How I took my specialty board and exam


Anyone who went through a specialty training and took their specialty board exam have stories to tell. This is how that day went. I remember my written exam  in one big auditorium in Unilab. This is it, I told myself. Months of memorizing and reviewing Nelson, our pediatric bible will be put to test today. So many hopefuls in the room. As examinees enter the auditorium, I saw something being handed to each examinee  from where I am standing  behind. When my turn came, I was delighted to get a plastic that contains candies, a biscuit, a boiled egg and a fruit. How thoughtful! I appreciated the gesture but I did not have time to eat any of them out of nervousness ! The exam was looonng! Managing my time was important. I determined how long I should stay on an item. Its either I know the answer or I don’t. So I skipped those I don’t know and marked it so I can go back for it. Its also important to take deep breathes every 45 minutes to clear the mind. 

My oral exam is another story. We were divided into groups. I remember one consultant attending to us before we enter the hall. He was our cheer leader. Psyching up our spirits. He asked some of us to comb our hair or put on a lipstick so we would look good and confident.  Each examinee will be assigned to 3 examiners. You will only know who they are when its your turn. I will have to get a passing grade from 2 out of the 3  to pass . I think oral exams are more difficult because it is a face to face experience. Its an added challenge compared to looking at a paper in a written exam.  I prayed for  examiners  who will be kind and gentle to me. I was afraid everything I know ( assuming I remember much of the enormous materials I read through the months) will be thrown into the winds if I  get a “toxic and terror ” examiner. 

One examiner was a  gracious lady who asked me questions in a soft and gentle voice. Thank god. She does not tell you if you got the answer right but I see a small nod from time  to time so I figured maybe I am okay. My second examiner is one kind lady too. She asked about poisoning. I was praying I did not get the two types she was asking me about mixed up as I blurt out answers. The third examiner was interesting. Without much expression on his face, he just told me ” 5 yo boy with fever was  brought in the ER.” I was waiting for him to say something else. He didnt. So I  asked a  question. How many days of fever? “Five”, he answers. Silence. Then I  asked another, “other symptoms?” He  answers. This kept on going for some time. I realized he was really on me figuring out how I will think through the case . It was a very insightful encounter. It took some days to know the result of the oral exam. 

Knowing I passed is another story to tell. I never really saw the list of those who passed myself. My friend’s husband went to the society office to look at the list. He was the one who told me I passed. Of course I believed him! He would jokingly asked me and his wife if we are really board passers because we did not really see our names in the list  ourselves. Good thing we got a letter for it!

If you are taking your exams anytime soon, go take your exams with the confidence that you have prepared well.  Know that everything you need  you already have in you. Dress up for it. Put on makeup. Carry a big smile. Pray. Give it your best.