May 31, 2017

Posted by in School of Massage Therapy | 0 Comments

Weeks Twelve & Thirteen: FINALS!? Test-Ins!?

I have been remiss about staying up on blogging, and I am sorry for that. I was aiming to update weekly, and things just sort of spiraled out of control. School really started to intensify, and this was only the tip of the iceberg.

Over the last several weeks we finished up Foundations of Massage, Pathology I, Myology and Kinesiology I, and Anatomy and Physiology I. This naturally meant that we had finals for all four of these classes… and these finals were over the course of two weeks. So for a couple weeks leading up to the finals everyone was a bit tense with anticipation and anxiety, and directly following the finals there was a brief sense of relief… but we all know it’s the calm before the storm because this is where everything starts to get real. I’ll go over all that in a separate post though, to keep this from getting too long-winded.

By and far, Myology I was probably the final we were all the most anxious about because it was the first one on May 15th. We had fifty muscles that we had to have memorized, and for a significant portion we needed to know the origins and insertions, plus some miscellaneous information. We were also told that this final would be one that would mimic the state boards the closest, so that added to some of the anxiety I believe. With only two chances to get a passing grade, it can make a person a little tense. For this school, if you fail a class that means you cannot continue forward, and the final is the largest part of the grade.

So the muscles we needed to know for Myo I were the following:

Intrinsic Hand Muscles (10): Dorsal Interossi, Palmar Interossi, Lumbricals, Flexor Pollicis Brevis, Abductor Pollicis Brevis, Oponens Pollicis, Adductor Pollicis, Flexor Digiti Minimi, Abductor Digiti Minimi, and Oponens Digiti Minimi.
Extrinsic Hand Muscles (9): Flexor Pollicis Longus, Abductor Pollicis Longus, Flexor Digitorum Superficialis, Flexor Digitorum Profundus, Extensor Pollicis Brevis, Extensor Pollicis Longus, Extensor Digiti Minimi, Extensor Indicis, and Extensor Digitorum.
Wrist Moving Muscles (6): Flexor Carpi Radialis, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris, Palmaris Longus, Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus, Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis, Extensor Carpi Ulnaris
Radio-Ulnar Joint Muscles (3): Supinator, Pronator Teres, and Pronator Quadratus
Elbow Moving Muscles (5): Anconeus, Triceps Brachii, Biceps Brachii, Bracialis, Brachioradialis
Rotator Cuff Muscles (4): Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, and Subscapularis
Shoulder Moving Muscles (7): Anterior Deltoid, Middle Deltoid, Posterior Deltoid, Corocobrachialis, Pectoralis Major, Latisimus Dorsi, and Teres Major
Scapula Moving Muscles (7): Pectoralis Minor, Serratus Anterior, Trapezius (Upper, Middle, and Lower), Rhomboids, and Levator Scapula
Miscellaneous Muscle (1): Subclavius

So of those we had to know a lot of bone markings where they attach, and some of them are associated with pathologies such as tendonitis and thoracic outlet syndrome. It was a lot of information. However, because the information was honestly all very organized (or at least I thought so), this turned out to be what I would consider the easiest final that we had. I knew exactly what would be on it, I had the information down cold, and I felt very confident about it. In the end I achieve a 99.5% on it, which was rounded up to a 100%. I missed half a point on a fill-in for a muscle location where I wasn’t quite specific enough. I can live with that.

FOM was the next final that we took, on May 16th. No rest for the weary, right? This was a bit nerve wracking until we did review for it, which seemed to clear up a lot of questions. Until we actually sat down for it and realized that not all the information on the final was reviewed! D: Thankfully, I was able to either use a process of elimination or recall the information that wasn’t reviewed, to get most of the answers. This final ended up having a point of contention for an answer though, and since our FOM instructor wasn’t around to ask the day we received the finals back, we petitioned other instructors as to their thoughts. One didn’t like the way the question was worded at all, but we got a solid answer in our Pathology class as to why it was the way it was. So the question was worded “With which would you exercise EXTREME caution for a massage?”, and the possible answers were “Fever, Sprain, Strain, Edema”. The correct answer was “Fever”, but the large chunk of us that missed this were very confused as to why that was, since fever would be a contraindication. In the end the reason falls to the wording that NYS likes to use. According to NYS, there are only two absolute contraindications (if the therapist or client is under the affects of a mind-altering substance, or if the therapist needs to speak with the client’s MD to ensure safety and the client won’t give permission), and everything else is an EXTREME caution. As soon as this was explained, I remembered going over that in the third class (or something like that near the beginning) of FOM, and we never really touched on the language again. So now that I missed a question because of it, I will never forget it. Lesson learned. I still walked away with a 96% since that was the only question I missed.

