Officially survived Med 1

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted about my experiences at Ohio State in awhile. Time to get you all up to date . . .

The main reason I didn’t post much was that I went through a really rough spell where I failed four of five module tests. The first two tests I knew I wasn’t really ready for, but I was pretty stunned when I flunked the next two - I didn’t feel great about the material, but thought I knew it well enough to pass.

Needless to say - the four failures really threw my world into a tizzy. I went and scheduled meetings with various people on my own. At that point, I was really doubting my ability to do well. Although you are allowed to advance with 6 module failures as long as your overall percentage is over 70%, I had some tough questions to face. it was mentioned to me that perhaps I made a poor choice in choosing Independent Study and I should consider repeating. When you hit four or five module failures, they encourage you to think about repeating of your own volition rather than getting to the point that you HAVE to repeat because you failed more than 6 modules. And, with four modules yet to go, I admit to being terrified that I would fail more than two of them.

Fortunately, on the next set of tests, I not only passed, but actually did quite well, for the first time in months. This was a much needed boost to my self confidence. Plus, it was a relief to know that even if I failed the last module, I would still have passed enough modules to go on to Med 2.

In the midst of the decision of whether or not to repeat the year, my husband and I found out that we will be adding to our family in January. Needless to say, this threw a whole new wrinkle into the decision making process. Because of my due date, choosing to repeat in the IP was going to be difficult to make work. This entailed a whole new round of meetings with administration about what my options were.

Eventually, the decision was made that I was going to do my best to finish Med 1 and then STAY ON SCHEDULE for Med 2 as long as possible (up to the baby’s birth). At the moment, the plan is to take a two month leave absence and then a two month delayed entry into Med 3. Hopefully, I can make up those two months by not using all of my vacation time and some other options and end up still graduating with my class and being able to participate in the match. If, for some reason, I’m unable to return after a 2 month LOA, or there are complications, then I will take an additional year to complete the pre-clinical requirements and delay my entry into Med 3 by a year.

The biggest downfall I made was to let myself get behind this year. As some of you may remember, I chose the Independent Study Pathway. In the Independent Study Pathway, we study the modules on our own and schedule the tests when we are ready. We have recommended dates and then maximum dates to take the tests by. It is up to us to put in the time necessary to master the material. Unfortunately, I went to the max date on the very first exam and was unable to catch up.

In retrospect, I don’t think that choosing the ISP pathway was a good choice for me. I really struggle with the discipline to make myself sit down and study several hours a day. Although ISP is a great program, I think I could have used a little bit more structure. Unfortunately, the two pathways are so different in the way that they cover the material, that the only way to switch to the Integrated Pathway is to repeat the entire first year in that Pathway. So - for better or worse, I’m stuck with it.

For now, things seemed to have worked out. I took (and passed!!) the last Med 1 test last Friday. Over the past week or so, I have been studying for the shelf exams. One of the ISP requirements is that you have to pass the shelf exams in Histology, Physiology, and Biochemistry. Those are next week. We are allowed three attempts to pass all of them, but obviously, I would prefer to pass them the first attempt. As soon as I finish the shelf exams, I will start on the first Med 2 module and attempt to get a few days ahead.

It’s going to be a busy year! Fortunately, I have felt pretty good and not been sick. I am president of one of the Interest Groups, and will have a lot to do there along with studies and getting things ready for our new addition. Hopefully, things will continue to go well both academically and medically.


Congratulations, Amy! You have a lot to be excited about. I salute you for posting your experiences so honestly - I know it has been a really tough year for you and I do think what you’ve learned in going through this is going to serve you well in the future - what a hard-earned lesson. Good for you.

And now a baby! I am excited and happy for all of you! Glad you are doing well and hope you will continue to have a great pregnancy.


Thanks, Mary.

The whole ordeal was pretty stressful. One of the most stressful things was deciding how honest I should be with my classmates about my struggles. Some of my friends felt that I was too open about my difficulties and that I shouldn’t have immediately scheduled appointments with deans and etc. Although I understood their concern, when I started sharing my struggles, I found out that I wasn’t the only one struggling. There seems to be such a stigma (for lack of a better word) in medical school, that people are afraid to admit to their classmates that they are really having a rough time. I think that is so isolating. Even though I wasn’t happy about the situation, it was such a relief to share my problems with classmates who were also struggling. I also think it was better to make appointments with the administration and be upfront about what was going on than to wait to get called on the carpet.

I knew that medical school would be tough, but I never imagined that I would have such a tough time just PASSING. Hopefully, I have finally figured things out and this next year will go a little easier (at least academically). There will be a whole new set of challenges this coming year.