A Reflection on Part 1 Boards

National Boards is about studying, studying, studying.

National Boards is about studying, studying, studying.

The weeks before Part 1 Boards were pretty crazy. Fifth trimester was just starting up, and our class load that tri was fairly substantial. At the same time as this, we were all feeling pressure to review everything we have learned over the past year here at Palmer so as to prepare for Boards.

The days were long. I would be up at 5 or 6 a.m. to get ready for the day, sometimes going for a run or heading to the gym to clear my head before a long day of school and studying. Classes this trimester start at 7:30 a.m. and go until 4 p.m., so the day was long already and then after all this I would find a study room and start reading through review material until about 10 p.m. each night. This was a pattern for the first three weeks of the trimester.

It felt like there were so many concepts and details to go through, and the more you dove in to learn something, the more information there seemed to be and it was almost overwhelming to think of all the questions they could ask.

It is a bit of a game studying for Boards. There are things you focus on because professors and other students and even review classes will tell you certain things that boards will focus on and that you should know a certain thing really well. So the entire time you are studying, you’re trying to learn all the exceptions and rules and trying to guess what things seems more important to know that they would ask.

The stress was high for sure, but I think it’s good to be a little stressed about doing well, I think this means you care about it. You want to do well, and it’s important to you, so you worry and you stress, which helps you to focus and move through all the review material.

Overall the studying was good. Going over some things made me feel really smart, and it helped me to start putting things into a bigger picture instead of just small details. It has proved to me how much I have learned and how far I have come in a year and made me really proud of myself.

I hope all my classmates feel that way after taking Part 1 Boards. And if you haven’t yet, I hope you feel like that when your time comes.




Part 1 Boards – The Exam Process

National Boards security is serious business ... well, not this serious, but serious enough!

National Boards security is serious business … well, not this serious, but serious enough!

So a lot of people were right–they tell you Boards aren’t that bad and that you are going to be fine and that you are a good student and you know more than you think, so you will survive. They were right.

When you arrive at the school in the morning, you need to make sure you aren’t wearing or holding or have in your pockets anything that the NBCE has on their “not allowed in” list, which includes everything except the clothes your wearing, two pieces of ID and a key (but the clothes can’t have hoods or baggy pockets, and the keys can’t have a key fob on them).

You come to the test zone and go through a security checkpoint, and then you find the room where you are supposed to be writing the exam. Once you go into the room you check in by showing your two pieces of ID, and they give you a lanyard with your picture on it, which you are expected to wear all the time. The seats are assigned, so you go find your seat at which there is a name card, a mechanical pencil and some ear-plugs.

Once everyone has checked in and found their seats, the proctors hand out the exam (which is sealed) and you are not allowed to open it until they have read through the entire instructions and allowed you to open the exam. They read through these same instructions before each exam so you get used to the process pretty quickly. Once the instructions have been read through and you have filled out your exam scorecard, you wait until the proctor says you may begin the exam.

Once the exam has begun (90 questions to be completed in 75 minutes), they will only allow you to leave the room during scheduled breaks or escorted by a proctor. If you have finished your exam by the time there is 30 minutes remaining, you may leave but if you haven’t, you must stay and wait until the 15-minute remaining mark at the next allowed break.

When you have been let out of the room, you can go do whatever it is you want to until the next exam start time. Then you have to go through the entire process again, starting with going through security.

It was a pretty crazy few days!


Part 1 Boards – The Exams

test timeSome were hard and some were not. There were definitely questions that I knew on all the exams, but there were also questions that I didn’t know on the exams, too. I was really surprised by spinal and general anatomy at how straightforward and easy the questions were. These exams were the ones we had on the first day. And I felt really good after finishing that day. I was thinking to myself, “If only they were all that straightforward. I can’t believe I spent so much time stressing out about a lot of little details!” But the next day was a little harder.

I thought general anatomy and spinal anatomy were going to be the hardest exams because they cover the most material and seem the most pertinent to being a chiropractor. But they were, in my opinion, by far the easiest exams, and it was physiology and microbiology that seemed to ask the most random information instead of the big concepts.

That was the most frustrating part about the exams. You would think that they would ask you questions relating to the things that are the most important to know or that will be information you will use every day. For example, plexus information or cranial nerve information or even facet orientation and receptors in the skin. But none of that stuff was heavily tested. One or two questions were asked about things that I thought were going to be a large portion of the exams.

