When do you normally finish your tests?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by DoctaJay, Dec 17, 2008.

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When do you normally finish your test?

  1. I'm the first one out

    40 vote(s)
    40.4%
  2. I'm somewhere in the middle

    35 vote(s)
    35.4%
  3. I'm usually the last one out

    24 vote(s)
    24.2%
  1. DoctaJay

    DoctaJay bone breaker
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    I was just curious. I tend to recheck everything I was unsure of when I finish a test, so I often end up leaving right before the official test time is finished. What about you guys?
     
  2. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    I can't stand to be in the room for a really long time, so I'm usually one of the 1st ones out. I think I was generally about the 5th to finish most exams. I also finished Step 1 in about half the time allotted.
     
  3. alphaholic06

    alphaholic06 Doctor, Who? Me?
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    I'm usually not the very first one out, but I'm one of the first 5 or 10 to finish.
     
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  4. ChiDO

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    I usually finish and recheck most of my test and still am probably one of the 1st 10-30 people done.
     
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  5. ZagDoc

    ZagDoc Ears, Noses, and Throats
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    Not the first one, but generally in the first 10. Tend to go with my gut during exam taking more often than not instead of really agonizing over questions and generally recheck answers once. Don't know if its the best approach but its served me well up to this point.
     
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  6. spospo

    spospo Going to extremes
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    I'd say I'm in about the first 5-10 normally. Like Zagdoc I usually just go with my gut. If I have to spend a long time on a question I get frustrated. I think I am going to try and change that though b/c I don't think that will be a good thing when it comes to step 1. Almost every test I could get at least 2-3 more correct if I actually thought about it. We'll see how that goes on Friday for our final.
     
  7. Mayhem

    Mayhem Scut Bear
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    90% of the time, I'm the first one out. I know what I've studied and what I didn't so I don't sit there searching for information that I didn't read. If the answer doesn't come in the 1st ten seconds it's probably not going to come. I only re-check to ensure I shade in the correct letters. I never change answers. I used to second-guess myself and get stuff wrong so I don't do that anymore.
     
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  8. Scaredshizzles

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    It never makes sense to me why people leave with time left on the clock. We spend so much time studying, is a few extra minutes on game day really gonna kill you? I suppose I can understand if you're one of the people who can't resist the urge to double guess yourself even when you're intially pretty sure about an answer. But otherwise, it never makes sense to me, especially on standardized types of tests with long vignettes when you really need the time if you're going to read all the questions through.
     
  9. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    Around the halfway mark or so. I usually take the entire exam pretty fast, going with my gut instinct on the questions, and skipping the really hard ones that I don't understand. Then I go back through the whole thing a second time and re-think the options.

    I'm never near the first person to leave, but I don't need the whole time (unless everyone does, like the shelf exams).
     
  10. 78222

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    I'm a snail when it comes to tests. I like to read and reread everything. It didn't effect me the first two years but it's been killing me on the shelf exams.
     
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  11. alwaysaangel

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    I'm so glad to hear this - I'm almost always the first one out. On shelves I have finished 30 min to an hour before anyone else. I've just never been one to dwell I either know it or I don't - no need to obsess. I was wondering if it would carry over into the Boards and I'm very glad to hear it will. How awesome would it be to finish the boards early!

    Some of us are just fast readers and really good test takers. Not sure why its just skills you sort of are lucky to pick up on over the years. I've tried to teach people and have failed so I'm not sure what it is exactly.

    At least thats me. I read through tests fast and on every question I either know the answer immediately or I don't. 12 years of elementary/secondary education, 4 years of college and a year and a half of medical school has taught me I never change any answers - even my guesses. Answers don't magically come to me if I sit there for another hour doing nothing. So really there is no point.

    I go through it once, will go back to past questions if a different questions gives away the question to an old question, but otherwise I go through once. Then I run through the entire thing really quickly to check that there is no miss-bubbling, I estimate the worse case scenario grade (assuming I got every guess wrong) and call it a day.

    Whats not to understand. Its not about saving time on game day - its about not wasting time when there is nothing else you can do.
     
