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Last Exam

It wasn’t fantastic, it wasn’t too bad either.

But it WAS the last exam. Hooray. Other than one or two small commitments, I’m now off for four months, till October. Provided I’ve passed, of course.

This makes me understandably happy.

Originally posted on The LBSC

This post was filed under: Exams, University.

Non-Clinical OSCE

Another day, another exam…

It appears that I spoke to soon. Today, I faced the legendry Bus Timetable question (“Study the following bus timetable, and work out the best route for Mr Smith to get from home to the hospital”). I don’t really understand the relevance of it, but by the time you’d gone through the follow-on questions (“What would be the most reliable way to communicate this information to Mr Smith?” and “What should you check before giving him this information?”), it racked up ten marks. Which is a surprisingly large number.

Anatomy, however, was pants. I guessed a good two thirds of the questions. It was impossible. But as it’s only worth 30 marks, I’m not too worried. That’s only a few more than the bus question.

I’m sure you’ll be manically depressed in your realisation that there is no exam tomorrow, as I have the day off, and so I won’t be able to regail you with my tales of woe. However, they will be back with a vengence on Friday, following the Multi-choice paper.

Now I’m off down the pub.

Originally posted on The LBSC

This post was filed under: Exams, University.

Clinical OSCE

Oh, ho ho. Today was…interesting.

Station One: Chest Drains
I did resonably well as I realised that it was a chest drain I was being asked to insert. Other people thought it was a thermometer, a needle, a reflex-testing mallet, or – in one case – a catheter. So far, so good. But then when asked where I would insert it, the examiner’s response was ‘Well, you’ve just pierced his heart and killed him’. Which I thought was a little harsh, a simple ‘No’ would really have sufficed. I got all the stuff on pleural effusions right, though, so it didn’t go too badly.

Station Two: Headache
This basically involved getting a case history from a patient, which I felt went reasonably well, but I did managed to knock my ID badge off half way through the interview. The invigilator obviously though I was having some kind of a fit, since she came up to me (interrupting the interview) with a glass of water and told to to calm down, and that everything would be OK. So maybe I didn’t do as well as I’d thought.

Station Three: Spleen Examination
This was unfortunate. I hadn’t looked in any detail at how to do this, as you usually can’t feel someone’s spleen, so I didn’t think it’d come up in the exam. Oops. Firstly, I should have got him to lay down on a bed. Which I didn’t. And then I should have done the examination properly, which I also didn’t, though I did do some poking about, so may have got some marks. The examiner then started her questions, such as why would the spleen be enlarged, which I didn’t know. So that final station was a bit of a disaster really.

So overall, today didn’t seem to go particularly fantastically. But it’s tomorrow I’m dreading the most, with the non-clinical OSCEs!

Originally posted on The LBSC

This post was filed under: Exams, University.


Today’s exam wasn’t quite as bad as I’d expected, thanks to the fact that it was largely waffle-based rather than knowledge-based. There were some questions that I completely guessed on (guesses which, as it happens, appear to have been completely wrong) and there were some fairly weird questions (“What would you say to a patient in order to elicit their concerns?”, “You arrive at a community organisation to do voluntary work, and the staff and other volunteers are all busy with clients. Describe six different courses of action you could take.”).

Nothing on the weirdness scale that last year’s cohort received though: “Study the following bus timetable, and work out the best route for Mr Smith to get from home to the hospital”.

So all in all, my first 41 pages (!) of exams have gone reasonably well. One down, three to go.

Originally posted on The LBSC

This post was filed under: Exams, University.


My exams start tomorrow, and I reckon I know a smaller proportion of the stuff I need to for these exams than for any exams I’ve ever done before. There’s no way on earth that anyone can learn everything we’ve covered. But I only need to pass, and I did OK in the January exams and the assignments, so I don’t really need more than about 50%. Manageable, maybe, but I’m still not exactly confident.

Tomorrow is the DIPSE exam (the big, long A-Level Science style paper). How I do will largely depend on what they ask (well, duh).

Tuesday is my first ever Clinical exam (ie with patients). Having never done anything remotely like this before, I’m not sure how it’ll go. It’s a bit of a funny one in that you can get full marks, and still fail if you do something drastic (like start swearing or wearing inappropriate clothes).

