Help - Failing med school :'( :'(

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Anonymous #1
#1
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#1
Hi everyone,

I'm looking for moral support and practical advice.

I'm a GEP student, and made it through Yrs 1 & 2 without any dramas. Well, I'm back after the Christmas break having failed my EMQ exam at the end of the last term. Now 3rd year isn't even half over, and I know I'm in resits. Plus if I fail any other exams I may have to repeat the year.

I go to a big school, and the support I got was pretty non-existent. My personal tutor met with me once in first year, and I haven't seen him since, and I'm not sure who else I can to talk to.

I'm feeling really burned out at the moment, and am finding it difficult to focus on what I need to do to pull through. I'm so tired from hospital hours that I can't remember the last time I sat down and studied, and the work and deadlines are just piling up on my desk.

Part of the problem is that I've never had to work and study at the same time (unless the occasional zero-hour contract shift when I was preparing for GAMSAT and UKCAT counts, and I don't think it does). I'm also struggling to remember why I wanted to do this in the first place.

Any pointers, especially from people who've been through it and made it out the other side, would be totally appreciated.

Thanks!
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Ghotay
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#2
Report 4 years ago
#2
First, just addressing your title. I think it's useful to recontextualise - failing one exam out of three years so far is far from 'failing' med school. It's a difficult course and many if not most of the other medics I know have failed an exam at some point or another. The majority passed on the re-sits and have gone on to live normal lives, relatively unencumbered by the residual shame of having failed an exam (sarcasm)

But I know you're feeling overwhelmed and tired right now, and it really sucks. So I'm going to focus my advice on this bit:

(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm feeling really burned out at the moment, and am finding it difficult to focus on what I need to do to pull through. I'm so tired from hospital hours that I can't remember the last time I sat down and studied, and the work and deadlines are just piling up on my desk.
I don't know how your course is structed or attendance is monitored, but this really shouldn't be the case. It might be useful to take a step back and really examine how you are spending your time, and how much you are learning from it.

There were definitely times in med school where I have doing 9-5 clinical work and it was really useful. But at other times the placements were not as useful, or I was feeling overwhelmed, or had exams coming up, and I rebalanced how I spent my time. Sometimes going into hospital and just hitting the library. Sometimes even driving in, signing in, and going the **** home. That is ok, even *productive* to do sometimes.

So if you've been spending a lot of time hanging around on the wards, or hanging around in theatre, or focusing on other non-essential stuff like clinical skills (great to do when you get a chance obviously, but not going to help you in your exams very much), I would encourage you to prioritise things that will a) help you pass your exams and your resit b) help you feel more mentally relaxed and in control.

You're not alone. And spending a decent chunk of med school wondering why the hell you're there is also pretty normal. I hope any of this was helpful.
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Anonymous #1
#3
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#3
Hey Ghotay,

First of all, I just wanted to say thanks for replying. I know it probably sounded melodramatic, but you have no idea how much formative stuff I'm ballsing up all of a sudden (stuff that I was doing fine with in the other two years). I just don't know what's happened to me - I feel like a different person.

(Original post by Ghotay)
I don't know how your course is structed or attendance is monitored, but this really shouldn't be the case. It might be useful to take a step back and really examine how you are spending your time, and how much you are learning from it.
You'd be surprised. Because we're a big year group, and nobody could possibly keep track of us all, we all do this loads. At least I started the year by doing it - and then I got caught by a consultant. Apparently he'd stopped by to give us individual teaching during our ward round, but me and another dude had scarpered to the library, and I didn't know what to say, so he fed it back to my uni . Now I'm scared to duck out during our normal 9-5 hours again, even though other people are doing it, and I'm falling behind.

I take what you're saying on board, though, and I definitely feel like I need to think of a creative way to get some quiet study time to myself.

(Original post by Ghotay)
You're not alone. And spending a decent chunk of med school wondering why the hell you're there is also pretty normal. I hope any of this was helpful.
More helpful than you know.

