Distinction in written finals but failed OSCE, help! Watch

ArnoldWeber
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So as the title says, got my results yesterday, so gutted to have failed finals osce but had distinction in my writtens.
Just don't know what exactly went wrong and doubt I can improve sufficently before the resit in August. :confused:

Last year I narrowly passed the OSCE, the main feedback was issues with communication (empathy, patient centerdness, audibility, etc) which I worked extremely hard to improve this year and got great feedback on the improvements before the OSCE. Yes there were a couple of 'stations from hell' but I didn't in a million years expect to fail.

I'm so devastated: the shame, my FPAS points, having to cut short my holiday, my self esteem, 'can I still make a good doctor?', the shame x3.:ashamed:

Any help will be appreciated.

NB Please let me know if there are any good motivational videos to get me going again.
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junkchain
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(Original post by ArnoldWeber)
So as the title says, got my results yesterday, so gutted to have failed finals osce but had distinction in my writtens.
Just don't know what exactly went wrong and doubt I can improve sufficently before the resit in August. :confused:

Last year I narrowly passed the OSCE, the main feedback was issues with communication (empathy, patient centerdness, audibility, etc) which I worked extremely hard to improve this year and got great feedback on the improvements before the OSCE. Yes there were a couple of 'stations from hell' but I didn't in a million years expect to fail.

I'm so devastated: the shame, my FPAS points, having to cut short my holiday, my self esteem, 'can I still make a good doctor?', the shame x3.:ashamed:

Any help will be appreciated.

NB Please let me know if there are any good motivational videos to get me going again.
Hey Arnold,

I wrote this reply for lolag on here whose also going through a similar thing. Hope it might help you a little


Hi lolag,

I actually wasn't going to reply for some reason, but your post resonated with me, since I've been through the same thing.

I did struggle through medical school, beginning from the start of second year. I heavily questioned whether being a doctor was for me, as every bone in my body said otherwise. As a result, I lost a lot of confidence in myself, and alongside a few other factors, I ended up repeating year 4 AND year 5.

Yeah, your read that correctly - both years, all the portfolios/sign offs, essays, presentations, case discussions, mini cexs- I repeated every damn thing all over the **** again, and it was the worst time of my life. There is no quick fix, no easy way out - what got me through it all was forcing myself to focus on what I needed to do to pass - every time I dared to think about how much I'd lost - time, efforts wasted, friends gone, years of accumulated debt etc, I'd end up in tears. So that meant setting up a mini plan each day eg get two things signed off on our portfolio, or one mini cex a week etc - a nice pace.

My advice would be to first of all, get yourself in the right headspace. This summer, how many weeks you have - this is the time for you to take a break. Holiday, non-medical part time job, out in the sun - you NEED this break, this time away from medicine, med school, from your head so that you don't end up losing it in Sept/Oct, when it begins to sink in that you're having to do the whole ****ing thing again.

Second, you need to find out why /what caused you to fail. This bit was the hardest for me; I found it especially difficult to start thinking about where I could have gone wrong, as I was dead convinced I'd done everything right. It might seem like it now, but in time, you'll understand that there's always room for improvement. My two big things were one: lack of practice (OSCE scenarios with people, and different people) and the second, perhaps most important of all; confidence - that is, confidence in presenting your patient/case, formulating a management plan, none of: 'not sure', 'it might be' 'I think' 'uhh' etc. Look the part, sound the part. So, back to the main point - find out where you went wrong. Get feedback from the med school if you can - my med school were *****es when it came to this; took me SIX months to finally get a sit down with the main feedback guy to go through my stations briefly - push on this, cause this feedback will be invaluable. I saw that I was losing marks by; not completing histories, poor structure, nerves messing me up when it came to practical skills etc. A lot to work on, but once I knew my weaker areas, it gave me a heads up, which leads me onto my third point.

