Tag Archives: Exams

That What You Fear The Most

I spent so long being afraid I didn’t know enough, or that I wasn’t working hard enough, that by the time exams were upon me I had lost the power of sleep.

Even after a relatively pain-free first hurdle – the clinical examination – I still didn’t trust myself.

Two days later in the first or our written papers, my head was so fuzzed I couldn’t connect what I knew with the questions on the page – and I working at a snail’s pace, I simply ran out of time.

So, like Crazy Mary, what I feared the most just met me halfway.



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The Finals Countdown

My final exams start a month from now, to the day. Between now and then I have four (count’em, four!) more days in General Practice, one more Emergency shift, six days on campus, and gaps in my knowledge you could drive a truck through. And so it is triage time.

I am hoping that, somehow, the things I don’t know I know are greater in number than the things I don’t know I don’t know. As these two knowledge groups are inherently unquantifiable, I will only think of them again if I need to confuse somebody.

Which leaves me with the things I know I know and the things I know I don’t know. Right now I feel like the split is about 20:80 – that said, the 80% is probably half things I have forgotten and need to embed in conscious recall, and half things I have just not got around to reading up on.

I feel a bit sick now.


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That Awkward Moment When…

I was reading this post and was reminded of my own recent special moment. That awkward moment when the bank manager suggests you have a baby so that you can borrow some money.

No seriously, he did. And helpfully added “…but even that would take nine months…” Ah, buddy, if only it were that simple.

“Well then, could you lend me eight bucks for a turkey baster?”

Ok maybe that last bit didn’t happen.

A couple of days after the end of exams I zipped off to our mortgage lender to see if we could leverage some of our essential renovations into enough of a buffer to keep paying the bills until I graduate. Sadly for us, government study allowances are not considered a secure form of income. Whereas if we were receiving a family allowance, we would apparently be a much safer bet.

It was a good-natured encounter, and I walked away feeling that I had put my argument well. Plan A, not to be. Luckily we had Plans B through D up our sleeves.

I guess we could develop Plan E, in which E stands for Embryo… It just seems a little extreme.


Filed under Family, Med School, Sexuality


You’d think I’d be a little more excited that I passed. I got my results nearly two weeks ago, and it all felt a little ho-hum. Not that there wasn’t some relief, especially when I learned that a fifth of the cohort would be resitting the exams. That is a crazy number. I feel like I probably just scraped through.

Anyway, the point is that I am through, again, and I can focus on the year ahead. I’m home for the year, placed about a forty minute drive away two days a week in a GP practice, and the rest of the week is a mix of Emergency Department shifts (can walk to work) and a sampling of ‘other stuff’ like the odd labour ward shift, a day with a plastic surgeon, an ambulance ride-along (EXCITED!) and other such delights. I am really, really looking forward to it.

The girl finished exams a few days ago and so now we are officially on holidays. We had planned on going away for a week, but decided we are terminally broke and so we are having a holiday at home. This involves me going to Boot Camp three times a week. Not today, though. Today I have a date with a mountain and some sunshine.

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Medicine is for Masochists

The closer I get to exams, the more I hate myself for my stupid lack of study coherence and the less I remember why I am doing this to myself. And to those around me. [insert flogging noises]

I’m waking up at ridiculous hours and it’s not helping me remember all the things I need to know. And yet I am stupidly easily distracted. I need a burrow or something. A burrow with a heater, some blankets, caffeine and food I don’t have to think about or wash up after.

Meanwhile my long-suffering MPYCC is sweating over Law lectures and generally tearing her hair out over my vagueness and the simmering sub-surface stress that accompanies this time of year.

Medicine. Seriously, why?


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Yum Cha My Life

I have been boring/busy/uninspired lately so have spared the world the detail. Now however I feel like downloading a sampling of tasty treats from my consciousness. You could probably drink a nice cup of jasmine tea while you read it because I fear I may be about to babble.

It is one month precisely until exams. Starting with OSCEs, which stand for something about Clinical and Examination and other than that I’m still at a loss. Suffice to say that a month from now I will be required to do 13 stations of ten minutes each in which my clinical competence will be assessed.

