Varad Saptarshi Rangoonwala Pune topper

1.Congratulations on achieving such an amazing feat.   Tell  us  a  bit  about  yourself. Please  also  tell  us  your individual  marks  in  each subject.

Hi there! I am Varad Saptarshi. I scored 78.16% in my first Year BDS University exams. The distribution of marks was as follows :

Anatomy : 154/200

Physiology & Biochemistry : 167/200

Dental Anatomy & Histology : 148/200

Well I don’t think that it would be appropriate to call it a “feat” but I certainly can assure you that it feels great to score good and be proud of yourself.


2.So, when all of  this  is  new  and the  rest  of  us  are  still  busy  figuring the  head and tail  of  the  subject,  how  did you tackle  and master  the  syllabus?

 Actually if you see properly all the years from first year to the internship aren’t exactly of 1 year. But when it comes to first year the time we have is the least as compared to other years as we are totally new to this field and hence having a proper way of study is the need of the hour.Firstly after getting admission everyone is superbly ecstatic by thinking that in a few years time I’ll be a doctor(come on admit it we all think this way). It’s all new, the college, the people, the teachers, the atmosphere,etc. It’s Indeed a big leap from standard 12th to 1st year because here we actually start to deal with the human body and start to go in depth of each and every subject.

Well  let’s just face it ,the syllabus is vast and time is very limited. But no need to get bogged down because it’s not that difficult. To master any subject there is only one thing that needs to be done –reaching to the depth of the subject and getting the concepts crystal clear.Well I just did the same and it worked pretty well for me. Clinical correlation is the thing which took my study to the next level.


3.Did you have  a  set  schedule, a time  table  that  you stuck to?  What  were  the  daily  hours  that  you put in self study  ?

No!! I just followed one pattern of study that is getting acquainted with each new term I come across and reading in between the lines. When the exam is away you can actually take your time, go slow, read each and every line repeatedly until you understand everything.

I am not a believer of following the clock and studying! The thing that is important is that by the end of the day you should complete your target. Let the time to achieve the target be 3 hours or even 8 hours it really doesn’t matter!

Ideally what I followed was completing one single chapter in parts. A small chapter was divided into 2 parts and completed in 2 days. And thishelped me a lot. Also keeping in touch with the chapter you do is important so that when exam is near it doesn’t consume much time for you to go through the chapter as you are already in touch with it ( this helps especially for Physiology & Biochemistry during the  finals as there is huge syllabus to go through in  just 1 or 2 days).


4.Did you have  a  different  methodology  of  tackling  the  subjects?  Any  special  notes  that  you prepared? 

Not a different methodology but I’ll put it as‘I had my own way of studying.’ I always felt I don’t need to follow anyone’s study schedule. My way of studying for instance –

For Anatomy : I visualisedeachthing I am reading about be, itbones,organs,or a muscle. It helped.

Talking about the notes, yes I did make my own notes! A lot of them! Be it flowcharts of Physiology, cycles of Biochemistry, origin/insertion of muscles in Anatomy or traits of the teeth in Dental anatomy I had them all done! My notes were actually a compact but a very precise version of the text book which meant that only reading these notes during the last minute studies was more than enough.


5.Do you have any  special  pointers  for  specific  subjects?  The  do’s  and don’ts  of  it?

As I mentioned above making your own notes, flowcharts for Physiology & Biochemistry, etc.

Make your own Mnemonics they helped a lot while writing the exam.


6.Was there  any  help  that  you acquired while  exam  preparation?  Like  any  visual  aids  any  professional guidance?  Or  those  little  tit  bits  that  the  professors  tell  us  but  none  other than the  toppers  pay  attention to? Please  share  with us. 

Yes! A lot of it. Had a lot of help from my professors.

Well if you pay attention in your dissection sessions and are able to visualise things properly no visual aid is actually required.

I guess I have to agree to the fact that those little bits of things told by the professors are indeed important. They might not help you in theory exams as such because the questions usually are pretty straight forward in the theory papers. But when it comes to Viva these small bits not only leave a huge impact on the mind of the external examiner but also on your exam scores.


7.How vital  is  the  Question bank during  exams?  Does  it  come  highly  recommended  or  you advice  thorough reading  of  the  text  and having confound knowledge  of  the  subject?

 Oh yes! Question banks are important. They make you familiar to the type of questions to a particular topic. But the problem with them is that after a certain period one starts getting dependent on them and when this happens the knowledge of the subject (which is indeed the basic requirement) is compromised. But anyways, recently in the University exams there hasbeen a trend of difficult papers with unexpected questions, so to survive this, one must go back to the traditional way of studying that is – Reading each and every line of the textbook! This will not only increase your knowledge of the subject but also, you will be comfortable even if an unexpected question is asked because – YOU KNOW IT ALL!!!!


8.How do you propose  the  students study and what kind  of  discipline  should be  followed during  exam  time?

The EXAM TIME! Especially the final exam time is scary. For a first year student that is all the more difficult as its their very first time at the University Exams and to add to the woes, the first paper is usually ANATOMY (which most people find difficult to deal with)! But every cloud has a silver lining. As I said earlier, if you are regularly in touch with your studies throughout, its just another exam for you. But during this exam, don’t let your daily routine get hampered due to stress of the exam. Remember these 3 things –eat well, sleep well and of course study well.


9.Could you give  some  important  pointers  on  Exam  writing skills?  And also  how  should  one  prepare  for  a practical  exam?

Presenting the answers well has a huge impact on the exam scores! But remember this Mantra – KEEP IT SIMPLE i.e. don’t over complicate things much, stick to the point, don’t write short answers,provide adequate details for that particular question. Write the paper in such a way that it becomes difficult to deduct your marks. Remember diagrams for Anatomy, flowcharts and tables for Physiology and Biochemistry, H&E diagrams for DADH are compulsory and not optional if you want a distinction.

You need not prepare any differently for the practical exams. Go through all your books as you did for theory exams but this time also go through your journals. Do all the slides for GeneralHistology and Dental Histology properly. And now it’s time to discuss about that Grand theory Viva by the external examiner! Perhaps this is the most important part of the practical exam and sometimes maybe scary as the external examiner maybe a bit harsh with his questions.But remember, the questions asked usually are of a very basic level but at the same time check how deep you have reached in that subject, so if you are thorough with reading the book throughout then it’s an easy job!


10.Any special  tricks  and tacts  for  the  students  of  your  college  who  would be  reading this?

No special tricks, no shortcuts are handy when you aim to be the best. The traditional way of attending lectures, studying everyday, setting targets and achieving them is the only hack to be a topper!


11.So, do you have  any  parting thoughts?  Like  disclosing that  secret  mantra  that  you  chanted  or  that  special brand of  energy  drink  you savored?  Just kidding.  Seriously  though, anything at  all?

Like they say, behind every topper there is a special drink! Haha just kidding! But my energy drink was undoubtedly COFFEE…. Lots and lots of it especially during exams keeping me up and going throughout the night.

Ok so the parting thought! Remember, you need not imitate anyone to achieve success. Make your own path, be your own role model! BE YOU, BE CONFIDENT and you too would be giving this interview next year I am sure.

A last tip – Use standard books no matter how hard the language may seem to you to understand! If you can’t understand by reading it once, read it thrice!

Eg – B.D. Chaurasia(Medical Edition)For Anatomy

Wheelers/Fueller For Dental Anatomy

Orabans’s/Ten Cate’s For Dental Histology etc.







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