Wednesday is the OSCE exams, which most people hate but I quite like. Bascially, it consists of lots of little papers which you have five minutes to complete. You do the paper, they blow a whistle and you move to the next desk and do the next paper. I like them because if you haven’t got a clue, you can just waffle for five minutes and write complete guesses, and you’re not sat there for a long time wondering about it. You just go with your gut feeling. This is also the exam with the anatomy in it, where you have thirty seconds to answer the question before you move on. This is particularly confusing because you have to remember which way to move round the room, as well as the few things you actually know. Everyone also knows the anatomy staff really well, so you just know they’ll be laughing at your answers if they’re totally useless. That bit, I don’t particularly like.

Then it’s Friday, which is the multiple choice paper, which includes multiple choice questions (surprisingly), some of which have up to 15 different options (though most have only four or five), and also true or false questions. These aren’t too bad, because you either know it or you guess, UNLESS they decide to set a negatively marked paper, in which case I’ll probably wet myself and cry (at the same time).

If I pass, then everything is rosy. If I fail, it’s a bit of a kick in the nuts because it means I have to come back in August and do everything again. But if I’m borderline, then I face the head-exploding concept of a viva, where a panel of three/four people fire questions about ANYTHING on the course at me, and expect me to sit there and answer. Worse still, I won’t find out if I’ve got a viva until about an hour before they start. Major eek. This also means I’ll be having nightmares from now until June 10th, the day of the vivas.

Luckily, though, shortly after June 10th I should (hopefully) be going away with some friends to the weekend. The destination is as yet to be confirmed, but Dublin looks likely. Which will be nice.

So that’s what this week will be like for me.

Originally posted on The LBSC

This post was filed under: Exams, University.



If this isn’t the most entertaining thing I’ve seen in the last hour, then paint my nipples and call me Rita.

Originally posted on The LBSC

This post was filed under: Miscellaneous.

Free Wigs

I’m off to a Pharmacology Party tonight. This basically means I’m going to a friend’s house to do some pharmacology, but the ‘party’ suffix makes it sound more exciting.

My house is coming along nicely, the new windows are in, the kitchen is in, and a lot of decoration has been done. Unfortunately, the bathroom hasn’t been built yet, but I suspose that’s a relatively minor issue. We have requested some seating for outside, which should be nice, and a barbeque (which should be interesting, at least). The weird walls in stupid places have gone, and the burglar alarm is in. It will be nice to be able to sleep in a double bed.

Due to me being a penniless student, I’ve had an HC2 certificate through today to give me free NHS prescriptions, dental care, wigs (!), sight tests, travel to and from hospital and so on. Paradoxically, the bank have increased my credit card and overdraft limits, and Egg are sending me a credit card.

Should I want to, I could go out tomorrow and spend more than £3000 of money I don’t have. And I’m already £3000 in student debts, soon to be £6070. So my financial status is…erm…well…poor.

I have exams next week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, about 16 hours altogether. This is fairly scary, as I barely know enough to fill one hour. I have put in for Mitigating Circumstances though because of my ears (which have now recovered), so perhaps I’ll be alright.

On the flip side, I finish for summer a week tomorrow, which means that (other than one or two small commitments) I will be off until October. Which means I’ll have to get some kind of employment, which is a depressing thought. Maybe I should pretend to be JRC and nick his jobs. No-one will notice, we look so alike. Any suggestions for jobs that won’t make me want to resort to physical violence?

I’ve developed an unhealthy liking for coloured pens, with much of my work now being done in either felt tips or colourful gel pens.

I now have The Day Today on DVD, which is really excellent, and also Look Around You, which I also think is fantastic. “Eating Turkey at Christmas Like Nailing an Egg to the Cross Says Bishop” and “Headmaster Suspended for using Big Faced Child as Satellite Dish” a-go-go.

Eurovision Semis last night. I laughed so much that someone who phoned me thought I was crying.

