If there’s one thing to be said about a Ross University education, it’s that it produces a special sort of doctor. People who come to Ross and make it through are not the sort of people who will take the road of least resistance. I once heard it said that people who come through Ross are the ones who will take the stairs rather than waiting for the elevator. We’re go-getters. We’re tenacious. We don’t let obstacles deter us. We scoff at naysayers, wherever they may be. Over 700 people graduated with me and as different as we all are, each of us shared one characteristic: we were all willing to do whatever it took to achieve our goal. If I were fighting an illness, I’d certainly want a doctor like that taking care of me.
Archive for the ‘2nd Semester’ category
Although I tend to accentuate the positive aspects of my med school experience, it’s not all sunshine and roses. One of the sobering, souring aspects of the Ross experience is the way the administration interacts with the student body. Sometimes, it can seem like they are acting without the students’ best interest in mind. Other times, it can seem like they are being downright cruel. And yet others, it’s as if they don’t think things through thoroughly before they act. (more…)
When other students tell you that semester 2 is tough, they’re not lying. Even the people I know who passed with flying colors can attest to moments of misery and my Mini III neuro grade was like a chess gambit that could have gone horribly wrong (but didn’t, thank God!). Even though the course work builds on what you learned in semester 1, semester 2 is a whole new ballgame. Here are some tips that might help you play it better than I did.
- Kill the Practicals!
The practical exams in Anatomy, Histology and Neuroscience may not seem like big deals but doing well on them can save you a lot of stress and grief when it’s time for the shelves. Try to knock them out of the park or at least get a nice healthy B. For anatomy, spend time in the lab, go to TA sessions (and ask your pals about their TAs! Not all TA sessions are created equal; just because you’re assigned to one session doesn’t mean you have to attend it. Shop around!) Also, spend some time with skulls and guts. You can check out a skull from the anatomy secretary (if you sign one out on Friday afternoon, you can have it for the whole weekend!) For guts, you’ll have to wait until that dissection. For neuro, the TA sessions are also very informative (again, shop around – different TAs have sessions each night). The neuroscience society holds a mock practical (mocktical) before the first practical and it is well worth the $5 EC admission fee. For histo, ask around for the labeled or powerpoint slides.
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!
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.
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…
On Sunday, I ran the Salybia 5K. Although I placed the same as I did last semester (16th of the 34 female runners and walkers), I improved my time by nearly 3 minutes! However, that new-found speed is currently being paid for by my poor quadriceps which still ache every time I try to descend a flight of steps. With my trusty old iPod set to my inspirational Sunday morning mix, I started the race with an early burst of speed and was one of the first to come over the hill going up to the Annex and down the road that ends in a T-junction by the coastline. As we passed the halfway mark, my stomach began to churn and my lungs began to burn and people I’d passed began to pass me. I slowed my pace to a jog, trying to get my breathing back to normal and whispering to my GI tract, first threats, then pleas. By the time I’d reached the three-quarters water station, I’d stopped running entirely. As I power-walked through a stretch with no shade, another student came up along my side. Earlier in the week, after she’d mistaken me for my pal who placed 2nd last semester, she asked if I’d be running again and claimed that she was much slower than either of us. She joined me for a few steps and then chided, “You’re going to speed up again, right? You can’t finish back here with me.” I didn’t just want to dash off and leave her behind but I did begin to pick up my pace. Maybe I’d gained my second wind or maybe it was because someone was expecting me to finish ahead but I started running again and didn’t stop until I’d crossed the finish line. (more…)