Med: Midterms/Finals in Review (Part 1)

March 15, 2008

As a general rule, I’ve tried to avoid writing too many whiny “Med school is hard posts” here on the blog (I’m reminded of a quote from my brother back in September: “Yea, well you’re gonna be a doctor…there’s gonna be a lot of big words and lots of pages.”).

Nevertheless, my main reason for getting involved in this blog was to talk about medical school, and I don’t feel like I’ve been doing too great of a job; instead, I’ve focused primarily on the medical field in general. So hopefully–over the next few weeks–I will be adding more about med school itself. And here starts that process.

The block of exams we had a few weeks ago was supposed to be one of the most difficult stretches of medical school here at UIC. Last semester, the school did a great job spreading out tests to keep our stress low as we eased into medical school. Before our ENORMOUS anatomy exam in November, for example, we had a full two-weeks with no other responsibility except for class attendance–and for those of you that have been following the blog, you know that attendance isn’t (rather, wasn’t) one of my strong points. But you get what I’m saying–lot of time to prep for individual exams last semester. Not so much true during this latest block.

To be fair, we only had one exam from the beginning of the semester until this run started at the end of February, and it was an easy genetics test. So had I been more mature/responsible, I would have been keeping up much better along the way. But we all know that procrastination is part of human nature, and people love to say that they work better under pressure. As exams approached, I finally “snapped into study mode,” and became great friends with the study carrels of the Rush University Medical Library–who doesn’t love 12 hour library days?

The exam schedule looked something like this:

Wednesday: Medical Genetics

Friday: Neurophysiology

Monday: Neuroanatomy (Written & Lab Practical)

Wednesday: Anatomy (Written & Lab Practical)


a) Genetics: It started off easy enough with the medical genetics course. At the risk of offending any classmates reading this blog, there was pretty much no material in this course that pre-meds wouldn’t have seen as an undergraduate–allowing, of course, for certain exceptions. Having been a biology major and had a job in biotech, I can’t say I stressed out too much about this–I was much more concerned about the other 3. And the exam itself definitely went just fine–no complaints here.

b) Neurophysiology: This exam definitely had me a bit more concerned. While I had been reading the textbook for just about every section that we covered, I had missed a LOT of class and that always creates a sense of anxiety. Furthermore, I just didn’t seem to perform well on physio tests last semester even when I felt like I knew the material well. This exam was like déjà vu–I felt really prepared (In general, I was actually QUITE comfortable with neurology topics), yet I still didn’t do so hot on the exam. It’s not like I failed or anything, but it’s disheartening to be below average on an exam you thought you would nail.


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