kcrd

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I don't have any personal experience with either failing or getting >230 on the boards, but it would seem to me that you would be better off passing it the first time around. I also doubt that it would be possible to get a 230+ if you failed it the first time, unless you went through 2 years of medical school all over again.
 
I always thought it would be better to fail, and then do exceptionally well (at least above the mean), than to barely pass the first time (i.e. low-180s). Of course, statistically speaking, it's very difficult to fail (e.g. a score of 170) and then improve by around 40-50 points the second time around.

But I think that if you barely passed the first time, you can say goodbye to tough fields like ortho, derm, rad-onc, etc. If you fail and then ace it, at least you have a chance, no?
 
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Vincristine

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Originally posted by bigdental
What about if you fail on purpose (or just "not finish") just to get a feel for the real test so that you can ace it the next time around? Assuming you started studying with study aids during first year.

I would absolutely NOT recommend something like this. While you might be able to do this crap with the MCAT, when your residency program asks why you sat for Step I more than once, you CAN NOT answer "so I could get a feel for the test". Do qbank -- you'll get a "feel for the test". Yeesh, I'm VERY afraid for you if you're actually contemplating this.
 

Johnny Cash

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A good way to get a peak at the real USMLE Step 1 or 2 for that matter is to see if a field trial is being offered my NBME in your area. I was lucky enough to have had a field trial offered during my freshman year (field trial for Step 1). Found out about it through our student affairs dean. Applied via the NBME website and was accepted.

I sat for an entire USMLE Step 1, took every single question, and failed the thing miserably, BUT was able to experience a real thing, and NOT have it count. I received a traditional score report with subject area breakdown performance. This field trial did not count on my USMLE record.

Then I sat for the real USMLE Step 1 about 9 months later. It was a great advantage to have been able to sit for a Field Trial that didn't count before the real examination.

I most recently was able to do the same thing with a USMLE Step 2 field trial.

Johnny Cash
The Man In Black
 
Originally posted by keraven
I would absolutely NOT recommend something like this. While you might be able to do this crap with the MCAT, when your residency program asks why you sat for Step I more than once, you CAN NOT answer "so I could get a feel for the test". Do qbank -- you'll get a "feel for the test". Yeesh, I'm VERY afraid for you if you're actually contemplating this.

Exactly...most of us used QBank to get a "feel for the test." There are also practice official NBME tests, as well as those offered by Princeton Review, Med-Revu, etc.
 

Johnny Cash

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Hi:

Field Trials are typically offered by NBME once a year. They use medical students to sit for actual real examinations to test new software to administer the examinations with.

They are free of charge. I found out about them through an e-mail sent from our dean for student affairs. When they are being offered their is typically information offered on the NBME website.

You login into a website, enter your personal information, and then you are chosen at random to participate.


Johnny Cash
The Man In Black


PS: I don't know if the questions are experimental or not. Each field trial I sat for Step 1 and Step 2 pretty much was right on with what the real examination was like.
 

Kalel

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I agree with the previous posters. Failing step I is a red flag that will go on your application. Although a subsequent high score is better then a subsequent low score, it's much better to just not have failed at all. If you are scoring poorly in q bank, and you can't focus on your studies for whatever reason, I'd reccomend post-ponning your test. I wouldn't post-pone it if you are just getting cold feet though; if you are scoring >55% in q bank with a gradual improvement in your percentages, and you've gone over everything you wanted to according to your schedule, I'd go ahead and take it. If you realize mid-test that you aren't doing so hot, I think that it's possible to walk out and take a "mis-test" that won't show up on your record. I'm not sure about this though, so you will have to look this up yourself. Even if this is the case, I still think that very, very few people will actually know that they are doing very poorly and know when to walk out.
 
Originally posted by Kalel
I wouldn't post-pone it if you are just getting cold feet though; if you are scoring >55% in q bank with a gradual improvement in your percentages, and you've gone over everything you wanted to according to your schedule, I'd go ahead and take it.

Good point. My QBank scores were only coming up VERY gradually, and I never understood why classmates of mine were seemingly having an easier times with the questions than I was. (I did end up taking the test on the scheduled day, in mid-June, though I was only averaging around 65-70% on QBank on a VERY good day.) Looking back, it may have been because they were using the Kaplan lectures notes to study from? I guess it's possible that the questions in QBank were more reflective of the material in Kaplan's texts?
 

Ganz

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Good point. My QBank scores were only coming up VERY gradually, and I never understood why classmates of mine were seemingly having an easier times with the questions than I was. (I did end up taking the test on the scheduled day, in mid-June, though I was only averaging around 65-70% on QBank on a VERY good day.) Looking back, it may have been because they were using the Kaplan lectures notes to study from? I guess it's possible that the questions in QBank were more reflective of the material in Kaplan's texts?

Blade28, I'm currently in the same situation as you were. Do you mind posting how you did on step 1?
 
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