Constructive Feedback.

Like many other medical schools throughout the land, my medical school engages in the prestigious Exam Review after each one of our sodomizations, I mean, examinations.

Its supposed to be a time for the course director and instructors to garner useful feedback on the questions and learn where they need to clarify question wording, as well as an opportunity for students to learn what questions they got wrong and why. As I am sure you can imagine, this results in a very responsible and professional environment with each party, class and course director, exchanging meaningful ideas. For example:

Course Director: "And now question 23, on the West zones of the lung..."

I swear, Virchow himself could not write a sufficient test question for some members of the class. Of course, its not unexpected. Old habits die hard, and us hyper-type-A personalities have come from a long lineage of scrapping and clawing for every point back in our younger days. Most of the time you learn to let that go in medical school, but it comes out during things like... exam reviews.

I think some people are losing a good opportunity to modify there thinking process and understand WHY they came to the wrong answer. In medical school, a wrong answer is more rarely due to simply not knowing the information and much more often due to misunderstanding the information. And it would be prudent to identify what aspects of the material you misunderstanded (nuke-u-ler), and correct them before you misunderstand them in a patient. By fighting to justify your answer, you are reinforcing the information as correct in your brain.

Instead, the typical exchange goes something like this:

Instructor: "Well, B is the right answer because it is a true representation of the value of the pressures of the total respiratory system at FRC. D is wrong because it takes into account only the static dynamics of the lung."
Student X: "But, if you rearrange the words of answer D backwards, and if the question is in reference to a 82 year old African American woman with toxoplasmosis, diphtheria, and a hangnail, and if you stand on your head when you read the question... isn't D technically correct?"
Instructor: "..."

Now I can't complain too much, because my fellow classmates that smell blood on a question and really go after the course director are always successful (100% of the time, no joke) at netting me an extra couple of points on the exam. I'm more than happy to have others claw and scratch for me, because I'm a giant ball of apathy at these exam reviews.

Of course, the highlight of the exam reviews are when a certain select subset of question comes up. The Complete-and-Utter-Bullshit Question™ (CUBQ in dedication to the fact we are learning interstitial lung diseases right now). This is a question on a small minutiae of information that was either present in 2 point font at the bottom of some table somewhere in the syllabus, or the lecturer muttered the sentence under their breath during a sneeze at break, or the lecturer is playing the wonderful game of "guess what I'm thinking?" (I love that game!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHA!)

There's a certain percentage of students that will fight for every question they got wrong, but on a CUBQ its like a tsunami. It starts as a rumbling in the distance as the CUBQ is projected onto the screen. The rumbling gets louder as the course director reads the question. Then, as she unfortunately mutters the fateful phrase "Any questions?", the wave arises in front of her. Arms shoot up throughout the lecture hall, forming a wall which eventually crashes down and consumes the course director in a swirling turbine of indignation and outrage.  

Ah, lecture hall. The closer I get to MS3, the more I look forward to leaving it all behind. But part of me will miss those little moments, where the "gravity" of the information being presented to us breaks way to reveal the absurdity underneath.