Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I understand the purpose of giving pretests before a lecture, to gauge how much the students have learned. But if it's a lecture on a fairly obscure topic, it starts to seem a little more pointless...

When I was in residency, we had a lecture on SSEPs. SSEP stands for Somatosensory Evoked Potential, which is probably more than I could have told you about them prior to that lecture. Anyway, before the lecture, we had a "pretest" that asked us a bunch of multiple choice questions about SSEPs and how they're used in prognostic testing.

Me (whispering): "Have you ever heard of SSEP?"

Resident next to me: "No."

Me: "So how are we supposed to take a test about them?"

I looked at the first question and it was asking what sort of response in an SSEP is a poor prognostic sign in brain injury. I looked over at the resident next to me, who appeared to be filling in answers.

Me: "Uh... what are you basing those answers on then??"

Apparently I wasn't alone in my cluelessness, because when they graded the pretest, the residents actually scored WORSE than we would have based on chance alone.

1 comment:

  1. All of our SAMs (Self Assessment Modules we have to pay for and keep up with for maintenance of certification (MOC)) have pretests and posttests. I feel like the pretests are way silly. I guess they want to demonstrate improvement. Easy to improve on zero knowledge.