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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.

JeanneDeMontbaston Sun 01-Mar-15 17:47:51

I know, pirate, that's why I was talking to broken, not you. smile

PiratePanda Sun 01-Mar-15 17:44:17

PS report it as a zombie thread that refuses to go quietly if you like. Occasionally MNHQ put a big red zombie alert on the bottom.

PiratePanda Sun 01-Mar-15 17:42:33

The last half of the thread is on a different student and dating 2015 though. That's what I was responding to. Maybe you lot should RTT grin

JeanneDeMontbaston Sun 01-Mar-15 15:50:51

I dunno! It seems to be one that keeps getting dragged up - really odd.

brokenhearted55a Sun 01-Mar-15 15:48:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JeanneDeMontbaston Sun 01-Mar-15 15:10:21

Oh, for goodness' sake. This is the thread that never dies, isn't it?

Sorry to sound harsh, but broken, why on earth do you think it's helpful to comment on a four year old OP? I know it's been bumped more recently, but come on.

PiratePanda Sun 01-Mar-15 14:24:06

The 15/10/15 failure rate could be first attempts; the 4% including resits.

My DH teaches medics. There are plenty of module fails every year - all anonymously marked. Nearly all of them come up to scratch on their resits because they have to pass, especially their qualifying examinations, in order to continue their medical training.

Why anyone would want to be seen by a doctor who hadn't passed all their exams is beyond me.

Booboostoo Sun 01-Mar-15 14:10:34

Read the thread.

Also harsh but true.

brokenhearted55a Sun 01-Mar-15 13:21:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

iceshaow Tue 17-Feb-15 23:23:00

my son failed his first year last year at Cambridge and he is taking a year off. He is not allowed to repeat it again.

UptheChimney Wed 28-Jan-15 12:47:57

And as I was reminded by an encounter with a student I was trying to help last week a tutor can try to help, and the advice be rejected, ignored, or forgotten ...

enochroot Tue 27-Jan-15 20:21:34

In a 5 or 6 year course in anything you can go through a variety of emotional states either because of the work or because of other stuff. Whether you come out the other end well-balanced and successful depends on so many things - the randomness of tutors, distance from home, love life, money, accommodation, propensity to bottle up or share problems, etc etc.

However careful the selection process, no one can predict the outcome when there are so many variables.

Welfare is patchy in any organisation. In fact I think DD has better support available at med school than she ever had at school.

Molio Tue 27-Jan-15 19:11:08

Well it depends doesn't it FlowerFairy:

a) the thesis suggests that those from a less well off background are more likely to fail due to external factors rather than intrinsic suitability for the course and job, so on that basis no, failure isn't measuring the right thing so isn't good.

b) a pass mark can be set at any point in the entire range for a number of purposes so one would have to know the reason behind a mark being set in a particular place before one could decide whether it was good, or bad.

Interesting enoch. I think I recognise you smile Agree about the volume/ intensity. I don't think it would suit any of my DC other than this DS, that life. He too has always wanted to be a doctor since he was a dot - no idea why, we're not medics except for back in Edwardian times - and had no back up plan either and never entered a fifth choice because nothing else was ever going to do. Like your DD he took on a college welfare role and then a university wide one which he enjoyed. Both the college and university have a well established network of identifying problems at an early stage and intervening wherever possible and I'm just glad that he's at a place like that, which takes it seriously, not at an institution which washes its hands. I can't quite get my head round the nexus between good doctoring and lack of welfare on that one, it's just not good enough.

enochroot Tue 27-Jan-15 18:10:02

I have a DD in year 5 of 6 at a London med school.

The quest for admittance starts surprisingly early and it seems to be getting earlier. A series of things have to be ticked off which include work experience, extra-curricular activities and top grades across the board.
As each stage was passed in secondary school I was increasingly concerned that DD who had been intent on medicine since before she could possibly understand what was involved, had no plan B. It was clear she would be devastated if she didn't get in and clear too that she could be committing to a course of study she might not be capable of completing.

