Past Year Question Microbiology Mpath / Entrance for Mpath: Stop doing it.

      Its not that I do not want to share past year question with all the young future microbiologist who wanted to sit for the entrance exam, because I believed this will do more harm than good in the end. 

     There are a few types of people, one who study by reading, and the one who only do past year question hoping that somehow, the question will again appear in this year exam. The second type is walking a very thin line, and a very dangerous one too. 

     This strategy on answering past year's questions was a famous strategy during our secondary school, SPM, STPM, and even during our medical school examinations. It seem reasonable because no matter what, the knowledge tested during those exams were finite and limited. They can't put out a question which was not in the syllabus. 

    It was a different story when you want to take master exams. Master degree (and above), have unlimited scope and knowledge to be tested. In fact, the knowledge change every seconds. New science happens every day, and all of these new thing will be tested and included in the exams. When you enter Master study, the famous quote from any lecturer/professor/examiner = " We can ask you anything under the sun". 

    Because of this, past year question are useless when you are aiming for a master degree. Sometimes, one can be too immersive in past year question, they forget to learn new thing. Plus, the question in the exam sometimes very similar to the previous year question but with a small twist. Just by a small twist like this, a candidate can failed because they always memorized the answer scheme from the previous year. 

    I gave an example, when a question ask about the role of molecular test in diagnostic microbiology, vs a question that ask the role of rapid molecular test in diagnostic microbiology. Almost similar pattern of question but different answer. One who memorized the answer for the former, will have less mark or even failed to get any mark for the second one. 

    Another issue is that the past year question always outdated, and misleading. Some answer maybe false in the previous year but maybe true this year due to the advance in microbiology. Most of the question were also made by previous senior who memorized them in their mind during the exam and wrote it down later after they finished their exam. Some of their memory of the question are false memory. Thus sometimes the question is an impossible to answer question and sometime a false question. No matter how much you dig up, you can't seem to justify the answer for the question. 

    That is just an example. The twist sometime can be very twisted. 

    I am a firm believer of reading, teaching and discussion and I am not in favor of doing past year questions. To tell the truth, I never answer any past year question during my study (only in the beginning of part 1 due to peer pressure). 

    Hence, don't ask for past year question anymore. Read and predict the next year question instead. 

Bonus revision for all of you. What is that thing point by the arrow? 


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