How do I rank?

Today abut 4000 of my colleagues and myself took a four hour exam designed to simulate our actual board of emergency medicine certification exams. We get compared to all emergency medicine trainees in the country at the same training level and recieve an overall percentage score, as well as a percentile score.

My intern year, I was very nervous about the test, but did reasonable well. The second year, all I wanted to do was a little better than my first year. While in the top half of trainees, I was still dissapointed. This year, I dont care. I’ve been so busy interviewing, catching up on sleep, getting paperwork done for my research and quality control projects, documenting patient encounters (computerized documentation DOES NOT save time), that I have had only a handful of afternoons to “study” for the inservice. The only hope I have of doing better than last year is that the constant little things that I take five minutes to look up during a shift are actually clinically relevant. No wait, there were many questions on the test that were not clinically relelvant…which is why AFTER taking the test, I really don’t care much how I did as long as I passed.

Just like my whole medical career, all I really want is to learn information that will help me take care of patients better. The matierial I learn while seeing patients is far more valuable than pulling out my USMLE Step 1 study guide to re-memorize silly facts like where Coccidiomycosis spores are found. (oops…is that a test violation?). I’m just testing you…

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