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Conversations: Feeling Unprepared

Posted Nov 10 2008 4:25pm

I recently had a conversation with my cousin (who also happens to be my classmate). The conversation was sandwiched between a couple hours of studying about ischemic heart disease, vascular disease, valvular disease, and congenital heart diseases. We were preparing for a Pathology lab where we were scheduled to do some “team-based learning.” (These team-based sessions involve working in groups of five to figure out a diagnosis based on a small clinical vignettes. Once the diagnosis is obtained we usually have to figure out the mechanisms leading to the condition.)

The conversation took place right after I showed her a sample test that applicants to the San Francisco Police Department can download at the department website. The first few sections were really simple and we skimmed through right through it. It felt easy. (At least the first sections felt easy. There was at least one section towards the end that looked pretty tricky.)

I’m not sure who first verbalized it, but we noted how it had been a long time since we had walked into an exam feeling fully confident in what we knew and of what the outcome would be. So far in medical school it hasn’t mattered how much I have spent preparing for an exam. I have never walked into a test site feeling like I know everything as well as I should. Maybe that one student that keeps scoring between 98-100% knows how that feels, but I sure don’t. And that is a very frustrating thing.

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