My second step I board exam, this time the COMLEX, is tomorrow. More luck and vibes, please!
I just took a sample exam on the NBOME website. I am pretty happy, having gotten an 86%. A few of my errors were really stupid, and I knew the right answer. One could have easily been remedied by reading more slowly and not being distracted. I won’t being singing Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys and jamming out to my iPod in a crowded coffee shop during the real deal, so I may notice that the scenario about the fainting young woman includes the tidbit that she never injures herself on the way down, indicating malingering.
My pessimistic side is saying I just answered 50 questions on their website that most likely will not be on the exam, since they are on their website. Meh. I hope this indicates that I have a breadth of knowledge likely to be on the exam, but I am not sure.
One comment. We are actually allowed to type and save comments about specific questions on the exam, apparently. I don’t know if I will exercise this option. The instructions did not indicate if these would be read or considered by the powers that be, or a place for me to make notes in case I have time to return to the question.
I used to write comments on my paper exams at school, such as “WTF?” and “You said we didn’t need to memorize specific degrees of angles of components of normal gait!!” next to offending questions. Since it wasn’t on the scantron form, only on my paper copy of the test, I figured it was just garbage. I stopped doing this once I realized my test was always up there first (I am an obnoxiously fast reader and test taker), usually in the hands of a bored department head (or lackey) with not much else to do and no other tests to look over yet.
I never thought of it until one of the professors pointed out, in front of most of the class, that he noticed that I had corrected typos on my exam. I was slightly embarrassed, since my test taking speed is already a much discussed topic among my classmates. I felt a bit of redemption, since people should hear (and stop asking!) that I actually have time to read the questions. Um, yeah, I passed two years of medical school (not to mention the classes and standardized tests leading up to it) by skimming and picking “C”. (That’s my standard sarcastic answer to that.)
But, then I realized if he read my corrections, he most likely read my other editorial comments. I racked my brain trying to remember if I had written anything rude about any of his questions. I doubt it; he tends to be a straightforward test writer, but you never know. I stopped writing out the sarcastic comments at this point.
Anyway, back to the practice test and the ability to write comments. I did type one on the practice test, just to try it out. I doubt I will use it on the actual COMLEX, but I was spurred to try it out today. The stem of the question was the patient’s history. A middle aged male patient came in with various complaints, the chief complaint being headaches. Examination of the patient finds hemiparesis. Um, huh? My comment: “What patient would not complain of being paralyzed on one side?”
Mr. Patient, I know you mainly are concerned with your headaches, but did you notice you can’t move half your body and most likely couldn’t have even walked in on your own volition?
Lazy question writing. Just saying. Poor dude had a chronic subdural bleed.