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Thread: Failed out of AUC, passed Step 1

  1. #1
    cee
    cee is offline Member 514 points
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    Failed out of AUC, passed Step 1

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    I hardly ever come on to valuemd until recently, but I've been receiving a lot of feedback from a post on another forum about my experiences (along with many private messages), so I figured i'd share it on here, considering there are many people that were/are in my position. My intent is to reach out to those who have been through what I went through and maybe give hope, because I wish someone reached out to me. I'm not going to be specific, out of respect of my current school and to try to keep anonymity, but i'm sure people can figure out where/when I ended up

    In a nutshell, I got booted out of AUC a couple years back. I failed a collection of 1st and 2nd semester classes, and ended up at a school without government loans and 50 states. I honestly worked harder than I ever did my entire life those semesters, but I wasn't studying the way i needed to. I figured out what worked for me, and what didn't and made the necessary adjustments at my new school [i have a lot of thoughts on this, but if you'd like to know more, please message me]. I did notice that tests were a bit more straightforward at my new school, but still required you to know your stuff.. I'll leave it at that. We lost private loans at that school, but 4th semester got rough and I actually failed a couple classes there too. I had to transfer again due to their loan situation, ended up at another school, finished 4th semester, and came back to the US for their 5th semester (which was in the US). came back home, studied for Step, passed (first try), now i'm waiting for clinical assignment.

    a few things i'd like to say about AUC: if i had to do it all over again, i would have still chosen AUC. life outside of the "Big 4" is rough, worrying about loans, not being to practice in half of America, etc, so on and so forth. Looking back, i chose AUC for the right reasons. that being said, it was rough.. i felt like the questions on blocks were very tricky, and they do a good job of weeding out bad test-takers. but you cannot argue with the results-- everyone i knew who finished basic sciences at AUC passed Step on the first try (which is not the case at the other schools outside of the Big 4, from what i have personally seen).

    I know a lot of people tend to come on here, before starting, a little after, and when they fail out.. What isn't mentioned is how many people ended up failing along the way.. going home after that semester was probably one of the darkest periods in my life. But I honestly believe that going through what i did was to help me appreciate this opportunity that was given to me and to help those who are currently in the position i was in.. Don't give up, it's not over until YOU decide it is over.
    Last edited by cee; 03-09-2011 at 10:00 AM.
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    marsh182 is offline Newbie 510 points
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    abcdefghijk

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    OlReagan's Avatar
    OlReagan is offline Member 527 points
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    so what did you do differently in regards to studying?

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    ldanny is offline Junior Member 510 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlReagan View Post
    so what did you do differently in regards to studying?
    ditto.....

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    cee
    cee is offline Member 514 points
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    For basic sciences: it sounds fairly simple, but throughout high school and college, i never really practiced repetition of material until it finally stuck in my head long-term. I guess because the amount of material in high school and college was so small, i never really learned how to "repeat and refresh" the material over and over and over again.. In college, if i had a test on Thursday, I would read the textbook monday and tuesday, review the notes i took on wednesday, then do well on the test on thursday. So in a sense, I never learned how to study for large volumes of material, which is what medical school is all about (no matter what school you attend).

    For Step 1: biggest piece of advice to everyone is to integrate Step studying into your block exams. It is easier said than done, because you will find that you need to memorize the powerpoint slides that your professors give out and the tests are based on the powerpoints, but just studying powerpoints (for me at least) does not give you the big picture and does not give you a stable foundation for understanding the big picture. from the time i was 5 to the time i was 25 finishing my postbacc, i always learned from Textbooks, so learning by memorizing powerpoints with minimal text was very difficult for me-- and speaking to many of the people who had trouble along with me, it was our common problem.

    If i had to do it all over again, I would have purchased First Aid from Day 1, and as you cover the material in basic sciences, find where things are discussed in First Aid and study those relevant pages for your block exams. the point is to get yourself familiar with that book really early, because that is what you will be studying for Step 1. also, it helps you see the big picture.. when i are in 1st and 2nd semester, for instance, i was always asked myself, "what is the purpose of me studying this biochem, anatomy, etc".. you will come to find out that those subjects are actually integrated and related to subjects you will cover later in your basic sciences (mostly path, pharm, physio). another thing i would recommend, READ REVIEW BOOKS!! i think my success on Step 1 despite my poor basic sciences career was mostly due to the fact that i was able to finally study the way that was best for me.. which was READING books and not memorizing powerpoints. when you understand concepts, you tend to remember them better. some books that i recommend are:

    Goljan rapid review for path (must have)
    BRS by costanzo for Physio (must have)
    micro made ridiculously simple for micro (kind of cartoony, i didnt use it, i used kaplan, but i know many people who love it)
    High Yield Neuro (although there isnt really 1 great book for neuro)
    BRS by barbara fadem for behavioral sciences

    and for all the others, I'd use the Kaplan step 1 review books series-- especially for biochem (people say lippincotts, but i think its wayy too dense).. i used Kaplan for pharm and it was great. honestly, these books are just suggestions, but find books that you love because they all say the same things. another thing, aside from First Aid, save yourself the money and GET OLD VERSIONS.. things really don't change from year to year with the material. don't go too old, but get something maybe within 4-8 years recent.

    take your powerpoints, find the key terms discussed, find them in your review books and highlight where they are discussed.. read all about them, and take notes into first aid.. and study your first aid for your blocks-- it seems like a lot of work, but you will definitely get the big picture and full understanding of concepts.. and once you got the concepts, when it comes time for step, there will be no relearning/learning for the first time of material! just review your completed First Aid and your memory will be refreshed rather quickly. i'd say a good 3-4 months of my STep studying was relearning/learning for the first time material that i never learned because i was so consumed with memorizing powerpoints to just pass blocks. hope that helps.
    Last edited by cee; 03-10-2011 at 08:44 AM.
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    OlReagan's Avatar
    OlReagan is offline Member 527 points
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    I really appreciate the detailed reply, thank you.

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    st3ady is offline Member 511 points
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    just wanted to say congrats cee, and good job on never giving up! great tips too btw

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    BiologyBY is offline Elite Member 672 points
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    repetition is the key for basic sciences
    Board certified Anesthesiology
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    NelumG is offline Junior Member 510 points
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    Thank you for your very inspirational post. You are true example of grit and determination. You learnt from your mistakes and worked out your way out. I truly like the way that you do not bash AUC but objectively figured out what went wrong and put it right. I am sure you will make a fine doctor

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    JCB33 is offline Junior Member 516 points
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    Thanks for the detailed reply with regard to study habits. I am starting in May, and have been anxious about the idea of developing a study plan from day 1. I intend to follow your advice re: integrating Step 1 study into lecture review.

    Best of luck, and congrats on making it!

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