There’s nothing to turn even the most upbeat socialite into a hermit quite like final exams. Especially when there are ten of them.
It was already quite apparent that becoming a doctor is nothing like undergraduate studies. Obvious, too, was the fact that I would need to study in most of my free time throughout the trimester. But this week drives that point home. Let’s take a look…
It is difficult to give anyone an idea of an overwhelming amount of work without somehow comparing to their own, since we only have our own experiences as a frame of reference. So let me frame it this way: I studied a science-heavy courseload as an undergrad (Exercise Physiology). Each semester, I typically had 4 final exams, all administered the last week of the semester, following 2-3 ‘reading days’ without class. Three of those exams were typically a science class. Lab exams were often a smaller portion of the overall grade, and occurred far apart over the last few weeks of class.
Now, classes continue right through the end of lab exam week (Week 1 in the graphic above), presenting plenty of new material. Days off? Forget it. Of those 10 exams, now there are 7 finals for science classes, and none offer the option to ‘wing it.’
Lab exams involve identification, relationships and functions of an extensive list of structures in the cadavers. For me, this is the most difficult test type. Technique exams require students to perform a random assortment of skills on a classmate or model, while the teacher grades for anatomical accuracy, patient comfort, and performance of the skill. Lecture exam week finally gives us a reprieve from class, allowing us the privilege of- woohoo- studying around the clock. Most of these exams consist of multiple choice questions requiring cumulative knowledge from the full semester and pre-requisites.
So may the students flood the library! May the faculty email inboxes overflow with clarifications! May study groups be considered the highest form of socializing! It’s finals time!
(A note to mom and dad: I’ll be home on Friday, but I may nap until at least Sunday.)