Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Anatomy Practice Questions

Chris (a recent Ross alumnus) writes:

Hey guys,

So just a couple things that have helped me with those pesky minis.

I noticed from my time on the island that many students used to go through the test and answer questions in order. I've always found this to be an inefficient method of tackling an exam. For starters, if you encounter a question that's fairly difficult and you're unsure of the answer, you end up spending a disproportionate amount of time trying to figure it out. This leaves you with less time to answer questions that come later in the test. What I like to do is flip through the exam really quickly and answer questions that I know the answer to immediately. This serves two functions. It builds my confidence and really gets my brain rolling and jogs my memory and helps me answer some of the more difficult questions that I had trouble answering earlier in the exam. I keep flipping through answering questions out of sequence until the entire test is done.

Another important, and sometimes overlooked method of answering questions is the process of elimination. ALWAYS eliminate the wrong answer and physically cross it out on your exam. This may sound silly, but people sometimes forget to to do this. Eliminating answer choices makes you start thinking about the topic (kinda the point of tests, haha) from a variety of angles. Sometimes jogs your memory...

Oh and look for answers to one question in other questions...something that happens when you jump around ;-)

Anyways, those are just a couple quick points that helped me get through Ross. I apologize if some of doesn't make sense or is ungrammatical...im trying to write this out as quickly as possible before my battery runs out!

Best of luck,

Without going into too much detail; being a repeating student I have to attend a weekly, mandatory Academic Success session with 5 other repeaters.  (We call it our AA meeting.)  Part of this involves a (simple) weekly homework assignment.  This week's homework assignment was to create two exam questions, bring them to the session, and discuss them.  Here were my two questions:

Question #1:  A patient comes into the ED presenting with a stabbing injury to the left thorax, approximately 4cm lateral of the sternum.  You have determined that the knife has penetrated the patient's pleural cavity between ribs 4 & 5, stopping just before reaching the patient's heart or lungs.  Which of the following structures has been damaged?

A. Visceral Pleura
B. Parietal Pleura
C. Parietal Pericardium
D. Phrenico-Pleural Fascia
E. Supra Pleural Membrane 

Question #2:  Which structure is NOT affected by thoracic outlet syndrome?

A. Mendian Nerve
B. Ulnar Nerve
C. Axillary Artery
D. Subclavian Artery

They're just anatomy questions so they're not really conceptually tricky.  The first question might be a good example of an exam question and the second question is not.  It's all secondary and tertiary questions at Ross (and at all medical schools?) and if there are any primary questions on the exam, they are few and far between.

#1: This shouldn't be too hard if you know the material.  You can get to the answer through the process of elimination.  I'm was deliberate in my description of the location of the injury.  The Supra Pleura Membrane is associated with the cervical region (too high), the Phrenico-Pleura Fascia is associated with the diaphragmatic region (too low), and both the Visceral Pleura & Parietal Pericardium are too deep.  There's only one choice left.

#2: This question should be even simpler.  Even if you don't know too much about the exact route of the Median n., Ulnar n., and Subclavian a., you should know that the Axillary a. only exists in a very small portion of the shoulder, deep to the Pectoralis Minor (by definition).  It's no where near the thoracic outlet.  You should be able to get this question correct with that bit of information alone.

Answers: 1B, 2C


jon said...

As a 3rd year clinical student, i look back at your questions and go...damn, this stuff is hard. this is probably bc nobody in clinical years go in detail about which pleura you are in. Sir your buck's fascia is torn....yea like the patient knows or cares that it was torn. all he knows is that something's torn and can you fix it lol. The boards dont even go into this much detail.

Jonathan said...

Eh, I don't actually remember ever seeing a question on pleura last semester. That's part of the reason I decided to make a question about it.


Jonathan said...

Oh yeah, and you should've seen the questions by this other guy. I think his sole purpose was to make the most impossible questions possible. Some biochem question about Trinucleotide Repeat Diseases... something about specific nucleotide sequences, signs, onset, population statistics for the diseases, and remember the number or repeats for those diseases. Bastard.


C said...

nice questions. I actually do the skipping around thing on tests, it helps alot. We couldn't do this with our anatomy exams because they were on the body so you had to go in the prescribed order. but for MC tests, definitely a good strategy. I"m curious what your classmate's question was!

Jonathan said...

Now that I look at it again, the second question isn't really worded that well. You could argue that both the axillary a. and even brachial a. are "effected" by thoracic outlet syndrome since it effects the entire upper extremity and they're just extensions of the subclavian.



jon said...

So i got my scores for USMLE STEP 1 back, I passed. But I couldnt tell you what thoracic outlet syndrome is.... lol