Monday, September 21, 2009

Doomed to fail

Yesterday marked a very grimful headstart into the 6th year final medicine exam. I sat for a 3 hour excruciatingly painful mutliple choice question and short answer written exam (which were all computer based) and the only word to describe the exam is CRUEL. I am not exagerrating but everyone (or should i say almost everyone as I have not specifically asked the entire batch) was literally traumatised after the exam was over. Even high distinction students said the exam was difficult. When I incorporate the word 'difficult' I just don't mean hard questions, I am also referring to the unfairness of the exam. Firstly they give 120 questions for section 1 which is MCQ (choose the best answer out of 5 possible choices) which are all equal to the AMC standard (or probably harder) which is an insane amount to complete within 2 hours. When the timer at the side of the screen striks 2 hours your page automatically shifts to section 2 which is a mixture of both MCQs and short based answers. That means you have approximately 1 minute for each question in the first part. Furthermore, each question is a small case scenario with clinical symptoms, results of relevant investigations to interpret with occasional imaging findings for you to intepret which does take a substantial amount of time to process. And the answers are all so ambigious...most of them are applicable to the situation so its so damn difficult to select the most appropiate answer.

The second part consists of 12 totally different scenario, 3 questions each with a mix of MCQ and short answers. You are provided with a little bit of information in each relevant section and must type/click the right answer before proceeding. Once you click the submit button, there is NO OPPORTUNITY for you to go back to your previous answer to change or rectify it. That means you can only go forwards. The next question normally gives you a set of investigations to help you obtain the diagnosis and you have to select about 4-5 out of a possible 10-12. Almost all the investigations are deemed neccessary so I don't know how you can only select just 4 or 5. Furthermore there was a paediatric growth chart to plot (by yourself) which was very time-consuming.

Anyway, I left about 5-6 questions in section 1 and only reached up to question 11 in the next session which means I couldn't complete the exam in time. I feel so fustrated and irratated both at myself and at the injustice delivered by the UNSW faculty of medicine. They shouldn't give so difficult questions that are aimed at the AMC exam level or higher for final year medical students as well throwing in other specialiaties such as dermatology, ENT and opthalmology which we are not taught much of at hospital. At least if they are inclined to give such hard questions, at least give fewer questions or more time. A lot of poeple couldn't manage to finish the questions; several leaving out 20-30 questions. On my part, I think I failed as even with the remaining questions I did answer, I am 50% or less confident of the answer. How can they expect the medical students to cope with these questions? My colleagues said that even in the AMC exam, there was more time allocated and the number of questions were much less than this one which altogether makes this exam more difficult. As I reached the halfway mark of the exam, I could feel my heart sinking further and further into the pits of my stomach and all sense of hope, motivation and determination just disminished. Now I have 3 more exams to go which I fear will be even tougher and less managable especially the clinical (the one I am most afraid of) and VIVA. The probability of me passing this exam is close to 1/1000000 so it will be a miracle or shall I say God's Gift to me if I am able to pass this exam.

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