06 December 2005

Cram Fest Results Are In . . .

Yesterday, I had the worst exam experience that I can remember. I got called in by a prof to take an exam 30 minutes early. Unexpected surprise and horror when I arrived at the exam room to view the assigned test times. I arrived early so I'd have time to review everything for the orthopedic exams of the hip and knee. But, Dr. C saw me and asked me to go in the test room.
D: "Why? Do you need me to be someone's patient?"
Dr. C: "No, you're gonna take the test NOW."
D: "Uhm. Can I have 5 minutes to review my list? I haven't even glanced at it since early morning."
Dr. C: (arms folded over chest with look of disbelief)
D: "OK then, can I have 2 minutes to review, please?"
Dr. C: "Yes. You can have 2 minutes to learn everything you need to know to take your test. Hurry up!"
D: "Gee. Thanks."

OSCE (pronounced "ahs-kee") I have no idea what OSCE stands for--orthopedic standardized chiropractic examination? Just a guess.

Typically, I look at the exam sheet and then perform a perfectly orchestrated, rehearsed, and dazzling performance of inspection, palpation, and orthopedic examination of a patient. Yesterday, I was NOT mentally ready for my test, and my entire rhythm was OFF. I was staccato with intermittant pregnant pauses. I knew I'd forgotten things--I scrambled to remember the checklist of things to say and do, and I flubbed it. I'm usually dazzling, but yesterday I was DOH!

But, I had to brush it off. Count my losses and regroup for the next exam which was a short 20 minutes later. I'd been up since 0530 reviewing, repeating, revisiting, and hoping the stuff would stick in my brain just long enough for an effective recall. The anatomy lab final exam (the last one of my student career) was next. It was frustratingly hard. Dr. D had no surprises on the test. He covered everything during class and during his overtime Sunday night review. Yet somehow, a broken chunk of nerve or various muscle bellies on the side of the leg just all seemed to confuse me. I was on question #12 when I felt like I wanted to throw down my clipboard and curse out loud, and then run out of the lab crying. I was still hovered over the specimen trying to figure out which nerve was pinned when the rest of the class was comfortably waiting for me to get a clue so we could all move on to question #13. I felt like I might as well write a big fat "F" on my test. But, I did everything in my power to collect my composure so my face wouldn't be red, I wouldn't start tearing up, and I could focus on the remaining 23 questions. This was a marathon of an anatomy lab test. . . no rest stations, no breaks. . . just sequential pinning madness.

I did the "pause and look at the cadaver pin" while I racked my absent memory for several other questions. At the end of the exam, Dr. D asked if anyone needed to see a re-pinning of anyquestions. I requested about 7 (more than anyone else), but I only changed 1 answer. I was embarassed that I performed so terribly, and I felt like a total idiot. I walked out of there feeling like I'd missed 5-7 questions out of 35. I was coming to terms with being happy about just passing a test. Usually I'm happy with an A or a B, so my standards were pretty low.

Usually after an exam, if I finish thinking I made a mid-low A, then I usually pull a high B, and so on. So, I felt at BEST I walked out of lab with a low B--so I was hoping for a C.

Dr. D posted grades today, and I avoided looking at mine all day long. I didn't want to listen to classmates compare grades. I didn't want to deal with my embarassing performance and make the calculations for what I'd have to do on the final to secure a B in the class. I just wanted to postpone the reality. At the end of the day, after Dr. D's neurology research demo and lecture, I asked him a few questions about class material. Then, he made a comment that I did very well on the anatomy lab exam. I looked at him with disbelief thinking he was kidding. Unless he thought a low B was very good. Once again, he reassured me that I did very well. So, I got online and finally viewed my score. Holy canolie, I scored the second highest grade in the class! A SOLID A. How the heck did that happen? I have never been more surprised nor PLEASED about an exam grade in my educational experience!

Never again do I want to endure that type of exam stress. No more cramming.
Cramming = BAD! I will NOT let my grades or performances define me! But . . . I did leave school today in VERY good spirits with a rejuvenated motivation to work extra hard at studying for finals! Only 6 more to go *whew*!!

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