Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ABIM Recertification

It's the following morning.  Six hours in front of a computer answering questions.  Don't know whether the score will meet threshold or not.  Whatever the outcome, this time the questions seemed more in keeping with what I actually do in the office.  I probably did well on the questions asking for a response to lab data, not as well on things involving karyotypes and genetic disorders that I rarely see.  There were a lot of questions asking about lab features in a specific situation.  I could usually exclude three of the five choices so if I get half of those correct I stand a fighting chance of not having to do this again.

For a profession that largely runs on the honor system, the security seemed excessive.  Nothing in pockets except drivers license and locker key,  no watch.  My wedding ring has gotten too tight to take off easily but they let me keep that.  They took a photo and a print of each palm that had to be verified each time you went into the computer room.  They replaced my handkerchief with three tissues taken from a box at the doorway.

I have a pledge not to divulge questions, not that I remember all that many, mainly the ones I wished I had studied for but didn't.  I spent a fair sum on preparation, attending a review course and purchasing a question-answer book from the Endocrine Society.  Surprisingly little from the review course made its way to the actual questions.  Many of the points in the sample questions appeared in other forms.

At this point, sitting in front of a computer for six hours has taken its toll.  By the third two hour session I just wanted to get done.  My analytical skills and ability to extract details from the questions had waned and response time was slower.

It's done now, at least until the scores arrive.  Life was put on hold for a while.  But right after signing out I headed off to the Motor Vehicle station a few miles down the road to get my car inspected and renew my registration, then a trip to the gas station that sells my favorite iced coffee at a bargain price, then some light shopping, then to Stanley's Happy Hour for a pint of Yardley brew made in Philadelphia while watching the playoffs and creating my October to-do list which does not differ all that much from what was never accomplished on my July to-do list.  No debauchery, just an attempt to unwind and restart what had been set aside.

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