Saturday, November 29, 2008

10 days for studying

The lectures for all of this semester's courses are now over. I write my first final exam on December 9th. Between now and then, all I have to do is study and go to a 10 minute lab competency exam. The fact that I have so much time to study, for finals, still amazes me. How can I not do well on my finals, if I have 10 days to study?

My lab station exam on Friday went well. I spent a lot of time twiddling my thumbs. I also spent a lot of time trying to remember how many liters are in a cubic foot, which is 28.3.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sweet, sweet apathy

I have a new study policy. When I stop caring, I stop studying. Maybe I'll actually care about my lab station exam in the morning. I'm tired and I don't care anymore, so it's time to stare at the back of my eyelids for a few hours. My exam is at 9:30AM. I'm setting my alarm clock for 4:30AM.

Using "intuition" works better than I thought

In a previous post I mentioned how I felt unprepared for a General A&P test and that I was using "intuition" to choose some question answers. That test worked out better than expected. I got a 92% on that one. WTF? I don't understand.

Over and over and over again

I'm getting tired of studying for my General Therapeutics course. I seem to be studying the same stuff over and over and over again. I'm getting tired of studying and being tested on the same material repeatedly. Tomorrow I have a General Therapeutics lab station exam. During the exam I will spend two minutes at a lab station, and answer questions related to the station, and then I move on to the next station. There are 28 stations. A lot of people are a bit stressed over the lab station exam because they aren't really sure what to expect. I just want to get it over with.

I also have a scenario based lab competency exam next week and then a final exam the week after that. I just want that course to be done. I haven't learned anything new in that course, for a couple of weeks, and it's boring me to tears.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Great Disapointment

I finally bought myself a shiny new Littmann Master Classic II stethoscope. I've been wanting to get one for months, even though I won't need a stethoscope until January. I opened the box, figured out the not backwards way of putting the ear thingys in my ears, and then listened to my heart and lungs for about 20 minutes. Then I got bored with it and put it back in the box.

Holy crap. 20 minutes. That's all of the entertainment value that comes with a stethoscope. That sucks. I'm terribly disappointed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Basic ECG Interpretation

I was recently learning about basic ECG interpretation. It's really cool stuff but it took me a while to wrap my head around. We're just learning the fundamentals so we're only paying attention to "lead II". That whole topic always seemed so esoteric to me. Now it kind of makes sense and I'm looking forward to taking a Cardio Diagnostic course in third semester. That course is supposed to be brutal.

Sleepy test writing

We took up our last Cardiovascular A&P test today. It looks like I made a few mistakes because I was fuzzy headed when I wrote that one. I actually answered some questions incorrectly even though I knew the correct answer :-(

I wrote a General A&P test yesterday. That one probably didn't go very well either. I was using my "intuition" (AKA almost guessing) on more than a couple of questions. I was also sleep deprived and not well prepared. No mystery, if I get a crap mark on that one...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Less than 3 weeks until Final Exams

I spend most of my time struggling to get caught up. When I have a test or exam coming up, I drop everything and study for that test or exam. If I have an assignment due, I drop everything and work on that. Unfortunately, when I drop everything there's still new stuff coming down the pipe that I'm responsible for learning. When I'm studying for a test/exam or working on an assignment I'm falling further behind.

Final Exams are coming up. Up until yesterday, I was a bit freaked out at the prospect of final exams. How am I supposed to prepare for final exams, when faculty keeps on dumping new stuff into my lap that I'm supposed to learn? The answer to that question is a sensible one. As Final Exams approach, faculty is running out of material that they're supposed to teach us. All of the material for a couple of my courses has already been taught. All of the other courses should be wrapped up by the end of next week, which will give me a whole week to do nothing but get ready for final exams.

Pseudo cramming doesn't work so well (big surprise)

Lesson learned: Last minute studying (pseudo cramming) doesn't work as well as I thought.

Pseudo Cramming: Last minute studying, that includes an honest attempt to actually learn and retain what is learned. Better than real cramming but not as good as real studying.

In a previous post I mentioned how I felt about a Cardiovascular A&P test, that I had recently written. I thought I did fairly well. I didn't. My mark on that test, is the lowest test mark I've gotten so far. My mark for that test is 70%, unless their was an error in the marking. We'll be taking up the test tomorrow, so I might find a few errors in the marking but I'm not too optimistic about that possibility.

