I’m back! Right after my last post, I looked at my schedule and realized that I had seven exams approaching, and they would all be within a one week time frame. Needless to say, I’ve been M.I.A. because I have been absolutely swamped with studying and test taking. I thought I had been through what people referred to as “hell week” before, but nothing even comes close to the past week. Not finals week during undergrad, not my comprehensive exam for my master’s degree, nothing! To give you an idea of what I am talking about, here’s a little breakdown:
Exam 1: PCBM (Preventative and Community Based Medicine) – This exam covered epidemiology and statistics and was only an hour long. If you know anything about me, then you know I absolutely hate math which is a pretty large portion of this class. Basically I had to know t-tests, Chi squares, Type I and II errors, and a whole bunch of other statistical stuff for this exam. It wasn’t fun, but I managed to do really well (which was an absolute necessity because I bombed the first exam).
9/26 Exams 2 and 3: SPOM and PCS – Yes, I had two exams back-to-back on this day :-( SPOM (Structural Principles of Osteopathic Medicine) is something you’ll probably see me write a lot about between now and November, and it covers five subjects. These subjects are anatomy, embryology, histology, physiology, and radiology. We do not get separate exams for each of these subjects, but instead we get one three-hour written exam that covers everything learned since the previous exam. To give you a better understanding of how extreme it is, think of finals week where you take multiple 1-2 hour exams for each subject, and just combine all that information into one exam. It’s intense, but the good news is that once we finish an exam, we no longer need to worry about the information (well, until we take the boards in 2 years).
As for PCS (Primary Care Skills), this exam was only an hour long and I was so busy studying for SPOM, that I completely forgot about it. I basically had 20 minutes to study for it in between tests, and I was so happy to have made a B on it! The patient stuff comes pretty easy to me, and a lot of it is common sense, but there were definitely a few questions that I just outright guessed on.
9/29 Exam 4: SPOM Lab Practical – This exam coincides with the SPOM written exam and is worth 40% of the overall grade for SPOM. For this exam, we have 40 seconds to answer an identification and secondary question on each cadaver, so it’s only about an hour long, but you really have to know your stuff. It’s especially hard if the body that you’re looking at isn’t properly dissected. Textbooks have pretty pictures of body parts, but it definitely isn’t like that in real life. The good news is that if a student has failed the written portion of the exam, they can redeem themselves by doing really well on the practical portion. I find I’m pretty good at the practical, but horrible on the written exam, so the SPOM practicals really save me. I have no idea how I did on this though since it is hand-graded, but hopefully I’ll find out by next week.
10/1 Exams 5 and 6: OMM Written and Practical – OMM (Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine) is what the D.O. program prides itself on. For the written portion of this exam, we not only had to know how to information about treating various dysfunctions, but we were also tested on the history of osteopathic medicine. Apparently, this information will also be on the boards, so it is really important that we learn it all now. I also did well on this, so that was a relief. (I forgot to mention that for all of our exams except the practicals, our score pops up on the screen as soon as we click submit. I like knowing how I did right after everything is said and done, but this can also be a bad thing if you do really bad on one exam and have another one coming up right after.)
For the practical, we were given time slots for when we had to act as patients as well as times for our actual exam. I was lucky that I got to be a patient first, because it kind of helped ease my nerves a bit having already been in the exam room. There were five stations: palpation, range of motion, cervical muscle energy, thoracic muscle energy, and lumbar muscle energy. The professors would tell us a technique and we had to perform it properly. I’m not sure how I performed on this because there were definitely a couple of things that I forgot to do, but hopefully I will not have to remediate. This would mean that they would give me a failing grade of 69, and even if I properly performed the technique in remediation, the failing grade would still stand.
10/2 EXAM 7: PACS Comprehensive Exam – This was my final and absolute favorite exam! For this exam we get a patient, exam room, and we get to act as a physician. From the start we have 2 minutes to look over the patient’s chart outside the door, and 14 minutes inside the exam room with the patient. For this exam, we did not have to perform a full exam with draping and our equipment, but instead we spoke to the patients and took a full history. Once the 14 minutes was complete, we were then given 9 minutes to type up a SOAP note outside the room which included the patient’s chief complaint, medical history, and everything else pertinent to the case. I really liked the PACS exam because it reminds me of why I am in medical school. Plus, my patient gave me really great feedback and it made my day :-)
So there you have it. A few of you were wondering what I was up to, so I had to come back and let everyone know that I am okay. It has definitely been a stressful week, but with determination and a whole lot of prayer, I made it through! We also started another block on Tuesday, but with all these exams in the way, studying for current classes kind of fell through. I will definitely catch up tomorrow and this weekend, but tonight I’m relaxing! I also haven’t responded to any e-mails or messages, but just know that I am not ignoring you. I’ll try to respond to a few tonight, but you should plan on hearing from me by Sunday at the latest.