Time to evaluate the situation

Perhaps you will remember that once upon a time I wrote cardio. And then refused to post about it.
Oh soul.
So, around this time last week ago a few of us came out of class, excited by the prospect of our impending “holiday” and without a care in the world (all despite the fact that The Administration was determined to steal our thunder.)
Of course, as is the case with most things in my life, that joy threatened to be short-lived.

“Guys, the results are out!” my friend H (you may remember her as HBB1’s girlfriend) said as a group of us were walking together past the Exams Office.

WARNING: HBB1, you WILL be mentioned further in this post. If you are at all still reading this blog, which I highly doubt, I figure a girl’s gotta warn a guy. Just in case. 🙂

“I thought the lecturer said they’d only come out next week…” someone reasoned, although we had all started heading in the direction of the Exams Office regardless.

“I don’t wanna see,” another friend said, grabbing my arm excitedly. “I’m not sure I’m ready.”

“You are,” I said calmly, feigning confidence that was so out of reach for me that it was almost comical. There I was, calming someone else down while I myself was probably going to need a defib soon.(This may sound dramatic, and I’ll admit that I’m prone to be, but seriously I could feel my pulse in my throat. That is never a good sign.)

We reached the corridor of the Exams Office after what felt like ages and then made our way bravely towards the board with the 2nd year results.

I am not proud to say that we probably stood there like idiots for a good ten to fifteen minutes trying to figure out what exactly the lists that were up were supposed to represent. At one point we thought the ECG mark-sheet was from the first ECG test, seeing as the second one was mixed into the clinical test. But then some brilliant person pointed out that the averages were different (how do people remember stuff like this?) and we realized at that point that it was the Clinical mark.

Then we looked at the second mark-sheet and it had so many columns with ambiguous titles that we mistook the marks for some sort of average. But then, after further confusion, decided that all it represented was raw data of the second (third, really, but sort of a combination of three and four that really was supposed to be second…confusing!) test.

If that gives you even half the headache it gave us, congratulations.

Anyway, once that was all sorted, I zoned in on my actual mark.

And, boy, it was not pretty.

Nut (who has basically taken over the role as my MenTut since mine abandoned me) always tells me to ensure that, whatever happens, I write into the ‘safe zone’. This, according to her, is over sixty. Not sixty. More.

Her logic is, life happens. Sometimes things occur around exam time that can completely destroy any hope of passing if you’d scraped by with the bare minimum class mark. Family members get sick, you get sick, the person marking your script gets sick. Nothing is guaranteed. So ensure that whatever you do, you write throughout the block to obtain a classmark of over 60. That way, when life happens, you have a reasonable mark to bolster you.

The point of that tangent is, I think I’m in the safe zone. I can’t be sure, considering the fact that we only got raw data and no final marks on those sheets, but for the first two tests we wrote I just barely made it through one and destroyed the other (in a good way). The next two tests…erm. Ja. I think it’s safe to say that they destroyed me.

So I have forced myself to sit back and take stock of exactly what went wrong and what I’m gonna have to do to rectify the current situation.

Firstly, I studied all the material.

Depending on how I look at this, this could either have been to my benefit or detriment. Why? For Resp’s end-of-module I did not in fact study everything. I did this thing called ‘spotting’, where you (usually out of stress) identify chapters that are most likely to be focussed on and spend more time on these, often completely ignoring anything you figure you understand in principle and can sweet-talk your way out of in a test. How did this method work? Pretty darn well. Except that I felt guilty after and figured I could have done better had I spent time on everything. So for Cardio, that’s what I did. EVERYTHING. And where did that get me? Stunned into disbelief when it dawned on me that most of that paper was on valve-lesions.

One measly chapter

The shock remains with me still.


Studying everything is pointless. (Haha, just kidding. But sometimes it feels like it.)

Secondly, I didn’t go through most of my work more than once.

