Saturday, April 1, 2017

Past the NBME Shelf Exam

      We're still waiting on scores, so my evaluation of this experience my change retroactively depending the result.
      It was interesting to look back at the early material. Concepts that seemed foreign when we started, now seem like common sense. I feel confident about the shelf exam. However, I know that I missed a few easy ones. They came to me in the few minutes after the exam had ended. Now the correct answers are stuck in my head forever. Hopefully I'll get to put them to use on another exam in the near future.
      I recently started doing research with a local biotech company. At my application interview, the team spoke about some drugs that they were investigating. I knew what those drugs were, so I could follow and participate in the conversation. I would not have been able to do that a year ago.
      That test definitely was the climax of this program, but we still have some coursework ahead of  us. Endocrine pharmacology started out slow, but is finally getting into some hard science. This week we discussed the impact of stress on neural networks involved in memory formation. That may be something to consider when using sypathomimetics or anxiolytics. Advances in pharmacology and cardio biology are moving away from clinical medicine in into areas of mechanistic research. Cell control mechanisms also focuses on chemical mechanisms. It is interesting observe how this shift affects my classmates. The scores on our recent cellular control exam were particular demonstrative of the different backgrounds and approaches the current students take to pharmacology. Some of the top students in Med Pharm, received the lowest scores in cell control. That was surprising because those topics seemed central to understanding how drugs work. However, I think some of those students tend to focus on clinical presentations and less on cellular mechanisms.
      Environmental pharmacology has been a difficult test of endurance for me due to the two hours of lecture back to back. I think sitting through lectures is something students have started to move away from and instead shift to newer mediums. I am really looking forward to our upcoming hands-on environmental project. I know that will grab my attention more.

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