Mistakes are portals of discoveries. They are proof that you are trying but you don’t always have to make them or learn from them especially when you are inquisitive.
While growing up I learnt that experience was the best teacher. This was a lie I grew up with and took to medical school. A lie that taught me a lesson, an unforgettable painful lesson.
It was a Thursday morning. We had finished our end of semester examination barely two days ago and was preparing for yet another exam scheduled to hold the following week. As always, I came into the college to study. To my greatest surprise, I received information that Physiology result was out. Immediately I rushed to the notice board in excitement and curiosity. I skimmed through the result in search for my matriculation number. After some time, I found it; I had scored 36.
Physiology exams are tricky especially the practical exams. To maximize mark in the practical session of an exam especially one conducted by Physiology Department, one must learn to report her answers in synopsis.
Standard medical examinations usually comprised of three sessions; Multiple choice questions, Essay questions and Practical questions. This wasn’t the case in this particular exam. We had prepared our minds for only one session of an exam i.e essay session. As a matter of fact, the college had earlier instructed departments under the college of Health Sciences to inform her students the nature of her exams before the scheduled day for the exam; the Head of Department, Physiology told us to prepare for an essay form of examination.
The deal day came and we went to the exam Hall prepared. Then, I didn’t know what I know now. The questions had two sessions; Long answer and Short answer questions (LAQ and SAQ). The LAQs were three each carrying 20marks while the SAQs were four each carrying 10marks.
We were given 2Hours 45Minutes to answer all 7 Questions correctly. Well, what did I do? I forgot the fact that physiology wasn’t about story telling and began to tell stories. Point by point I wrote, the one they asked me; the one they didn’t ask me. I succeeded in spending about 45 minutes in answering a single question from the long answer session of the examination. I realised I had 6 questions left with less than 2Hours.
I started the second question and then the third. While the exam went on, we received information from the labouratory that the exam was going to feature a practical session. I was shocked, we were all schocked. I said to myself, had I known, I would have prepared for it regardless. At the end of the day, I succeeded in answering just four questions before the time given elapsed. When results came out, I scored 57 in the essay session of the exam. One of the highest in that session of the examination.
Then it was time for practicals. It was an alternative to practical. Foolish me wrote the practical sessions as though it was an essay exam. Funny thing was that I had skipped most of the practical classes for the semester. Why? I wouldn’t know if you asked. So I wrote the practical session with limited information as I wasn’t in attendance in most practical sessions; a troubled mind due since I didn’t finish the theory session; and in an essay format rather than in synopsis. Perhaps all these could have been avoided if I had asked the right people the right questions. I wrote the best I could, submitted and went home.
When the results finally came out, I scored less than 25 in the practical session of the exam. I had an averaged score of 36 at the end of the Day. It was the first mistake I ever made in medical school; the first exam I ever failed.