Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Exam Hall and Mind Block

Ever had the feeling of discomfort, chills and stuffyness every time you step into an examination hall of over 100 students? Regardless of how well you studied for that given subject or how well you did this subject on normal classes, you feel disappointed when you step out of the exam hall, just because you feel that you did not do your best for the final jugdement assessment.

Well that kind of feeling is not entirely abnormal nor entirely your fault. Studies have shown that examination held at large areas causes intimidation to students, lowers their confidence and inhibits their brains' ability to perform well.

What does mind block have to do with large exam hall, competition and the number of competitors? In these three instances, the brain is easily overwhelmed and intimidated. Due to the many mixed feelings and thoughts, the brain cannot figure out which task to manage first, and so it shuts down and move on. Likewise, when it knows that it won't win the competition - they are just too many competitors - the mind is less willing to put in the cognitive effort.

As depressing as it may seem, there is one way to combat the effects of excessive choices, that is to group items into categories. It turns out that even useless and arbitrary categories make people happier with their choices.

Back to the context of exam hall, a better suggestion to erase the effect of excessive competition is to have people take tests in small rooms, instead of great big lecture halls. The subdivisions can be arbitrary and meaningless, but they might make people less frightened by the prospect of all their competitors. As a final note, when the brain gets intimidated, it typically does not try harder. It just shuts down.

In view of such adverse effects of exam hall which defeat the true purpose of fair assessment, schools, colleges and universities should consider having more small examination rooms. Not only exam invigilation can be done easily, but this also increases the overall thinking performance and possibly increases the number of students getting good grades - the way it should be.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Meeting with UKM EXCO

17 Jan 2009 - An inter-university meeting was held between two biomedical clubs from UPM and UKM. This is our club's first meeting between universities in the year 2009.

The meeting has been worthwhile, as both Kelab Bioperubatan FPSK UPM and Kelab Sains Bioperubatan UKM have gained much needed exposure and awareness.

During the meeting, we spoke on big project ideas and collaboration of activities between UPM and UKM. Some of which includes a biomedical science student symposium, a student exchange program and also the establishment of a national biomedicine association. All of these ideas proves to be an inspirational boost for all of us, the new EXCO from UPM.

As host and co-chairman of this meeting, I express my gratitude for coming to our Medicine and Health Science Faculty in UPM, and share your activity ideas with open hearts. I am pleased to hear that UKM EXCO enjoyed being in our humble and peaceful faculty. Likewise, UPM EXCO will be going to UKM Medicine and Health Science Faculty at KL in the near future, to have further discussion on our second meeting.


Introduction to Biomedical Science

As old diseases begin to emerge out of the ashes of defeat by previous cures and vaccines, modern diseases begin to emerge as well out of thin air. Bad bacteria and viruses are evolving to grow immune to our usual antibiotics and vaccines. Homo sapiens which is us, have to evolve not by means of our genetics composition, but our intellect to figure out ways to withstand the threats pose by viruses and the like. If not, we will be defeated and be victims in the war of survival between species.

Though it may sound like something out of science fiction, the reality is not any less different. Biomedical scientist may be the Jedi in this intergalactic, I mean inter-species war.

"A special light reveals deadly bacteria."
Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article

Okay! Enough creative writing for now. Appropriate healthcare management relies greatly on the result of clinical investigations and lives of patient may depend on the experience and expertise of Biomedical Scientist.

In Malaysia, the government envision to achieve developed country status by 2020. Much support is needed by the government to establish well equipped laboratory and to emphasize on expertise development. Although rapid growth in the healthcare community has been observed for the past few years, such advancement must be maintained.

The Biomedical Scientist, equipped with knowledge and expertise, evolves with the ever changing trends of modern medical and technological fields, thus fulfill the trust and reliance expected of them.