But the end of the day on Sunday, I was definitely burnt out, and I could tell as I was writing the exam that I was being a little impulsive. They would have questions about things that I didn’t review or that I didn’t remember anything about, so I would just choose an answer I thought sounded right by breaking down the word or going with my “guess letter,” which is a letter we all decided we would pick if we didn’t know the answer.

But looking back on the day, I think it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, And it was a bit of a relief to see others felt the same way that I did or that I did know some things in the exams.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when the scores come out in a month, because there is nothing we can do now!


First Exam of 3rd Trimester!

Even though we are already about a month into the trimester, we had our first exam. I always think it’s funny how for the first month there is nothing really going on at school, so you don’t really feel any pressure to study or be productive. And then all of a sudden in one week you have an exam in every class you have.

Being in 3rd trimester now, though, I have learned my lesson. I have fallen into a groove where I feel like I am ahead of the game. I kept on top of my studying so I am more ready for the bombardment of exams I have in the upcoming weeks than I would have been previously.  Also I have two weddings over the next two weekends, so I was forced to do some studying ahead of time–because I know I won’t be able to utilize the weekends I am gone to get as much studying done as I would if I was here at home all day.

The first test went well! It was in pathology and I really enjoyed how our professor (Dr. Roeker) did an overview of the notes on YouTube so I could sit at home and listen to him explaining things that maybe I missed in class. I found it really helpful to have a complete overview of all the material on the exam in a few hours instead of how it is in class over the weeks prior.

It makes me think about recording the lectures and listening to them at home that night or on the weekend and going over the notes with the lecture so I have them in front of me and the teachers explanations there to listen to as well.

Do you record lectures? I would love some feedback on it if you do!

Cheers, eh





(written 6/6/14) So today marks the first day of finals for this trimester, and we all know what that means! Free GOODY BAGS! For those of you that don’t know, each trimester at the start of finals week, Student Services puts together goody bags for the students. They are first come first served, so you have to get there early if you want to snag one! This year it wasn’t hard for me to get one since I had a final at 7:30 in the morning to kick off finals week.

They divided the goody bags up into dark chocolate and milk chocolate piles so people could have their choice. In my goody bag was pretzels, peanuts, a Dove dark chocolate bar, Laffy Taffy, Twizzlers and a granola bar. And then on the side of that they were providing fruit, like apples and bananas, so I grabbed an apple as well. This bag will keep me going through a long study day in the group study room preparing for my 6 upcoming finals next week.

The two finals I had today were Philosophy and Biochemistry. I pretty much have 2 finals per day all next week, one is usually in the morning and then there is another one later in the afternoon. Finals week can be a little overwhelming because you have so many exams in such a short period of time. You really have to organize and prioritize your study time to make sure you have time to review for all your exams and don’t focus to heavily on one class and completely neglect another.

Good luck with finals everyone!



Study Day

Classes for the trimester are finally over. There’s no more new material to learn, and I don’t have to get up early to commit to being in class. I can spend the day putting emphasis on the subjects I feel I need the most work on, and I can get up and make a coffee anytime I want … and stay in my pajamas!

Every trimester before finals start, the school is gracious enough to give us ONE day to have to study and prepare ourselves for the bombardment of finals we are about to endure. It never seems like enough time. I always feel like I am scrambling to shove last minute details into the far reaches of my brain, but somehow I make it through and all the stress and pressure, and that makes the break all that much more enjoyable.

Of course, usually (as Dr. Bhogal would be proud to hear me report), all that stress and grab-and-go food and lack of sleep during finals only suppressed my immune system, and as soon as I get on break I will almost definitely get sick when it starts kicking back in.

I hope you are all enjoyed your study day, whether you used it for its intended purpose or took some time to distress and relax. Either way, the time was much needed and I am very thankful for it!

Good luck on finals everyone!



Grade postings

Exam (Source: Albert G, Wikimedia Commons)

Exam (Source: Albert G, Wikimedia Commons)

This one is going out to the prospective students who don’t know how it works at Palmer.

I know I have been talking about some of our exams here in my blog, and I just thought how I haven’t ever really followed up on that. I thought I would share how you get your grades from exams. It is probably one of the most anticipated things here at Palmer, and the more I thought about it, the bigger of a deal it seemed to me.  🙂

So after you take an exam, each class is different. Most professors will have the grades up later that day or for sure by the next day, and they usually even tell you when you can expect to see the grades posted before the exam (because they know everyone wants to know).  But there are a few classes that could take up to two weeks before the grades go up, which is a little tough to handle sometimes, but I guess I have gotten used to it now.