And so to tomorrow: The last lectures of my first year. I’ll be half way to being hospital-based. With just one more year of knowledge, the ill and diseased people of the North-East (anywhere from Stockton to Tyneside to Hartlepool and everywhere in between) might meet me. Tee hee.

So some woman wants the law changed because her daughter had an abortion without her knowledge. Has she not perhaps asked herself why her daughter didn’t tell her? Perhaps the problem begins at the family level, rather than in the letter of the law. And personally, I think it’s quite right. In every interview I’ve seen, the mother has said that she had to sign two consent form for an appendectomy, and yet wasn’t consulted on the abortion. Perhaps in the twelve months between these operations the girl may have, well, matured? These things happen, and her daughter is clearly no longer a child.

The family solicitor is claiming that the girl changed her mind and now regrets the decision because she ‘might’ have not been told something that she later found out and which changed her mind. Does she not think that in this particular case the doctors involved will have done their very best to stick to the guidelines as closely as possible, explaining everything to the best of their ability?

To me, this seems to be a case of a mother taking legal action against the health service for her poor relationship with her daughter.

On another topic entirely, Eddie Mair was clearly the right choice for the new 7 O’Clock News on BBC Three. He’s very good. And so’s the show.

Yesterday I was forwarded a copy of the full video of Nick Berg’s beheading, and frankly, I wish I hadn’t been. It’s really not something I wanted to see, and it made me feel quite ill. I realise that we’ve done some terrible things in Iraq, far more terrible than even this, but that doesn’t make either action right.

And as for the Mirror, who have published some truly dodgy photos, accept no argument that they did this to highlight any kind of abuse. After all, they paid £5000 for the photos…and then charged everybody who reprinted them… £5000. Thanks for highlighting this so selflessly, Piers.

Originally posted on The LBSC

This post was filed under: Miscellaneous, University.

First Anniversary

To mark the special occasion of the First Anniversary of my First Post on the LBSC, I shall repost the Genesis of my time on this board…


I’m a reasonable guy. No, really, I am. But there’s something I don’t get. Since the beginning of April, via the wonders of spam, I have been offered:
– 3312 hours free online with AOL
– 45 dates with singles in my area
– 2250 business cards saving me £675
– Almost 5ft of penis extensions
– A 17inch increase in penis girth
– 16 sets of Iraq’s Most Wanted playing cards
– 23 bj’s
– 62 refinance mortgages
– 64 free mobile phones

Can someone explain the concept to me using small words and visual aids?

So what’s changed since this time last year?

  • I get a lot more spam, though not so many Penis Extensions any more.
  • I have a nephew
  • I have five more A-Levels
  • I have seven months of medical training
  • I’m a little less reasonable, and a little more eccentric
  • I now have one of the mobile phone contracts whose adverts used to annoy me
  • I’m a year older
  • My email address has changed
  • I have much larger debts
  • I no longer work at Homebase
  • I still post on here
  • I’ve developed an un(?)healthy liking for Apple Juice
  • I spend most of my time in a completely different part of the country
  • For the most part, I have completely different friends
  • I tend to get headaches more frequently
  • I shower, rather than bath, more often
  • I still eat Honey Loops for breakfast
  • I now drink from plastic cups and eat off paper plates
  • I get out more

So there you go.

Just in case you’re worried, this post isn’t coming to you live, it was pre-recorded last week. I don’t usually pre-record my posts, but I wanted this one to be just right.

Originally posted on The LBSC

This post was filed under: Miscellaneous.

Entry #99

This being my ninety-ninth post, I thought I’d compile my own list of ’99 Things I Want to do Before I Die’. In no particular order. This should be interesting, as I don’t know if I have a long enough attention span to reach ninety-nine, or even whether there are ninety-nine things I particularly want to do. Let’s find out…

