Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My Personal Hell, Otherwise known as Step 1 of the uSMLE

I can so relate to the person in this picture.

There are Part !'s of blogs that anxiously await Part 2's,   other blogs in their inception that await further development, laundry that needs to be done, meals that are uneaten, and pianos that sit idly,just waiting to be played. Meanwhile, I study, study more, and study even more. i put in a 36-hour studying marathon, followed by a four-hour snooze.  I  just arose from the 4-hour snooze, still somewhat dazed and vaguely migraine-addled.  I'm sitting in a recliner while staring across the room at my study materials.  A part of me wants to pick them up and to resume my studies. Another more compelling part of my consciousness wants to shower and then to devour half of the kitchen's contents. A  third part of me wants to vegetate until it grows dark, and then to hit every party scene within ten miles of here. Where I am right now, one doesn't necessarily have to wait until it is dark to find a party in full swing, but I'm not sure those are the parties of which I would choose to be a part.

I've taken my second and final practice  test for Part 1 of the USMLE.  On both of them I've done well, but I will not be lulled into a false sense of security by having aced a practice exam. (It's like those practice items on the yearly tests we took in elementary school, mainly to ensure that little kids no how to bubble with their no. 2 pencils inside the designated spaces; anyone who actually missed one of those practice questions was up a creek once the actual test began.) We've all been warned that the point of USMLE practice tests is to familiarize ourselves with the format and the setting of the test. The tests might just as well have been asking about the plot and characters of "The Walking Dead" as about medical content. The word on the street is that the content of questions on the practice tests is just about THAT relevant.

In a relatively short time, I'll report to a testing center somewhere in California (probably north or south) to take this test. i'll be searched almost as extensively as though I were entering a maximum security prison. I'll spend eight or so hours scouring my brain for everything i've ever learned and some things that I have not. I'll leave with a vague idea of how many questions were so foreign to me that I had little choice but to mark "C" and hope for the best, but otherwise, the scores will not arrive for at least three weeks, but probably longer. (My test may be scrutinized for longer than most because  of the number of relatives who have taken the test before me. Matthew will have taken the test three days before I do, but he will then embark on a three-day backpacking trip; I wouldn't have the opportunity to benefit from his knowledge even were I unethical enough to desire to do so.

I've done just about everything that I reasonably could have done.. I've taken two prep courses. I've taken advantage of online tutorials. I've studied with groups. I've been quizzed ad nauseum by MDs in the family. God knows that I've studied independently as much as is humanly possible, taking into account that sleep, eating, and hygiene practices must happen at least on occasion. If i'm not adequately prepared by the time the test comes around, I probably was not meant for this field.

Th evening following the test, I plan to attend a party hosted by one of my cohort mates.  i have a designated driver, so I may drink more than my customary half-bottle of Guinness.  I'll celebrate having passed through this milestone even if I didn't technically receive notification of having "passed."  I expect to pass in a technical sense. The big question is whether or not my scores will be sufficiently high to grant me choice internship and residency placement opportunities. The joke, though, may be on me. Time alone will tell.

1 comment:

  1. You'll make it. Then you can have a full bottle of Guinness to celebrate.