|How do you say it in Espanol? Si se puede? (Unrelated to the topic, but are this guy's eyebrows amazing?)|
The workload is very nearly killing me, but it's killing most of my cohort mates even more than it is killing me. Most people who have survived up to this point (we've lost a total of six from our cohort since starting, which is, I've been told, lightly higher than the mean of students to have departed at this point) will ultimately make it through school, and the vast majority should past this exam, which is the first portion of the three-step United States Medical Licensing Exam, although my program has a much higher-than-average acceptance rate because it is a relatively selective program. scores on this test, in addition to allowing us to advance in our programs, will be weighed heavily in our gaining access to quality residence programs.
This is presumably the final exam I'll take in which what was learned in undergraduate studies -- science courses in particular -- would still be considered relevant. After this, what we learned as undergrads impacts our ability to master the new material, but said content no longer in and of itself will be needed. I'm confident of my ability to master the new material; however, up to this point, my grasp of undergraduate science courses been a major advantage against my peers, and I'll lose some of that edge even though we're not theoretically a competitive program at this stage.
It doesn't help me in the least for anyone else to do poorly, but even if it did, failing this test is not something I would wish on anyone in my program. We've all worked too hard to be bounced now, although most people who fail will just put in another year and repeat a few courses, then take the exam again. A five-year program is actually recommended for most students, although the majority of us will not follow that recommendation unless we're forced to do so by non-passing scores.
Some of what we're hearing about in lecture will help us, but a whole lot of the subject matter covered on the test is ancient history. Some people like to clear their brains of everything ever learned in a given course once they finish it, but the science portion of our undergrad studies is crucial to scoring well on this test. Fortunately for me, I couldn't forget what I've already learned even if I tried.
We'll take two more steps of this test after the once we're presently facing. The next one will be near the end of Year 4 of med school, and is a bear of a test, part of which will involve preliminarily diagnosing and writing up findings, including the ordering of tests, for ten actors posing as patients. I fervently hope the actors they have are better than the ones here. I'll go to Los Angeles to take it, where out-of-work actors abound. L.A. should have the cream of the crop in terms of actors unless all the actors are from L.A. and fly out to the respective sites. (There are a total of five testing sites in the nation for this portion of the exam.)
The final step of the USMLE is taken after the first year of residency. It determines who will be licensed to practice medicine.
We still have the usual tests in our classes, but then we have this behemoth hanging over our heads, as in we can do tremendously well on our work in class yet still be held back another year by a poor showing. The makers of this test claim it doesn't measure one's ability to take tests but actually measures one's knowledge of subject matter. I find that claim just a bit incredible, yet still I plan to show up for the test as well-prepared both in terms of knowledge of subject matter and in regard to test-taking skills as humanly possible. If it's so easy to eliminate test-taking skills from relevance in any test, why have other test makers not consulted the makers of this test to find ways of minimize the effects of test-taking skill in their own tests?
I suspect test-taking skill will always be relevant, yet not so much as to to allow anyone to past this test on test-taking skill alone. Still, I will hedge my bets by taking the Kaplan course in addition to the insane amount of studying hours I'm devoting to this cause.