Dedication, hard-work and perseverance is required to succeed - says Dr. Akshaya (PGI Rank 8/ JIPMER Rank 7)
PrepLadder congratulates Dr. Akshaya on achieving PGI Rank 8/ JIPMER Rank 7. We wish her all the best for her career and future ahead.
Dr. Akshaya took daily tests and subject tests which were short and refreshing during her preparation.
In this exclusive interview with PrepLadder, she shares details that worked for her and helped her in clearing the exam.
Hello, please tell us something about yourself.
I’m Akshaya Jayachandran, from Vellore, Tamilnadu. I completed my MBBS from Rajah Muthiah Medical College, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu in March 2016. I joined TMCAA, Thrissur for entrance classes. I obtained decent ranks in November 2016 entrance exams. Since I wanted to pursue my dream branch in a central institute, I started preparing again this February. The ranks I obtained this May 2017 session are: PGI – 8, JIPMER – 7, and AIIMS – 60.
What do you think is the correct approach to study for PG entrance exams? Only MCQ’s or Theory + MCQ’s?
Definitely Theory + MCQ’s is the correct approach. An aspirant faces a number of entrance exams, each with its own different pattern, important subjects, and marking scheme. AIIMS PG exam will test your reasoning, years of practical knowledge and your ability to shrewdly identify the ‘one’ right option among at least 2 or 3 totally confusing and misleading options. PGI, on the other hand, tests your basic knowledge, which needs to be rock solid, your time management, and your ability to recognize the falsity in a sentence which appears completely right. NEET PG consists of facts, facts and more of vague unheard-of facts, and your NEET PG rank depends on a number of factors apart from the number of right answers you’ve marked. When we face such a multitude of exams, the first step to tackle them successfully would be to make our basics very clear. It is essential to read theory and understand it well, if not from a text, at least from a decent subject guide.
When should the preparation ideally be started?
I’m not sure of the IDEAL time to start exclusive preparation for entrance exams, but I think that reading fairly explanatory texts and understanding them during MBBS will come a long way during preparation. I was advised to start preparing at least during internship, but residing in a peripheral area with not much exposure to coaching classes/ online test series and due to my own lack of self interest, I never started any preparation until I completed my internship. However, I had to sacrifice a lot during my one year of preparation, because it took a lot of time to actually realize how tough the competition was, and to get into the routine of studying day and night. And it was no cakewalk. So, based on my personal experience , I would advise that, if you’ve access to a good coaching class or any online test series for these entrance exams, start looking at questions, understand what is being asked in these exams, and get used to the ‘PG Prep mode’ at least by internship if not earlier. Even if it doesn’t fetch you a rank by the time you complete internship, it will make your actual preparation phase easier.
Please list the books you studied for each subject.
I never touched texts during my one year of preparation. When I tried looking into textbooks for explanations, I started wandering too much and lost a lot of time. So, I limited myself to subject guides and question banks. The books I read are:
- Anatomy – ARVIND ARORA
- Physio – ARVIND ARORA
- Biochem – REBECCA JAMES
- Pharm – SPARSH GUPTA
- Path – DEVESH MISHRA
- Micro – RACHNA CHAURASHIA
- Forensic – ARVIND ARORA
- SPM – VIVEK JAIN
- Ophthal – I tried reading ARVIND ARORA but it was too difficult ,so ended up with SURE SUCCESS.
- ENT – SHIBU GEORGE
- Medicine – TMCAA notes and some topics from DEEPAK MARWAH
- Surgery – AMIT & AASHISH
- OBG – REVATI RATAN
- Pediatrics – ARVIND ARORA
- Radiology – SUMER SETHI
- Anaesthesia – TMCAA Notes and SURE SUCCESS
- Dermat – TMCAA Notes and SURE SUCCESS
- Psychiatry – PRAVEEN TRIPATHI & SURE SUCCESS
- Orthopedics – APURV MEHRA
Have you attempted any PG exam previously? If yes, what were your ranks then and what did you do different this time that lead to your success?
I have previously attempted PG Exams. I wrote my first PG entrance exam during my internship in Jan 2016. My rank in 2016 NEET PG was around 36,000. I gave all the central institute exams in May 2016 when I had just started preparing, because I wanted to know what these exams actually were. My ranks in May 2016: AIIMS – 4000 odd (71 percentile); JIPMER – 2800 odd (78 percentile); PGI – 2700 odd (52 percentile). In November 2016 my ranks were: NEET PG: AIR 439; AIIMS: 715 (97.9 percentile); PGI: 101 (98.6 percentile); JIPMER: 43 (99.4 percentile).
