Tuesday, January 17, 2012

USMLE Step 1 Exam - Briefly Explained

Toppers are always looked with awe, be it USMLE or any other exams. They are some who think that toppers possess some mysterious powers or intelligence, which helps them score, while others are left scratching their heads in wonder. However there is no such special power; the thing that differentiates the two is their approach towards the examination.
Passing the USMLE exams needs great effort as these are conducted over a series of varying levels. Clearing the very first step is considered the most strenuous for medical graduates hoping to practice in the United States. USMLE is not just confined to US nationals only; foreign nationals can apply too, but with some differentiated procedural rules.
Clearing USMLE step 1 exam with good scores can open up more doors than you might have thought. A decent step 1 score is not just confined to obtaining a license, but is a determinant factor for hospital residency programs. Score good and you have two great options to choose from. Step 1 exam score also plays a pivotal role in making up your choice for further medicinal courses. Prestigious residential hospitals are obviously looking for the smartest graduates around and those with high scores fill in the gap.
While step 2 is used to assess a student's skill to put into use of what he/she studied, USMLE step 1 checks for a student's understanding and knowledge levels. The various sections that the step 1 exam covers include physiology, pathology, anatomy, microbiology among others. With around 322 multiple choice questions divided in 7 sections, USMLE step 1 exam looks scary enough.
USMLE exams are thought to be one of the toughest to appear for and passing the first level is itself considered to be a game only for nerds. Students are always in a self doubt mode as to whether they are ready to appear for USMLE exams or not. Getting good scores in USMLE exams is not impossible at all; some smart tactics and you would get through. Why exactly is this exam so dreadful? Apprehensions say that it is the time constraint that medical students are faced with, which plays the spoilsport. Medical students do find it hard to adjust their studies and prepare for exams in short stipulated times.
Having a question bank by your side is a must if you are appearing for USMLE step 1 exam. This step 1 exam is meant to assess a student's theoretical knowledge to the practical field of medicine. A multiple choice examination like this is sure to set in a lot of confusion with similar answer choices. No wonder students find this 8-hour examination tough enough but they have to deal with it if they are to enter the medicinal world. Additionally, the various rules set in to answer the MCQ's are looked upon with fear by students. A single mistake here and there and your scores are on the risk mode.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Is Your Child Struggling to Read? Symptoms of Dyslexia in Children

Is your child struggling to read? If your child isn't keeping up with his classmates in terms of reading or writing then he may have some kind of learning difficulty.
Could he be dyslexic? There's a chance that he is if he's displaying any of the following symptoms of dyslexia in children.
Dyslexic children are often bright and intelligent with a high IQ but are often labelled "lazy" or "stupid" by their peers and teachers may think that they aren't trying or that they have behavioural problems so they don't receive the help that they need. As a result the child himself thinks he's stupid and develops low self-esteem. He tries to hide his weaknesses by misbehaving or daydreaming in class and becomes frustrated easily when faced with reading, writing or mathematical tasks. In general, such a child will be:
• unable to read, write or spell at a level considered to be normal for his age 
• not able to complete written tests although he may do well orally 
• good at non-academic subjects such as music, art, drama, business, woodworking, design or engineering 
• able to learn more effectively by demonstration and visual aids 
• able to count but will have problems with counting objects or money 
• unable to do sums without using his fingers or other such aids; he will come up with the right answer to simple sums in this way but won't be able to put the workings down on paper and won't be able to progress to higher maths or algebra

Specifically, the child will read haltingly, leaving out words or substituting different words, reversing letters or numbers or even words and will understand little of what he's read. Letters, words, numbers and explanations may cause confusion and spelling will be inconsistent. There are also some physical manifestations such as:
• headache, dizziness or stomach ache while reading or a feeling that a fictional something is moving and causing distraction 
• vision problems although an eye test reveals nothing 
• very keen sight and observational skills or poor peripheral vision 
• hearing things not audible to others 
• speech problems including mispronunciations, transposition of syllables, words and phrases and stuttering when stressed 
• being ambidextrous 
• repeated ear infections 
• a sensitivity to food additives or chemicals

Other symptoms of dyslexia in children concern motor skills and may include:
• writing difficulties often because of an unusual way of holding a pencil; writing may be inconsistent or illegible 
• clumsiness and a lack of co-ordination, not good at ball sports or team games, difficulties carrying out simple tasks that require a degree of motor skills 
• a confusion between left and right or over and under

In addition, a dyslexic child may have problems telling the time, managing time or learning or remember sequences, facts or information that he hasn't personally experienced but will probably have a good long-term memory for people, places and experiences.
Behaviour and development can be an accurate indicator that a child has dyslexia and shouldn't be confused with normal childish behaviour. Behaviour can be compulsive or obsessive and could be at either end of the spectrum such as:
• tidiness or untidiness 
• too noisy or too quiet in class 
Development can be either very early or very late when it comes to crawling, walking and talking and the child may be a very light or deep sleeper or may continue to wet the bed long after it is normal to do so.

The child may have a very high or low pain threshold and may be sensitive emotionally.
Any of these symptoms of dyslexia in children will appear to a greater degree if the child is confused, stressed, under pressure of any kind or in poor health.
If your child is displaying any of these behaviours or traits, do get him tested for dyslexia right away so that the appropriate education can be started before the symptoms become worse or eventually unmanageable.