Thanks, dude.
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asif007
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#4
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#4
You're not a failure while you still have a place and you're still there studying at medical school. Medical students often think prematurely that they have failed and will be kicked out when they haven't even done a resit yet, then the resit goes well and they pass anyway. That's a very bad habit IMO - you should embrace this setback and use it to your advantage. Turn your failure into a strength, not a weakness like many medical students do. You should never be afraid of failure. Medical school is designed to trip you up sometimes along the way, so the first thing you need to have is confidence in yourself - you wouldn't be there right now if you weren't capable of passing. Medical students are so used to succeeding at everything that they panic, stress and don't know what to do with themselves when they fail at something. You sound like you're in the same boat. The title of your thread shows you're prematurely anticipating failure before you've even done anything to overcome it.

Look at it from this perspective: you still have time to work out what went wrong the first time around, and you have another chance to do the exam. No point stressing and panicking about the outcome now - that's counter-productive. Focus on your goal and visualise yourself having passed this exam and moving on. You know what they say - positive thoughts. Look at your circumstances as having a positive effect on you - studying for the same exam twice will help you learn the content in more detail, improve your knowledge and help you retain it long-term, which will make you a better doctor. It's hard not to compare yourself to all your colleagues who passed first time round, but to overcome this setback the first thing you must do is get rid of your ego. Nobody cares if you take a little longer to pass one exam than everyone else. Lack of support is a mainstay at medical school everywhere, so you have to learn to be self-reliant. Do things that will improve your confidence and help you focus - eat well, sleep, exercise, take a break, travel away from your uni city for a few days, have hobbies and go to events with non-medics. Medicine is a marathon, not a sprint.
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asif007
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#5
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(Original post by Anonymous)

You'd be surprised. Because we're a big year group, and nobody could possibly keep track of us all, we all do this loads. At least I started the year by doing it - and then I got caught by a consultant. Apparently he'd stopped by to give us individual teaching during our ward round, but me and another dude had scarpered to the library, and I didn't know what to say, so he fed it back to my uni . Now I'm scared to duck out during our normal 9-5 hours again, even though other people are doing it, and I'm falling behind.

I take what you're saying on board, though, and I definitely feel like I need to think of a creative way to get some quiet study time to myself.
You sound like you already have a good routine. But at this crucial time leading up to exams you have to use your time wisely. If you don't feel you're getting much out of a placement, be honest with whichever doctor is teaching you, tell them you have exams coming up and need the time to study - especially as your exam is EMQ, not practical. They are doctors after all and should at least empathise with you having to do exams. Reporting you to your uni for going to the library is a **** move - it sounds like your consultant is just a **** and that's not a reflection on your behaviour. Don't feel guilty when you have done nothing wrong. If you're worried about getting signatures for attendance, stay on the wards until just after lunch and get your afternoon attendance signed immediately if possible, then go to the library for the rest of the day. If not, get a librarian to sign it - that shows that you have actually stayed and worked on the hospital site instead of running home. Better still, seek out doctors who will give you signatures for the whole day within minutes/hours of you turning up - those are the most popular people with medical students, haha. Ask around.
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Ezme39
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#6
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#6
I’m also a third year and tbh I spend my time completely the opposite as in, mainly independent study, with 10-15 hours a week on the wards.
At this stage, although clinical exposure is good, I feel that the background reading is more crucial.
What do you do on the wards? Watch doctors, do skills?
If you’re just watching, then get the BMJ app, and hold your phone inside a notebook, such that you can look things up as you go alternatively, make a list for that evening.
I’ve found that weekends are for learning outcomes and revision. Passmedicine is a great website, and there are a few more gems out there!
Best of luck
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Anonymous #2
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would love to hear an update how you are getting on
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asif007
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#8
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(Original post by Anonymous)
would love to hear an update how you are getting on
I wonder if you're the same person who's been asking for updates on the other threads about failure at medical school?
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