It has, thankfully, turned out well so far. She failed a PBL exam at the end of Y1 - the first exam she had ever failed. She resat and passed in the summer and it was maybe a wake-up call.
For me it was the first time I was aware that resits were possible and was surprised at the numbers doing two or three resits.

Year two was rocky emotionally. Distance from home, an unfortunate choice of flatmate.....She became depressed. Her tutor that year was unhelpful.

Y3 was better and she had a tutor who gave her support that year. Since then she has recovered her spark and has taken on a SU welfare role. What is clear from talking to her is that a supportive tutor is the luck of the draw but the chance of success and emotional security is increased as time goes on because a cohort becomes more and more closely bonded. She's also much, much happier now with flatmates who are not all studying medicine.

There are those who are unsuited to the profession but who pass their exams and qualify unless there is clear proof that they are unfit to practise. Wastage of med students isn't only about exam failure.

Then there are the overseas students so far from home, some feeling guilty about straying from their cultural norms. Many are working long hours to afford to stay on and are not eating properly. That is the case for many, many home students too particularly in yr 5 & 6 on NHS bursaries.

Over the past 5 years I have been utterly amazed at the intensity with which she studies. They all do. It is relentless but they get a hell of a buzz from it too.

FlowerFairy2014 Tue 27-Jan-15 17:42:55

That thesis seems to suggest that those from a more privileged background are less likely to fail. Also is it wrong if people fail? We only want the good ones becoming doctors. If it were easy then we might get people who aren't very good becoming doctors.

Molio Tue 27-Jan-15 16:46:57

Agree about devil and detail titchy and also about a need on occasion for salt. But it would be interesting to hear what numbers peteneras think continue at KCL to complete the course, because the later in the course the failure the worse it must be. She appears to be able to analyse the data or scripts and it was her figures that prompted my comment. Rumour has it that KCL isn't alone in large numbers of fails. peteneras posted those figures before (can't remember which thread), I think (but not sure) to show how tough London med schools are and how extraordinarily good those who don't fail must be. So do most of those failing get asked to leave or do most in fact stay and complete? If the latter, then the scores show very little or nothing. Re-sits aren't going to be fun, but they're not on the same scale as being kicked out with a blotchy CV.

titchy Tue 27-Jan-15 14:04:53

The devil is in the detail of course Molio. The Unistats data is year one continuers only - so those dropping out at the end of year 2 or more are not included. They also do not show whether someone remains on the same course, so maybe a lot of peteneras' students changed courses or repeated.

Or maybe all these anecdotal figures bandied about should be taken with a pinch of salt?

I remain to be convinced that there is a massive issue with medicine as opposed to any other course. The published stats don't support that premise. I think it's more likely that med students and their parents are far more emotionally invested in their courses than other students, understandably so, and experience massive levels of angst if things go pear shape and are much more vocal about it.

Molio Tue 27-Jan-15 13:44:27

Booboo I'm managing not only to read your posts but understand them too shock. I nevertheless think that if some universities can come up with decent pastoral care then others should too.

I also think the point about high failure rates is worth putting out there then those applying can look at the different statistics themselves.

Molio Tue 27-Jan-15 13:33:32

titchy just wondering how you synthesize peteneras's figures of the 15%/10%/15% failure rate in the first three years at KCL and the Unistat figure of 4%?

Onceuponatimetherewas Tue 27-Jan-15 12:48:17

It may be worth appealing if the reason she didn't disclose the anorexia in mitigation was because she didn't realise she had it (no doubt that can be part of the condition in itself?) But I would consider very carefully with her whether medicine is right for her. It is likely to become far harder work and more pressurised in later years and then as a trainee doctor. She and you could really come to regret her sticking with medicine, if things go wrong again in the future. Why not look for something less high pressure?
I think that universities say no to someone applying for medicine who has dropped out from or failed a previous medical course. But that may not be all universities.

Needmoresleep Tue 27-Jan-15 12:39:50

I know nothing so a question instead. Doesn't Kings have a reputation for taking a number from poorly performing schools/non traditional backgrounds accepting slighly lower than normal school qualifications. In contrast Oxford/Cambridge/Imperial and one or two others seem to attract the more academic students interested in more research orientated careers. If so a higher fail rate at the first could be predicted.