I’ve listed out all my ranks with percentile, just to prove one point. Your previous ranks or your performance one year or 6 months ago, doesn’t affect your score successively. To reach the road of success, you need to have 3 basic things i.e. dedication, hard-work and your ability to persevere in spite of the failures.
How big is the role of practice and revision while preparing for PG entrance and how much time should be dedicated for it?
The importance of practice and revision has been repeated over and over again by teachers, toppers and everyone around. I would like to add a few points which I realized during my preparation. After completing each subject, it’s absolutely necessary to solve a few subject tests online or in some subject guide. This helps you to test what you’ve studied recently and how much you’ve retained. And it’s good to start putting Grand tests as early as possible and make a note of your score. This will help you check if you’re performing better over a period of time, and also improve the accuracy of your guesses. About revision, I read the whole of each subject guide and solved all questions once, and had time to revise only some of the preclinical subjects, that too just once before the November ’16 exam. For this May session, I just did one additional round of revision of all first and second year subjects and those important for PGI ( Biochem, Immunology, Pathology, Surgery , OBG and medicine) and this led a huge improvement in my ranks. Revision helps a lot.
Did PrepLadder play a part in your success? If yes, how?
PrepLadder tests have one great advantage of being short. You have 5 question tests, 20 question tests, 40 question tests, and practice tests where you can put as many questions as you want. So you don’t have to burden yourself to put a test for three hours just because you started. I used to take the daily tests and subject tests which were short and refreshing. And it didn’t take hours of my time.
Did you use a time table/study plan to keep your preparation on track?
Of course, there were so many plans and timetables, from Day 1 of preparation. I had this kind of study plan where I planned to complete one subject in a guide by 10 to 15 days. I used to read the theory part of it, solve questions given behind. And after completing one subject, I used to put two different sets of online tests. This was how I went about completing one subject at a time. There were so many sub-plans in each plan. Never once did I complete any timetable I had put, but at least it kept me grounded and gave me an idea of where and how I was losing time.
Were you a topper or a mediocre student during MBBS?
I was a fair student in my MBBS days.
List the most difficult and easiest subjects for you.
Actually each subject seemed difficult at some point of time. Ophthal and Sugery were my most difficult subjects. Anatomy, Micro, Pharma were the most volatile. Easiest subjects were Pathology and SPM.
One mistake that you believe everyone must avoid while preparing for PG entrance exams.
Never stop practicing MCQ’s just because you think you’re not going to get the same questions in the exam. The biggest advantage of solving MCQ’s and correcting your mistakes is that you learn a wide range of important facts which will definitely get embedded in your subconscious or some deep-down memory and ‘resurface’ during your exam. And your “guessing” ability increases with practice. Meaning, the more questions you solve and practice on your own, the probability of your guess answers turning out to be right, increases.
How many questions did you attempt in PGI exam? Share some details about your exam taking strategy.
I attempted around 560 options. There was no specific strategy as such. I had practiced mock tests and focused on avoiding frame shifts and managing time properly. I marked whatever I felt was right. At some places, I got carried away and marked a few unsure options. But overall my focus was not on any specific number of options, but just not to mark answers rashly at any point in the exam.
Some last tips for our readers preparing for PG Exams.
This tip is specifically meant for people like me, who have not read any STANDARD texts during their undergraduate period and feel under-prepared because of that. I have not read much of “standard” textbook during my MBBS, except for B&L surgery and Parson’s Ophthal. No Robbins and no Harrison. I know it’s not something to be proud of, but I have had a lot of self-doubt and fear at various points during my preparation, just because I haven’t read them and felt that I could’ve done this and that if I had read standard books in MBBS. But, honestly it doesn’t matter. If you’ve read them, then that’s great. But it’s okay if you have not. What matters is your dedication, sincerity, and tireless effort during preparation and it will take you places. This is my story of 40,000 to 400 to single digit ranks. Hope my story motivates you whenever you feel low. This is the reason why I have written an exhaustive note. All the best to everyone who’s preparing for the entrance exams.
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