Monday, September 28, 2009

Long Time no Post

Tuesday marks the end of my initial education as a Paramedic. In preparation I have been studying with books, exam preparations, notes, other students, etc. I will say however, that there is one common thread between the practice exams: bogus questions.

These are questions which make no attempt to assess critical thinking or evaluate knowledge in a certain area, they attempt solely to trick the student. After enough of these trick questions, the student becomes ingrained in finding the catch. Answering the questions becomes a game and not a test of ones knowledge. For instance (not an actual question, just an example):

A patient complaining of cephalgia would most likely:

  1. Have a headache

  2. Have an ear ache

  3. Have clubbed fingers

  4. Be a dick

If you answered, "have a headache," congratulations, you know useless medical trivia and probably have little clinical skills. If you answered, "be a dick," you possess a high degree of critical thinking skills. What patient in the world is going to complain about "cephalgia", unless they're a raging...well, you know what.

If the question asked, "which of the following symptoms would be cause for concern in a patient with an acute onset of hypertension," and "Headache (cephalgia)" was the answer, the question would not only test clinical knowledge, but teach the student a (useless) medical term for a headache. If the answer was given only as cephalgia, then the question would test for nothing.

Update: I passed my paramedic final and will take the North Carolina EMT-Paramedic exam October 23rd. I hope to complete the National Registry testing in November.