Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy


Multiple Choice Exams

QBank has consumed my life, and I'm fairly certain this is also true for all the other med students out there about to take the USMLE. There are over 2,000 questions on QBank, which is really pretty staggering if you stop to think about it. I try to do at least 50 a day, with my entire Saturday devoted to nothing but testing. I'm still going to have trouble finishing them all.

Then again...

Over the past 2 years, we've taken Anatomy, Neuroscience, Histology, SBS, Genetics, Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Microbiology.

My rough guesstimate is that we answered 300 questions per course per semester (with 2 semesters of Micro and Path, and 4 of SBS). That works out to 4,500 questions overall.

Assuming that everyone in our class passed with at least a 70% in every course, that means that we have all answered at least 3150 questions correctly over the course of the last two years. Given that in order to correctly answer the question we have to link 2 choices together (question stem + answer) and usually rule out 3 other answer choices, (requiring us to know 5 distinct facts)†, that means that over the past 2 years everyone in my class has successfully assimilated over 15,750 medical factoids.

That works out to 20 a day - and I actually think that's lowballing it.

†clearly you don't need to rule out EVERY answer choice - and some of them overlap - but I'm throwing in some extra wiggle room.

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  1. In order to maintain my sanity, I frequently write mc practice questions that I feel are quite easy (although that might have something to do with the fact that I know the answer) and e-mail them to unsuspecting classmates. Usually they are legitimate, but the following factoid (from my completely-legal copy of the Kaplan notes©) was just too good to not write a question about.

    So, in celebration of MC questions:

    A recently-married 22 yo male, who you have been treating since he was little, comes to you and says that he is having trouble “in the bedroom.” Upon further questioning, it becomes obvious that he is suffering from premature ejaculation disorder – whereby the plateau phase of sexual excitement is greatly reduced and ejaculation occurs almost immediately following vaginal penetration. This young man’s first sexual encounter is most likely to have been characterized by which of the following?

    (1) A frightening and painful experience
    (2) Intercourse in the back seat of a car or with a prostitute
    (3) Early sexual encounter with an older woman
    (4) Frotteurism
    (5) Coprophilia
    (6) Abuse by his pediatrician

    The answer, of course, is 2.

    The best part: there is absolutely no explanation leaving me to make up one of my own…that I probably shouldn’t share.

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