A&P I gave us our final on May 22nd, and it would also be day one of two for Test-Ins for Clinic for some of us. So this was a final that didn’t seem like it would be bad, until I started thinking about everything we had already covered that we had to know… and then it got real. Unlike Myology, there wasn’t a cute way to list all the information to make it easier to remember. You just had to know it. So in A&P I we had covered the following:

Atoms and the Chemistry of Life, Cells and their Anatomy, Tissues (Muscular, Neural, Connective, Epithelial), The Nervous System (including all twelve pairs of cranial nerves and the thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves), The Integumentary System, The Muscular System, and The Skeletal System.

This may not seem like a lot, but it really is when you break down all the bits and pieces that came with it. I’d go into more detail, but unlike the muscles for Myology there is no quick list, so I’ll spare you in this post. Perhaps in another post I’ll make a quick-list for each class of what we were required to know by the end. This will of course mean more details for the Myology stuff, too. So for this final, with the information not being as easily listable, it really came down to a matter of memorization. We had some tricks we could use, but not a lot. Still, I think as a whole the class was less nervous for this one than they were the Myo I final. I ended up getting a 105% on it, which worked for me. I missed a bit of the bonus questions, or I’d have had a perfect score including all of them too. It was only some bonus questions that I missed though, so I was thankful for that. After the Myo I final score that I got, I really wanted to strive to ace all the finals.

After A&P I final, I was in the first round for Test-Ins for Clinic. Clinic is something we are required to do to graduate, and to start Clinic you first have to test in. This is exactly like our FOM midterm where we give a massage to an LMT, except now it’s a full-body massage and we have to follow Clinic procedures. I honestly had no issue with this though, because I was able to recall how smoothly my midterm went once I got going, and went back to that place. So I passed my Test-In with a perfect score as well, and am ready to start clinic. About half of us had our Test-In on the 22nd, and the other half would have it on the 24th, which also happened to be the date of our last final…

So Pathology I final was on May 24th, and this one came in two parts. We had a take-home final where we could use any resource we wanted to try and get the answers, and then we had an in-class final that would be a selection of the same questions that we had done in our school-issued book. That being the case, I had my fiancé just read through all the multiple choice in my book, and I answered them. I missed about four, but because we went through them I just memorized the answers. Not going to lie, I have no idea necessarily as to the details of many of the pathologies in those questions, but I knew the answers to the multiple choice. We went through a lot of pathologies in class, and it really was set up more to make sure we could ask the right questions to determine if it was safe to give a fluid-moving massage (or a massage at all), rather than to know the ins-and-outs of hundreds of different pathologies. We’re not doctors, so we don’t need to get that involved. Still, I know I’ll want to review in more depth before the state boards for sure, just in case. I got a 100% on the in-class final (and startled people because I was the first complete, thanks to my memorization of answers), and the take-home I got a 96% on because some of my chosen questions to determine safety weren’t quite clear enough. I can handle that.

Overall this meant that I was able to ace all the finals like I wanted to. It got a little stressful near the end, simply because I kept waiting to totally screw it up. I’m grateful that I didn’t.

We also got our class grades once our finals were completed. I was always at a 98% or higher for every class, meaning I aced those too. I just don’t find learning that hard, thank goodness. The hands-on and time commitment needed are more where I’m getting zinged. I’m not used to that anymore, and this program is far more intense than anything I’ve ever done before (or maybe I’m just actually taking it seriously and applying myself…).

Having chatted with my fellow students though, it sounds like most of them are in a similar situation. We all managed to hold high grades and are moving on with the program feeling excited. Most important though, at least as far as the classmates I had in FOM, we didn’t lose anyone due to failing grades on the finals. I think there were some full-timers who were supposed to join us that didn’t make it, but I am struggling to keep track of all those classmates so I’m unsure for some of them.

I’ll try to work on some more posts this weekend to fill-in other gaps, but that at least covers the finals. I’ll probably just do a final write-up for each class maybe, to summarize and move forward. After all, we have started the new classes and it’s about to come rapid-fire!

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