The Respiratory A&P test, that I thought I did well on (Dodged a Bullet Post), didn't work out as well as I thought either. That test was my lowest mark in that course to date. It was 12% lower than my next lowest test/exam mark for that course.

Odd. I honestly believed that I did really well on those tests even though I didn't. I did a lot of last minute studying for those tests and am pretty sure that is at the root of those not so stellar marks.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I freaking hate pagers

This post, over at the RT Cave, about pagers reminded me about a job I used to have. That job made me feel pretty important. I was "a somebody" when I had that job. How important was I? I was so important, that on some days, I had to wear 5 pagers and carry a cell phone. Beat that! You know you're important when you have to wear 5 pagers at the same time.

I was working at an insurance company, doing IT support. They issued me a personal pager that was for getting a hold of me when I wasn't at my desk (Pager #1). I also usually carried both of the "Sev 2 pagers" when I was at work (Pager #2&3). Problems were categorized by severity, ranging from Sev 1 to Sev 4. Sev 1 was the most serious and Sev 4 was the least serious. If there was a Sev 2 or Sev 1 problem, I got paged. One of the Sev 2 pagers was for the North office tower and the other was for the South office tower. We also had a change management system. If a change request was submitted and it was assigned to my group and I was carrying the change request pager, I got paged (Pager #4). If I was on call after hours, I also had the after hours pager on my belt (pager #5). I also had a cell phone, which I usually left on my desk unless I left the building.

I freaking hate pagers. Apparently I will probably have to wear a pager when I'm working as an RT. I wish someone would have told me that sooner :-(

Things that aren't as funny as they sound

Vitreous Humor
Aqueos Humor

See what happens, when you take three Anatomy and Physiology courses at the same time.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bloody Thursday update

The test on Thursday went well. No more tests until next week! I have an online quiz, on blood clotting, that can be done on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesdy and then I have a General A&P test on Wednesday. I started studying for the General A&P test yesterday.

Respiratory A&P is starting to get complicated. We're also being introduced to ECGs in Cardiovascular A&P, which will take me a while to wrap my head around. As ususal, I'm horribly behind in most of my courses and am plannng to spend most of the weekend catching up.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bloody Thursday

Today, which is Thursday, I'm writing a bloody test. The test is for my Cardiovascular A&P course and is only covering the not so limited topic of the blood. Apparently the blood does a whole lot more than just go round and round, in the body, and participate in gas exchange. My test is at 8PM. I got up at 3AM to finish off my studying :-(

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dodged a bullet.

I wasn't the only one freaked out by the test this morning. Lots of people thought that they didn't study enough.

A lot of the test questions were based on things I already knew, and understood, before I started studying yesterday. A surprising amount of test questions were based on stuff that I studied during the hour just before the test.

I didn't have enough time to study everything yesterday, and early this morning, so I focused on what I thought were the most important and fundamental concepts in the material to be studied. Lucky for me, that's the material I was being tested on this morning. I was a bit stumped by a question that involved the Equal Pressure Point, but was fairly comfortable with my answers to everything else.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oh crap!

I have a Respiratory A&P test tomorrow. For some reason I thought that I has already made myself familiar with the material that will be on the test. I was wrong. I'm pretty much going to learn it all tonight.

Getting my ass kicked on the test tomorrow, is very likely. I'm a bit stressed by the situation but am comforted by some things that I'm trying to view as a bit of a silver lining in this cloud:

  • The test is only worth 10% of my final mark.
  • The material is actually pretty interesting and I enjoy learning it.
  • It's mostly concepts, ideas and relationships which I'm pretty good at learning.
  • I have to learn the material for the final exam, in a few weeks, so learning it tonight will be a good thing.
  • Respiratory A&P is my best course.
  • If I get a zero on the test, my mark drops to an 85%. I'm not getting a zero, so my overall mark in the course is going to be pretty decent no matter what happens tomorrow. If I was just scraping by I would be losing my mind.
  • I now know how to trick my brain into learning unreasonable amounts of things in an unreasonable amount of time. There's a chance that I might actually do well tomorrow, if I can just get my insolent little brain to STFU AND STUDY!

Stupid, stupid brain. I hate you!

Yesterday at about 8PM my brain started to rebel. It just couldn't learn anything effectively anymore.

