Sunday, November 26, 2006

After Exams (Part 2)

...continued from here.

Note: This is merely a record for the uninspiring albeit memory-stimulating exams I had. If you have the least of interest in my studies, perhaps you shall stop at this point for the time being, and consider some other blogs, news or online articles. :) My blogroll and linkroll on the left might interest you.

14 November 2006 - OSCE
OSCE, or Objective Structured Clinical Examination, is a challenge every medical student has to go through before becoming a doctor. In most of our semesters, we have an OSCE exam where we demonstrate the real clinical skills such as interviewing and examining patients. In most situations, OSCE is done in a simulated environment, or in other words, there is an actor / actress in place of a real patient. OSCE is an exam everyone loves and hates - it doesn't constitute a lot of marks; but it's rather hard at times, and the physical examination component is a hurdle. Which is rather scary, especially with the rumour that a lot of our seniors failed the physical examination last year.

So a few of us did some sorts of preparation in Xuan Ni's house on 13 December, and it turned out to armour me quite nicely in terms of confidence and familiarity with the procedures. Came the real exams, I tackled the physical examination component rather nicely. However, for the interview part, I got rather panicky as the patient didn't present in the way I kinda "expected" it to be. Therefore I didn't expect to score well in this component... Sigh. But anyway this OSCE score is part of the HP subject, so since I have already done so badly in the HP paper, there's not gonna be much difference in the grade.

What a way to console myself. :P

16 November 2006 - CSGD Practical Exam
As the name suggests, practical exam is an exam where we are tested about all the practical sessions throughout the semester (duh!). Yeah, the name sounds boring, and the questions probably are; but from an outsider's view it's not that boring. In fact, the practical exam is one of the fanciest exam you would ever see - we get to play "musical chair" while doing it.

Basically in this exams, there are questions regarding topics such as anatomy, radiology, histology, histopathology etc. Some of the questions require tools like microscopes, X-ray slide viewer, pictures of anatomical dissections etc. Since they don't have enough tools to keep everyone on their own seats, some brilliant minds in the faculty figured out a way to test us with a limited number of equipments. We play musical chair! Basically they divide us into many groups, and in each group there are twelve of us sitting around a long wooden table. In front of everyone, there will be a set of four questions. Within the long table, everyone will have different set of questions, e.g. I get to do question 1 to 4, Ka Lip might deal with question 13 to 16, and so on. In some of the seats there will be a microscope or an X-ray viewer. In each station we will have five minutes to answer four questions. After five minutes, a deafening bell will ring, and everyone moves to the next seat on their right. The cycle repeats until everyone gets to answer every question.

Interesting, isn't it? No, absolutely not, especially when I saw three microscopes in each long table when I walked into the exam room. It's not interesting at all - that means there will be twelve (3 x 4) questions which require an interpretation of microscopic slides, and heck I have no idea most of the time. The last time there was only a station with a microscope, and I got all four questions wrong. Hah!

So off to the musical chairs. It turned out to be harder than I imagined. Having to inspect four microscopic slides under the microscope, and trying to figure out what they are / what they mean within five minutes, is definitely not my idea of a favourite exam. Even the non-microscope questions turned out to be evils. I think I struggled to get even two thirds of the questions right.

At the end of the practical exam I managed to squeeze a tinge of smile. It's not only because it's the end of the last paper, it's also the realization that struck me, about how much harder I need to work next time.

I have always thought what I did was sufficient - read as much as I could in my free time, which is normally less than an hour everyday after deducting all my other commitments and addictions in my life. I seldom, if at all do personal note-taking because I thought reading and absorbing is much more time-efficient than jotting down points and synthesizing mind maps.

Man I was wrong.

