Anatomy Midterm 3: Check!

November 24, 2013 § 6 Comments

This week has been completely draining – and we have to keep going! On Wednesday we had our 3rd Anatomy midterm of the semester. The topic for this semester is neuroanatomy, but this midterm included regional anatomy of the dorsal regions. This meant that we needed to be able to present all of the regions on the back side of the body through all layers – from the skin down to the bone. This required us to review a lot of information we covered in the first semester of first year.

To start the exam, we had to pass a written portion covering the cranial nerves and spinal nerves and plexuses. There were 10 questions total and we had to pass with 6 correct in order to be accepted to the oral portion of the exam. The questions were similar to the following:

  • Which nerve innervates the skin between the 1st and 2nd toes? (Deep peroneal)
  • Which nerve innervates the epiglottic vallecula? (Vagus, CN X)
  • Which nerve pierces the scalenus medius muscle? (Long Thoracic)
  • Which cranial nerve carries “guest fibers” from the spinal cord? (Hypoglossal, CN XII)
  • What are the terminal branches of the tibial nerve? (Medial and Lateral Plantar Nerves)
  • Which nerve innervates the interosseus muscles of the hand? (Ulnar nerve)

I passed with 7 correct. I have a stupid habit of not really reading the question correctly and it has cost me quite a few points on exams this semester. I’m working on it…but the habit still creeps up when I am nervous. There was 1 question I had to guess on (the scalenus medius one) and the other two were stupid mistakes – I read epiglottal tastebuds instead of epiglottic vallecula and “guest fibers from the spinal cord” made me immediately think the vagus nerve, since it gets its internal branches from the accessory nerve (although those fibers originate from the nucleus ambiguus and not the spinal nucleus of the accessory nerve). But I passed the written – and that is all that matters!

The oral part was extremely nerve-wracking. Normally I am called first, since I am last on the roster (they like to start from the bottom apparently). This time, I wasn’t called first…or second…or third…or fourth. The tension builds up to unbearable levels during the wait. We have to do our oral exams in front of our entire class. The cadavers rest on tables in the middle of the room and members of the group sit around the periphery of the room. My group is amazing, everyone supports each other and we are all hard workers, but that still doesn’t stop me from getting a little stage fright, to be completely honest.

Jannie and I were sitting next to each other, waiting for our turns, when sunlight broke through the clouds and streamed in through the windows. We moved so that our faces were in the sun and laughed nervously at the thought of what we looked like. The examiner looked over at us and laughed, asking if we were always so smiley or if it was just nerves. Suddenly we heard loud sobbing from the next room. One of my group mates whispered the name of a notoriously tough examiner and suddenly it felt like a wave of fear washed over the room. When examiners are done examining their assigned group, they will check the other groups to see if they can help to wade through the students. This makes it so that you never know who you are going to get for your exam…

Immediately after the cries of the sobbing girl reached our room, the door opened and the aforementioned examiner stepped in. At that point, my stress level exploded. I was so nervous I felt paralyzed. I kept trying to calm myself with mature thoughts, but with that level of adrenaline coursing through my body, no mental trick was going to make a difference. Jannie was feeling the same way and looked over at me and whispered, “this is horrible!” Soon, another examiner entered and the original examiner motioned towards Jannie and I, smiled and said something that sounded like, “take the sunny girls” in Hungarian.

We ended up having our exam together, which made for a nice yet awkward experience. It was nice to not be completely alone with the examiner, but it also prevented me from getting into a groove. If either one of us didn’t get the question right away, he would ask the other, and he went back and forth in this manner the entire time. I really don’t think this is the best method because it doesn’t give the examiner a chance to assess your knowledge without outside influence. Plus, as Jannie said afterwards, it makes the entire exam about comparing us to each other rather than testing us fully on our knowledge.

It went well in the end, so I guess it wasn’t that bad 😉 I ended up with a 4, which was perfect. It reflected my hard work, but showed that there was still room for improvement. I put in almost 60 hours of studying for this single exam over the past few weeks, but I realized that a lot of that time could have been spent more efficiently. The guides I made detailing the layers of the dorsal regions were a great study tool, but I think I spent a little bit too much time on them. They will, however, be a great asset when preparing for the final exam.

Thursday required us to be up and at ’em again for our weekly physiology quizzes. It was so difficult to study on Wednesday after our anatomy exam – especially since I only got 4 hours of sleep the night before. I was able to go through all of the material before the first quiz, but I don’t think I did very well. We were asked to draw these graphs and I couldn’t recall all the details:heart3 Picture10

Thursday night ended up being a night off, though not really a whole night, since we weren’t done with our physiology lab until 19:00 and then didn’t get home until 20:00 since the subway wasn’t working. Now it’s biochemistry time! On Thursday we will have our physiology quizzes at 14:00 and 16:00 and then at 19:00 we will have our 2nd Biochemistry midterm. I still can’t believe we are going to have 3 exams in one day. This isn’t a game, folks! 🙂

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