Honestly, I hoped to walk out of finishing taking Step 1 with a little more spring in my step. To be even more explicit, the seemingly benign 280 questions kicked my medical student butt.
It’s frustrating to work so hard for something to ultimately feel as though you haven’t performed to your potential. During the exam, part of me wanted to yell at the computer, “I know what you’re talking about, but I just don’t know what you’re talking about…you know?!” Yet, when I take a step back, I am so amazed by the breadth of our knowledge of medicine and even more astounded when thinking of how much farther we have to go. Still, of the things that we do know, it’s simply not possible to know it all. I suppose that’s why textbooks, online resources, and applications for our phones exist: to fill in the gaps of our finite knowledge, leaving more room for more compassion and better critical thinking to help us better serve our patients.
That mental shift from “I MUST KNOW EVERYTHING” to “I can’t know everything, so I’m going to do my best to learn as much as I can with the time and resources that I have,” was a pivotal transition point in my study time. As a wise doctor once told me in terms of taking exams, “You don’t need to know everything; you just need to know enough.” This certainly applies to real life, too, except when you don’t know something you can always ask or look it up!
And now, we wait (while praying, hoping, and wishing!) for our test results!