January 28, 2010

neuro exam

The neuro exam is split into two. One half is a written and one half is a practical. The practical is a bit of new experience for me. Last semester, we had a practical for histology/cell biology but that was fairly straightforward. The prof showed us what to know during a review before each exam and then during the practical, sure enough, he'd throw up a slide that encompassed that material and ask a question over it. Neuro is a bit more....disjointed. We have a piece of homemade software that's pretty helpful for identifying parts. The downside is that if you want to be tested on the stuff on page 38, you have to ID the 37 other pages of crap first. Overall, though, I have to say I like it. It's much more interactive than just staring at an atlas. In case you're wondering, that structure in red that I identified is the Anterior limb of the Internal Capsule. I know that y'all were dying of curiousity to know that.

The actual wet brain part, though, is abysmal. We have a TA show us in a huge group some tiny little structure and then quickly move onto the next structure. Not very conducive to learning at all. So going into the practical, I feel comfortable about diagramatic questions. Real isolated brain parts? Not so much.

The practical exam is a giant organized game of musical chairs. You sit down at a station with your clipboard and answer the question. 60 seconds later, a musical chime goes off and everyone stands up and shuffles to the next station. Repeat about 70ish times. Oh, and the best part was that there are rest stations when you have to switch rows so you don't have to worry about not having enough time. I started at a rest station and the first three sections were 90 seconds, instead of 60 seconds so that people could get used to it. So I get to sit there for 90 seconds waiting for the doom to start the exam. That's a lllooonnngggg 90 seconds. The prof comes up to me and says that it's like I'm a kicker and a timeout has been called so that I can sit there and overthink it. "Icing the kicker" it's called. It works.

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