Failed 1st year medicine

(255 Posts)
chickengoujon Sat 10-Sep-11 18:04:07

I am so upset and just looking for a bit of support really. My dd worked desperately hard to get into uni to do medicine. She volunteered at a local old people's home, worked at the gps, worked at the hospital, etc. She got fantastic A levels: A*, A, A, B in general studies. She is a lovely girl, really home loving and plesant.

When she went off to uni she was sad and then started to really live it up, not working very hard. She failed an exam after christmas but apparently that 'didn't matter'. She then failed 5 exams in the summer and spent all summer revising for her resits, only to fail again. After the uni asked her to leave last week she told me that she hadn't been eating properly for about 6 months. She is 5ft 8 and 7st 10. She is like a stick insect and I have been very concerned about her extreme thinness, but she reassured me that she was fine. She said how she had difficulty concentrating when revising and couldn't remember things - does anorexia do this? We didn't submit mitigations before her exams because I wasn't aware that she wasn't eating and she thought she was fine. Could we appeal? Is it too late? The uni seem totally disinterested and couldn't care less.

I feel so upset. Getting her in was so difficult and now it seems she has lost everything. She is totally devastated. Thanks for reading.

TootsFroots Thu 19-Sep-13 09:39:56

That's a good post AlreadyTaken. I totaly agree that finding out about medical school admissions has to be a multi pronged approach.
It depends on the applicants skill sets too. If you are a 14 A* GCSE / 4 A* at A'level student with a stunning UKCAT score you probably don't need to analyse everything quite so much.
The main point I was trying to get across is that everything should be double checked as there is incorrect advice around.

I took a look at the student room wiki for medicine a level requirements for 2014 and it looked very comprehensive. It is certainly a great place to start.

alreadytaken Thu 19-Sep-13 11:52:25

totally agree with checking as we had different advice from different staff of one medical school. The great thing about the student room is that advice often comes from other current applicants and at least some will have been at the open days and therefore had the most up-to-date picture from the admission tutors. A Cambridge admission tutor was answering questions on TSR for a short time, other universities could usefully copy that.

Even the applicants with good academics can get 4 rejections, there are some each year. The students I know who have researched the schools most are also the ones I suspect will make the best doctors. They are determined, prepared to work hard, aren't arrogant and like to make their decisions on the best evidence they can get.

Jenmumof3 Thu 19-Sep-13 17:45:27

So sorry to hear about your dd. My ds just finished his first year of medicine. Left for uni happy, strong, confident. Returned seriously depressed. There was no support form him whatsoever. The uni's 'mentoring' scheme consisted of one 20 min meeting a year to discuss all social, emotional and academic problems ... tutors and gp similarly overworked and useless. Spent summer trying to get him in somewhere else and despite medical notes saying he needed to be nearer home they all said they didn't take anyone who'd already been enrolled in another school. Medicine seems to be a law unto itself and lack all compassion. I'm really scared about my son going back .... Hope your dd feeling better, her uni sound so rubbish - maybe threaten them with breach of duty of care ... any lawyers who can advise ....

Candlefire Thu 19-Sep-13 17:51:47

Sorry to hear that jenmum. Do you know any specifics of why he's depressed?

TootsFroots Thu 19-Sep-13 20:47:52

Just a reminder that this thread is a bit of a ZOMBIE thread but one that has turned into a general chat about medicine and Unis.

mindgone Fri 20-Sep-13 00:51:37

Alreadytaken and Tootsfroots, thank you so much for your considered advice, it is so much appreciated! I could never see DS as a surgeon! He's thinking more of general practice, or maybe psychiatry. Will suggest TSR to start, then specifics on uni websites. Thanks so much again, so useful and insightful from someone who's been there. thanks

iceshaow Wed 08-Oct-14 20:50:40

My son just failed his resit for his first year in a top medical school and lost confidence and motivation whistle he got 4 A*s and 2As at his A level.The uni give us 3 ways to do next: withdraw from the uni transfer to another university to apply the other course; take a year off and wait for another year's bio-science course; wait for the GP's result. We will appeal but We don't know if it's useful and what kind of help I can get from where? could anyone help me?

