Practice many MCQs, says PrepLadder alumni Dr. Shivabalan (rank 8 AIIMS)
PrepLadder congratulates Dr. Shivabalan on achieving this unbelievable feat. We wish him all the best for his career and future ahead.
Dr. Shivabalan joined DAMS coaching institute and PrepLadder mock test series for a holistic PG preparation.
In this exclusive interview with PrepLadder, he shares the plan that worked for him to help you achieve your dream PG seat like he did.
Hello, please tell us something about yourself.
Hi, I am Dr. Shivabalan K R. I am from Pondicherry. My parents are teachers. So they themselves are quite an inspiration to me. I did my UG from JIPMER. I play computer games or go to movies with friends when I’m busted. And I do a lot of medi quizzing.
What do you think is the correct approach to study for AIIMS PG? Only MCQ’s or Theory+MCQ’s?
As far as AIIMS is concerned, I think one needs a sound knowledge of standard textbooks and practical knowledge in clinical subjects. If you are thorough in these then go for MCQs alone. With some images and graphs in standard textbooks.
When should the preparation ideally be started?
I started my preparation from internship but I was inconsistent so naturally my ranks plummeted down that year. But after that I did a sincere wholesome preparation for a year stringently.
Many people start a military prep right from 3rd year. I don’t think you need to go to that extent. I think the right approach is to be strong and get stronger and explore the beauty and reach the depths of medicine in your UG days. And that doesn’t automatically imply you need to be a topper in your class!
Please list the books you studied for each subject.
Anat- Snell, Keith L Moore few topics (bought BDC a few days before sendups and which brought into the dire need of passing the university examination)
Physio- G K Pal, Ganong (later in life after realizing that i have done the biggest mistake in my life)
Biochem- Vasudevan , Harper(harped a few topics in it)
Path- Robbins (chant it like a mantra) Try to read skin ,eye, PNS from Robbins you will realise why its the best in its business
Pharm- KDT , Katzung CVS , G and G GENERAL PART
PSM-PARK (didnt read in UG days so had to compensate for it)
Ophthal- Khurana for exams and Kanski mainly. Yanoff wala book i read some ten topics from that for the AIIMS examination. but lastly i couldnt revise those stuff properly.
Surgery-Sabiston for GIT and Schwartz for other topics (Specialty subjects like Pediatric Sx is well written in it).
Try to make notes of whatever you read in these textbooks. It will keep a track of what you are going through. which I didn’t do because I believed strongly that the chasteness of these books will be lost once you take notes from it.
It depends on the individual. Consider me as an exception.
Have you attempted PGMEE previously? If yes, what did you do different this year that lead to your success
Yes, I attempted last November 2015 and this May 2016 edition of entrance examinations. I did my previous textbooks without any practice which led to my failure in last November.
So I knew what exactly has to be done and quickly got on my heels and practiced lot of MCQs from various books. And this time I kept a track of the stuff which I came across and jot down the relevant stuff in my coaching class notes. I revised at regular intervals along with few topics from books. and the result is rank 8!
How big is the role of practice and revision while preparing for PGMEE and how much time should be dedicated for it?
I think that forms the core of an entrance examination. Practice and revision is the formula for success, no matter how intelligent you are.
Did PrepLadder play a part in your success? If yes, how?
Yes, PrepLadder did form a major role in my success. After I completed a subject, I used to write mock tests and image based tests from that subject on PrepLadder. 2 months before the exam I started taking full length mock tests.
It helped me streamline my thought process for the main examination, AIIMS.
Did you use a time table/study plan to keep your preparation on track?
Ha! the timetable conundrum!
Yes, I did make a time table for my subjects and followed it but in the months of October and November it was just a random mashup.
Were you a topper or a mediocre student during MBBS?
I don’t think you need to have some 20 medals or 10 distinctions to crack an entrance examination. At the same time there are people who have topped entrances without any of these. All they test is the strength of the concepts which you have slowly built over years or months! So its not a criterion for cracking the exam.
And yes, I was a mediocre in my under grad days.
List the most difficult and easiest subjects for you.
Most difficult would be Anat and Biochem.
Easiest would be Path, Pharm and a few short subjects.
One mistake that you believe everyone must avoid while preparing for PGMEE.
Avoid going back to books often, practice many MCQs and do a concept based study.
Some last tips for our readers preparing for PGMEE?
I would recommend my friends and juniors to do a concept based quality studying for some 8 to 9 hrs max rather than 12 hours of uninterrupted study which is completely futile. I mean you should be a Chitti robot 2.0 to do that.
More topper interviews will follow soon. Keep following this space.
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