New lecture videos uploaded! Plus, some mom stuff.

Lecture videos for Tuesday, September 8 are now posted on our lectures page! I also added an optional Office Hours session on Tuesday from 3:00 – 4:00, in case you have questions or want to vent.

I’ll be posting Thursday’s lectures as soon as possible, in case you really want to get nuts over the long weekend. I’d advise you to get out and enjoy the nice weather instead, though. There will always be too much to study, and too little time, and you need to be sure you’re taking care of yourself. I hope you’re doing as many of these things as possible:

  • Sleeping enough (at least 7 hours)
  • Eating good food
  • Exercising a bit
  • Going outside (trees and sunshine)
  • Connecting in person with other humans
  • Finding a few minutes every day for meditation, prayer, or whatever calms and centers you

I’ll post some convincing and highly-regarded research articles supporting the importance of the above habits later on – but for now I just want to encourage you to make time for yourself, starting now. You are important! Okay, I’m done.

How to view your exam results in your ExamSoft student portal

I mentioned in this post that you should be getting an automated email from ExamSoft with more details on your exam performance – but some of you mentioned that you hadn’t received that email. So I did some digging, and it turns out that ExamSoft has changed the way they release that data (without letting anyone know, but whatever…).

Student results used to be released by email – but now they are released to your student portal. What’s a student portal, you say? And how do you get your results from it?

Here’s a quick guide that answers those questions.

Exam 1 grades finalized!

I’ve finalized the scores for exam 1, and posted them to Canvas. You guys did really, really well! The class MEAN (seriously, the mean!) was 95.7% (or 38.3/40). This makes me happy!

You should have received an automated email from ExamSoft with your final score, as well as a list of any of the questions you got wrong.

Also, as you may have seen on our lectures page, I’ve scheduled an optional post-exam review session for Thursday, September 3, from 2:05-2:55. Since you did so well, I don’t think it would be useful for me to go through the entire exam, question by question. So I’m making this an open session where you can ask anything you want about the exam. πŸ™‚

Information about Exam 1

This post contains the specifics and logistics for our first exam in General Histology (DDS 6214). It includes all the standard information, as well as the answers to the questions that came up in our Exam Review session yesterday (see Q &A section at the end). Please email me if you have any questions not answered here!

Start and end time

The exam is scheduled for Friday, August 28, and you may take it any time between 12:01 am to 11:59 pm that day. The start time for downloading the exam is 12:01 am on Friday, August 28, and the password for opening the exam is Summer2020. Once you open the exam you have a maximum of two hours to complete the exam. All submissions must be uploaded by 11:59 pm on Friday, August 28, in order to receive a grade.


There are 40 questions on the exam, and the lecture breakdown is as follows:

Intro to Histology: 1 question on the H&E stain
Embryology: 6 questions
Epithelium: 7 questions
Muscle Tissue: 7 questions
Connective Tissue: 6 questions
Cartilage and Bone: 8 questions
Neuro Tissue: 5 questions

There will not be any tissue microscopic images on the exam, but there may be an EM image of the sarcomere as we discussed in the exam review (see questions 15 and 18 in the Exam 1 Review Kahoot). Finally, please see the Sample Exam Questions post for information on my question-writing style.

Examplify Information

You will take this exam using Examplify installed on your PC/Macintosh laptop or desktop computer. If Examplify is currently installed, it may require an update and computer restart before the exam If it is not installed, you should download and install the most up-to-date version of Examplify before the exam.

This exam will be remotely proctored using ExamID and ExamMonitor. This means you will take a photo of yourself at the start of the exam for identity verification and you will be recorded during the exam. Thus, only laptops/desktops with a working camera & microphone and Chrome or Firefox browsers can be used to complete the exam. Please note, iPads are not compatible with the ExamMonitor software and may not be used for this exam.

I have enabled the digital notepad and highlighter within the Examplify software. There will be no scratch paper allowed. Also, just as if we were in the classroom, there will be no additional electronics allowed such as phones, tablets, smart watches, headphones, etc.

If you experience any anomalies while taking the exam (examples include barking dogs, interruption by a family member, etc.) please email me at immediately after completing the exam to let me know.

