Posted tagged ‘Mini III’

How to Survive Semester 2

January 14, 2009

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.

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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

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…

Endurance

November 25, 2008

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…)

終わりの始まり第2 – The End and the Beginning

August 28, 2008

Perhaps I’m a bit over-dramatic.

Dear readers, I have survived my first semester of med school and will be returning to Ross in September as a second semester student. The good news is that I actually managed bring histology up high enough to offset the disaster that was Mini III. The bad news is that I only managed to pull one A. Because of this, I may not be able to take the SGA position (Student Health Rep) I was elected to. I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it won’t be the end of the world. It’s far better than the fate I feared, having to repeat the entire semester.

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The Valley of the Shadow of Death

August 18, 2008

(or Weeping May Endure for a Night…)

These have been dark days and there’s yet another battle to be fought. We just got the results of Mini III today (yes, a day before the final) and while it wasn’t an unmitigated disaster, it puts me in a very precarious position. Here’s the sitch: if I don’t score above 70 in every section of the exam, I will have to repeat my first semester of med school.

I need to pause here, the dread is nearly overwhelming.

Prior to receiving my Mini III scores, 70 wouldn’t have seemed like a big deal. I thought that I’d be able to finish with a pack of As. Now, my fate rides on histology. Even if I get an A in every other subject (which would be a miracle at this point), if I don’t score above MPS on histo, I will have to repeat THE ENTIRE SEMESTER. The first repeater I met here was slain by histo and I vowed that that wouldn’t be me. Now…

The air is thick with desperation. Today in the fishbowl, a girl fainted, or had a seizure, I wasn’t close enough to ascertain – I just know that the atmosphere had one of us laid out on the floor and the rest of us frightened for our futures. One more night remains. By this time tomorrow, it will be over. Wish me luck.

終わりの始まり – The Beginning of the End of Semester 1

August 4, 2008

After an insane amount of hassle and confusion that made me wonder if it was perhaps some sort of divine warning against air travel, I have finally managed to book flights to return home for break. Initially, I thought I could make it until December but, as lovely as Dominica is, it’s no paradise – I need to come back home, even if only for a couple of weeks. So, I will be back in Queens from August 20th – September 7th, spending time with friends and family, clearing up health issues and stocking up on island essentials (school supplies, snacks and cute cotton dresses!). Extra special thanks to my father – I take it for granted that not everyone’s dad is there to help out when one is essentially frozen out of one’s funds because of assorted issues to do with living abroad and banking domestically. I’m extremely lucky that even though I am technically a grown woman, I can still count on my parents to come through in a clutch. If fathers were graded, they’d have to come up with a new letter to convey my daddy’s awesomeness.

This may be the last update until after I’m back in Queens, or at least, until I’m waiting for my flight to board at the airport. This Thursday, we have the anatomy and histology lab practicals (back to back). Mini III takes place on August 14th and the comprehensive final will be held on August 19th (that’s right – we get 5 days to study 4 months of material). In fact, I should be studying right now! Okay, I’ll get back to work. Wish me knowledge, confidence and luck – I’ll need them for these final battles.