|with thanks to Bobby Flay|
I missed a 2-point question. It was a totally cheap-shot useless question about ranking reasons that barium enema x-rays are no longer a preferred method of diagnosing appendicitis. Seriously, it was a totally futile question designed to trip people up for no good reason other than perhaps pure meanness. It would have been OK to have asked which statement was NOT a reason for barium enema x-rays no longer being used regularly as a diagnostic tool in determining the presence of appendicitis. It would even have been acceptable to have asked under what circumstances the barium enema x-ray might still be useful in determining appendicitis, or to have asked us for a comparison of the efficacy of the barium enema x-ray against one or more of the newer diagnostic tools. Asking for some arbitrary ranking of reasons why it is no longer widely used as a diagnostic tool for that purpose, however, was absolute chicken shit.
Everyone in my circles also missed it. It wasn't in any of our notes or textbooks, and one girl in my study group is arguably the most meticulous note-taker on the planet. Among those in my study groups, we all knew all the reasons - just not their relative rankings of significance. It's in no way important that we have that ranking committed to memory, and , furthermore, it is somewhat arbitrary and the opinion of the professor who wrote the test item.
I noticed about six people with gloating-like expressions on their faces. They had note cards with the reasons listed in order. I wouldn't say it is impossible that the professor in question told them the specific test questions he wrote. In the grand scheme, it probably doesn't matter much, as it was a mere 2-point question out of 100 points. If the test were a competition, which it theoretically isn't but in reality is, those students who benefited (if they indeed did have prior knowledge and it wasn't my paranoia projecting the looks of superiority on their faces and the pertinent note cards in their hands), the few points that they gained on the rest of the group from the inside knowledge of any test items (only one of which tripped up the rest of us) would not have been sufficient to put them in ranks of those who are likely to have maxed the test out minus the trick question.
98% is still an acceptable exam score, I suppose, but I don't like it. (On a couple of exams we had an opportunity for extra credit, but there was no opportunity on this test.) My sole consolation is that the two students who are the ones I'm relatively sure outscored me on the MCAT also missed the test item. It's not that I feel such a sense of competition between myself and the two who are smarter than I; it merely makes me feel better that if anyone as smart as they could miss it, maybe I'm not a complete moron for having been tricked. I suspect everyone did except the few who (in my opinion) had inside knowledge.
Today's test was the paper-to-pencil test for "The Practice of Medicine." tomorrow is the practicum. I was already told that the prof who wrote the bogus question will not be one of my evaluators for the practical final. He and I had a run-in earlier that I talked about at the time but won't go into right now. The other professors agreed that he could not be objective in regard to me.
It's possible that the professor in question never tipped anyone off to any answers even if the other students had prior knowledge. They may have come across the material without his having directly supplied it to them. I'm trying to be rational and consider the possibility that there very well might not have been some sort of massive conspiracy theory involving a professor. I'd like to believe the professor is a jerk but not necessarily corrupt. Where the students are concerned, however, I refuse to believe they weren't in the know on a few test items prior to the test. Again, I may sound paranoid, but if you saw them joking amongst themselves -- it it was the way they were joking more than the mere fact that they were joking about it -- I suspect you would understand of what I speak or write. The last laugh will be on them, as there was no indication from their discussion that they had any special knowledge of any portions of the test other than the items written by the professor in question. Their scores will be mediocre at best
Tomorrow I need to simply focus on my practical exam. The profs evaluating me will be on my side and will want me to do well, which will have an enormous impact upon their respective views of how I actually do. Moreover, I feel qualified to nail tomorrow's test.
Following the entire cohort's completion of tomorrow's test, I have two options. The first is the most obvious, which is to let the whole thing go and take the 98%. The second option is to approach my adviser with my concerns regarding both the one question in particular and the likelihood of a particular social group which does not even comprise or derive from a particular study group correctly completing the test item. What are the odds that they, of all students, would nail that particular question while the two certified geniuses in the class (of which I am not one, by the way) would miss it?
I'm willing to venture that there was a likely breach of the honor code involved in this situation. Most likely I'll leave well enough alone and allow Karmic forces to right the universe without my assistance, although I may bring it up to my adviser long after the fact in a most subtle and hypothetical way early next year.
Some standardized tests designed primarily to measure how well elementary and secondary schools are doing their jobs as opposed to assessing the achievement of individual students insert plant questions into the tests. Such are questions that are not part of the curriculum of the grade level or of any surrounding grade level and that students of the particular grade level being tested should have no way of knowing. (For example, ask second graders the atomic number for radium and who was our nation's fourteenth vice-president. Ask third-graders to name and tell where, when, was the largest amphibious invasion ever to have taken place. ) Of course there could be some random reason for an extremely small portion of the testing population knowing the answer to one or more of the plant questions, but if too many students from a given class, school,or district were to get the answers right, it should be a tip-off to the state or agency that administers the test that irregularities are happening and that certain districts or schools need to be monitored much more closely for rampant cheating. One would think educators would be too intelligent to fall for this ruse, but such is not always the case.
I might suggest to my adviser that our honor system has more flaws than most of the professors and even most of the students would care to admit, and that several plant questions left in places where students are not supposed to be but sometimes gain access to, which could then be randomly inserted into exams, might give the administration an idea as to at whom to start looking for those who do not take the honor system as literally as do the rest of us.
Seriously, even Matthew came out of the class commenting on how ridiculous the test item was. When Matthew doesn't know something, he typically assumes, correctly, that it was something he forgot to study. When even Matthew knew there was something wrong with the exam item, it was a clear indicator of something bizarre having been asked of us.
@$^&()$^!!! I got a freaking 98% on a test I should have maxed.
|I know her pain I am this girl right now.|