Please access this link for a quick troubleshooting guide for Examplify for your reference.


After you take the exam, you will immediately receive your raw score. Final scores will be emailed to you as soon as possible after I have had the opportunity to review the exam metrics. An optional post-exam review session is scheduled for 2:05 – 2:55 on Thursday, September 3.

Q & A

A couple questions came up during our Exam Review session yesterday:

Q. Will we be allowed to use scratch paper during the exam?

A. No, unfortunately, no scratch paper is allowed during proctored exams. I have enabled the digital scratch pad option for your use during the exam, though.

Q. What happens if my wifi goes out during the exam?

A. Β I asked our ExamSoft resource person about this, and here is his answer: The exam is downloaded to the student’s computer, so ExamSoft does not rely on WIFI to take the exam; just to download and upload the exam.Β  If WIFI goes down during an exam, the student’s exam will upload the next time they connect.

Remaining Embryology Slides

You may have noticed when you were watching the embryology lecture that the video ended after the discussion of slide 47. There was actually another 5 minutes of lecture, but the recording system shut down early that day. There are actually just a couple things that you need to remember from those last few slides – and I’ll list those for you below – but first, here’s a short video explaining those last few slides.

Short video

Here is the embryology lecture video covering those remaining slides. The part to watch starts at 1:50:30 and ends at 1:55:45. I wish I could just post the actual 5 minute clip for you, rather than the whole 2 hour video – but I can’t edit this video yet.

Take-away points

Slide 48 (above) explains what happens to the pharyngeal grooves (most just disappear) and pouches (some of them give rise to important structures). For this slide, just remember the origins of the thymus (3rd pouch) and parathyroids (superior = 4th and 5th pouches, inferior = 3rd pouch).

Slide 49 (above) shows what can happen if the grooves don’t close properly during embryogenesis: you can get cysts (which are enclosed under the skin), or sinuses (which have an open end on the skin surface). This slide just shows you an example of how this stuff is actually clinically relevant – so for this slide, you don’t need to memorize anything!

Slides 50-53 just review what we covered, and show you when we’ll be covering the rest of embryology. Nothing to memorize from these slides!

Sample exam questions

I’d like to give you a heads up on the way I write exam questions, so you’re better prepared for this first exam.

Exam questions should test your knowledge (obviously). You shouldn’t get a question wrong because it was confusing, or because it intentionally led you down the wrong path. When I write questions, I try to be as straightforward and clear as possible, so you understand what the question is asking you. And I don’t try to trick you into picking the wrong answer.

So if you look at a question and you know the answer right away, that’s okay! Don’t worry that you missed some sort of trick, or that the question can’t possibly be that simple.

Here are some examples of typical exam questions. Continue reading

Neuro lecture access updated!

Thanks to those of you who emailed me to let me know that you were getting an error message when you tried to open Wednesday’s Neuro Tissue lecture video. I’m working to get our videos onto a new platform – and I didn’t realize that there was a privacy option in the settings.

I made the video public – so hopefully it will be visible to you now. Please let me know if it isn’t – or if you’re having any other issues with it.

And thank you for your patience! I’m trying to get the course elements into the best format for you guys, so that you don’t end up wasting time. But as I work that out in the beginning, there will be a few of these blips πŸ™‚

Office hours recording posted

Thanks so much to everyone who showed up during our office hours yesterday! I know that some of you were unable to join the meeting – I’m sorry about that. It sounds like for some of you the link wasn’t working – and I’m not sure why that was the case, but I’ll be sure to double check the links from now on. For others, it may have been an issue with HIPAA credentials not being registered. Hopefully that will have been resolved by Monday; if it hasn’t been, I’d contact Sara Johnson in Student Affairs ( – she’ll either fix it or point you in the right direction πŸ™‚

There were so many great questions – and it was SO nice to get a chance to “meet” you guys, even if it was only on Zoom. If you weren’t able to join in, don’t worry – the session was recorded (thanks to the students who suggested this at the beginning!). Here’s a link to the recording – I’ve also posted this link on our lectures page, next toΒ  “Office Hours” on yesterday’s schedule.

Looking forward to more of these office hour sessions!