MBBS, The Indian Medical Degree is a tough road, much like all medical courses that exist in the world today. You face a lot of difficult situations, have awkwardly funny [awkward first, funny later] moments, you meet a shitload of people on a daily basis [not all of whom, you like], you get to see the true colours of your batch-mates over the course of these long 5.5 years. One of the most recurring ordeals of the Medical Curriculum are the EXAMS!
I have given a total of 263 exam vivas [I calculated!] during my MBBS, including the Internals, Externals, Ward Leaving Tests, Periodicals, Part Completion Tests. And excluding the numerous humiliating [gratifying for Residents, Consultants] vivas we were subjected to as a part of our clinics DAILY! Therefore, I think I am in a perfect position to comment on the type of examiners, having dealt with so many. Here’s presenting the 5 Types of Examiners one encounters almost inevitably, regardless of the course of study.
- THE FRIENDLY NEIGHBOUR
They are the always smiling friendly elderly lot who are more interested to know about your life outside Medicine than the actual topic they are supposed to be questioning you upon.
“Where are you from?”
“Oh Lovely! Which school did you study in? Do you have any siblings?”
“St. Mary’s. Yes, a younger brother.”
“What do your parents do? What’s their monthly income? In which grade is your brother in? What did you have for breakfast? How many teaspoons of sugar do you prefer in your tea?”
They have the potential to make you say “Mind your own business, perhaps?” but then they will decide if you go on to the next year, thus you ought to be polite. No choices. And they’re not really annoying, they are pretty likeable [and favourable, when it comes to marks] people but you just wish if they actually asked something substantial as you have studied your arse off.
- THE EQUINOX
More often than not, you just may find the privilege to be scored by a pragmatic, knowledgeable, fair and unbiased examiner. Sounds like a dream? Oh Yes! They will ask you standard questions, which may get tougher if you seem to answer most. They will nod when you answer correctly, may even praise you. They will not cringe as if you just gave them Distilled Water Intramuscularly [pains a lot], when you fumble or squirt gibberish. They will score you accordingly, just as much as you deserve. They are probably the law abiding citizens of our country.
- THE POKER FACE
They keep the same stern straight face throughout your viva, making sure so as to not leak any information that could pose a threat to National Security. They are probably people from the Intelligence in civil clothes, putting up an act and living under an alias.
You may speak with utmost articulation, 100% factually correct answer, sing, crack a joke, dance, curse or perhaps even die, they will stand/sit with the same face that has been staring at you making a fool of yourself since time immemorial.
You: “The case allotted to me is of a 60 year old female who presented in the Emergency with chief complaints of…
[One hour later]
The most probable diagnosis is Rheumatic Heart Disease complicated by a Mitral Stenosis.”
You: Mary had a little lamb…
You: There were three men in a bar…
- THE IMPENETRABLE
They already judged you as you walked through that door, started with your case presentation or laid a hand on your patient for examination. They are not going to be pleased with anything you say or do and they will show their disappointment in their words and gestures and facial expressions. Why are you even trying? Give up already.
“Tell me the causes of Abdominal Distention.”
“Fat, Flatus, Fluid, Fetus, Feces…”
“Is that how you say it?”
“Umm, sorry Sir. Intestinal Obstruction, Ascites…”
“I have already failed you. But I will humiliate a little more for my amusement.”
- THE SLEEPYHEADS
They will ask you a question, will not listen to a single word you say and will doze off. They will sleep, right there in front of you. You may run, grab a snack, return and they will still be sleeping. They are probably the doting grandparents who take care of their grandkids 24 hours and are even more sleep deprived than you are. Come on, don’t judge them. Pull a chair, and sleep right next to them, strolling through the Dreamland together, hand-in-hand.
I hope you did not sleep through it 😛
P.S. : Coming up next- The Zoological Wards