Examination System

The least favourite topic, exam.

I sent a message to P via FB. I just let he knew that I really appreciate his presence during my down time- After OSCE. It was a disaster to me, because my case study is about GIT. So, I have done thorough check up on my previous patient, starting from History Taking, Physical Exam to Management about GIT but I couldn’t perform well on that exam day. I even forgotten to examine the kidney! Worst!
Lack of practise, the examiner commented. I nodded with agreement.

I couldn’t focus on the next paper- MCQ, all the examiner’s sayings were running through my mind. I even doubted, will I be a good physician?.

So, that was a huge relieve when I actually passed the exam. Ironically, my OSCE’s mark is far better than MCQ. So back to our story, I informed P about it. He congratulated with remark that I’m lucky. In his university, RCSI , you can’t afford to fail any subjects or you’ll be graded as fail regardless of your mean marks.

Differently, in my university, you’ll be assessed by average marks of all papers. If you get 50% and above, then you’re safe. I agree, RCSI’s examination is not easy handle. But those who can’t make it for the first time can sit for another paper.

But for us, 1) No one deserves a second chance. Once you failed, you have to repeat one year or 6 months accordingly. 2)MCQ is set with negative marking, with the intention to produce safe doctors. You have a wide degree of freedom, in this case , you can choose NOT to answer the question, hence leave it blank. If you attempted to answer, it will carry some risk in the marking, either positive or negative value. Mind you, 50% is a cutting point, so 1/2 Questions which equivalent to 200 statements should be answered or you failed yourself on the spot. 3) Attendance. Our Deputy Dean is so particular regarding this matter. If I’m not mistaken only student with satisfactory attendance of 95% would be allowed to sit for exam. Special case for students with valid reasons for absentees. All of this are the requirements to ensure adequate knowledge is gained by student plus as disciplinary action to mould future doctors attitude.

Well, different universities have different systems. I think it is necessary for any future medical students to do some research about teaching system and examination system before hand in their application form or attend an interview. After all, you’ll have to suit yourself with the system. Adapt or die.

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