Thursday, April 17, 2008

Psychological imbalance

Is it psychologically acceptable to swear at a computer screen?
During QBase I reckon it is. I am ploughing my way through QBase 2 at present on the computer - it feels marginally less like doing work if you're clicking a mouse every so often. But the MCQs can be so frustrating. They contradict answers in different MCQ books and unfortunately a small proportion of questions are out of date. But, the standard is reasonably high and the more the merrier etc etc. I've been getting between 42-49% on QBase 2 - which allowing for stupid errors (often!) and not reading the question/stems properly (occasionally!), I think, is OK. I'm sure some of you will be feeling smug on reading this if you're getting higher marks - so this portion was to make you feel better!!!

Well, I've just come off two of the most hideous night shifts on Neuro ITU ever. That'll learn me for taking in books to read/MCQs to do. It reminds me of a week of nights as a surgery house officer where our first three nights were so quiet. So, on the third night my SHO at the time decided to bring in his Playstation for the mess......the rest is history - Tits Up!!!!

Four and a half days to go - so how best to make use of the time?
-I'm still trying to get through as many MCQs as I can - in fact I wish I'd spent more time on them earlier as I may not finish all the books I have. I generally try and do at least two papers a day (usually take about 2 hours to do each), one first thing in the morning and then one later when I'm really tired, exactly like the real thing!!
-Today, I'm concentrating on sexy topics, review articles, guidelines etc, and hopefully if there's time, to finish going through some physics.
-I think the time has come to stop trying to learn new things now, so over the next few days I shall be rereading all the SAQs I have done from the Mersey Course, College papers, and SAQ textbooks (especially Bricker and Dashfield & Murphy).
-Over the past few months, I have been transferring some of my Basic Science notes from Primary into the Bricker Basic Science Viva Book, hopefuly leaving myself with one definitive but concise Basic Science text for both this written part and any future vivas (fingers crossed). I'll also try and go through as much of that as I can in the next few days.

I'm going to buy some really nice pens that are comfortable to write with - preferably ones that I don't have to press too hard onto the paper with. Hand cramp 90 minutes into the SAQs would not be desirable.

I have pledged not to take part in the dangerous pre-exam sport that is A-Z word-chasing. This involves reading a topic in A-Z, then seeing a bold word highlighted in the text that you have forgotten about, and going to that entry, and so on. It wastes a lot of time, and induces sphincter-loosening panic (?sympathetic or parasympathetic).

I am taking the exam in Central London but live about half an hour outside. Rush hour trains or traffic i.e. M4 are not conducive to good mental preparation. Therefore, a four star hotel overnight and a good breakfast, for me, is a prerequisite. So I've booked a nice room at the Park Inn Hotel on Southampton Row about ten minutes walk from the Exam hotel.


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