Aug 16, 2010

Oh right, the test...

This sort of thing gets weirder and weirder that farther you get in medical school, once stress gives way to apathy and exhaustion.

I got a Wii!! At long last! I can lately join the awesome gaming generation as my treat for finishing that 9 hour beast of an exam. I also had friends take me out to Chip Shop the next night so I could cram some deep fried Reese's and a few English pints. I'm not even sure which is worse for you, but I'll post from the hospital over whether my heart's failing before my liver is.

The exam... boy howdy is it long. Like LONG. Like kind of over any stress you were experiencing and "I wonder how many points I'd lose if I just went and saw a movie in the middle of this nonsense" long. The questions are long. The whole test time is long. The fact that you get 45 minutes of the day to do anything you need to do and it takes 5-10 minutes to sign in and out means it's long and you're hungry. Or dyspeptic from trying to swallow an entire peanut butter sandwich and then trying to shove it a sufficient distance down your esophagus by pouring Red Bull on it and hoping the bubbles will dissolve some of it. Hell, the stuff tastes like battery acid anyway; it should make some headway.

I took it afternoon until night, as I mentioned, which was awesome, though I closed out the place, and lo and behold the place is right across the hall from the offices for Air Jamaica, which is nice because I guess if you do badly enough, they can send you straight back to Grenada without ever letting you set foot on New York soil again.

To be fair, the people at the testing center were really nice, very chill, and the temperature was good. I was able to bring my own foam earplugs (call ahead and ask your center) which is great, because the silencers provided are identical to the ones that they use at shooting ranges which makes them heavy and tight on your skull. Good for drowning out the .45 in the next booth. Overkill when you're trying to think while drowning out the keyboard sounds in the next booth.

Despite the preventative measures, I would recommend taking as many breaks as feasible. Get water, go to the bathroom, cram some calories and get back in. Stretch your back and legs, make a Home Alone face in the mirror, chuckle to yourself and go for round 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8.

Don't overthink the questions because they give you a lot to overthink. If it seems right, just pick it. If you're clueless, pick the most likely (eliminate the obviously wrong) and move on, mark it later.

Getting in and out is starting to encroach on the airport's turf for security overkill. I had to get frisked before going back into the testing center each time, and though she did the job right in front of the security camera, I have a feeling the girl responsible for feeling me up felt as ridiculous about it as I did. That made me feel better about the whole thing. They didn't make me take my shoes off though.

Looking back, I don't really know what I would have done differently studying-wise. It seems like any moment I didn't have my head buried in UWORLD questions was a wasted one. There were still a lot of wishy washy weird judgment call questions, but I don't think any resource could really get you ready for them.

How do I think I did? Geeze, I have no idea. I think I passed, but once I'm getting below an 80 on a test (which I'm guessing I did on this one), I have *no* clue how I do. My mom's set on 261, which I think is about as probable as my riding into a residency at UCSF on the back of a unicorn, but it's a nice thought.

Also, with the exception of recalling some questions almost in entirety (though I was better about that on Step 1), I get massive testing amnesia. I go in... I vaguely remember things like "Oh, block three was really sticking it to me" and "Oh crap; out of time" and "AAAHHHHH MATH!!!" and then I walk out nine hours later feeling puzzled, brain-enema'd and occasionally vurping up bits of Red Bull. I wonder what happened. I go home, watch Futurama and go to sleep. I party the next day and then I sleep solidly for the two after that. Not hungover; not wildly stressed; just completely mentally erased.

So there you have it folks. Taking Step 2 CK is like getting roofied, waking up hours later with a hangover and your kidney missing and the only clue left behind is a note someone's written in lipstick on the mirror and it says "Your testing session for USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge has ended. Thank you for participating in the United States Medical Licensing Examination. Close. (follow the white rabbit)"

And you're just surprised you can still read.


heyroth said...

First time caller! Longtime Fan! I really enjoyed your posts! I stumbled on your blog perhaps through a valuemd discussion thread that I've now long forgotten. Reading your posts are the breaks I have between studying for hte mcats and getting my data together.

Anyway, I just want to say that you're been quite inspirational! I too went to Davis (NPB!). Can't wait to read the next one!

Ishie said...

Hi there! Thanks for reading and GO AGGIES! (sorry, had a moment) Good luck on the MCATs!

heyroth said...

Yeah go Aggies! BTW, there's free kaplan Step 3 books on IBooks for a limited time. It might prove useful.

Do you twitter? If you do, I'd like to follow!

BTW, if you need more funny animes to watch, you should check out skipbeat on