RSO Third Years take the “Optometry Knowledge Challenge”

As a second year, Part I of NBEO seems like a distant worry, but for third year students, it’s right around the corner! UIWRSO students excel on boards, so I wanted to know what our school is doing to prepare us for this daunting examination. One way that the school does this is by having an “Optometry Knowledge Challenge” game for students based on the science questions they will most likely see on the exam in March. I was able to not only sit in on this activity, but also judge and read the questions myself! The game was created by our very own Dean, Dr. Timothy Wingert, and led by two of UIWRSO’s faculty members, Dr. Rick Trevino and Dr. Carolyn Majcher. Almost all faculty and staff helped in some way by setting-up, judging, and/or developing questions for the games.

This was such a great event to go to for several reasons. First of all, UIWRSO provides the students with lunch. We all know we can’t study or think straight on an empty stomach! Students got to talk and eat for a while before the games. Prior to the actual game, students had access to the rules and the way the game would be played and judged. This means that the students had no surprises; they felt comfortable, which probably helps with the nerves they may experience with the real test. Students were assigned different seats to make sure that the games were fair and everyone had a different table rotation.

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The game board looked incredible! Students rolled dice to see who went first and got to pick their game pieces, which happened to be different color-tipped eye drop bottles! Students rolled the dice, and the color they landed on indicated the category of question: basic science, optics, disease, or vision science. Students answered questions for one point each (sometimes a bonus question for two points!) and rolled again for correct answers. If they got it wrong, they wouldn’t get the extra roll at the end. This was important because the first to the finish got an extra ten points!

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As a second year, it was a great experience to see the type of questions that were asked. First of all, I was able to recognize and answer many of the questions, which made me feel confident about the skills and topics I have learned about thus far. Secondly, the students who were actually playing the game knew the questions very well too, so everything up until this point has helped them to study for the upcoming boards. The students switched to another table after every game with new players and a judge (usually a faculty member). They played about six or seven games.

Little did I know, this was the second time the students had played this “Optometry Knowledge Challenge”  game. This meant that all the points from the first round of games and this round would be added up and there would be a winner! First prize was $500, second prize was $250, and third prize was $100. This is a great incentive for students because it can help pay for boards. The winners from this year (from left to right) were: Supriya Krishnan (3rd Place), Caroline Dang (runner up), Jessica Dente (runner up), Alicia Ketcham (runner up), Samatha Bohl (runner up), Desirae Brinkley (2nd Place), Amanda Achilles (1st Place).


I asked the students if they felt the games helped them prepare for boards, and several told me that they really appreciated it because it was a good way to have fun while studying. They were used to just reading it or maybe utilizing flashcards, but now they can play games with their classmates and professors, as well as have a chance at winning money. Who doesn’t like that? I am very excited for next year for multiple reasons, but now the future doesn’t seem as scary because I know I will have the preparation needed for boards. UIWRSO and its faculty care enough about our success to create a fun game for us to study for one of the most important exams in our life.

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A special thank you to Dr. Trevino for providing several of the pictures seen here. 

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