Kelly and I are sitting next to each other, each in our own cubicle. Our tests are different, our questions are different. After 9 weeks of 12-hour-a-day studying, we’re ready for everything and anything.

Kelly starts his block and sees an easy one:

Q: Which of the following amino acids is involved in the synthesis of Dopamine?


That’s easy. Phenylalanine to Tyrosine to L-Dopa to Dopamine to Norepinephrine to Epinephrine. He knows the name of each enzyme, the cofactors necessary, what symptoms you would see with a block at every step, and where the Cu2+ comes in to play. He prepared for questions this stupid. This is a joke. He looks down at his options:

A through J.

Chemical structures!


“Topher, I came so close to just tapping you on the shoulder and making you look at that question. I didn’t really care if they kicked me out and I forfeited my test, it was just that ridiculous. What do they want from me? Answer me that. What do they want from me?”

“I think they want you to fail, Kelly.”

“It’s not even clinically relevant. That’s what kills me. Even if I knew that, it doesn’t make me a better doctor.”

“You’re wrong, man. You just killed a patient.”


9 Responses to Dopamine

  1. damnit, i was hoping that all i had to know about dopamine was 5-20 mcg/kg/min and titrate…

    thanks for smashing my sense of security about knowing much about anything.

    hope the test treated you well.

  2. ru serious…well hopefully ill get that question next year cause i will make sure to learn it…hope u did well on the test man gl

  3. ALi says:

    what the hell is dopamine?

  4. cburk2 says:

    what little wind was left in my sails died after seeing that question

  5. miggy says:

    who they hell taught you all biochem? We all knew it was irrelevant, but hey, that’s the board!

  6. Nick says:

    They wanted to see if you pick the molecule with a stereogenic center – L-Dopa vs. dopamine…?

  7. David says:

    Wait, the guy was complaining that they expected you to know what the chemical structure was of either Phenylalanine or Tyrosine? That’s not unfair at all. How can you pass medical school biochemistry (or undergraduate organic chemistry, for that matter) and not be able to pick out the R group of either of those amino acids? That’s a slam dunk. That’s low-hanging fruit. That’s a score-padding question.

  8. leila says:

    Yuck, David…Way to be the stereotypical medical student that is like “what you didn’t know BLAH BLAHBLAH???” It may be a “slam dunk” for you, but the full chemical structure of dopamine (other than how it relates to the other amino acids) has no clinical relevance and is not emphasized in medical school at all. I take my test in 2 weeks and I still am not going to learn that. LOL at this post though…so funny.

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