In exam hall it dawned upon me how much I didn't master the concepts, and how little the details I managed to retain with the two-week cramming. I should do better next semester - generate my own notes, study more consistently and spend time more efficiently without wasting too much time in addictive websites like Digg. How I wish I have the will to keep me going. Let's remind me when I spend too time blogging next time, okay? :)

Update 02/12/06: The result has just come out. I am satisfied with it. In fact, I am quite surprised by my luck, as I expected much lower than what I got. Thanks to my family and friends for their support, especially miss "anonymous" for being my booster all the time. :)

In the next post...

What do you think about these comments:

the Mandarin-speaking Chinese in Malaysia are not that civic conscious to see the bigger picture. They are small-picture voters, more concerned about keeping the culture of lion dances instead of the longer term socio economic interest of the Malaysian Chinese community.
Chinese including Malaysian Chinese especially has that bad habit of ethno-egoism in which they feel superior than others just because they are able to master more than 1,000 chinese characters. Yet the information revolution came to the planet from the 26 alphabets of the English language.

To the Chinese, everybody is a Kwei or Kui except the Chinese, and China is the only Middle Kingdom of human beings between the other Kingdoms of Hell and Heaven.

... From an English-educated Chinese
Update: Continued in this post.


After Exams (Part 1)

I have a peculiar habit of writing blog when I am not supposed to, e.g. during study week; and not writing blog when I am supposed to, e.g. after final exams. But I guess it exemplifies a common reason of writing blogs - wasting time when there are no better ways to waste it.

Before other ramblings, I would first like to summarize my exams, like what I did last time. The exam has been such a horrid dream that no one dared to mention it as soon as it's over. But since I had had one week of recuperation, maybe it's time for me to talk about one of the worst exams I ever had.

Note: This is merely a record for the uninspiring albeit memory-stimulating exams I had. If you have the least of interest in my studies, perhaps you shall stop at this point for the time being, and consider some other blogs, news or online articles. :) My blogroll and linkroll on the left might interest you.

6 November 2006 - CSGD Paper B
It's the first paper of the semester 4 exam, and in my opinion the relatively most benign paper among the four papers. It consisted of 100 multiple choice questions regarding our learning objectives in this semester, which are mainly medical knowledge of the nervous system, development, reproductive system and endocrinology. Although most of the questions in this paper were relatively hard, I think that I did a rather okay job, or at least better than the last semester. I actually came out of the exam hall reckoning that I could do pretty well in the exams overall. But I was to be disillusioned within the next few days - read on.

8 November 2006 - HP4
Health Practice is a subject in which we are taught the psychological, social and other not-so-scientific-related aspects of medicine. Understandably, such a subject is an essential component of any well-rounded medical education, but in some ways my university has failed to find the right way to do it. The HP paper illustrates the point I am mentioning here - either the lecturers have failed to impart the knowledge properly, or they simply intend everyone to screw up in the exam.

So, this paper turned out to be the most horrible, mean, inhumane paper I have ever had in my whole life. Consisting of 58 multiple choice questions and 10 short-answer questions, the 2-hour paper was such a killer that I think I am on the verge of failing. Sigh, nobody could comprehend the reasons our lecturers set all those insane questions. For example, we were supposed to know what Mandler's theory is, when that theory is just a random psychological theory which deserved a cursory mention in one of the fourteen lectures we had. And by cursory I mean at most 20 seconds' worth of description in a very noisy lecture hall, and sometimes even without a lecture note. As for some of the questions, nobody even had the memory of being taught about them at all!

It's simply nonsense to have us memorising things like that, when everything will be forgotten one week after the exam. Yes I have already forgotten most of the HP contents, after only 2 weeks. Instead of equipping us with some of the integral ideas of the course, the exam format only encouraged senseless rote memorisation, which means nothing in the long run.

I can't understand what's in their mind.

10 November 2006 - CSGD Paper A
To be frank it's not exactly very hard - the questions were reasonable, and there were not many oh-God-what-is-this questions. However, I felt that I did quite badly because I didn't do enough pre-exam cramming for some of the key topics, and for that I must have lost a substantial portion of marks. The traumatizing experience in HP was also one of the factors that affected my morale and hence my preparation.

