Today was our annual in-service exam. Every year during my residency I will be subjected to the American Board of Emergency Medicine's guantlet of questions. After residency, graduates are supposed to take a board exam to be licensed in their particular specialty. Taking this test is supposed to be helpful with preparation. I didn't really do much to prepare for it this time. I have been trying to keep up with my weekly assigned reading, but I don't always get everything done. I should be reading more about the patients that I've seen during the day, but somehow I just don't want to deal with it when I get home. The test was 225 questions long, and I probably finished the exam among the first third of the group. That doesn't really mean anything. Usually, I will quickly scan through my answers after I take a multiple choice exam, but I just wanted to get out of there.
My understanding is that as long as I show improvement every year, that is all that matters. I think I may have set the bar pretty low today. Some of the questions I knew right away what they were looking for, but there were many that I just had no clue about. Many times I have felt like I am just plugging along this year, not really learning much. However, as I was working my way through the test, I kept remembering particular patient encounters and tried to remember how we handled each particular situation. I guess I am learning, it just doesn't seem like it when there is such a vast expanse of things to be knowledgeable about. Part of my frustration comes from my continual inability to retain information. Many times I feel like I am forgetting old information faster than I am learning new stuff.