  • Me: You have a test tomorrow and you have to study for it.
  • My brain: Not wanna.
  • Me: Come on. We've got plenty of time. We'll take it slow and easy.
  • My brain: To much study, make me bored. Wanna TV.
  • Me: How about getting some sleep instead.
  • My brain: Sleep not good. Me too stressed. We have to study but I not wanna. Not study now. Need beak. Not wanna sleep. Won't be able to sleep. Sleep not leave time for study. (I know this doesn't make much sense. My brain really does baffle me sometimes.)
  • Me: Let's take a 45 minute nap and then study.
  • My brain: Me sleepy. OK. Just 45 minutes.

About 45 minutes later...

  • Me: That was a really good sleep wasn't it?
  • My brain: Me still sleepy. Want make more sleepy time.
  • Me: OK. Another 45 minutes.

About 45 minutes later...

  • Me: OK. Now we can study.
  • My brain: Me like sleepy time. Make more sleepy time?
  • Me: OK, but we have to get up at 4AM.
  • My brain: Sleepy.
  • Me: STFU!

Shortly after 4AM...

  • Me: I can't believe how tired I am.
  • My brain: More sleepy. More sleepy. Want more sleepy time!
  • Me: STFU! We'll take a shower and drink some coffee and everything will be fine.
  • My brain: Can't sleep in shower. Coffee stop me from make sleepy time.
  • Me: That's the plan dummy.

After a coffee and a shower...

  • Me: OK. Let's study.
  • My brain: Let's Internet instead. Internet more fun than study.
  • Me: OK. We'll check email, do a blog posting and then study.
  • My brain: Me like blog. Make me feel special.
  • Me: I hate you! STFU!
  • My brain: What you so angry for? Not my fault not study and spend so much time sleeping.
  • Me: STFU.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Always sick on test days

Big surprise. The student, with the big mouth, who is always disruptive during lectures was sick and couldn't write a test today. The same thing happened with several of her mid terms exams and the first few tests of the semester. She has a job in a hospital, so somebody is sure to write her a note. Everybody has to wait for her to write her test(s), before faculty will release our marks to us.

Not my favourite person. I hope I don't see her in January and I'm not the only one.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Too relaxed?

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I wasn't quite so stressed out about school anymore. An odd thing happened to the new relaxed me, yesterday. I got up at 6AM, just like every other school day. I felt tired as hell but thought that I would get over it the way that I usually do, with coffee. Three coffees and 7 hours later, I was sitting in class and really felt like crap. I was so tired, I felt sick. I hadn't been sleeping any less than usual, so why did I feel so freaking tired? I think it was the lack of stress. Was I so stressed out that I had a bunch of extra energy? Is the new relaxed me going to require ridiculous amounts of sleep? Was all of that stress, the secret of my success?

5 tests

Another batch of tests is coming up. I have to write four of them next week and the fifth one, the week after. 3 of the tests will be cumulative, meaning that they can test all material since the beginning of the semester. The timing of the tests, so close to final exams, is no accident. Studying for these tests will give me a good start for the studying that needs to be done for final exams.

I had a revelation the other day. I can't study for 12 hours a day. Trying to do that is pretty stupid and a waste of time. When I plan to do ridiculous amounts of studying, in an individual day, my brain usually rebels and refuses to cooperate. I've decided that my study time needs to allow for goofing off. I will do a lot of studying. I will also watch TV, hang out with friends, drink beer, play video games and get plenty of sleep. If I don't goof off enough, my brain will rebel and refuse to cooperate when I'm trying to study.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A bit more relaxed

Now that I have all my mid term marks, I'm a bit more relaxed and confident. I'm actually doing quite well and really shouldn't be getting stressed out about my school work. My lowest course mark, after mid terms, is 80.25% and my highest mark is 95.60%. There's only about 4 weeks left in this semester and I'm in pretty good shape. I have tests in every course starting next week. A few weeks after that and I'm writing my final exams.

I always did find my courses fairly interesting, now they're getting really interesting. I wish I could focus on all of the new stuff that I'm learning now, instead of preparing for my tests and the impending final exams :-(

It looks like quite a few students won't make it through to the next semester. Some of them never had a chance. Some of them still don't understand what they signed up for and have this odd notion that faculty should make things easier, so that "it's more fair". Some of them are outright slackers and should be kicked to the curb. Some of them just had a bad semester and that's too bad.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I might stop studying all together

In a previous post I wrote about my decision to stop studying for an exam, so that I could get more sleep. Last Wednesday I found out my mark for that exam. It was 98%. I think if I stop studying altogether, and sleep about 16 hours a day, I should get really good marks all the time. Too bad I've been having trouble sleeing lately...