Should you get tested for a learning disability?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by RedVelvet1, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. RedVelvet1

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    Due to some low test scores in MSI, my advisor suggested I take concentration/IQ tests. Students take these tests so the school can make special accommodations for students in case they have a learning disability/issue. They said that my Verbal IQ was significantly higher than my Performance IQ, a statistical anomaly present only in about 0.1% of the population. They are going to do further evaluation.

    Are you any of you guys familiar with this testing stuff? Has anybody been through this type of situation and found it helpful? Anybody think it is just a load of crap?
     
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  3. OncoCaP

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    It sounds like they are trying to help you. I would take it if I had trouble with my test scores. If you are worried about the test, you might try to find out more information about what exactly they are using and how it was validated.
     
  4. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli

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    I had a classmate who got double time on tests and even got 2 days to take Step I due to a learning disability. She's now a medicine resident at a big-name academic institution.
     
  5. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I'd be curious what accommodations they make in med school for having a low IQ.
     
  6. tbo

    tbo MS-4

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    That's a pretty brash statement. The IQ test is to confirm/reconcile/give context to the concentration test. Sounds like ADD/dyslexia testing to me.
     
  7. PeepshowJohnny

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    I used to think all those academic skills specialist and such were all hogwash, but I'm starting to come around. I say go with it.
     
  8. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Unless things have changed somewhat, the Verbal-Performance discrepancy is not used to diagnose learning disabilities. Like a low IQ result, or other subjective observations, it's just a marker. It's an alert. You don't make a diagnosis from it. You wouldn't make a ADD/dyslexia diagnosis from it.

    IQ tests by themselves mean very little. They aren't used to diagnose. The OP may or may not have a learning disability, but I wouldn't rush to judgement based on IQ results. They're notoriously ineffective tests.
     
  9. kdburton

    kdburton Ulnar Deviant

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    Don't they have to make some sort of a comment on your Step I results that says your test was taken under special conditions? I also assume that your dean's letter must state something about this. It may be worthwhile to take the attention/IQ test or whatever it is to see what the results say, but if the school says they will report to the places you eventually apply to residency at that your tests (including Step I) are taken under special conditions then it may be worthwhile to take another approach at improving your test scores. Are you failing or just getting "low" grades? There is a big difference considering there are probably a lot of people in your class who are getting "low" grades and not failing.
     
  10. Doctor4Life1769

    Doctor4Life1769 **tr0llin, ridin dirty**

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    Lucky! I probably would take the test, nothing wrong can come from taking it. Who knows, maybe it'll simply amount to a need to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and to hone on those strengths.
     
  11. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli

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    I don't know. I wasn't particularly close to this classmate, but we took Step I on the same day and she left halfway through--so I'm thinking, "Either she failed/gave up or she's ten times smarter than I am." I asked, and later found out they'd been making accomodations for her learning disability; she got 2 days for Step I and I would assume Step II as well.

    I'm not sure whether this kind of thing has to be noted, but I'd think that it would be. Whatever the case may be, she matched in IM at a big-name prestigious program, so I guess it worked OK.
     
  12. EBI831

    EBI831 legend in the making

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    if she's at a big name program i'd bet that extra time had very little effect on her scores. maybe the extra breaks would give you a few points but for most you wouldnt get a higher score from getting unlimited time versus a set time. it'd just be more time to second guess yourself etc...i feel like research has proven the gut answer is the right one. unless, of course the issue is that you are running out of time on the test (attention deficit, slow reader etc) and so you dont get around to the questions...which it seems like this person has.
     
  13. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli

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    Maybe. Let's just say that I was surprised on Match Day. Very surprised when I heard where she was going, given her personality and likely class rank (extremely annoying/wannabe-know-it-all and decidedly middle-of-the-pack, respectively).
     
  14. cfdavid

    cfdavid Banned
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    while this investigation may help you discover your strengths and weaknesses, i really doubt you have a severe learning diability if you've already hurdled into med school.

    good luck.
     
