Saturday, May 23, 2009

Are the Boards Torture?

Sometimes I wonder. Waterboarding... med school "Board"ing... comparable? Okay, probably not. But I still feel bad for Eric when he has his brain stuffed at the end of the day and he still can't get over the hump on his practice test scores... Does it seem to anyone else that they are forced to cram in superfluous amounts of medical material that doesn't pertain to potential fields of interest? You know, like, if Eric is going in to Radiology, why would he need to know some of these crazy details about Alzheimer Disease, details about embryological development, all the pathology stuff and microbiology stuff that he'll never use, or even all the names of individual wrist bones? Wouldn't it make more sense, save everyone money, and streamline things a lot more to test them specifically on the field they are hoping to enter? Then doctors could really focus their study energy and master the material rather than cram it in for the exam and then forget it or never use it after that. Just a thought. *sigh*. Vicarious Board taking is painful... painful to watch him! Won't it be nice when these are behind us? But I'm going to take a cue from my dearest friend, Jennie H, and not venture into the dark realm of complaining. Afterall, even WITH the Boards, we are still blessed with a very good life.

Even so, I'd like your opinion, if you have one. Are the Boards torture? Or maybe it is just that all standardized tests are torture!


  1. He has to learn every esoteric detail about the human body because one day he'll be the doctor in the ward and he'll get to spend Sunday School confronted by all the aged, the infirm and the worried parents of the ward to heal their complaints. "My sciatica is acting up." "What does it mean if it hurts when I do this?" "What can I take for ataxia telangiectasia?"

    (The answers, of course, are: "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that!" "Stop doing that." and "Therapy, gamma-globulin injections, vitamins, antibiotics and/or chemotherapy. Oh, and a real doctor.")

  2. First off, I love your family picture at the top of your blog! Second, Gwen's laugh in peek-a-boo is adorable. Third, boards are torture. But yet so was taking all those general courses in high school and college, when you knew that you were not going to major or pursue a career in those subjects ... and yet they still require you to take them. In some ways, gaining a broad spectrum of knowledge is very useful - you never know what the future will hold. Then again, when you learn it for the sake of one test, and then forget it soon thereafter because it's not relative to your life, I'm not sure exactly how helpful that truly is. One of those things that for every person the answer is different I guess!

  3. I don't know from personal experience, but my brother just graduated from dental school and passed his boards with no problem. I am fully confident that Eric will do fine... he did go to BYU afterall (obviously intelligent) haha. My bro went to BYU too and he thought dental school was a breeze after the Y. And he just studied tons for his boards and did great. Good luck!

  4. I have no idea what this experience is like. Ian and I didn't even do grad school, so we are not the authorities on major career training standardized tests, but hang in there. I'm sure it will work out and the will work hard enough to pass. Good luck!

  5. All boards are rediculously tedius, and utterly useless. Don't get me started. They're just something to endure. Keep him fed and happy and just grin and bear it until they're over!

  6. There is a positive side to this...Step 1 is definitely the hardest, Step 2 (CK and particularly CS are easier) and Step 3 is easier again. The material doesn't get easier, but his experience with medicine is greater and his capacity will increase. Next year will be hard again (3rd year) but your husband will be leaps and bounds happier because he will be doing and learning medicine instead of just learning medicine. Good luck!

    (Kristy...I'm Katie Simpson's sister and I admit that I clicked randomly from a comment you made on her blog...I promise I'm not much of a blog stalker, you just happened to get lucky and this is a topic I know something about (my husband is just finishing the first year of residency...))

  7. Just think though, these boards will separate him from the PAs, NPs, podiatrists, optometrists, and even the radiology techs… he'll be a Doctor. He'll have experience delivering babies, knowing what's normal with small babies, and how to give your sons stitches when they jump off the back of moving vehicles.

    Also if your bladder erupts or your appendix explodes (heaven forbid on either by the way), he'll know what to do and how to present your case when you get to the hospital. "Female in late-twenties presents with acute blah blah blah..."

    Also, in theory, he'll have a good bedside manner with you when you're sick. In theory. But I'm sure I'll always get, "What'd you go and get sick for?" and "When you stop puking, can you wash your hands and make me a sandwich?"

  8. Good for you for being supportive. I have felt bad for the 2nd years, but know it will be us next year!!!
    Keep hanging in there guys!

  9. Elisa, I sat there and watched Mark prepare for the LSAT to get into law school, and although it's not the same thing, it's a similar concept. Preparing for the LSAT doesn't test your knowledge on the law at all. All it does is teach you how to take the LSAT. Really, there's no benefit to studying for the test, or even taking the test, other than it is required to get a good score in order to get into a good school.

    Right now, I'm trying to gain the discipline to study for the GRE so that I can go back to school when he finishes next year. The GRE has the same thing...studying lots of vocabulary that has nothing to do with what I learned or what I will be learning in grad school...I'm just learning it for the sake of being able to do better on the test so that I can get into a good school. The standardized tests are all they have to be able to distinguish the better from the worse...however inaccurate it may seem.

    Now, it may seem torturous, but really, it's just a pain, and all the studying will pay off. There's no use to paying a lot of money to take a test just so that you can fail it right there. Good luck to you both! You'll be fine!

  10. In response to the questions you left on my blog:
    I think I found your blog through Cami's blog...but I also found one or two others the same day, so it could've been through one of those. My little peanut is due on Nov. 1, and I find out the gender on June 17th. I started a baby blog to talk about the pregnancy and stuff to avoid filling up the regular blog with info that some people might not care about. There's a link to it at the right of the blog you found: Baby Dahl.

    If/When I go back to school it will be to finish the program I was already in and get the MS in Speech-Language Pathology. There have been several times where I wished I hadn't stopped and had just continued on right after the BS, but oh well...can't change the past...long story there too.

    As for Mark's LSAT, he's just finished up his second year in Law School here at Boston University, so he got his score a couple years ago. He was disappointed with his score because he was doing so much better on the practice exams, but he got nervous the day of the test and missed 8 questions in a row. Overall, he still got a good score, nerves included. He's really happy with being here at BU. It's not Harvard, but it's still a good school.