I spent my 29th birthday in a smokey coffee shop studying for my first medical school exam. Now, about 6 months shy of turning 38, I am less than 24 hours out of the LAST and BIGGEST exam I’ll ever have to take for medicine!

I just finished my Oral Board exam, the last exam required to obtain board certification in my specialty (Emergency Medicine). It’s a pretty wierd exam, held in a hotel in Chicago, all teh applicants spread out over 6 sessions in the spring and 6 in the fall. I was lucky enough to get a spring slot.

The exam consists of 15 – 30 minute simulated cases with no props, just a pencil and paper that they provide for you. The examiner sits across from you and plays the part of the patient, police, family, paramedics, consultants, etc, etc. You get no feedback, simply an “and that concludes this case,” at the end.

Although on several cases, just as I had wrapped up my case, he immediately said, “that’s the end of this case,” so I knew that I had done it all correctly. A few cases there were long, awkward silences, and an occasional, “The nurses would like to know if you’d like to do anything else for Mr. Red?” And I would sit there speechless. If I hadn’t thoguht if it the first go round, it sure wasn’t going to pop into my mind while sitting in silence under pressure!

Anyway, it’s done, and now I can have my life back. Heck, I could even quit now if I wanted, but that would make it hard to pay loans back.