Taking a (Practice) Step 1 Exam

When I started my embarrassingly long trek toward medical school three years ago, I studied for and took the MCAT. That exam was hands down the worst testing experience I’ve ever had – a six-hour MonsterTest covering basic science. I wrote about the studying process while cloistered in isolation in my Charlottesville apartment, where I didn’t see the sun for three or four days at a time. It was often hard to stay focused, which I covered.

Periodically I would take a practice test, a soul-sucking exercise in self-flagellation that I, of course, also wrote aboutContinue reading

Of Neuro and Mud Runs

I haven’t written in quite awhile because I was busy. Busy training for PROBABLY THE TOUGHEST EVENT ON THE PLANET, otherwise known as the Tough Mudder.

(Okay, maybe I wasn’t grinding out ten-mile runs or doing burpees at five in the morning. More realistically I was eating Doritos and watching Game of Thrones). It’s also probably not the toughest event on the planet; that distinction likely belongs to the Death Race, a 48-hour monstrosity that includes chopping up an oak tree stump with a hacksaw to reach the starting line and psychological torture like eating a bag of onions and counting out $500 in pennies while squatting in an icy pond. Continue reading

Triangles of the Neck

I am consumed with a fiery undying hatred for anatomy.

Last week we began our new unit, endocrinology, by dissecting the neck. Rather, we started dissecting the neck. We were given a two hour lecture and a three hour lab to take apart and learn the neck – but it wasn’t even close to enough. Most groups had to return later in the week to finish. Continue reading

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