The last few weeks of October have been very busy. Mostly because I was prepping (or worrying) about our second mock exams. The Health Psychology mock exams are a real test of mental and emotional strength (aside from the obvious academic exam that it is). Even my ex-lawyer classmate said she did not have to go through anything quite as hard. Day 1 starts with a 30 minute period where you can read a referral and try to calm your nerves before actually going in to the interview. After that is a 1 hour assessment interview with a patient (actor). You never know what you’re going to get. While interviewing is already nerve-wrecking enough, you must also try to forget about the fact that you have a camera with you in the room, which feeds your session into the next room where 3 examiners are watching you. After the 1 hour interview, you go straight into 3.5 hours of writing up your assessment report. You hand it in, and that’s the end of the first day…
…except it extends into the first night. See, once you hand in your report, you are given 2 case studies to research/prepare for over-night. Plus you have to make sure you brush up on whatever illness came up in the interview. You also need to have a good reflection of your strengths and weaknesses, and be sure you can justify whatever you wrote in the 3 hour frenzy. So basically you have to accomplish 3 things over-night: 1. Reflect on your interview and report (easier said than done because the second-guessing game begins here…did I say the right thing? did I miss any questions?) 2. Research on one case study that is usually in the form of another patient referral 3. And research on a second case study which often revolves around a research question. There is no rest for you. Luckily, I was the first person who did the mocks this time, which meant I started my interview at 9am and ended at 1:30pm. Last time I interviewed at 1:30pm, ended by 6pm, then got home at around 7pm. By that time I was already so tired and had little energy to do the over-night case studies. This time though, thankfully, I had enough energy to prepare…
Then comes the second day of mocks, which is the oral exam. It’s like having to prepare for the chopping board. 1 hour to present your case studies, and to get quizzed by the 3 examiners who watched you the previous day. After that, at the end of the day, they give us feedback on how we did… which is often the hardest part because by that time you are so tired already that receiving feedback and criticism can be a real challenge to one’s ego.
*NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART*
And I sometimes ask myself why I am doing this. Why do I put myself through this? One psychologist once said that we psychologists have one thing in common: we are very good at coping with exam anxiety. And in a way, this is true I guess, because there is no way that I would have reached this stage if I couldn’t cope with exam anxiety that well. Now all we have left is the real exam in Feb. Oh boy. At least I have a few months to keep working on my skills.
Growing can be painful. This process is particularly painful, but I was very glad to know that at least I have improved in some way.
Moving on to happier things, here are a few photos of some good things that happened during the last week.