My DD will be aplying to medical school next year. In what could be considered an innovative approach to work experience she seems to be making an extraordinary number of trips to A&E. (I'm not serious, though her latest accident was so bizarre I was tempted to take her to St Georges in the hope she could appear on 24 Hours in A&E.) Last time trauma was very quiet and the junior doctor talked a bit about his medical school experience, the main message being that getting into medical school was only the start. This was tough enough but it would continue to get harder and harder. She should only consider it if she was prepared for 5 years hard slog and tough exams at the end of each year.

Interesting in that the getting into medical school already seems like a hurdle race: GCSE grades, work experience, volunteering, AS level grades, UKCAT preparation, then UCAS and interviews. Good to be reminded that getting there is only the start, not the finish.

Not long back someone posted about tutors and whether a tutor was reasonable to charge for marking additional homework the mother had demanded was set. It transpired that the daughter was an A level student prone to "laziness", and was being tutored in all her subjects because entry to medical school was "so competitive". My sense is that there is a bit of an arms race out there, with an industry building up to provide advice and help. I assume medical schools know what they are looking for (though equally have heard doctors despair at some of the students they have come across) but that one or two well prepped kids who perhaps should not be there, will slip through.

titchy Tue 27-Jan-15 12:29:54

KCL has 96% continuation rate according to Unistats......

Booboostoo Tue 27-Jan-15 12:27:57

By the way one learns very little from QA assessment.

Consider this insider's story: I just looked athe report for the medical school I was part of carried out the years I was there. Parts are correct, they identified the most innovative and popular course correctly. Parts are fiction. They identify an accessibility programme that was a horrific failure. This programme helped students from an underprivileged background, which happened to coincide with a specific ethnicity, do a foundation course and join the medical school via this in conventional route. 12 students entered the first year the programme rum, one remained by year three. I had this one student come to my office (open plan and shared with7 other people, so not exactly conducive to intimate, pastoral care discussions) on numerous occasions in his third year, always in tears because he felt too much pressure to do well. Because he was the last person left from the programme he felt that any failure on his part would reflect badly not only on widening access but also on his home town and his entire ethnicity. It is disgusting that this programme was hailed as a success.

Booboostoo Tue 27-Jan-15 12:15:39

molio you are really not managing to read my posts. Pastoral care is organised via the people who do the majority of the teaching, I.e. the clinical staff on the NHS. They are usually run off their feet looking after patients that they struggle to meet the basic requirements of teaching let alone 'luxuries' like pastoral care. You are seriously suggesting that you could look at the NHS and HE books and find hundreds of thousands of pounds sitting around waiting to be used for pastoral care?!

In any case pastoral care has little to do with students who fail their course. It actually takes quite a lot to fail a course, between resist, mitigating circumstances and appeals a student has to really be struggling to fail. Medical students also learn pretty quickly that they must support each other academically because the end goal is not the degree but professional competence. The weak student next to you should be helped to come up to standard because beating him in the ranks is not the aim; the aim is to have a competent medical team in practice, when people's lives are at stake. Medics do not practice in isolation to each other.

This discussion reminds me of a time I had to convince a student that the 100% pass requirement for a CPR exam was fair despite other courses having a 40% pass requirement. Getting 50, 70 or even 99% of the CPR procedure does not make you good enough to be a resus medic!

FlowerFairy2014 Tue 27-Jan-15 11:22:52

It's a difficult issue. When I sat law 50% failed the finals and that was to control numbers only to the number of lawyers we needed. Now most pass who get on the courses and at least half probably don't get jobs and don't therefore qualify. That now is a market which is more free and I think is better but it does mean people need to go into it with their eyes open and if they are not really that bright realise the risk they are taking that they probably will not get a job. Medicine has different entrance barriers and what looks like a fairly high failure rate although plenty of students do change minds. When mym daughter went to Bristol she got a reserve place at her preferred hall and was told to turn up anyway as every September apparently they got a good few students just deciding not to turn up or take a gap year or give university a miss (and indeed there was a room for her at the inn as it were as so many had not turned up at the last minute).

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