After a test, inevitably someone will always say “Wow, that was easy!”, usually in front of a group of people.  I’m never really sure what these people are trying to accomplish – do they think everybody’s going to be really impressed with how smart they are?  Or do they legitimately not understand that anyone in the group who struggled, even a little, with the test, is going to get annoyed?

Casually bringing up a comparison of smartness to a group of medical students is like poking a bear with a stick.

Don’t ask me why it has to be that way.  I could imagine a perfect world where we’re all just like, “Hey man, glad that the test went well for you!  High-five!”, except – well, wait.  No, I can’t.  Med school is full of people who were the best and brightest everywhere they’ve ever been, and are frankly a little irritated to find out that they’re suddenly average here.  There’s an unspoken rule that you don’t bring up numbers – nobody ever brings up their undergrad MCAT or med exam scores.  I don’t even know the MCAT scores of my closest friends here.

This is partially because none of us care about the MCAT anymore, and partially because if you bring up a number, everyone will mentally compare theirs to yours.  Our class is unranked, so this is mostly just for the sake of everyone’s psychological well-being – it’s a great unwritten rule, and I like it when nobody breaks it.  For a lot of us, I think we’ve always based part of our self-esteem on our intelligence – so accepting that we might not be the smartest person around is actually a huge, painful thing to admit to ourselves.  But I’m aware of the fact that it’s a little obsessive for all of us to feel that way about something that’s so insignificant.  (And yes, I do think it’s insignificant as to whether someone gets a 22 or a 42 on their MCAT if you’ve ended up at the same school.  It’s like worrying about SAT scores – who cares anymore?*)

Anyway, in the end, since this is an anonymous blog and all (although I do a really lousy job of staying semi-anonymous), I guess I can tell you guys that I thought the test was really easy.  Sure, there were questions I didn’t know, but I’m happy with my decision to stop studying yesterday around noon.  But to everyone else here, yeah, I’ll say that I studied all day yesterday and that the test was “fine”.

See, reading those last few sentences, even I think I sound like a jerk.  But the point of a semi-anonymous blog is that I can be honest, so I guess I’ll leave that in.

Onward to embryology.

* Especially since they’ve changed the scoring system so that everybody who had a score out of 1600 looks like an idiot compared to the kids who are scored out of 2400.  Last week a high-schooler who wants to go into medicine asked me what I got on my SAT, and against my better judgement I told him.  He was like, “But that’s… failing.”

4 thoughts on “Post-pharm

  1. I’m a med student in England, and this syndrome is seen in medical schools the world over. It is somewhat reassuring to hear that some things are so universal.
    On the flip side of the coin, I’ve never understood why people try and impress their peers by saying how much they’ve worked, how little they’ve slept, how stoic they’ve been for the sake of their medical education. I applaud your TV watching. When going for a big exam, I like to be as relaxed as I can be, (all things considered), both in body and mind. My advice, a few short months before I’m spat out into Doctorhood, is to go to a (sane) friend’s house, and have a few beers the night before and watch something funny on TV.
    Hope the test went well.

  2. take pride in your abilities and accomplishments. and joyful appreciation in those of your peers and colleagues. pursue your goals,. but don’t worry too much about racing the others in a pissing contest to the top of another pile, or you may find yourself on an island you do not like. see what dinner at a chinese restaurant does?

  3. My school is definitely the same way. I do the same thing as you in terms of studying- I usually stop studying well before bedtime the day before the test- I usually study the most in the days before the test. I think it reduces stress and actually helps me do better.
    Hope you did well!

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