So, when you become a student here, you receive a student number. At Palmer they call it a “matric” (matriculation) number, and they use this number (with your permission) to post the grades online. This way, as long as you don’t share your number with everyone you know, your grades are anonymous. They can post all the grades up in one file, and you just have to look down the list for your number to figure out what you got. So when it comes up, it is basically a table on a Word document with a long list of all the matric numbers of students in your class with their grade posted next to it.

Most professors will post the grades online in the Portal, which is the system we use here to access all your class information (kind of like Bklackboard or D2L that you might have had at another school). There are though some classes that do not put the grades up online but will print them out and leave them on their office door or something, and you will have to go there to look at them.

You can choose not to have your grades posted publicly, in which case I am not sure how you would receive them, but I know it is an option.

So far I have been really happy with my grades. That makes me think back to before I got here and how nervous I was that I would fail or that I wouldn’t be able to handle to stress or pressure or workload. I was silly to doubt myself, and my advice to anyone out there feeling the same way would be to just remember they will teach you everything you need to know. And if you just take it one day at a time and are willing to learn, you will have absolutely no problems. You can do anything you set your mind to!



Skull Bones

Skull bones

Skull bones

(written 5/29) Tomorrow is my final lab practical in Spinal Anatomy 2. This practical is cumulative and will cover all muscles of the back, neck, face, ear, eye and skull … and not to mention the bones. THE BONES! I don’t think people realize how many bones make up their skull (or even the vertebral column), how many tiny features and notches and lines there are and how weird all their names have to be.

Luckily for me we have some great resrources here at Palmer. The Library provides us with bones that  we can check out. There are real bones, which must stay in the Library, but you can have them for two hours at a time. Then there are plastic models that you can check out to take home and keep for the night. And then the P.A.S.S program has bones which are marked just how they will be on the practical. My last practical in spinal covered more of the vertebral column bones, which were colored in a certain way to help us know what they wanted us to identify on the test. And now the skull bones will have either dots or arrows to indicate which feature they want us to identify.

As the practical gets closer, I get more and more nervous and worry that I will name something incorrectly or on the wrong bone, but I still have one more night to go over the features and make all those words become second nature!

Off to the library …



Day Off … Not

So I’m writing this on Memorial Day, which, yes, it was a holiday from school since there were no classes. But that didn’t stop me from spending time at the school. With finals approaching fast, my Monday was spend in the lab at P.A.S.S. preparing for Spinal and Gross Anatomy lab finals.

Lab finals are typically held before finals week, which is nice because it gets those out of the way and means I won’t have to worry about getting in to the lab to study during finals week when I already have other exams to study for.

Because the lab hours are limited it, gets pretty busy in there and so you want to get in the earlier the better to start seeing things and getting familiar with them so when the lab gets busy you don’t have to fight with 10 other people to see one pro section you were hoping to work on.

I am getting really excited to be done with labs and not have to stay at the school super late and have two things to think about for one class and to be able to pass on my stinky coat to a first trimester student who will need it, because we won’t have to be in the lab again after second trimester unless you decide to become a P.A.S.S. lab tutor.

On the flip side, I know it is pretty rare to get the opportunity I did to work in a cadaver lab and be able to learn as much as I have about the human body and see first hand the variation and amazing things the body does to work and heal and function. We, as chiropractic students, are among a small percentage of the population that is learning about the things we are and getting to see the things we do!

Back to the books!



Countdown is on

Ah, summer ...

Ah, summer …

I am not sure how everyone else is feeling, but I am especially ready for the break! As it is creeping closer, all that stands between me and relaxing on my boat out on the water and getting a suntan is … about 8 final exams.

It’s crunch time now, and although we have a 2-week lull before the monstrosity that is finals week, each day before then will count to stay on top of the material so there will be less cramming in the end.

The only difficult part of this is that the weather is starting to get really nice, so it’s hard to want to be indoors when it’s so nice outside. It feels like the sun is calling to me through the windows of the school. My social media tells me everyone else is graduating and moving into summer/vacation mode. This will be my first time being in school during the summer, so it will be interesting to see how the weather effects my mental state.

My only salvation is the new layout chair I bought for my back deck so I can soak up the sun while I read my notes after school and get a little bit of both worlds.

Good luck studying to all you current students!