31. Tag exam
I would like to correct any misunderstandings about med school students. "Med students are diligent, so they always find things to study on their own, right?" "Nope, they fool around whenever they have the chance. They must be forced to study. Med students are no different from other college students."
The best way of forcing students to study is examination. Med students are afraid of exams, because when a student fails an exam the student becomes a holdover and has to repeat the entire year. If you repeat a year, you have to pay the expensive tuition again and you lose a year of income you could earn as a doctor later on. Therefore, exam grades equal money.
Furthermore, if you receive bad grades it becomes difficult to get into popular departments of the hospital. Popular departments refer to the ones that comfortably earn more money. Like I said, exam grades equal money. There are other ways such as interviews to evaluate students, but grades matter the most as grades reflect students most objectively. Think of a high school student with good grades being accepted to popular majors of universities. What is different for med schools is that you are competing with people you know, your colleagues. In med schools where relative evaluation is crucial, colleagues are your enemies.
Many people consider med school's year-fail and relative evaluation system to be harsh. But in my opinion, being a lazy student in school and subsequently doing harm or leading a patient to death is the more inhumane thing to do. Forcing med students to study has its reasons.
To force students to attend actively in anatomy labs, lab exams must be taken as well. Exams are taken in the following manner. Using a string, a structure in a cadaver is indicated. Then, the question asks what the name of the structure is. There are about four questions per cadaver, so 40 questions are available using 10 cadavers. In addition, 20 questions are asked using bone replicas. Let's say there are 60 students, and then you could assign a student per question. Once the exam begins, students solve the question in front of them. After 30 seconds, an alarm will go off, which means it is time to move on to the next question. The 60 students move on to the next question altogether. This looks like toothed wheels of a machine rolling together. It takes 30 minutes to solve all 60 questions, and the alarm goes off 59 times. The test is called the ¡°Ring/Alarm test¡± because an alarm or a ring goes off at the end of every question.
Students finish up dissections days before the lab exam and start examining cadavers in other groups. Then, they realize that there are variations of structures among cadavers. From time to time, a student might criticize the work of others. "This group did a horrible job of dissecting their cadaver. Cadaver dissected like this won't help anybody with anatomy!"
A student might do terrible things while examining a cadaver. "I have no idea at all what this structure is. If this structure is asked on an exam, there is no doubt I will get it wrong." "Here is a plan. Let's get rid of this structure so that they won't be able to ask this on the exam! Ha-ha!" Students were caught several times doing this. I calmly warn them not to do it again. The reason why I don't yell at them right away is because I did the same thing when I was a student.
I could ask lab exam questions with pictures. I put in a picture of a statue in front of the school, just to be silly. "What is the name of this muscle seen in this statue?" It was a question of surface anatomy, since the muscle can be seen without dissection. Students were puzzled by the unexpected question. Whenever they passed by the statue, it reminded the students of the question they failed to answer. In this way, the statue helps students strengthen their knowledge of anatomy.