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A Piece of My Mind
December 17, 2008

A Testy Experience

JAMA. 2008;300(23):2708. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.833

Wistfully I think of those last days of grade school when students chanted, “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks!” How naive we were to imagine infinite summers and the end of unpleasant tasks. Little did we know we’d be in school (some of us, at least) for the rest of our lives. That there’d be an unstoppable flow of pencils, books, and, well, tests.

I can't even guess how many tests I’ve sat through in my educational lifetime. Hundreds? Could it be thousands by now? Spelling tests, school entrance examinations, medical school biochemistry tests, clinical performance tests. Throw in a couple of hearing and vision tests, because you have to pass those too, and it's probably close to a million or so. I am now 54 years old and am still taking tests. On August 1, for the third time since I graduated from residency, I sat for the American Board of Family Medicine recertification examination. Let me tell you, it doesn't ever get easier.