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

Rules for Step 1

I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been in a hole these last couple weeks studying for Step 1, or “the boards” as it is colloquially known. Step 1 is the first of three licensing exams you have to take to become a doctor.

Which, of course, means that Step 1 has almost nothing to do with doctoring. It’s not that bad a test, actually, it’s just incredibly challenging to assess medical knowledge. Step 1, for instance, focuses on the basic science – the science underpinnings to how the body works and what goes wrong in disease. Future exams, like Step 2 and 3, focus on the bigger picture of diagnosis and treatment. Continue reading

A Lexical Update

Halfway through last year, I wrote “Commonest Erythematous Palpation,” a post illuminating some of the ridiculous medical terminology doctors use every day. As second year draws to a close – I’m just five weeks from the end of my last rotation, not that I’m counting or anything – I thought I’d provide you with an update with a more clinically-focused bent.

See, last year we learned all these fancy words, but it was like learning formal Spanish when most people in the real world use slang. It’ll carry you in a pinch, but people think you’re an idiot. Continue reading

A Second Look

I write to you this time from a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, in the midst of my second travel nightmare of 2015. Frankly, though, nothing can top the horror of the Three Days In Ramshackle-Houston Where I Potentially Came Close To Having My Kidneys Stolen. As such I will refrain from discussing the joys of getting out of Portland with a broken plane and a pair of enraged business consultants with Very Important Meetings early tomorrow morning that surely cannot go on without their august presences. Continue reading

Divergent

Iiiiiiiit’s SOAPBOX TIME PART TWO!

Let’s start with a throwback to my surgery rotation.

Allow me to describe, briefly, the scene before a minor surgery. Like a lipoma excision, or a skin graft. The room is sterilized about fifteen minutes before the patient is wheeled back; no one is allowed in without a mask. Once the patient comes in and is put under anesthesia, they’re sterilely draped. You can’t even touch the lights without a special sterile holder, and anyone near the sterile field has to wear a ridiculous-looking full-length gown and specially-sized gloves. Continue reading