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08 August 2008 @ 12:10 am
Well. I'm back.  
Lists are the tired person's friend.

1. Tis worse; I have killed a man failed an exam.

1a. I got confused. See, in Ireland, medical courses teach you about diseases so you can make a confident guess at which one sick people have. American courses ... don't. If the USMLE is anything to go by. The impression was far more of a bunch of US medics going around shouting, "Guess how much more I know about I-cell disease than you do! Guess! NO REALLY. GUESS."

1c. I tell a lie; diseases weren't exactly a key feature of this exam. There was a strong penchant for graphs - the more obscure and incomprehensible, the better. The toss-up between 'questions that test relevant medical knowledge' and 'questions that are insane' clearly came down on the mentally incompetent side.

1d. I'm just bitter.

1e. And I-cell disease never came up.

1f. Guess how much more I know about I-cell disease than you do! Guess! NO REALLY. GUESS.

2. This whole joyful event was compounded by the fact that there is only one USMLE test centre in Ireland, and that is in Dublin. As every Irish person knows, only Dubliners like Dublin. I was forced to stay with my aunt and uncle in Sandymount - which is practically Ballsbridge, if you're talking to them. Obviously that means sweet FA to anyone not from Ireland, so I'll just say: Ballsbridge/D4 = Upper East Side of New York. It's amazing how much more I know about postcodes in New York than I do about, oh, anywhere else. To be fair, Sandymount is literally a hop, skip and a jump from Grafton Street, which is right near Pearse Street, which is right near South Cumberland Street, which is where my exam centre was situated. I'm not sure why this is turning into a geography lesson.

2a. I only got two hours' sleep the night before the exam, partly because I was so wound up and in a strange bed and the rest of it, but mainly because of my aunt's snoring. She was in the next room, but she might as well have been in my bed. Words cannot adequately describe the noise she makes, although I came up with several approximations between the hours of eleven and five. Here's a small sample: a flatulent elephant; a chainsaw orgy; a manic-depressive flute orchestra; the death of the Florida Keys.

2c. My aunt and uncle are tiresome - the sort of people who watch investigative documentaries and then regurgitate every single fact in conversation without either adding to the story or - what is far more important in two-way discourse - taking anything away. My aunt at one point actually said, "In some ways, it pays to be hungry before you eat." I'd love to say 'duh' here, but it's kind of obvious she regularly eats when she's not hungry in the slightest. She is positively Pickwickian. And yet she insisted on paying for all my meals - that's a hundred euro in TGI Friday; bandom lied to me, I thought that was a fast-food joint - as well as a taxi to the exam, gave me twenty euro to buy some books, and pressed on me a lot of silver jewellery she bought in Berlin, it being too small for her wrists and neck. It was like being smothered with the hospitality of a - a someone who really doesn't like you. Because she doesn't. The feeling isn't mutual, because I can't be bothered having an emotion towards her.

2c. I liberated (read: stole) an abandoned copy of Prozac Nation from the pink rows of chicklit in the spare bedroom. I'm not even sorry.

3. I haven't been in Dublin for years. It's teeming with tourists and rain. I spent a lot of time comparing it to Cork. Cork is where I go to college - I don't think I've ever mentioned that. I came to the conclusion that, while Dublin is a great place to visit (see: tourists), Cork is a far nicer place to live. There's nothing here to entice visitors, but plenty to satisfy inhabitants.

3b. That being said, the selection of consumer goods is far greater in Dublin. I got two pairs of Vans, one Babychams, Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Beauty by Sherri S. Tepper, Empire by Orson Scott Card and - and - and Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome! In the classics section of Hodges Figgis! The classics section in Cork consists of depressing arrays of Dickens and Eliot. And they were all about six euro each. I haven't paid that little for first-hand books since the euro changeover.

4. I did not as such get out of bed today.

5. I missed my flist for a week so much more than my real life friends the whole summer. I deem this to be AWESOME (at least now the week is over).
argenterieargenterie4 on August 7th, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
Oh no. American medical school teaches you diseasey-stuff too, just like in Ireland. And then, the USMLE is meant to be impossibly hard and test only your ability to study a bunch of useless TINY CRAP on your own time, like you don't have enough to do already. Sigh. It is a hard test, isn't it ?

I thought I failed too when I took Step 1, but I did not. So there is hope!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: socksscoradh on August 7th, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
I was thoroughly disappointed in myself. I studied really hard for about two months and then my mind failed out. I spent a fortnight crying and doing Qbank, which is why I eventually moved my date to a week earlier.

I HATE it when exams do that. It's always - you'll pass from the lectures, but if you want to do well you have to read around the subject! They say, smiling as if it's a GREAT IDEA. I think examiners often totally lose sight of what the exams are about - ie, getting doctors who have a proper level of clinical knowledge. When is that stupid cardiac output graph ever going to be useful to me in my life, seriously?

I got a 57% average on Qbank, which is dreadful - especially for a IMG - but according to their estimator that's 210. Like, as if.

/ranty mcrant
(no subject) - neery on August 8th, 2008 07:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 8th, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
jehnt: ocean's 11 - danny & rustyjehnt on August 7th, 2008 11:37 pm (UTC)
Well, I hope you did better on your exam than you think you did.

And I totally sympathize with you on the snoring front -- I have difficult even sleeping in the same room with someone else who is BREATHING, much less SNORING. I've started using earplugs almost all the time just because I can't go to sleep with like any noise whatsoever.