Decorhate Thu 09-Oct-14 07:47:08

I'm not an expert but I think it would be very hard to find another university that would accept him to study medicine. Is staying at his current uni on a different course an option? What does your son want to do? Does he still want to be a doctor? Do you know why he failed his exams? Hard to advise without knowing the background.

iceshaow Fri 10-Oct-14 09:14:22

Thank you very much for your reply. My son's uni said that all the other courses are full, he can't be transferred to and have to wait to see if the uni got a place for him for next year then start to learn bio-science from the first year. but his name has been moved from his medicine school and not allowed to attend the lectures.
He just saw a doctor and the doctor thinks he is depressed, will the doctor's result help him to apple?

Decorhate Fri 10-Oct-14 18:40:51

If he is unwell then perhaps it would be best for him to take a year out until he is better & is better placed to make a decision? Of course you would want to ensure that he is occupied while doing that, eg do some paid or voluntary work.
But I think you do need to get to the bottom of what happened. Did his social life take precedence, did he find the work overwhelming, did he feel homesick and so on.

iceshaow Fri 10-Oct-14 19:55:28

Thank you again. I think he failed the exam because he didn't realize how hard he should study in the top uni in the first year as he didn't put all his effort on when he did his A level. Then, when he found he was behind the others he didn't know what to do but to escape or hid himself and felt shamed to face people who tried to help him.

Decorhate Sun 12-Oct-14 10:17:02

But what does he want to do now? I can't imagine any unis have spaces left for this year & the courses will have already started. This may sound harsh but aside from medical problems, IME students generally fail because they haven't done the work. I know medicine has a higher workload than many other courses but he would have known that. I can't see that he has any other option at this late stage other than taking a year out.

alreadytaken Mon 13-Oct-14 15:32:24

he needs to talk to the student union at his old university about appeals but unfortunately I wouldn't hold out any hope for a place at a uk medical school, unless it was one of the private ones. Obviously they did try to help him and if he had sought help for depression/ dropped out before exams maybe he'd have had a chance. No idea about foreign medical schools.

Really you need to get him to think about alternative careers. Try to get him to see it as an opportunity to find a better career with most money and less anti-social hours. Don't let him feel he has to do bio-science, rethink what he wants to do then apply for next year.

Mumof3teens Mon 13-Oct-14 22:58:52

Can he resist the year? DS1 and DS2 both had fellow students who failed resist and were allowed to resist the year (medicine and dentistry).

Ehhn Mon 13-Oct-14 23:07:17

There are loads of options for the future - bio medicine, research, radiography, going to Australia to study where it is only possible to do postgrad medicine, they don't offer undergrad. OR Convert from another degree. My friend did natural sciences, 2 years in business then decided to become a doctor. She has qualified age 29.

There are many, many options - but first she needs to get well.

iceshaow Tue 14-Oct-14 20:09:13

Thank you very much for all your apply. We have got our son back and he really needs to take a year off as the doctor said he got the depression. The uni said they would like to help him to apply another medicine school or re-interview him in next Auguster to see if he is able to learn nature science in the same uni. However both of the opportunities are not guaranteed. My son insists to stay and change the course to study nature science from the first year, I just couldn't pursuit him to go to the other ways. so,so frustrated.

Decorhate Wed 15-Oct-14 17:10:43

I think he has decided on the most realistic option. As several people have already said it is virtually impossible to get accepted by another medical school if you have failed in one. Why are you frustrated? There are lots of other careers apart from medicine. Perhaps he realised it wasn't for him or he wasn't the one who wanted him to do it in the first place?

indigo1234 Sat 22-Nov-14 22:28:00

My DD had a conditional offer to read medicine at Oxford. She is very gifted academically. However after a work experience; she realised that hospital medicine is not for her and she will never be brilliant in that profession. Her passion and strength were always Maths and Physics and she blamed us for not giving her right guidance .She wanted to withdraw from her offer of Oxford and wanted to do Physics or Engineering degree. We were blinded by the prestige of an Oxford degree and did not agree to it (which makes us bad parents!)
The argument continued throughout her A level exams and she missed her A* required for Oxford and thus missing her offer. She felt bad that we were disappointed, but took it as an opportunity to pursue her real passion. She took a gap year and she got an unconditional offer to study Engineering at a top university (not Oxbridge).