  12. DonkeyD

    DonkeyD Junior Member
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    Wow it's good to find some brethren around here. I'm first out usually 90% of the time and very close to that if not. People ask me about it during exam week and I say what's been said above..."if you don't know it in the first five seconds it isn't going to magically come to you." Although I'm going to start going Ricky Bobby on people..."if you ain't first you're last."

    I go through the test once and mark answers I'm not sure of. After I eliminate/guess/whatever on those I'm done. I stopped checking over a few years ago and my grades didn't go down because any stupid mistakes I fix are canceled out by second guessing right answers and changing them to wrong ones.

    I think if I was REALLY careful I could possibly eliminate the stupid second guesses and POSSIBLY earn myself another point or two on every exam. However, this would take 30 minutes per exam and I just don't care about my grades that much anymore. The difference between a 85 and a 87 in medical school is so small it's not worth the effort.
     
  13. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    I finish really early but stay to check my answers.
     
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  14. DocPsychosis

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    Pretend I wrote this also, because it pretty much describes exactly how I feel.
     
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  15. Pontifex Maximus

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    I go through pretty fast to begin with, but I dwell, damn do I dwell. So I end up staying until the end.
     
  16. Jwax

    Jwax Just a minor variation
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    Ditto to just about everything you just said. I was going to respond, but you already said it all.

    I have this theory that the test dwellers are going to go into internal medicine type specialties and the once-through kids are going to go surgical / EM / anesth. I guess some surgeons are excessively thorough and some IM docs that are snap-judgers, so there might be some crossover.
     
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  17. rachmoninov3

    rachmoninov3 Senior Member
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    I'm usually one of the first ones out, even after doing a quick recheck, but damn do I wish I could slow down! Too many stupid mistakes! I'm trying to be more methodical so I don't fly through step 1 and get a 210 rather than a 230...
    Those who take your time, what is your test taking method?
     
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  18. njbmd

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    Most of our tests in medical school were multiple guess, matching and true-false. When I received the test paper, the first thing I would do was put down my pencil and take a deep breath to relax and focus.

    The next thing that I would do would be to quickly move through the entire exam answering the questions that I knew right off the bat. I didn't spend more than 30 seconds on any one question. If I couldn't answer it in 30 seconds, I put a mark next to the one I had skipped on the test booklet and on my answer sheet and moved on.

    Every question counted a certain number of points. By completing the things that I knew first, I would be able to spend more time on the things that I needed to think about a little more. In short, my time-management on my medical school exams was of great importance.

    I am not an answer changer unless I have a compelling reason the change the answer (clerical mistake). Invariably, you will change 8 out of 10 right answers to the wrong answer and 2 out of 10 wrong answers to the correct answer. I just learned not to play with those odds.

    When I am done, I would take a quick review to make sure that I had actually answered the questions and marked the answers correctly then my paper gets turned in. I don't second-guess myself or do an exam post-mortem. Since we usually had two to four exams on each of the exam days, I had something else to review or fine-tune.

    Even with my in-training exams and boards, I was usually finished well under the time clock. When I was done with a section, I was done. For oral exams, I always listened carefully for the entire scenario/question, organized my thoughts so that I could actually answer the question that was asked and then listened for any nuances/complications that would be thrown my way. The key to orals for me was being able to listen to the entire case and then compare the question with my experience. If I didn't understand the question, I asked for it to be repeated but most of the time, I could understand what was being asked and answer it.
     
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  19. turkeyjerky

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    I wonder if there's any correlation between being done early and performance. For my part, I usually finish the exam very quickly but then go through and check all my answers. Thus I hand it in before the majority of the people, but am not one of the first.
     
  20. Mayhem

    Mayhem Scut Bear
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    I guess it would depend on why you finished early. The earliest I've ever finished was 20 minutes in a hour-long test and that was because I had no clue what was going on. It doesn't take long to guess. Don't remember the grade (this was undergrad) but I know it horrible.
     
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  21. Skelfie

    Skelfie Resident Absurdist
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    Haha, I must be an outlier, then... I'm usually one of the first 5-10 people done with exams, but I'm about 95% sure that I'm headed to Internal Medicine or one of its many subspecialties (heme-onc, GI, or endo). I tend to read quickly and think quickly, and I've taken enough tests in my life to know when I simply don't know an answer and when the answer will likely come to me by the time I'm done with the test. (This happens a lot, haha.)

