Death by Pharmacology

“When negative marking happens to good people”

Sometimes Pharmacology just comes around and literally knocks you down . I wrote my pharmacology end of block test on Friday and it was, to state it simply,  the most awful test that I have ever had to endure! ( I can think of a whole range of expletives that aptly describe the atrocity that was my Pharmacology test but i’m going to have to keep it PG )tumblr_inline_mlzm7j93Qk1qz4rgp

The test was proceeding rather  horribly averagely until I reached the negatively marked section. The test then made a downward trajectory and plunged itself into the deepest, darkest depths of Academic Assessment Hell. My brain was seized by nargles and they rendered me incapable of forming coherent thoughts. I was stupefied.


Negative marking is quite possibly the most cruel invention in the world of academic assessments. This is how the answers were negatively marked in this paper :

*Answer the question correctly – Receive 1 mark

*Answer the question incorrectly -Deduct 1 mark

*No answer provided – Receive 0 marks and 0 deductions

There are other ways in which we are negatively marked and they make this method seem  tame and honorable. However the drawback to this manner of negative marking is that one could have answered half of the negatively marked questions correctly and therefore received all the marks allocated for them but if they then went on to answer the other half incorrectly, all those marks would be deducted and one would effectively end up with nought (0).

The very same mark they would have gotten had they not attempted to answer any questions at all ! 


I came up with a method of answering the negatively marked questions. I compiled a scale of accuracy for my answers.  If I was completely sure of the accuracy of my answer (100%) , I would ask myself if I was willing to stake my mother’s life on it. If I was less than 100% certain but more than 50% sure, I would ask myself if I was willing to survive a week without eating.  The reasoning behind this lies in the fact that I can compromise my own life but would never ever do that of my mother.

It worked well and I had answered a fair number of the questions until I reached the most horrible ones yet :I made absolutely no attempt to answer because I couldn’t even decide if my life was worth putting on the line for them.


With exams commencing in a little less than one month, I am certain that our module convenors were trying to shock us into exam mode . Pharmacology does not have a reputation as terrible as Pathology when it comes to failure but this test has definitely changed that. A sliver of fear has been lodged into my heart and I will definitely heed this stern warning.

The message from my Professors was received astonishly loud and fabulously clear : Study hard for your exams Lily !


Lots of Lily Love ❤ (LOLL)

3 thoughts on “Death by Pharmacology

  1. Oh honey. Pharms is just one of those blocks. The test always feels worse than the results, but even if your results are bad, the class average will probably be low too. (You know you’re in med school when you say things like that.) You will be fine. Study hard. You’ll get through 🙂

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