Yes, yes, I can see all the Med students all over the world shaking their heads and tut-tutting in disapproval. Let me explain. I had overestimated my capacity to retain ridiculous amounts of information on two counts. The first was my assumption that I could go through the work quickly and efficiently enough that round two would simply be revision. The second was my assumption that if the first assumption proved false, I could just skip the revision altogether in order to finish. (And what is with this newfound obsession with finishing, anyway?)


Never do that again, you idiot. Work needs to be seen a minimum of twice for your lower-than-average IQ. Never get cocky and forget that.

Thirdly, and this isn’t so much an excuse as it is a note-to-self, I got sick.

I mean, I was talking to another MS2 later that day and she said that there is no way that that mark is at all reflective of what she wrote in that paper. And I’m tempted to say I concur. I know I didn’t work as hard (or as smart) as I should have, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t work hard at all. And I am convinced that I managed to answer every question in the clinical paper. Maybe not well, but still. So unless the infectious agents had momentarily taken over my eyesight and I had imagined the majority of those questions, I should have done better. I should have.


Stay away from all germ-containing surfaces for at least two weeks before exams. Wear sterile gloves and get a cool bubble like that guy in that one movie. Only allow people to speak to you if they are downwind from you. ‘Nuff said.

I’m ashamed to admit it but, I didn’t even touch Embryology.

Read: a large chunck of the pre-clin paper. Ah, yes. I had planned to. I even scheduled a meeting with the lecturer after that one lecture that basically said everything we’ve learnt about the embryological development of the heart is a farce. I just wanted to be more sure of that farce, you know. But then I started running out of time and thought, “Embryology or ECG’s? Hmmm…” I’m sure you won’t be surprised by the news that I politely cancelled aforementioned meeting.


I’m an idiot.

The physiology section made no sense.

Now understand this: Physiology? That’s my thing. I breathe physiology. I AM PHYSIOLOGY. So the fact that it made no sense to me tells you that I was either so spaced-out by my self-medication (three cheers for living in a res full of would-be doctors!!!) or our lecturer was seriously spaced out when he set the paper. The latter is not so far-fetched mind you. There is plenty reason to suspect…


The lecturer is an idiot.

Finally, Anatomy.

‘Nuff said.


I detest Anatomy.


I was feeling pretty disappointed with myself when I heard HBB1 say to nobody in general, “This can’t be right.”

Which caused a deadly silence to fill the passage as all my friends sort of looked slyly in his direction.

You see HBB1 is part of an elite group of supergeniuses that have decided to grace our class of mere mortals with their brilliant question-answeing/higher-order superpowers. I swear, Prof Cardio even got to the point where he stopped directing his ridiculously higher-grade questions to the class and would simply look in their direction for the inevitably higher-grade solutions.

So, naturally, we were all pretty stunned to hear that HBB1 wasn’t happy with his mark. And not in that irritating, “How is this not a 99” med student way. But more in a, “Dude. What’s going on here?”

Granted, he probably still (deservedly) cum’d it (got a distinction). And rightly so. Students like me have no right expecting distinctions in second year. But there’s got to be some sinister plot at hand when our resident geniuses don’t get the marks they deserve.

That, my friends, is a serious injustice.



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2 responses to “Time to evaluate the situation

  1. natology

    Glad you got that out of your system. Was gonna comment on almost everything but ooooweee forgot about half the stuff that was written down there…..my 3 sec memo, oh well……!That was a piece and a half but it was very much needed i can see….im having rooibos tea…feels fabulous, havnt had any in quite some time….anywho…..i think you being a lil too hard on yourself tho to some extent, all those verdicts…..just a lil…*psychevaluationsessionfin*

  2. But am I? Think about it, none of the “problems” I identified were totally unavoidable (except maybe getting sick and the phys lecturer being (allegedly) high while setting the paper). Maybe idiot is a strong word, but I’m seriously starting to doubt the assumption that by mere virtue of being a med student I am supposed to have common sense.

    PS: haha, totally out of my system. Now for some of that rooibos

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