Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.

Last week contained fourteen hours’ worth of exams – our comprehensive “end of block assessment” for the systems of the heart, lung, kidney, and blood. Plus anatomy and many other things I didn’t know. The Friday portion of the exam was a three-hour multiple choice exam of boards-style questions. For those of you that aren’t medical people, boards questions are notoriously difficult and are representative of the test all graduating medical students must pass to match into a residency program. An example: Continue reading

Impostor Syndrome



We have a test coming up next week, and it is a huge one. Normal and abnormal stuff for hearts, lungs, kidneys, and blood. There is a lot of stuff that is supposed to go right and a lot of things that can go wrong. (See? I’ve been studying!) The test is three days long, starting on Tuesday.

Vomit. Continue reading

Presentation Skills: Needs Work

I’ve written quite a bit this academic year about our Physical Diagnosis class, including encounters with standardized patients. But starting in a couple of weeks, things change dramatically. Instead of practicing skills on standardized patients, we enter the hospital under the guidance of an assigned “tutor” to apply our lecture knowledge of the physical exam. Continue reading


Somewhat boring/necessary background unless you’re in my class:

At most schools, anatomy is taught in one continuous block, usually at the beginning of the year. By the time September rolls around, most students can identify bizarre-sounding muscles and tell you which stringy pale thing is a vein and which is a nerve. It’s harder than you think.

Our medical school works differently than most. We learn anatomy in segments, according to whatever physiologic systems we’re covering that block. For instance, this 12-week block, called Homeostasis, includes the heart, lung, and kidney. So we’ve dissected most of the thorax, where the heart and lungs are, and examined normal and abnormal kidneys in pathology lab (I’ve written about this previously). Continue reading

We Know We Don’t Know

We just took our first exam, a two-day test on six weeks of biochemistry, basic anatomy, and a few in-depth cases. On the first day of the exam, Thursday, we spent four hours writing essay answers to questions about metabolic disease, diabetes, cancers, and (weirdly) Tylenol poisoning. Friday’s part was half multiple choice and half short-answer identification of histology and anatomy slides. It was, in a word, hard. I probably failed, but whatever. Continue reading

Antagonist, Inverse Agonist, Same But Different

We have our first exam coming up this week, on six full weeks of material. The two-day test will cover biochemistry, anatomy, histology, pathology, and a bunch of other –ologies I don’t understand either.

Yes, I’m writing this to procrastinate, no, it’s not a good use of my time, and no, grandma, I don’t need a brownies care package. Your last one turned me prediabetic as it is. Thanks though. Continue reading