    If I agonize, I just start changing right answers to wrong answers, doodling in the margins, etc. The only time I change answers now is either clerical error, or when, during my second read-through, I see that I misread part of the question (I'm dyslexic like that).

    Doctor Bagel, that's good news about the boards... I take Step 1 in June, and I was worried about simply running out of steam by the end of however many hours that test is! I do plan to build up my stamina, but, yeah. If there's a chance I can finish a little earlier, I think it's good for my score + older non-trad (= tires more easily nowadays) brain... :)
     
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  22. PeepshowJohnny

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    I go through each test twice when I'm done. Once for content and a quick check to make sure I've correctly keyed the scantron. Still, I'm out before half of the class, usually.
     
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  23. Blondbondgirl

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    I have to agree with the "you either know it or you don't" philosophy.

    In pre-clinical years I was a bit overwhelmed (it was also a language thing)- I think I was more nervous and insecure than uninformed, anyway, I always needed the whole time and I often only barely passed.

    As my confidence increased in the clinical years I was able to go back to my undergrad methods- I am almost always the first one done. My grades have gotten TONS better (A average!!!) though even if an exam turns out average, I'm done fast but that's ok, I know that only more studying (more time to study anyway) would have helped, not tearing my hair out during the exam!

    I have to slow myself down in oral exams though, they are nerve-wracking for me! :scared:
     
    #23 Blondbondgirl, Dec 19, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2008
  24. TMP-SMX

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    I'm usually one of the first. You also shouldn't change your answers because the eraser demons tell you to. You guys should practice fast test taking or you will run out of time on Step I.
     
  25. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    I always try to gauge my average time per question. It's 72 seconds per on Step 1, right? I well under that, for sure. That's what you slowpokes should aim for.
     
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  26. spospo

    spospo Going to extremes
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    at our school they time our exams so that you only get about 72 seconds per question. as i said, normally i'm one of the first out. today, i slowed it down, took a little longer, exited somewhere in the middle of the pack, and still had about 15min left. the result of slowing down.......i did the best i have ever done on an exam (quizzes where there are only 20 questions don't count)
     
  27. fireflygirl

    fireflygirl The Ultimate Blindian
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    I am a bit slooooow :(

    I usually get through the test the first time within the first hour or so. And then I go back and do the ones I haven't answered yet. After that, because I know that my test anxiety can get the best of me, I go back and go through the exam and make sure that I haven't made any stupid mistakes. This has helped me earn several point back!!!

    But recently, I think the exams have been a bit challenging. The first exam of this 2nd unit was pretty fair and I had studied super hard so with that one, I walked out around the middle but most of the time, I'm leave near the end.
     
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  28. BoneTwister

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    how do you guys have time to recheck all your answers. Each of our system exams are 150 Q's within 3 hours. I usually only have time to answer the questions with maybe 10 minuets left. You guys should be happy that you have such easy tests.
    :sleep:
     
  29. TMP-SMX

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    Depends on what your questions are. I'm not sure how you figure that the number of questions gauge the difficulty of the test. If they are giving you a long clinical scenario it takes longer to read. If you have a lot of matching or whatever else it isn't a problem. All of our path tests are 100 questions and we have three hours. This last one took me a little less than two hours and that seemed slower than usual.
     
  30. FrickenhugeMD

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    I always end up leaving right around the middle, if not a little sooner. If they give us a 1.5 hrs to take it, I'm usually done in a little over an hour. I usually go at a good pace the first time through the test and answer all the questions I can get right away and mark others to go back and look at the second time through. So far it has worked really well for me and I feel like I have done the best I could have. Can't ask for much more than that
     
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  31. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Drop the "easy" versus "hard" mentality. Any test is easy if you are well prepared. Read what many people have written, not that their tests are easy but that they either know the material or they don't know the material.

    My exams in medical school were more like 150-200 questions in 2 hours hours rather than 3 hours. If you were not efficient, you didn't finish which meant that you didn't have a firm grasp on the material in the first place.

    I can tell you that you didn't have time to emote and wretch over the questions but had to move through them. Efficiency is the key to medical school and mastery of the large volumes of material that you need to master.
     
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  32. themudphud

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    Me too. I wouldn't even think twice about how fast other people finish. Just do your thang to score as high as you can.
     
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