October 19, 2010 | POSTED BY | Articles, Study Resources
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Whoa! It feels good to be back writing articles!

First thing I want to say is that 2nd year is much better than 1st year of Optometry School. The main reason is that I know what to expect and I am overall more knowledgeable about the process of how to learn, study, take a test and especially how to party when it’s all done.

Regardless of what optometry school you go to you will undoubtedly become a better-acclimated student in your second year and this means less stress and more efficiency. I was a wreck during my first year, I felt like everyday was OAT test day and I would panic like a mother sending her kids to kindergarten.

It wasn’t until later in the year that I learned “my way” of doing things. It was during my second year of opt school that I became confident in my clinical skills and my ability to prepare for midterms in an organized way. Don’t get me wrong though, and my mother and girlfriend can vouch for me- I definitely still had some stressful nights in which I think my head is going to explode, but midterms are now over and I sit here with a smile on my face.

So I bet you all want to know what midterms at SUNY are like eh?

Haha, they are sooooo difficult!

I don’t know who did the hiring of our fantastic faculty at SUNY, but they really picked some excellent professors that REALLY know how to conjure up a unique test. Year after year our professors create exams with original content that tests you not only on timeless concepts but new innovations unfolding in scientific & optometry research. No doctor or professor at SUNY seems to be anything less then extraordinarily motivated.

I took 5 midterms all together, some of them ranging in difficulty, clinical relevance and stress levels. I would say that all 5 midterms were fair, but there was one, in my opinion that was over the top difficult (bioscience).
I studied for about 1 month in advance, averaging 3 hours per day (some days no studying, other days 8 hours of studying).

So if we do some 2nd grade math, that’s 30 days multiplied by 3 hours per day = 90 hours of studying for 5 midterms.

It’s really not that bad considering 1st year I did about 40 hours of studying alone, just for my Optometric Theory and Procedures course.

I would mainly study at Starbucks because the scent of strong coffee in the air was enough to keep me awake for 8 hours even though I only bought a $3.00 drink (shh its my little trick). I would never study at school just because I already spent so much time there and didn’t want to over do it.

Also I ate a ton of candy corn and skittles at like 1:00am night after night so I could stay up and study!

So what midterms did I take and how did they go?

Well lets do it like this, I will give the title of each course, and then will rate each midterm from 1-5 stars in the categories of Difficulty, Stress Level, Clinical Relevance, and then I will briefly discuss what was tested.

** Keep in mind this is my opinion ONLY, so please take it with a grain of salt **


Difficulty– 3

Stress Level– 3

Clinical Relevance– 4

Topic’s Covered- Overall we were tested on about 60 drugs, The Basics of Autonomic Nervous System, About 7 lectures on Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics (Administration, Metabolism, Excretion of drugs), Adrenergics & Cholinergics, Catecholamines, Beta and Alpha Agonists & Antagonists Drugs, Acetlycholine esterase Drugs, Reuptake Inhibitor Drugs, Anti-Cholinergics, Coagulation and Anti-Coagulation Drugs and many more.

Discussion- This class is awesome in my opinion since our professor has been teaching it for like 30 years and has completely skimmed all the fat and unnecessary stuff from the course. Everything he teaches is GOLDEN, accurate and interesting. The test was multiple choice and it definitely reinforced some of the important concepts. It prepared me for that situation when a patient comes into your office with a laundry list of drugs. Many drugs have ocular effects and that’s why this class was so interesting.

Integrated Optics III:

Difficulty– 3

Stress Level– 4

Clinical Relevance- (some of it 5, some of it 2)

Topics Covered- All types of frame materials and frame adjustments, dispensing, optical properties of ophthalmic prisms and lenses. Lens thickness, base curve, spherocylindrical prisms, ground prism, prism by decentration and much more!

Discussion- This test was good because it really tested on some of the nitty gritty details about understanding lenses, prisms and ophthalmic dispensing. I would say this tested us more on skills “outside the exam room.”


Difficulty– 5

Stress Level– 4

Clinical Relevance- 3

Topics- Endocrine organs and horomones and lymphatic’s.

Discussion- You may say “you are giving this a difficulty of 5?” But yea, this was my hardest test and considering that I graduated with a degree in Biology I thought it would be a little easier. I thought that the questions we extremely specific and where beyond what was talked about in class. I should have really just picked up a biology textbook for this one and read the sections being tested on from cover to cover. The course notes seemed to only help me for 50% of the material. Perhaps it was the way I studied but this test was no walk in the park.

Visual Function:

Difficulty- 4

Stress- 2

Clinical Relevance- 2

Topics Covered- Ocularmotor behavior and physiology, knowing neural pathways involved in eye movements. Characteristics of saccades, smooth pursuit, vestibular ocular reflex, opokinetic nystagmus and small and large amplitude vergence. Topics also covered lesions and pathology in the extra ocular muscles/nuerology and research data with associated numerical standards to back it up.

Discussion- Overall awesome course. The doctor did not use a single powerpoint but used good old chalk and chalkboard (I wish every professor would do this). He really is a freakin’ EXPERT on this stuff and has done so much research (with monkeys and apple juice (inside joke) ) that he can teach the entire course off the top of his head with no notes. This is one of those courses where I can sit back when it’s all done and say “This was more of a life experience then a course in optometry school.” It was just really fascinating to learn about the above topics but MAINLY because of the way my professor taught them.

Optometric Theory and Procedures:

Difficulty- 3

Stress- 2

Clinical Relevance- 5,000,000,000 (i know its outside the rating system, but come on!)

Topic Covered- Application Tonometry (goldmann, tonopen, etc.), Dry Eye Testing, Anesthetics, Slit Lamp Skills, about 30 corneal abnormalities, and about 20 conjunctiva abnormalities, and of course Gionioscopy! My favorite!

Discussion- Great course, I really don’t understand WHY in the world we don’t have an extra 3 hours of this course every in the place of something else. It is so clinically relevant and I feel like a student can never get enough of learning about the conditions and treatments that will make or break them as an eye doctor. This is definitely my favorite course because it brings me back to reality and makes me say “oh yea, this is why I love optometry so much.”

So that’s the show ladies and gentleman!

Now its your turn haha!

What are midterms like at your optometry school? Seriously everyone is dying to know what else is going on at other schools, so you, YES YOU, should step up to the plate and write a short article like this one.

But wait there’s more!!!

Whoever would like to write an article similar to this one will have the opportunity to win some free prizes mailed directly to your address of choice. Right now I am in the process of getting some SWEEEET high quality OptometryStudents.com prizes made. I won’t tell you what they are yet, but if you are interested shoot me an e-mail via our contact page, let me know you want to write an article and I will send you over some free stuff… sound good?

Well it is time to hit the books! I hope everyone did GREAT on their midterms and if you didn’t TRUST ME you will do better next time. Don’t get worked up over it, just be proactive and solve the bigger issue instead of reacting to a grade that you cannot change.

It’s been a pleasure to be going strong for over a year now! Thanks to all the readers and fans! Comment below…