Thirdly: check to see whether your revision techniques are adequate. It took me failing multiple times, including resits/sequentials to understand this-

a. For written papers, I found reading/making notes to be a complete waste of time, given the volume of information required. Questions banks like Passmed, which I used this year, my second year 5 year, helped me pass cleanly by a good margin. Do them regularly, and I do mean regularly. Questions are great because you get used to the structure/format of questions, what they are asking, the patterns. The little blurb/summary info at the bottom of each question is all you need to know for the exam. Closer to the exam, because I'd focused on questions for weeks prior, I could answer the question correctly by the end of the first few sentences, even without looking at the various answer options. My average went from around 40% at the very start, to 91% in the last days of the exam, and that was due to questions, constantly refreshing my knolwlegde. Question banks like Passmed, Pastest, Onexamination, BMJ, quesmed - they are popular, and your med school will follow some more closely than others. Find out what others have used, especially those in years above you, and start there.

b. When it comes to OSCEs, let me tell you again - as someone who has almost always been called to repeat them, including sequentials, the key thing is practice. OSCEs are not real life - they are a game to be played, hoops we have to jump through, and once you know the rules, it becomes dead simple. Practice, with friends, with different people - get used to different styles, different presentations - ESP vague presentations eg fatigue, weight loss. Any boob can take a history, year 5, or rather F1 level is about being able to take all that info and plan the next step eg management plan, in a safe manner, and communicate all that clearly to the patient, and the examiner. Practice will make perfect. If you can get hold of past stations your med school has used, get them, use them, and get used to saying things out loud, clearly, confidently. In your groups, don't be afraid to critique people - none of this soft 'it was good or it wasn't too bad' etc - say when its ****, why its ****, and what needs to be improved. Act out angry/defensive/difficult/rude/stand off patients - so that in the exam, no matter how challenging the patient or scenario may be/, you aren't thrown off. Exams - practice. Cardio/Resp/GI/Neuro - cranial, PNS/MSK; hip, knee etc. You want to be slick as ****, professional, and be able to summarise not only what you've found, but what you're gonna do next eg - today I've conducted a cardio exam on Mr blah, a fifty year old gentleman with a 3 hr hx of chest pain who... My main differentials include...of which, ACS is my main concern. I would like to admit to hospital. ABCDE etc.

There's a lot more I want to add, the stuff I've learnt when it comes to OSCES, because believe it or not, they are damn straightforward, but I'll either write more later or PM you and anyone else who might be reading and wants to know.

Fourth - I don't know when your exams are, but I'll venture anywhere between May-July. Whenever they are, understand that when you return to uni, Sept-Dec will be the toughest in terms of re-acclimatising yourself to an environment you had hoped to leave, with Sept/Oct being the worst. Its a horrible mix of God, I can't believe I have to do this again, the frustration, disappointment, including from family, financial pressures even, not to mention the mental toll.

THIS IS NORMAL.

It's a difficult period for several reasons, so cut yourself some slack, and take each day at a time. Small goals, day by day, and though it doesn't make repeating this **** any easier to swallow, it becomes more manageable, do-able, and that's what you need, to stay afloat, and to make it through the year. If there's others who are repeating also, contact them, and support one another. You guys will know what its like, band together so that you all get through next time around. You'll need them especially during those few months of being back, when you're pissed and wanna vent to someone who understands what you're feeling, not those newbies who' are coming in straight from the year below, annoyingly bushy-tailed. If you've got a personal tutor/mentor that's actually useful/helpful, reach out to them, and stay in touch. They may offer you resources/point you in the right direction, and every support counts. I'd also recommend seeing your GP/counsellor if you're really struggling = the last thing you want is to leave it till its too late, eg for things like mitigating circumstances if worst comes to worst.

I've rambled on, but the point is -
1. It's ****ing hard, and though its awful to gro through in many ways, it CAN be done, but there are few steps you need to take first.

2. Enjoy your damn summer. Take a break, cause you bloody well deserve it.

3. Reach out to those who too are repeating. Possibly get a house together, if not, whatsapp, stay in touch, and support one another, especially when it comes to forming OSCE groups for practice.
It'll be hard to get 'going' again when you start in September, and for the next few months. I was numb till Feb, ad then I began to work. That's how bitter I was. It's normal, and all you need to remember is one day at a time. Slow, steady pace.

4. Get exam feedback. This is a MUST.

5. Critique yourself; was there anything you could have done better/more of/

6. Written - Question banks. OSCE- practice. Past stations or that giant OSCE markscheme book. Go to as many OSCE stations the med school/placement/societies set up as you can.

You can do it, lolag. It seems nearly impossible now, but trust me, as someone who attended their graudation ceremony this week, after eight years of struggling, failure, disappointment and bitterness, you can do it, and you will.

Good luck.
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junkchain


Such amazing advice given above!

I have something called 'PACES' in my fifth year , and i'm terrified about it. It's six stations and you have to discuss management and next steps for O&G, Psyc, and Peads. I'm just terrified that it's a lot down to luck - a bad examiner, a bad patient, and no matter how hard i work, how crazy i study, how much practise i do, a big part of it is down to luck.
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