As soon as the paper was over, I knew that I have lost the hope of securing a good result. Maybe that's a warning bell to me that medicine is not meant to be learnt by last-minute cramming alone.

To be continued...


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

And The Correct Answer is... Unknown

Have you ever come across a question where "unknown" is the correct answer?

I had my first and only one today, in the first paper of my final exams (Control Systems, Growth and Development):

What is the commonest cause of male infertility?
A. Bilateral Vas Deferens absence
B. Coital Disorder
C. Unknown
D. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking etc.
E. Varicocele
Hah, another "birdy" question from our lovely lecturers, as usual... I wasn't sure about the answer in the exam hall, but luckily I guessed it correctly. For the record, the fact is about half of the male infertility has an unknown cause.

Update 07/11/06: The answer "unknown" is given by Harrison's Internal Medicine which gives the percentage at 50%. However, some other sources give the answer as "varicocele". I haven't done a thorough research so I make no guarantee to the accuracy of the claim above.

So now you know... if you happen to be a guy and can't get a child after trying for one year, after ruling out problems in your wife, chances are the doctor can't provide an exact diagnosis of your problem. And he can only say "Let's go home and pray that you will get your baby eventually", or "Start thinking about adoption / sperm donation."

Oh ya, and this is what miss "anonymous" has to say about the question.
Don't think that "unknown" means that we have one less fact to learn, it just means that we have no means of targeting treatment...

All hail to medical course.

p/s 08/11/06: Oh ya, for the record, I received the notification about my Advanced Medical Science unit selection today. For your information, AMS is our research year done in year 3.5 to 4.5, which translates to July 2007 to May 2008. I am so glad to be offered my first choice, Anaesthesia department in Royal Melbourne Hospital! I am already looking forward to the AMS year, and hope that it will be a marvellous experience for me.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Have a Break

Stop learning all those architecture / brain diseases / economic models / chemical reaction / thermodynamic equations / differential equations / Canon law / Bayesian law / Heaviside function.

There's something more useful than all of the above: how to steal a password from a noob.

<Cthon98> hey, if you type in your pw, it will show as stars
<Cthon98> ********* see!
<AzureDiamond> hunter2
<AzureDiamond> doesnt look like stars to me
<Cthon98> <AzureDiamond> *******
<Cthon98> thats what I see
<AzureDiamond> oh, really?
<Cthon98> Absolutely
<AzureDiamond> you can go hunter2 my hunter2-ing hunter2
<AzureDiamond> haha, does that look funny to you?
<Cthon98> lol, yes. See, when YOU type hunter2, it shows to us as *******
<AzureDiamond> thats neat, I didnt know IRC did that
<Cthon98> yep, no matter how many times you type hunter2, it will show to us as *******
<AzureDiamond> awesome!
<AzureDiamond> wait, how do you know my pw?
<Cthon98> er, I just copy pasted YOUR ******'s and it appears to YOU as hunter2 cause its your pw
<AzureDiamond> oh, ok.

This is the most useful thing you have learnt in the study week. Good luck for your exams!


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wrong Major, Apparently

I should have known earlier... :P

From an online test:

You scored as Mathematics/Statistics. You should strongly consider majoring (or minoring) in Mathematics, Statistics, or related majors (e.g. Accounting, Actuarial Science, Computer Engineering, Computer Information Systems (CIS), Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, Finance, Management Information Systems (MIS), Mathematics, Operations Management, Physics, Risk Management).

It is possible that the best major for you is your 2nd, 3rd, or even 5th listed category, so be sure to consider ALL majors in your OTHER high scoring categories (below). You may score high in a category you didnt think you would--it is possible that a great major for you is something you once dismissed as not for you. The right major for you will be something 1) you love and enjoy and 2) are really great at it.

Consider adding a minor or double majoring to make yourself standout and to combine your interests. Please post your results in your myspace/blog/journal.





























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