I wish I had read this thread before. Now I feel that my daughter was extremely lucky to have dodged the bullet by not joining a course she would not have enjoyed or excelled. Medicine is not just about academics or intelligence or grades. One should choose it only if they have real passion and dedication for it.

skylark2 Mon 24-Nov-14 20:25:10

"One should choose it only if they have real passion and dedication for it."


Also I think people forget just how many medical careers there are which aren't "doctor". DH works in medical research. He's a physicist. Your DD may find that she can combine her engineering interests with her earlier interest in medicine, if she wants to.

Purplerain123 Fri 16-Jan-15 05:10:40

Just seen this post. My son failed 2nd year med school and the appeal submitted was on grounds of a numerical recount which was apparently carried out and my son was informed that the marks had been counted up correctly the first time round. I then made a request for information under the freedom of information act asking for information as to how many non EU overseas students have been asked to withdraw in the last 5 years and to no surprise the number was zero which is an iducation that the universities prefer to keep the students who pay a substantial amount if money over home students who pay a lot less ( my son was paying around £3,500 per annum). My son asked for the exam script to be disclosed as he could not believe that he had failed by 4% which to him is a large margin. This was refused and he has asked the Dean of the School via email to help him with this it he has failed to respond and chosen to ignore the email and further chaser email. Not a very professional approach. I was thinking of taking this matter to my local MP and was wondering if this would be of any use as nothing else has moved the university so far. Can anyone please offer me some advice as to any further steps that can be taken? My son has no mitigating circumstances.

alreadytaken Fri 16-Jan-15 09:17:38

purplerain123 I agree that failing to return the script is poor behaviour but there is a point at which it is better to accept a decision and move on. If he has failed his second year will they let him resit a year? Does he want to do that or does he think he would also struggle with later years? Has he been keeping up with the workload?

iceshaow no-one should be pushed into continuing with medicine if they don't want to do it, there are many careers with a better work life balance, more money and without the government interference. As a parent you support your child, not try to impose your own desires on them. You will not help your son's depression by pushing him into something he doesn't want to do.

I then made a request for information under the freedom of information act asking for information as to how many non EU overseas students have been asked to withdraw in the last 5 years and to no surprise the number was zero which is an iducation that the universities prefer to keep the students who pay a substantial amount if money over home students who pay a lot less ( my son was paying around £3,500 per annum).

Eh? confused

That doesn't follow. I get that you're bothered, but you sound very over-involved. He's an adult. Shouldn't he be doing this, if anyone?

UptheChimney Fri 16-Jan-15 12:13:00

Can anyone please offer me some advice as to any further steps that can be taken? My son has no mitigating circumstances

Your son needs to take steps, but frankly, if he's appealed the decision & his appeal was not upheld, there are few other steps to take. He should consult his Student Union who will have the experience to advise hm.

You come across here as over-involved, and frankly, you sound vindictive. Maybe you need to accept that your son failed that exam.

I can't speak for the Department/Faculty where any individual student is studying, but the general practice on assessment is very thorough. Up to 4 separate expert academics will see a piece of student work. Exams are usually marked, second marked, sometimes looked at by a 3rd marker,checked by the Exams Officer, and then random scripts sent to the External Examiners. Exam scripts are anonymous.

At most universities, the only grounds on which a student (and not her/his mother) can appeal their result are procedural. You need to accept that academics probably know more about the subjects in which they are examining your son, than either him or you.

UptheChimney Fri 16-Jan-15 12:16:35

Oh, and BTW Purplerain the funding streams for Home/EU students, and OS students are separate. I think your FoI request was a vindictive waste of scarce resources (time, human labour) in already under-resourced & overstretched universities.

How does it affect your son's failure that other students haven't failed? Weird non-logic.

Viviennemary Fri 16-Jan-15 12:18:47

Some unis are much harsher than others and I agree it seems to be that they have an oversuscription of students in the first year. It is worth appealing. But your DD should think very carefully whether she wants to continue with medicine. Hope things work out. Was it Birmingham?

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