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Rifling through my drawers

October 19, 2012

My parents’ death has meant we had to clear out their house. In fact my father’s papers were very much in order -and he had even sorted out photos in to brown envelopes that were labelled with various categories. It has meant our house has got rather more furniture and ‘stuff’ in it now than it is used to, so I thought I’d start to clear out my own drawers in an effort to make way for it all.

And I came across one of my postgraduate exams. Brought me out in a cold sweat just seeing it. What a stress they are. You’ve qualified in medicine but that’s not enough, you have to take further exams over the next few years whilst you are also working full time. God knows how people do it once they have children. And as a rule of thumb its a 50% pass rate so you often may have to retake one or two of them. Stress central. Anyway I’d also kept the list of candidates names and the timeslots for their vivas (the gruelling, humiliating oral part of the exams where you are put on the spot and can dig yourself in to a hole so deep only a submarine would find you.) Unlike the joy of written exams, you can’t go back and cross it out. Once you’ve said it, the examiner has heard it, logged it and thinks you’re a twat. It then takes a Herculean effort to bring them round again.

I was doing some practice vivas at work a week or so ago as now I get to be the examiner. And it is really surprising how people perform under pressure. I am not always good at predicting who will do well and who will flounder. But it is so much better being my side of the table than theirs.

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2 Responses to “Rifling through my drawers”


  1. It’s interesting how inconsistent lots of people are as well isn’t it? There are some who are uniformly glorious or atrocious when on the spot in that way – but think most of us have our good days and our downright dreadful!


    • yes it’s very true – much like my hair 🙂 But unfortunatlkey with these kind of exams it’s all about how you perform on the day because I suppose a patient can’t afford for you to have a really off day……….
      thanks for commenting! And i wish i made lists – there’s some research that shows listmakers are phenomenally more efficinet than those of us who just blunder along!


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