Each year poses a great challenge for medical students in the University of Ibadan, especially those in the preclinical arm who write the first professional examination: The Part 1 MBBS Examination. The examination consists of multiple choice questions, essays and oral examination in Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry. It may sound or seem easy. It isn’t.
Last year I sat for the examination. The school just resumed from a seven week strike, though most of us had the knowledge that the exam was fast approaching, we barely read during the ‘holidays’ as it was not easy reading at home. Though the break took almost two months, many complained it ended too abruptly as we were just beginning to prepare for the examination when the strike was called off (funny though).
Shortly after resumption, we were told the examination will commence in two weeks’ time. The information caught many people unawares and many found it hard to believe. It was like an April Fools’ prank just that the date was not 1st of April. We all accepted our fate, it was not like we had a choice in the first place. We had no doubts that the examination was around the corner. I was one of those who had to pack their luggage to the reading room. The only thing I did not pack was my bed. Some went to Chapel ground to pray, a few acted unperturbed, they kept playing, sleeping and watching movies. How I wish I had that guts.
The few days before the examination were filled with mixed feelings, different sorts of thoughts flooded my heart. What if? I had to take a lot of coffee in between reading to stay awake.
The day of the examination came, everyone was trying to tie loose ends but it was almost impossible to read everything in Medicine. The most disturbing part was when my colleagues started ‘moving stuffs’, asking and answering questions prior to the commencement of the examination. I felt like I had not read anything. I knew at that point I had to be strong or else I might end up developing high blood pressure or run amok.
Physiology was the most daring for me. I had neither eaten nor slept since the previous night. The examination comprised five hundred multiple choice questions and an essay part that lasted for three hours. I was very dehydrated and sleep-deprived. I thought I was going to lose my mind in the examination hall.
The examination ended and I was happy it was all over. It was time to leave the books for a while, let out the stress and await the result. It took a while for the result to be released and I must say those days were not easy days. I could not imagine not being able to enjoy myself in peace.
The results were finally out and I had to quickly scroll down to check my matriculation number. “Oh my God, I made it” was all I could scream at the top of my voice. I had never screamed like I did that day and I was lucky no one was around to ask if I had seen a ghost or some bizarre creature.
Altogether, the journey was worthwhile. I went through the flames and came out refined. Now on a new level, “I made it” still keeps echoing in my mind.
About the Author
Akintola Oluwatoyin is a 400 level student of Medicine and Surgery, University of Ibadan. When she is not glued to a book, she likes to listen to music and see movies.