Thursday, May 5

370 –or- It’s Called Sampling!

Yesterday was totally consumed by honors defenses at work and the cumulative written final for my medic class. The entire department was locked into a room together from 8 AM to 5 PM, with a steady stream of VERY nervous but talented students. My student went at 8 and it was nice to get the most stressful one (for me) over early so I could enjoy the others. She did a GREAT job, and I am very proud of her. In fact, as a package, yesterday’s presentations were the best I’ve seen in my 9 something years here. Either the students are getting better or we are doing a better job preparing them (I predict the former).

Ah, the cumulative written exam for medic class. Three hundred and seventy questions of fun. 370. Thirty shy of 400. I was joking with the instructor that maybe they should ask us a sample of the infinite number of questions they could ask. He didn’t think it was funny, mostly because his brother put the exam together, but the guy I was joking with had to grade it and hear the class bitch about it (the brothers team teach the course). It was LONG. Most people came early to make sure they had plenty of time. I just couldn’t start early, and this cost me as I finished late in the pack and the exams were graded in the order in which they were completed. I was there from 1830 to 2230, and was plenty tired after thinking all day (I know, sounds like it should not be tiring to sit on your [blank] and think, but for some reason it is for me].

It was a tough exam, a mix of questions we had seen before and many we hadn’t. The new ones, as far as I can tell, came from a test bank (I see a lot of test bank questions in my line of work, and I know how our instructors write, hence this prediction). Worse, a reasonable subset of the questions was NOT covered in class or the book. Thus I think the test bank was for a paramedic text we didn’t use. Certainly added to the challenge.

Those waiting for grades were in a different room than the testing room, so there was a fair amount of chatter and banter. Before I got there a system was set up where people reported their score to the group along with how far below their class average they scored. It turned into a sport, with the goal being to make the best face/noise when seeing your score. EVERYONE before me scored below their average, most by 5 to 10 points. This did cause me pause a bit, because I effectively did not study for the exam. I spent a couple of hours Tuesday looking over all of our old quizzes and tests, but did not turn a page of the text or our notes. I just didn’t have time. I reached a Zen like calm, reassuring myself that I learned the material as I went along and would be fine. I did miss 36 questions, but of course that kept me in the 90’s so I was very pleased.

Three more class meetings left: Two practice practical exams and then a review before the state exam. No new material, no written quizzes or tests. SWEET!