The Final Exam

When I took my national board exams in school to qualify to be a veterinarian, I thought to myself, “This is the last real test you will ever have to take!” Then I found myself taking the California State Board exams in order to qualify for my internship in California, arguably one of the toughest state boards. Again I said to myself, “Melanie, this is the last big exam you will ever have to take.”

A few years later, and here I was again, at the Chi Institute in Florida, taking a major exam! To pass the Chi Institute’s course, a two part examination is required. A practical component where you receive a card with 20 points on the horse is presented to you and you must identify them on the horse. We had to remember 276 points on the horse so it was a little daunting to say the least! I was glad I had worked on quite a few patients in the previous 6 weeks, so I had a head start on the more common points. The second component was a written exam, comprised of 200 multiple choice questions, some case-based and some simpler questions.

The week prior to the exam, I spent the week at the Ottawa Horse Show (The National Open), as the vet on site. I had a great time, and enjoyed some excellent weather and horses. I was pretty busy at the show, so to say I was light on the studying would be a gross understatement. However, as I hopped on the plane, I comforted myself that I was probably not the only busy equine practitioner in the course, or even in our practice. Dr. Maggie Turner and I have been completing the course together, and as we chatted on the plane, I realized she too had had a rather busy few weeks. So, we caught up and started hitting the books as we traveled down to the hot, humid south.

Our four days at the Chi Institute were pretty packed, starting early and ending late, but they reviewed and reviewed everything with us. On the evening before the practical exam, after using up our 4 hour points review time at the “school”, we headed over to a group-mate’s house and continued to review (i.e. poke and prod) one of her older horses. We ended the night when it got dark, and had a great time over pizza and nachos.

Finally, the time had come, and we were… um… almost ready. I for one forgot how much I hated taking tests, and that icky nervous feeling you get just before when you hope you know everything you need to know. The good news is both of us passed both components with flying colours! We celebrated with our fellow group mates with some well earned drinks and good food before flying home. So after the gruelling process is over, I once again say, “Melanie, this is the last time you will have to take a big test…probably.”

Melanie Barham DVM

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