Monday, September 11, 2006

No longer testy

I finally awake from my social hibernation.

I had my first exam of med school on Friday, which completely monopolized my time for the week beforehand.  Really it should have occupied my time for the four weeks beforehand, but I’m a crammer.  I always have been, and this is the first time that I’ve really needed to change my ways.  I think I did alright on the exam, but that week before was a rather unpleasant experience.  In order to avoid that experience I need to implement the steady discipline study regime that they’ve been advocating for the last ten years.  

Although some law school students may disagree, med school is dang hard.  This fact hadn’t really hit me until this test.  Each individual lecture seems reasonable enough, and I felt like I was taking in the information.  But then I started to review what we’d been learning.  The major difference from undergrad and med school is that they don’t give you much time to digest the material they present.  They just keep pouring out tons of information, day after day, reviewing very little and expecting you to not only understand, but memorize everything they say.  The material isn’t necessarily much harder than college, but you really have to have it mastered.  Knowing everything about everything they’d mentioned in class, plus things mentioned in the course packet, and familiar with hundreds of pages of textbooks, along with several recommended computer programs takes A LONG TIME.  

I started studying hardcore over the Labor day weekend.  I soon realized that I was nowhere near knowing all that I needed to know.  At this point I cut back to four hours of sleep per night to fit in more studying.  By Wednesday I cut back to three and Thursday I cut back to two.  I realize that getting two hours of sleep before a major exam is a death sentence for some people, but it doesn’t affect me too much.  Hurray for slow metabolisms!  Even after all this I wasn’t really prepared.  Luckily I have amazing multiple choice skills, so think I made it through that portion alright.  But the practical exam was another matter.  The hardest thing about this exam for me was that I couldn’t learn everything I needed to from my text books.  I can handle having to know everything about the brachial plexus (where all the nerves of the arm originate.)  It’s very hard for me to identify one of the dozen branches hidden in the arm of a cadaver.  This practical experience is almost impossible to cram and definitely where I need to focus for the next exam.

But the test is over.  I survived.  I probably even passed.  It was kind of a mind-boggling thing for me to think that I could study more for this exam than any other I’ve ever taken (I studied more for the MCAT, but not by that much) and am still not positive that I passed.  Be thankful that your doctor made it through all of this.

Song of the moment: “Chelsea” by Stefy.

3 comments:

Amy-Alisa said...

I guess that pretty much answers my "Is medical school really that much studying" question, eh?

Emily said...

I am VERY uncomfortable that medical school includes multiple choice tests!!!

I want my doctors to know everything cold, not to guess.

Catherine Elizabeth said...

Emily - that struck me as odd too. But Christopher's just at the beginning of the road. I can't imagine learning all of the things I'd expect a Dr. to know, so maybe a little multiple choice at the beginning isn't so bad.

Christopher - Just want you to know that as I supported Amy's living in a funeral home by watching Six Feet Under on DVD, I'm now supporting you by watching Grey's Anatomy on DVD. Don't you feel all warm and fuzzy?