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How to Study for the NAVLE

This is a Vet Gazette post originally published in August 2010, but I'm pulling it from the archive as many fourth year students out there are starting to think about the NAVLE. Please enjoy (as much as one can enjoy the thought of studying)!

This post is a little bit long (alright, it's really long) but it should be quite helpful. Last year the Education and Licensure Committee put together a survey of past 4th year students to gauge how they studied for NAVLE. The results are compiled here to give you a good idea of how those before us survived. Happy reading!

Hello eager vet students! Summer is the time for fun, enjoying some much needed time off from the rigor and grind of our curriculum…unless, of course, you’re in the class of 2011. For you all this may be the most important time of your educational career as you prepare yourself in a hospital setting for practicing your profession to the utmost of your abilities and get ready to take the NAVLE, the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination! The SAVMA Education and Licensure Committee conducted a survey of graduating fourth year students from all the veterinary schools this past spring, asking them questions like:

  • When did you start studying?
  • What books did you find most helpful?
  • What review service helped you?

We’ve worked hard to compile the answers to these questions, and in this issue of The Vet Gazette we’d like to offer you some highlights. In addition, we will send specific information from YOUR graduated seniors to your SAVMA delegate. So, if you have more questions or want more information, please feel free to contact them. Read on, and we hope you find some advice to guide you in your studies, and GOOD LUCK THIS FALL!

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Poultry Production in Liberia (or lack thereof)

Honorable Mention, Experiences
Chelsea Anderson, Cornell

This past January, I volunteered with Veterinarians Without Borders U.S. for three weeks in Liberia, West Africa on a project to improve their agricultural sector. Specifically, I helped teach a poultry production and health management course to local farmers and Ministry of Agriculture workers.

Liberia’s Background

Liberia is a post-conflict zone, and when Liberians migrated to urban areas or emigrated to avoid the civil wars (1989-1996 & 1999-2003), the agricultural dynamic changed significantly. Liberia is currently more than 90% dependent on imported food, when their climate and landscape could easily sustain livestock and crops to support their own country. Part of this is a negative stereotype associated with farmers or “country” people.

Interestingly, Liberia is one of the only African nations that does not have an ethnic group or tribe associated with raising livestock. Although we are still in the process of establishing a lasting program in Liberia, it was extremely rewarding to teach sustainable (and local) methods to ensure public safety and improve livestock production. Not to mention that the weather was hot and dry, a welcome reprieve from an upstate New York winter.

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AVMA's New Internship Page

The AVMA just launched a new page to make the daunting subject of internships a little easier. Check it out here!

Preview of the new internship page



Honorable Mention, Life as a Vet Student
Amanda Fischer, Cornell

My first year of veterinary school I never would have guessed that I would be writing an article for the Vet Gazette, let alone from a lab bench (when I should be in clinics).  The tale of my love affair with bench work started when I was an undergraduate at Cornell. In my manic attempts to diversify my resume for veterinary school, I applied for an undergraduate research assistant position.  I interviewed with John Parker, BVMS, PhD for the chance to work at the Baker Institute for Animal Health.  He told me there were other applicants, so when I was hired I felt like I’d won something.  It was the first job I’d applied for on my own.  Once I started, most of my time was spent predictably re-stocking laboratory supplies, but my project is what kept me interested in research.

If anyone reading has done immunofluorescent staining you know how infuriating and rewarding the process can be.  The first time I looked at feline cells that I had successfully stained for feline calicivirus protein, I was enthralled.  I could have stared at those cells forever. I was looking at virus infected cells and was looking at the virus! In the cells! I was seriously impressed with myself.  I tried to continue working in the lab, but there wasn’t funding for me to stay because he had a veterinary student working during that summer.

Fast forward to veterinary school, where I assume it’s common knowledge that the best way to make money over the summer is to conduct research.  With our level of debt, it’s hard to say no to stable income and housing you’ve already paid for.  I participated in Cornell’s Veterinary Investigator Program (VIP) my first summer.  I actually got paired up with Dr. Parker, which was great because I could pretend like I already had an idea about what I was doing.  I greatly enjoyed my incredibly frustrating project where I made no significant findings after 2 months.  The fact that this didn’t deter me from continuing to go to lab and find projects to work on speaks volumes about my personality.  I hope that my persistence will come in handy as a doctor.  But for now it’s serving me well in terms of keeping me gainfully employed as a student.  I also spent my second summer in the Parker lab, as a second year VIP participant.  It was around that time that I learned about an interesting opportunity to take a year off from veterinary school to do research full time...

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Sense of Humerus

Honorable Mention, Foot in Mouth
Charlie Cosimini, University of Minnesota


A drawing by Charlie Cosimini. The bones are, from left to right; dog, horse, bear, tiger