This week I feel I am completely prepared for the “Close the Curtain Around the Bed During Ward Rounds” station and the “Theoretically Sanitise Your Hands With Stinky Pink Antimicrobial Handrub” station. Other than that, I feel my competence needs some finessing.

Failed attempt at inserting IV cannula today, needs more practice. See above.

Currently on the ward we have a patient who is 101 years old. Day one on ward rounds, she grabbed my hand and clutched it throughout the consultation. I felt some kind of connection with history and a good-going tremor. Anyway, we are clearly friends.

Day two on ward rounds, she asked me if I have any Chinese blood in me. Not that I know of, though people do seem to think so on a relatively frequent basis. In practical terms, this translates to people speaking to me in languages I do not yet recognise, getting chili on my Vietnamese chicken rolls as a matter of course, and not being denied such delicacies as beef tendon or chicken feet when at Yum Cha. Non-membership still has its privileges.

Day three, today, my super-centenarian announced straight up that she owed me an apology for asking if I was of Chinese descent. I assured her that no apology was necessary. Apparently I reminded her of a friend (insert potentially-patient-identifying historical facts here) from some time before the television was invented or possibly the gold rush era. I have no clue as to why this should offend me.

Straight after this consultation my entire team suddenly felt a desperate desire to know my ethnic origins. Which are distinctly unremarkable. I look like my grandma, though not quite as wrinkly or diminutive. Possibly certain of my great-grandfolk came from Wales or Cornwall or the Baltic states, but no, generally I don’t deserve the chicken feet.

Speaking of feet, I have been doing some running in a now-thwarted attempt to get fit, get healthier, decrease my pre-exam stress levels and generally have a low-cost low-maintenance sporting and social outlet. Most of that worked, except that I apparently have done something to irritate my sciatic nerve and now it has been suggested I stop running for a few weeks. Back to the swimming pool. Annoyed.

In January 2010 I had Yum Cha twice in two days and I haven’t been able to eat it since. Primarily because this town does not extend to Yum Cha. But still.

Girlfriend is such a stupid word for someone I’ve been living with/in love with for eleven years. Partner is too sterile. Fiancée is illegal. My Most-Preferred Yum Cha Companion will have to do for today. Naturally I am worried that this is somehow an offensive term. She is probably more worried that it is 10:40pm and I am not yet asleep.

Tonight I ducked out to drop the DVD equivalent of chicken soup to a nosocomially-infected friend (Series II, Friends) and on my return, my MPYCC was casually whipping up a sweet ginger syrup to accompany some silken tofu we happened to have in the fridge.

My life is pretty good.

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Unintended Consequences

Seven weeks until exams. Naturally it is time for me to bemoan my general lack of follow-through, effective note-taking, organisation skills, etc etc. Doesn’t matter. I have a plan. I just need to enact it.

I’ve just had a week of ‘break’, and I must have needed it, because aside from some minor reading, and some major planning, I haven’t actually done a whole heap of actual work work. I’ve just enjoyed going to bed early, getting up late, and not having to be in the hospital five days a week.

Sadly, the chunk missing from my finger prevented me from traveling anywhere interesting this week, which has had the unfortunate unintended consequence of me both missing a wedding reception and being forced to have my hair cut in Tinytown.

When I say ‘cut’, I guess what I really mean is ‘hacked at’.

Note to all aspiring Hair Artistes: Unless a person attends your Salon-Like Establishment for the sole express purpose of having their head shaved, the presence of a cowlick on their frontal hairline (ie fringe) does not in any way entitle you to use CLIPPERS to remove all evidence of said cowlick.

When I say ‘remove all evidence’, I guess what I really mean is ‘leave unsightly salt-and-pepper stubble’.

Thus blighted by a finger wrapped to resemble a Redhead matchstick and some kind of punk-meets-pumice-stone jailbird mop on my head, tomorrow I shall commence my last rotation of Phase Two: General Medicine.

I’m overcome by a deep desire to wear a beanie, long white gloves and dark glasses. And maybe a jumpsuit for good measure.

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