Archive for December 2008

Holiday Treats

December 21, 2008

Here’s something for the students coming in January – some pictures from around campus!

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Vacation

December 21, 2008

Having survived the Fortnight of Hell (but not quite done – final grades are sent sometime next week), I have been taking advantage of the lovely warm weather and relaxing until my flight leaves for New York. Ah, glorious sunshine!

My fingers are still crossed for Neuroscience, the subject that I sacrificed on Mini III to ensure success in Physiology, but unless the MPS is high and I completely failed the Neuro shelf, I should be moving on to my second year of medical school in January. I’m afraid to be too confident because I felt awful about the shelf but I’m just going to hope that everything works out…

Fortnight of Hell – Addendum B – How Not to Prepare

December 15, 2008

Available from the NBME website is a. pdf of sample questions for each of the subject tests they offer as well as a breakdown of topics covered on the test. Having been soundly rocked by the neuroscience shelf, I can tell you that those questions are NOT indicative of the level of difficulty of the exam. In fact, the sample questions will trick you into thinking that you are better prepared than you actually are. After studying for most of the weekend, I tried the 20 neuroscience questions as well as the clinical neurology questions and  handled them pretty well. ‘Okay,’ I thought to myself. ‘This shouldn’t be so bad.’ Oh, how wrong I was…

I’d also used the questions to gauge my performance prior to the other shelves and they didn’t seem so misleading for biochem or histology. One of my pals mentioned that they’d been ridiculously easy compared to the anatomy shelf, which kind of kicked our butts on Friday, but I didn’t notice how off the questions were until today. If you’d like an idea of how questions are worded or of how long question stems will be, the samples give you a pretty good idea. However, assume that the sample questions are representative of the easiest ones that will be included. Don’t be fooled by your facility with them. Stick with BRS.

At least I’m nearly done – there’s the physiology shelf tomorrow morning, widely acknowledged to be the most difficult of the bunch (especially since some of the concepts covered on it are not topics that have been covered in our physiology course) and then, Mini III on Thursday afternoon. The neuro shelf left me feeling like I’d been hit in the head and I’m really starting to get to the point the upperclassmen warned me about: the point at which the fatigue of all this examination has one wanting to bubble in all ‘C’s and be done, just to get it over with. The physio shelf is worth 15% of the total physio grade, whereas the physio portion of Mini III is worth 35%, so I’m going to spend the next couple of days essentially preparing to annihilate Mini III and hope that that overcomes any poor shelf showing.

It’s the final stretch – wish me luck!

Fortnight of Hell – Addendum A – Shelf Exams

December 4, 2008

I keep mentioning shelves and I’m sure you know I don’t mean 棚*…

The NBME Basic Science Subject Tests for Medical Students (commonly referred to as “shelf” exams) are standardized tests, much like the SAT IIs one might have taken in high school. According to their website:

NBME subject tests are achievement tests in a broad sense, requiring medical students to solve scientific and clinical problems. Although students’ performance on the tests will reflect the learning specific to their course and clerkship experiences, their test scores will also reflect educational development resulting from the overall medical school experience. These tests are constructed to be appropriate for a broad range of curricular approaches and have at least four distinct advantages over locally constructed examinations in the assessment of student achievement.

  • The tests provide national norms and relevant descriptive information.
  • Considerable care is taken in preparing these materials, with items selected only after extensive review and pretesting.
  • These tests concentrate heavily on application and integration of knowledge rather than recall of isolated facts.
  • They attain better accuracy of measurement.

NBME subject tests are intended to complement other sources of information about the educational progress of medical students. The test results should be interpreted in light of other available information. Likewise, curriculum evaluation cannot be based on test results alone. The quality of teaching can and should be evaluated by frequent peer observation and student feedback, not inferred solely from the level of test scores. Medical school faculty and administration should not view the results of NBME subject tests as the beginning and end of evaluation.

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Fortnight of Hell

December 3, 2008

And so it begins…

Thursday, December 4th – Neuroscience Lab Practical

Friday, December 5th – Histology Lab Practical (AM)

………………………………..Anatomy Lab Practical (PM)

Tuesday, December 9th – Biochemistry Shelf

Wednesday, December 10th – Histology Shelf

Friday, December 12th – Anatomy Shelf

Monday, December 15th – Neuroscience Shelf

Tuesday, December 16th – Physiology Shelf

Thursday, December 18th – Mini III

It’s going to be a tough two weeks. Pray for me, guys. I don’t know how I’ll make it through…