Being ‘At-Risk’ and What Happens If You Fail Your Medical Board Exam
If you’ve been identified as an “at-risk” student, it’s important to recognize that you are at a higher probability for failure. This could be due to several reasons, from your class rank to your Level 1 or Step 1 score. But it does not mean you have failed. Instead, it means you have an opportunity to take appropriate steps to address any issues.
However, should you be one of those who fail your medical board exam, know that this is not the end of your career. Although receiving news of failing your medical board exam can be discouraging, it’s important to remember your qualifications and trust that you have what it takes to become a great doctor. Take some time to process your emotions, and then start taking some actionable steps to pass next time.
Note: Several TrueLearn SmartBanks come with a First-Time Pass Guarantee. This means if you don’t pass, we will provide a free subscription equal in length to the subscription you purchased.
1. Meet with an advisor or mentor in your program.
They are there to support you, so learn from them and let them help you come up with a plan. They may be able to provide you with study recommendations or resources to help you succeed in your next attempt.
2. Schedule your next attempt as soon as possible.
This way, you have a specific date in mind and can tailor your study plan to accommodate the amount of time until your test. If you are a resident, speak with your program director about possibly taking some time off for dedicated studying. If you have already graduated, take the exam as soon as you can so the information is still fresh in your mind.
3. Analyze your performance.
Take the time to understand why you may have failed the exam. Assess your study habits, test-taking strategies, and overall preparation. Reflect on the areas where you struggled the most, and develop strategies to address those weaknesses.
4. Create a study plan.
Take a thorough look at the detailed score report of the exam and identify your areas of weakness. Figure out if those areas of weakness coincide with a lack of time previously spent on the material, and if they did, adjust your plan accordingly. Determine your priorities for studying and start working on your study schedule accordingly. Look up the exam blueprint and use it to decide how much time to spend studying.
5. Figure out what resources you will use this time.
It’s wise to incorporate various resources to comprehend the information from different perspectives. We suggest using a basic concept map or outline for challenging areas to lay out the information in one place and really “connect the dots” on higher level concepts. We also suggest an audiovisual program like Picmonic to help you quickly recall facts and study efficiently. Really focus on practice questions.
Utilize a question bank, such as TrueLearn, that provides practice questions in the identical format as the exam you are taking. Make sure to integrate a substantial number of practice questions as you review specific areas. While answering practice questions, read the rationale thoroughly as it serves as a valuable tool in reinforcing information into memory. Pay close attention to commonly missed questions and readjust your studies accordingly.
6. Take advantage of remedial programs.
Some medical boards or educational institutions offer remedial programs designed to help candidates who failed their medical board exam. These programs provide additional resources, tutoring, or structured learning opportunities to improve your knowledge and skills.
7. Remember to keep your head up!
Failing a board exam is not a reflection of your worth as a future doctor. This experience is going to make you stronger and more resilient! You’ve worked so hard to get where you are, and you have what it takes to succeed.
Failing a medical board exam is undoubtedly a setback, but it does not define your entire career. With the right mindset, support, and determination, you can overcome this challenge and achieve your goals. Embrace the opportunity for growth, develop a solid study plan, utilize available resources, and maintain resilience throughout the journey.