  15. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I'm pretty sure this is the case. I'm aware of folks who decided to take their chances with lower scores rather than get extra time but with the backroom stigma that some fear goes along with folks who get accommodations. A documented learning disability is not as much a negative when you are younger (high school, college), but once you start to get looked at as a potential colleague, it raises a whole new host of concerns. Because accommodations on tests are one thing, but accommodations during your rotation etc will be something that starts affecting others.
     
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  17. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Likely not severe. But dyslexics for example reportedly tend to be of rather high intelligence on average, and so it's not inconceivable that any number of folks with learning disabilities have learned a few tricks of the trade and managed to get into med school by simply devoting more time to things (in college you have a lot more time than med school), and taking courses that play into their strengths (eg number oriented rather than word oriented things).
     
  18. Jccripe

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    Now, if we could only get cancer and other diseases to give these Docs extra time to treat and diagnose
     
  19. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Exactly the kind of "backroom stigma" I was referencing two posts above. :laugh:
     
  20. Orthodoc40

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    Yup - a physician friend of mine was not diagnosed with dyslexia until he was in medical school. (He didn't get any special accommodations, just had to approach his studying & test taking differently himself.)

    I seriously doubt that just because someone needs more time to concentrate on a written physiology test means they would take longer to diagnose & treat a patient in clinic.
     
  21. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    And if it does, a large percentage of us non-learning disability types are hosed anyway....
     
  22. tdsbird2

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    i am dyslexic and have been granted time and a half for all tests in undergrad and standardized tests MCAT and SAT so far. I am working on getting it for when i go to NYMC in august. It helps me so much. I usually finish around the "normal" time but the stress is so much lower know that I do not have to rush...the accommodations that you might get wont hurt you so why not try for them

    A few of my friends when they found out about my accommodations wanted to fake dyslexia to have them (want-a-bes!)
     
  23. Epibackpacker

    Epibackpacker Epibackpacker

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    Dear OP,
    The discrepancy you describe on the intelligence test can be used to help diagnose a learning disability. The scores you speak of are overall scores which are then examined subset by subset to determine the precise problem. The test comprises several modules. Keep in mind that generally there are two standards for disability. The first is how good at something are you compared to yourself. Ie your verbal is better than your performance to a statistically significant difference. The second is how good are you compared to average. The latter is the American with Disabilities act standard and is much tougher to meet. A good educational psychologist/psychiatrist, should review all the results with you and compile a report that actually gives the specific DSM IV diagnoses. Hope this helps, feel free to PM if you have other questions.
     
  24. RedVelvet1

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    Thanks for writing everyone. I hope it all works out!

    Was anybody not diagnosed with Dyslexia until Medical School? In that case, how did you manage to get so far?!
     
  25. RedVelvet1

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    "I probably would take the test, nothing wrong can come from taking it. Who knows, maybe it'll simply amount to a need to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and to hone on those strengths."

    Even though they're not done evaluating- the tests showed Verbal Learning is my strength. I knew that even before taking the test. The problem is putting this into practice! In college I used to discuss the material with my classmates, but in Med School it's hard to do that! It would be great to have a good study buddy but so far nothing has worked out. I tried getting tutoring from 3rd/4th years and it works out when they are available but when they are busy, you are pretty much screwed. It's funny because even as I take tests, many of the things I remember seem to be things I have heard/said. Therefore, alot of what I end up remembering are things from the tutoring session! I asked the school if they had any info about even hiring a private tutor but they said they like to have the 3rd/4th years do it. Some people just yell at me and tell me I need to learn to do things myself.

    Any ideas?

    PS- I redid part of one of the Performance Tests and did alot better. Part of it was the practice of having done a portion of it before. Also, the ones I got wrong, the Specialist had me try to correct it and explain it to her as I was doing it. She said I seemed to do alot better when I was explaining it to someone else.
     
  26. surferdude123

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    I too want to get tested.

    They thought I had it when I was younger and I was medicated for it.
    But It was so long ago I don't know if improvement was there or not.

    I have had to overcome a lot of adversity in my life to get where I am now....in medical school.

    Nothing is going to come in the way of my education or career.

    Should I also get tested again? I have an appointment with our med fac's psychiatrist today to discuss somethings. If I did get diagnosed with Adult Attention Deficit, I sure hope it won't jeopardize my career or education.

    I say, take the test.

    I know how you feel man.
     

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