And ooh, I brought Three Men in a Boat on vacation with me to read but I haven't gotten to it yet.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Austen with a bookscoradh on August 8th, 2008 12:07 am (UTC)
Me too. I was talking with the only other guy doing it that day - a qualified doctor - and he was in muchos pain also. I don't think anyone does awesome on it, which is probably why they refuse to tell you what the scores mean in percentages. They just go: HERE, YOU ANSWERED MY FAVOURITE QUESTION RIGHT, HAVE A 99!

You don't even know - I have builder's earmuffs to wear to bed in college. At least half to blame for my constant back pain. I'm hoping the new, more expensive flat I have this year will come with thicker walls. >.>

It's very much referenced in To Say Nothing of the Dog, which is probably my top 3 favourite book. That's the only reason I bought it. We should totally compare reviews!
(no subject) - jehnt on August 8th, 2008 12:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 8th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jehnt on August 9th, 2008 06:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 9th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jehnt on August 11th, 2008 03:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 11th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
mrsquizzical: boyhandsmrsquizzical on August 7th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
oh i nearly got anxious on your behalf just READING about the exam. blergh! hope it worked out better than you thought it did.

5. i know! weird/wonderful, isn't it?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: monkeyscoradh on August 8th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
By this point, I was so over it. I don't even care that much about the result. I'm totally burnt out. I guess I'm just psyching myself for the possibility of failure, so I'm not too bummed if it does happen.

5. And after my last post too - I'm so glad I have lj! &youall;
peripatetic extemporizations: Brendon hearthatoyona on August 8th, 2008 12:06 am (UTC)
: ( I bet you didn't fail. I'm sure it's just meant to be hard and discouraging and all around depressing. Now I'm depressed for you! Regardless of how you did, I'm sorry you feel so disappointed by it. *hugs*
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: MCR: feather boa Gerardscoradh on August 8th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
You know what? I JUST DON'T KNOW. I'm sure you know the monster pit of doom from a bad exam, or the light 'that was okay' feeling. I got nothin'. It was just impossible to tell. If I fail I won't be surprised, but if I pass I won't be surprised either. Just happier.

(no subject) - hatoyona on August 8th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 8th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - hatoyona on August 9th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
trichinopoly ashaldehyde on August 8th, 2008 12:15 am (UTC)
i hope you did much better than you're expecting! ugh, i hate it when exams cover inane things or ask you completely unexpected questions *hugs*
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on August 8th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
I hope so too, but it's like - way too big to think about right now? I'm totally going to focus on my spa date on Monday, where hopefully they will fix my fucked-up posture. Or something.
(no subject) - aldehyde on August 9th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 9th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aldehyde on August 9th, 2008 07:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 9th, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Shezanshezan on August 8th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
My poor egg! It's a horrible feeling, but you sound like you knew your stuf, so it may come out all right.

Also, Domesday Book ROCKS like a ROCKING THING. In fact, anything by Connie Willis does. And since you just got yourself Three Men In A Boat, you can read Willis's To Say Nothing Of The Dog next, since it's Domesday Book Meets Three Men In A Boat. Really, it is. And it's VERY FUNNY (which Domesday Book isn't.)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: treesscoradh on August 8th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
aslfjhsdkfjh the worst thing? Some of the questions were so dumbass easy. I can answer stuff about thyroid problems and coeliac disease in my sleep. The contrast, then, with the graphs of crazy! Arg!

I have both those books now (as I think you saw!), though I'm rather disappointed that Domesday Book isn't funny. TSNOTD is HILARIOUS - screamlets!
moocowmisconstrue on August 8th, 2008 01:41 am (UTC)
oh god, I'm so sorry. ♥ At least you have all this stuff to console yourself with?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Audrey Hepburnscoradh on August 8th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
That and my precious internet! *squishes*
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: PoT: Marui: kissscoradh on August 8th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
I am grooving to your jibe for realz. Or maybe jibing to your groove; I'm not sure. Exams, why do you fail so hard?

Matchy西matchynishi on August 8th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC)
*hugs* I'm sure you'll be posting about how you came in the first 10 or sth when you get the results! :D

...but if not, you got a lot of silver stuff s;lkdfd. to, you know, console yourself with the shiny. <333
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: skyscoradh on August 8th, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
Hee, I'd never know that anyway! But if they decide to give me a 99 instead of, oh, a SIXTY, I won't be complaining!

It is very shiny. Also with purple bits. :D
sleepingfingers on August 8th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
*hugs* I hope you did a lot better than you thought you did! Exams that ask questions with no relevance to what being studied is sucky. :(
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Attention bunnyscoradh on August 8th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
You never said a truer word. *le sigh*
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: rose petal bowlscoradh on August 8th, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)

spark_of_chaos: book-oldspark_of_chaos on August 9th, 2008 10:29 am (UTC)
I'm sure you did better than you make it sound!

Though that said, when you first posted about the USMLEs, because I knew nothing of them, I went and downloaded the practice test they have on the site. Third question was about the Mihaelis-Menten graph and I was all you've got to be joking. I've been doing my summer practice this last week (my very first patient meeting), and let me tell you, working medical personnel outside of a university hospital have blessed little remembrance of all those boring graph-y, persentage-y nonsense.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: hipposcoradh on August 9th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC)
'So you have cancer, huh? Well. How 'bout that diffusion coefficient?'

I did not understand the Michaelis Menten constant when we were actually being taught it. It might even have come up on this exam; I don't know, because my mind automatically shuts down in the face of such horror.