Failed once, twice it's not over yet

9/11/2014 12:11:00 AM
I've dreamt about this day too many times.

August 2007. After studying for 1 1/2 months for Step 3 with a hard-working study partner I hear the news that she scored 238. I receive my envelop by post in India. It has one word that shattered my courage for next few years.

May 2008. I am two months away from my engagement function. I receive another envelope from ECFMG about my second attempt at step 3. With my heart practically racing to a sinus hyper-rrhythmia, I open the envelope again. It has a scarily similar word written on it.

I come from one of top 10 medical colleges from India. Every year in my state 100,000 students sit for the entrance examination which has 2500 seats for medical school. Only first 500 get the top medical colleges. I was one of them. Still I failed step 3, not once. Twice. I never even touched any study materials related to step 3 or any other usmle exam for next 5-1/2 years. It had become goliathical battle for me.

In January 2014, I decided to start the preparation for step 3 again. I joined Kaplan class in India, bought the study materials, quit my job, told my wife that I am not going to work for a next 5 months. Every time I saw young medical students walking into the class, it was scary. why would a 31 year old with hopeless history in step 3 think of competing with 21 year olds? Byhearting all the immunodeficiency syndromes, learning MUSA rules once again, remembering staging and grading of Ca-Cx, recalling sequence of viral exanthems in children and their quarantine period, it sounded so futile. I sincerely don't know why I kept going.

I went through one of the post written by a user on UWorld. I copied down all the books she had used to crack step 3. I went through other blogs and cross-referenced this list and made a list for myself.

Both of these TWICE.
I purchased UWorld subscription for 2 months + Biostatistics review, + Self assessment form 1 and 2
Kaplan Q bank online
NBME for last few weeks.
Booked myself a practice session 1 week before the exam. (deliberately did not solve the practice material at home for the same reason)
UWorld CCS subscription.

I did UWorld almost twice. Kaplan notes twice, Kaplan Q bank twice.

Initial scores I got at UWorld were dismal, poor. 39 %.
Again I had a crushing attack of self-doubt, denial, despair.

I still don't know why I kept going. My scores kept going up and up. While doing any question bank strategy was simple.
Mark all the questions which you got accidentally right or definitely wrong. Go back on the topic the question is about. Read, Read and Read.
Move on to next challenging area/wrong answer.

It was a long, laborious, tough and very slow process. I was treating every small information like the most sacred thing on earth. I trusted all these resources, Question banks with my life. If UWorld posted one wrong question at that time, I would have probably killed them.

Exam minus - 15 days: I took my NBME.
Exam minus - 7 days: I took my Practice session at the exam center.

I took the exam in July 2014.
On July 30 I received a PDF from FSMB.

It said: PASS. 197.

I've spent 6 f***ing years of my life running away from this exam. If there is anyone out in the world, who is scared of step 3, ask me anything. But don't give up.
Call upon your God, if you are an atheist go to motivation class, if you are none of the above, do 50 push-ups, and 25 situps and 10 pull-ups, take a cold shower, wear clean clothes and visit But don't let anything or anybody make you believe that you can't.

Thanx UW, Thanx all the people who help others on this forum, You keep the spirit up.



9/11/2014 1:20:35 PM
very motivating! i have my test on sept 29th

9/14/2014 11:54:55 PM
Mine is on the 20th and 22nd, I am freaking out! Whaaaaa?

12/14/2016 2:24:32 PM
Did you match into a program in the US now?

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