Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"The Boards"

One year ago...

The California Acupuncture Licensing Exam is upon us once again! At this very moment hundreds of anxious test takers are hunched over their tables in a cold, cavernous convention center in Sacramento. Some might be done already.

I sincerely hope that in the future, acupuncture schools in the U.S. and worldwide will focus on transforming students into excellent Chinese medicine doctors, rather than teaching to pass the licensing exams. The exams, as anyone who has taken them will tell you, are in no way a measure of how good a doctor you are. It's a multiple choice test! Fill in the bubbles! All it does is ensure basic knowledge of theory and book learning - certainly an important milestone, but not at all something worth spending four years and tens of thousands of dollars preparing for.

The best teachers I had in school would give a nod towards the exam but focus their time on what they considered most important for the medicine. In California, for instance, that means studying more than the 63 herbal formulas that are on the test. Dr. John Pai once said "The exam is like an old stinky shoe. Use it once and throw it away." Which sums it up pretty well!

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