Archive for tag: exams

Comprehensive Exams

Only four more weeks to go and I can barely believe it! 

With graduation, comes what seems like never-ending tests. I have previously spoken of comprehensive exams that must be taken as an intern increases in clinic rank. Well, the Exit Exam is similar but only for those that are graduating. The exam's purpose, I have heard, is to make sure the graduates are fully competent and will be able to pass the boards tests.

The comprehensive test is an accumulation of questions from various instructors of the program. They often are old test questions so they should be familiar to the student. The exam includes sections of Biomed, Foundations, Points, Differential Diagnosis, and Herbs for those in the herbal program. The comp test usually includes a practical portion, but this portion is excluded for those taking the Exit Exam. After taking the Biomed Board and currently studying for the Herbal Board, I am not worried about taking this exam; it should be a piece of cake. The comp exam does require a pass rate of 70% to continue in the clinical portion of the program. The instructors have chosen the 11th week to take the exam so there is sufficient time to make up the exam for those who need to retake it. The same applies for graduates taking the Exit Exam.


Photo of Dr. CaiAnother project I am working on is a uterine fibroid case study for my Herbal Senior Seminar with Dr. Cai. This class specifically focuses on OB/Gyn topics. This is very important since at least 70% of our patients are females who may have some gynecological complaint. Infertility, painful periods, no period, or menopausal disorders are often seen. I have not had a patient with uterine fibroids so this is a great opportunity to research the topic. 

I will obtain a complete medical history from the patient and then come up with a treatment plan and herbal formula for the particular patient. On the day of class, I will bring the patient in and we will have a grand round-like atmosphere. I will share the case with the classmates and Dr. Cai. Then there is opportunity for any other questions to be asked directly to the patient. After, we will provide treatment to the patient. This type of class format is great because instead of paper cases we can actually talk to the patient, take pulse, and look at their tongue and observe their constitution. Whatever your learning style, I think one will find that the program accommodates all of them.

Welcome Back

Hello and welcome back to my blog! I had two weeks off to relax, of which I did little. 

Biomedicine Exam

I am taking my first board exam, the biomedicine part, on Wednesday. Much of the vacation I spent in coffee shops studying all of the past course material. The biomedicine part is only offered three-four times a year. Since this is a newer board, they are still making changes to it, and it is a paper exam as opposed to the other exams that are taken on the computer. 

The test has 100 questions and has a range of topics that might be included, such as CPR and HIPPA to blood chemistry, muscle skeletal, or pharmacology. The time allotted is one hour and a half to answer the 100 questions. From what I hear, I will be fingerprinted and videotaped while taking the exam. Sounds a little intimidating, but I am sure it will be fine. 

Other Boards

The other exams have modified questions based on how you answer the question. For instance, if you answer the question correctly, the next question will be a little more challenging. If the question was answered incorrectly, the next will be a little easier. Once you finish the computerized exams, you will be told if you have passed the exam. However, the biomed test results are mailed to you in 4-8 weeks.  

Study Help

I am also using TCM tests to study online for the exam. This website has many modules with thousands of questions to prepare you for any of the board exams. They also have daily free questions that can be sent to your email. If you are aspiring to a career in acupuncture or just testing the waters, you should check out their site. A good book that might also introduce you to TCM is The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine by Ted J. Kaptchuk.

Web _Elizabeth -Grad -group -1

I would like to congratulate the recent graduates Ryan, Crystal, Iris, and Linda.  Good luck and much prosperity!

Competency Exams

The dreaded comp exams are here. Well, for some they are not dreaded because they don't really study for them, and others freak out and study like a maniac. Me, I am in between. This weekend I freshened up on some topics that I felt I could use some extra work on.  

The tests...

Comps last two days and kind of remind me of the chiro boards, but not as intense. The first day is the written portion and the second is the practical portion. We are told the tests are pass/fail. The results are given to the student's clinicians in clinic to determine how much supervision the student will need.

The written test is at least 100 questions and from experience tests the student on point location, energetics, diagnosis, accessory techniques (such as moxa, electric stimulation or cupping), and biomed questions such as lab diagnosis, orthopedics, rehab, and radiology.

For herb students, there are questions on individual herbs and formulas. These tests are taken approximately three times during your education and the last test is called the exit exam. The test must be passed in order to graduate. It shouldn't be a problem for students who have studied and passed all their classes. The practical portion consists of three or four patient encounters. Each patient has a different condition and a list of diagnostic tests they must be performed. Outside the room, a S.O.A.P. note must be written and questions answered based on history performed.

I feel the tests do two things:

  1. They basically test you on everything you have learned since you began the program, which is good because you will realize your strengths and weaknesses. Plus, for those taking NCAOM boards, it's like a prep course.
  2. It is a chance to pull together everything you have learned whether points, foundations, nutrition, or diagnostics and fully utilize everything together in clinic. 

Everything is learned in bits and pieces regardless what education you have, and it is the student's job to piece it together and conclude how to best utilize it in practice.

Flying By

Week seven has come and gone and now I am studying for midterms. I am also working on my business plan which is due in a couple weeks. Hopefully, Dr. Hodges our business professor is able to find someone from the Acupuncture field to talk about the ups and downs of going into business.

Speaking of business…On Wednesday, I helped my friend Jennifer present at the Lenore Cox Foundation Group. The group was set up to keep women and men informed on ways to keep the body young, healthy and mobile. Jennifer and I gave a presentation of ways to stay healthy in the fall and winter using food and qigong exercises.  

We kept the presentation fun and interactive which kept the group wanting more.  The group of mostly women seemed very appreciative to learn ways to combat the common cold, digestive disorders and insomnia.  This was a great way to experience what it will be like when I start to market my practice and the field of acupuncture.  It was also a great way to fine-tune my public speaking skills. The one thing I did learn was that I must learn how to interpret the lingo of TCM.  Words such as wind heat or constitution have no significance to the public. 

The school is also abuzz regarding the upcoming visit from the NCCAOM accrediting team.  National's AOM programs, since they are new, have been working through the various steps toward full accreditation.  The accreditation team's visit will take place on December 1-3, 2010. 

Top -flying

Well enough talk, I have to get back to studying for my two herb exams.  The picture is of my Herbal Formula 2 class with Dr. Gary Xie our instructor.