1. Qualify as a doctor

2. Do a parachute jump

3. Go paragliding

4. Make a billion

5. Lose a million

6. Write a textbook

7. Write a bestselling novel

8. Visit all seven continents

9. Drive / Be driven across America

10. Drive / Be driven across Australia

11. Visit the poorest parts of Africa

12. Visit the richest parts of America

13. Meet a US President

14. Complete a marathon

15. Give a million away

16. Go in to space

17. Pay someone to cook and clean for me

18. Invent or discover something revolutionary

19. Be the Time ‘Person of the Year’

20. Win an Oscar / Bafta / Booker Prize / Nobel Prize or similar

21. Visit one / both of the Poles

22. Fly a plane

23. Make a fire the old-fashioned way

24. Own several houses

25. Make something useful

26. Go on a rock star rampage

27. Get completely lost

28. Own a log cabin

29. Star in a wildly successful TV series

30. Release a wildly successful single

31. Be a guest voice on ‘The Simpsons’

32. Go through the ‘Basket’ till with a trolley full of goods separated into many different transactions

33. Pull off a hoax that is reported as truth in a national newspaper

34. Plant a tree

35. Live completely alone for a month or so

36. Stage a ‘punctuation crusade’

37. Become a highly influential politician

38. Become a regular columnist in a national newspaper

39. Present a highly successful radio show

40. Find a hat that doesn’t make me look stupid

41. Own a house with an indoor swimming pool

42. Travel in a submarine

43. Go on a cruise

44. Live on a houseboat

45. Get married [provided I find the perfect partner]

46. Drive / Fly around the country / world, visiting a different branch of McDonalds each day

47. Live in a foreign country (where English is not the predominant spoken language)

48. Relearn Latin

49. Have a home that is fitted entirely with a Home Automation System

50. Help someone in desperate need

51. Eliminate early mornings

52. Travel first class. Everywhere.

53. Achieve a world record

54. Have a portfolio of highly successful businesses

55. Teach

56. Save a life (Hopefully more than one)

57. Read all the books I own

58. Have more time to read the newspapers

59. Employ a Personal Assistant

60. Stage a ‘grammar crusade’

61. See a total solar eclipse

62. See a total lunar eclipse

63. Visit Greece

64. Take a tour of the White House

65. Own the complete Oxford English Dictionary

66. Take part in a successful campaign to have Sport News removed from main News Bulletins, except for special events

67. Appear on Newsnight in person

68. Write a Will

69. Appear on Question Time in person (as part of the panel)

70. Stage a successful series of concerts

71. Make a difference

72. Plan my own funeral

73. Be transiently world famous

74. Own a Segway Human Transporter

75. Sit on a jury

76. Buy an obscene number of Toasted Marshmallow Jelly Beans

77. Travel in a Hot Air Balloon

78. Present an award

79. Employ a butler

80. Have a positive impact on as many lives as possible

81. Have a negative impact on as few lives as possible

82. Have a neutral impact on even fewer lives

83. Become transiently infamous throughout the world

84. Write (though not necessarily publish) an extensive autobiography

85. Become qualified in psychiatry

86. Make a historical mark on the world

87. Learn how to wrap presents in a half-way decent manner

88. Have a piece of artwork made by me displayed in a famous gallery

89. Be there at a time when I’m needed

90. Learn basic handywork skills

91. Learn about basic car maintenance

92. Be instrumental in ending / preventing a war in a peaceful manner

93. Abseil down something big

94. Make an arch-enemy

95. Visit Times Sqaure on New Year’s Eve

96. Learn to play the Harmonica

97. Stay at a Disney theme park over Christmas

98. Go to the Olympics

99. ‘Astonish the World’

Well there we go, I made it…with a little help from my friends and several websites.

I’ll let you know when I’ve done them all!

Originally posted on The LBSC

This post was filed under: Miscellaneous.

Unfortunate snoring

For the first time, I have missed a lecture due to oversleeping plus my snoring problems. My alarm clock did go off, but I managed to sleep through it, and didn’t awaken until about 10.30 – an hour and a half too late for my lecture.

Luckily, I’ve only missed Histology, which I don’t particularly enjoy anyway. I’ve already printed the notes off the computer system, so it’s not a problem. Well, it is a problem I suppose because it now means I have to write notes on the notes from textbooks, instead of just having everything explained to me while I sit there scribbling it down, but other than that it’s not really a problem.

Not that I’m going to do it again. I’ll have to get someone to wake me up in exam week, I think, in case this happens again.

To summarise: Oops.

Originally posted on The LBSC

This post was filed under: University.

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