Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Exams Exams Oh My

So while our finals week technically begins NEXT week, we are really getting hit. Basically since Thanksgiving break, it has been non-stop.

Had a micro exam after thanksgiving, then a Tooth ID, and physio exam the next week (the final physio exam actually). So now I get to at least sleep in a little without physio. So yea, 3 tests in two weeks isn't all that bad - but there is plenty on the horizon. There was a bit of extra pressure on the physio exam because I was quite on the borderlands of 'B' and 'A' so I naturally put in a lot of effort in hopes to squeeze the tops.

So with physio done and in the art of procratination, I will explain why I despise multiple choice exams. Physiology should be a breeze for a biology major right? I mean, I took so many courses that dealt with the material..it should have been easy. This semester we did basics on action potentials, muscle, heart/circulation, and respiration - ALL REVIEW for me. Yet, I still am floundering between B/A. I also studied a good deal for the exams too - despite already having a firm grasp of the material. Yet every test, there would be some question convoluted in such a way as to test my knowledge of minutia rather than concepts. In undergrad, I would take tests with an MC component, but there would be fill in the blanks, and short answer/essay.

Here you live and die by questions that were created for the sole purpose of tricking the student, not helping them learn.

Le example:
I KNOW that type II alveolar epithelial cells are responsible for producing surfactant - it was covered in lecture, it was covered in my previous coursework, I know it. Yet I still get twisted up on a test question. (not exactly how it appeared cuz I can't remember)

What cell secretes surfactant?
A. Alveolar cells
B. Type II epithelial cells
C. Type I pnemocytes
D. Macrophage
E. None of the Above

I circled none of the above. Why? Because it is called Type II ALVEOLAR epithelial cell..yet I think I got this question wrong because apparently you can be lazy and leave out the alveolar. I also stuck with this choice because the VERY next question used the term type II alveolar epithelial cell. If there was no 'none of the above' option, I would have simply eliminated the others - but because of this horrible excuse for a test option - I am already 1/3 of the way out of 'A' range.

Regardless, these are the types of questions that drive me insane. I know the answer, but because I can't write it myself - I can get it wrong. It wouldn't be a huge deal if there were more questions though...but when your test is only 30 MC long, you need to be on the ball to get an 'A.'

I had my first performance exam today. We had to cut an occlusal prep on #19 and evaluate our work based on UIC's critique sheet. Be prepared for things to go wrong folks. The light at my station had a bad fuse and all the other spots were taken by classmates. Not a huge setback beacuse we are graded on our self-evaluation and not the actual product (only this semester). So it ended up looking fairly crappy, but I knew WHAT was crappy about it - so I should end up doing allright. It was kinda funny when the maintenance guy showed up as I was cleaning up - and fixed the light in 30 seconds....man, where were you an hour ago?

The instructor told me to write NO LIGHT on top of my sheet - so maybe I will get a pity point!! The pre-clinic is really my only hardcore gripe with the school so far..it is just too crowded and awkwardly set up. As I have said millions of times though, it isn't KEEPING me from learning. I really did enjoy the instructors in our restorative/perio classes. They were easy-going, patient, and helpful.

Tomorrow we have our final anatomy practical of the semester!!! Thursday we have a combined perio/general dentistry final exam in the morning, and a final wax-up on #13 in the afternoon.

Next week we have an anatomy final monday, micro final wedneday, tooth ID final and biology human dentiton written final thursday, and histo final friday.

It really isn't THAT bad given the sheer number of exams..but it is mentally draining. Like I should be studying for anatomy...but I have been looking over all this crap since friday afternoon and I just can't mentally go through it again. This is my problem - I hit a wall, and while I still manage to do fairly well on most tests - I could be having an easier time if I could just put in a few more solid hours - which I am going to attempt after this post goes up.

Once I finish the anatomy practical tomorrow afternoon...I pretty much have to lock down and go through an entire semester worth of general dentistry/perio info for thursday's final. It is tough because they just keep coming..but again - I haven't lost my mind yet. I've heard the exam should be fairly straightforward though because we really haven't learned anything beyond the realms of common sense.

As frustrating as Anatomy is, it is truly a cool feeling to have that epiphany moment when a ton of random information suddenly just 'CLICKS.' Knowing how the facial nerve somehow gets some autonomic fibers into the lingual nerve of the V3 branch of trigeminal is just interesting. But it really is a good feeling when you finally go 'AH-HAH!' The skull is absolutely amazing based on its complexity alone. This class was definitely the most difficult and involved. I will probably get the worst grade compared to my other classes - but I actually enjoyed it for the most part. Not saying I want to take it again - but if you know what I mean.

Speaking of anatomy...I really need to go back to the books - I CAN see the end of the tunnel...1/2 way done with the first year!!!!

Ps. Chorda Tympani is the bee's knees