Friday, September 24, 2010

Epiphany!

It’s no secret that I took advantage of my anonymity during my time at the university.  No attendance policy meant I rarely attended, with the intention of “teaching myself” the material I missed.  Often that just meant I was trying to learn an entire semester of material in a few days before my final exam in December (or April).  Naturally, finals were extremely stressful for me.

I was out for curry with Kristin this week and I was telling her about how I had an Anatomy and Physiology final the following morning, and how surprising it was that I wasn’t at home studying and pulling my hair out.  I proceeded to reminisce about such exams in my university days and said, “Maybe if I’d gone to more classes, I wouldn’t have to teach myself a whole semester’s worth of material over night.  I probably wouldn’t have been so stressed and would have taken an hour or two to REVIEW the material, rather than learning it for the first time."

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Bing!  That’s EXACTLY what has been going on with SIAST forcing me to attend.  I have gone to all my classes, and so instead of stressing over the final, I was out enjoying supper with a friend and would study for 90 minutes before bed.  Wow, too bad I didn’t figure that out five years ago.

Anyway, you’ll all be pleased to know that I finished my A & P class this week with flying colours.  Hurray!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Every day is exam day

Whenever possible, our “exams” are multiple choice.  I know, everyone is probably thinking how awesome that is, multiple choice exams are so easy, right?  Definitely, I like the concept of those exams because it means the answer is on the paper in front of you, just find it.  Too bad nothing in my life is that straight forward.  I have a problem with the fact that these exams don’t care that I can explain the formation of CSF or the structure of a bone, or the function of the central nervous system in how it relates to reflex.  I spend evenings explaining to Matt how TB affects your lungs, or how Hep B runs its course, but that’s not what SIAST wants to make sure I know.  Instead, I get a bunch bullshit questions in this format:

”Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of <insert word>?”

What is that?  How is that an accurate way to test people?  I fail to see how answering questions like that is an accurate representation of what I know on the subject.  It’s not.  Sure, I’m acing these tests, but other people are too.  Based on the questions they ask and their open mouth resting face, I don’t think they know much; I think they’re good at memorizing definitions.

Anyway, we have had ELEVEN tests thus far in our courses, every one of which has been using the infamous Opscan sheets (“bubble” sheets at SIAST). 

On the first exam, there was some confusion about how to fill out the sheet.  But there are only a few rules: use pencil only, fill in your name, and make sure to include your student number (fill it out using the bubbles).  And, after the 10th time using these papers, we still get a lecture about how to properly fill them out.  Not because of SIAST’s uncanny ability to hold our hands, but because every time, somebody fucks it up. 

Last week, before a midterm (having been told 10 times how to use the sheets correctly), a hand went up.  Bandanna Girl had a question about the bubble sheets:
”So where do I put my student number?  Is it in the greyish part?”

Where the fuck is the greyish part?  The whole damn sheet is blue and white.  And how about putting your student number where it says STUDENT IDENTIFICATION NUMBER?  Seriously, Bandanna Girl?  Ten times we’ve been through this.  All you’re doing is filling in little circles with a pencil.  And I’m supposed to let these people come at me with a needle to practice venipunctures?  Unlikely! 

Bandanna Girl: “So how do I get rid of the air in my syringe once I’m already in the vein?”
No thanks, idiots.  Back away from the Jacquie-vein.