Yesterday, we had a mock exam that was oddly comforting. I know that’s a really odd thing to say, but I was expecting it to be utterly terrifying. I thought that I’d be walking out of the Bute Hall at the half-hour mark and leaving many, many blank sheets of paper on my desk — and that would have been okay, it was a mock, and one afternoon of getting scared shitless might have been a good motivator for the next four-and-a-bit months of studying for the real thing, but it turned out to be quite a friendly paper.
It was divided up into one question for each of the three blocks we’ve done since September. Block 7 started out with the advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding, and went onto growth in children and the influences on it. Block 8 was all opthalmology and visual field defects, including the names of the muscles that move the eyes in different directions and the nerves that supply them, and Block 9 was a gorgeous question about angina pectoris and risk factors for CHD and the classes of antihypertensive drugs. Now, I’m not suggesting for a minute that I could have passed it. The only thing I made a proper stab at was the Block 9 question, and that was mostly because almost all of it was covered in the coursework that I handed in four days ago. I know very little about the eye, and I am not joking when I say that my answer to the eight mark question on factors affecting endochondral bone growth was, “Mother’s height. Father’s height. Environmental. Use of growth charts?” I left after 35 minutes, but everything I was asked was something that I know I should know. It’s calmed me down. I feel like there’s a lot of work to do, but that it can be done and that second year is not an unpassable thing, and maybe that’s going to be a better motivator than scared shitless would have been.
Next week, I start my SSM on Drugs In Sport. It wasn’t my first choice, but it looks interesting and my timetable looks like I’ll have a decent amount of time for studying, and I might not have actually got much of that done if the post-mock mantra in my head had been, “OH MY GOD, WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE.”
It’s just a shame that I can’t persuade myself that the real paper won’t involve at least one instance of the word ‘syncytiotrophoblast’, but there is a point where realism needs to prevail, and, in second year, embryology is it.