By 12 noon, I turned in my third and last exam of the day and walked out of the cold classroom into the warm Caribbean sun, thinking to myself how time flew by so fast this first block of the semester, much faster than last semester! Today was a big day, the first block exams of the semester, but even those few important hours of the exams flew by as fast as the past three weeks, and now I had an entire day free. This block was the first time that I have finished all of my exams early!

  • The MCB II exam was 40 questions, 50 minutes. I finished 10 minutes early.
  • The Physiology I exam was 28 questions, 35 minutes. I finished 15 minutes early.
  • The last exam, Immunology, was 40 questions, 50 minutes. Not only had I had enough time to complete the test, but I had time to go over the questions for a second time, and left before the proctors even called out any “warning times.” So my guess is I probably finished at least 20 minutes early.

Speed has never been my forte. Throughout my education, I’ve always been a slow test taker who usually spends too much time re-reading questions and re-thinking my answer choices, obsessing over bubbling in the scantron with a perfect, well-marked, solid circle. That’s why today, as you can see, I felt exceptional. Perhaps it was my good sleep the night before. Perhaps it’s the nature of the exam.. you either know the answer or you don’t… not much time needed for analytical thinking. But most likely, perhaps because this is my second semester and I already had a taste of med school, I knew what to expect and was better prepared to handle the exams.

Given that the class average for MCB II was a surprisingly high 87 and the average for Immunology was 88, I’d say the class agrees with me. What impresses me is that even though we performed much better as a group than last semester, I did not feel the workload was any less than last semester. Perhaps it’s Darwinian selection… only those who had grades high enough to pass the courses last semester were able to move on to this semester and pass this new set of exams, with higher scores. Whatever the reason was for the high averages, I’d say I am finding myself competing at a new level, with a much more academically stronger crowd, and this drives me to become a better student.

This semester, we’ve already lost a few students, and there are several who are retaking courses from first semester (40 of the 200 students in our class, from what I hear from unconfirmed rumors). Perhaps as I move up the semesters, this crowd will get smaller and smaller, yet academically stronger and stronger, like the wide forces of the vast ocean building up into an increasingly strong single wave. I hope I will move along with that wave in the semesters to come.

Today was an extremely windy day, yet as tradition, Arif, Chris, and I still headed to the beach to celebrate the end of the block. Check out the waves!