Disciplined self study is essential
Dr. VMGMC, Solapur
I YEAR 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.
1. Thankyou so much!
I am Keertika Kuntal , a student of Dr.V.M.G.M.C Solapur. I am currently in the 3rd year of my M.B.B.S. I have attached my marksheet of 1st M.B.B.S , incase you need to know my marks.
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?
Firstly , the key was to be consistent. Studying small yet significant portions everyday. And choosing the right books. I know a lot of students refer multiple books or choose to study from a foreign author. On the other hand , I was very specific regarding the books and preferred Indian authors , as I felt I was more comfortable with their lucid content and style of writing. Studying the topic what has been taught to you in the lecture , right after you come back from college is essential as it ensures you become familiar with it and understand it in depth.
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 ?
Making a fixed schedule in M.B.B.S is difficult. With ward postings , practicals , college functions and social events , the routine life of a M.B.B.S student is never going to be constant or mundane. But , devoting a certain section of your time to studies , that is important. For example , I knew no matter how busy or eventful my entire day was , I had to study everyday from 10 pm to 12 am. 2 hours of disciplined self study is essential. And when the exams approach , I put in a lot of hours. 4 to 6 hours a month before the exams and 14 to 16 hours , a week before and during the exams.
4. Did you have a different methodology of tackling the subjects? Any special notes that you prepared?
4. Believe me when I say this , in our course , making Notes is almost next to impossible. Our syllabus is exceedingly vast. Making notes would only amount to exhaustion and less productivity. Many of us , with the initial enthusiasm , would end up making notes of the initial chapters but fail to do so for every chapter in the rest of the syllabus throughout the year , because that is how vast our
course is . I would rather recommend , practicing the diagrams , metabolic cycles and flowcharts numerous times in rough pages rather than copying all the textual matter from the Book as it is onto the notebook to prepare notes. Using a highlighter or anything colourful while studying always helps.
And incase of extra points , it is better to note it down in the textbook itself.
5. Do you have any special pointers for specific subjects? The dos and donts of it?
5. For individual subjects
Anatomy – Diagrams are the most important part. Colourful , big and descriptive diagrams with a fixed colour coding for individual components (for ex : yellow for nerve and grey for lymph nodes). These diagrams require extensive practice , or else it is not possible to execute them in the paper. Add a compulsory Applied Anatomy (4 points) in every answer , whether asked or not. Stick to B.D.C only. For Genetics , General Anatomy , only specific questions are asked. So it is better to refer to Bhalani/Unique for that purpose and filter the questions.
I prepared Histology and Embryology simultaneously while doing Gross Anatomy.
For ex : while doing the Gross Of Tongue , it is better to prepare the Histology and Development of Tongue along with it.
Physiology – I did not do Guyton extensively because of the shortage of time. But I did a combination of VD Joshi , Sembhulingham and BJ notes for all the questions. I did all the Graphs and Diagrams from Guyton. Drawing diagrams and Flowcharts in your answer sheet is very important for Physiology. For example , for answers like RAAS , Coagulation pathway , Excitation Contraction Coupling or Micturition , you cannot possibly write a paragraph on it , and expect the examiner to read it! So flowcharts are essential.
Biochemistry – Do only Satyanarayan. It is self sufficient and a very good book. Practicing all the pathways in the unit of Metabolism is required. And most importantly , many students neglect Biochemistry , leaving it for the last . But , this is the most scoring subject out of the 3. Not giving it enough time and thinking you can manage it at the last moment is a huge mistake. Ideally , one should do Anatomy everyday , Physiology alternate days and Biochemistry on the weekends.
A good presentation and a neat answer sheet is equally important as the content of your answers.
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.
6. The Mnemonics provided in BDC are sufficient. BJ notes are a boon. And Satyanaryan has been written very well.
So nothing ‘extra’ was required. But yes , one must maximise the inputs during exam time. No matter how much effort you put in throughout the year , if you do not revise the thing a night before the exam , you will be unable to execute it with perfection during the exam. I recommend , keeping oneself well hydrated , taking a good intake of high glycemic index foods (Bananas , dry fruits) and light snacks like Khakra or roasted peanuts. One should never take a heavy meal just before exam time because all the blood is directed towards your alimentary cavity for digestion , and there is reduced blood supply towards the brain. Before exam , I always take one tetra pack of fruit juice for the required calories and energy. I take my complete meal , once the exam is over.
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?
Question banks are important. One has to be exam oriented to score. But , open the Question bank a month or a month and a half before the exam. One should atleast read the entire theory once or twice. Because , MCQ can come any where from the text. So it is important , one should be familiar with the entire content atleast once.
8. How do you propose the students study and what kind of discipline should be followed during exam time?
8. As I have mentioned earlier , one should put in profound efforts during exam time for good execution of answers in the exams. I suggest , a regular and adequate intake of caffeine during exams . I would limit myself to a maximum of 3 cups daily during exams , because coffee is a diuretic, so you cannot afford to exceed the daily limit also. I kept a supply of packaged fruit juices to keep myself fresh and hydrated. I took light meals to avoid feeling sluggish or heavy. And as far as sleep is concerned , it varies from one individual to the other. I believe in taking power naps of 20 to 30 min , every 4 hours , rather than sleeping 6 to 8 hours straight , a night before the exam.
9. Could you give some important pointers on Exam writing skills? And also how should one prepare for a practical exam?
9. A good presentation and a neat answer sheet is equally important as the content of your answers. Too much of cuts or scribbling is going to make the examiner irritated. After all, they have so many answer sheets to check.
So I advise , being calm while writing the answers. Being in too much of a hurry is only going to make your answer sheet untidy.
I believe in time management. So I pre-decide how much time I have to allot per answer. 10 min for a 4 mark SAQ , 20 min for a 6 mark LAQ etc. One should have the allotment per answer, decided before hand. That way , I remain under control , do not unnecessarily hurry up and ensure my answer sheet is presentable. I always draw a line with a pencil after every answer. Always. That makes the answer sheet look well organised and demarcated.
For the Practicals ,
Anatomy– The histology diagrams should be practised properly. The embryology models should be well prepared with one paragraph explanation per model. All bones are important. It is not as if , the hip bone is more important than the ribs.
Attending Dissection atleast 2 times a week is important for being able to answer during the practicals. The radiology , surface and surgical landmarks can be done from the last chapter in every unit of BDC itself.
Physiology – The journal must be done very well. Small points like taking the consent of the person , before beginning the Clinical examination , must be kept in mind.
Biochemistry – Be very thorough with the steps and procedure in all experiments , particularly Colour reaction of protiens. This would require a lot of practise.
As a conclusion ,
The theory is very important for practicals. If that aspect is strong , your practicals are bound to go well. Never miss any practical in the college. Even if missing an occasional lecture would do no harm, missing any practical will be a grave mistake.
10. Any special tricks and tacts for the students of your college who would be reading this?
10. If the college students are reading this then , they very well know themselves , how strict each department is regarding the attendance or their particular pattern of checking. So I would not have any extra advice to give them, apart from saying our college is really nice. It really is. So far , I have had no complains and I have finished 3 years here. So , they must not focus on criticizing it, rather it is time they put in that energy into studying.
11. So, do you have any parting thoughts? Like disclosing that secret mantra that you chanted or that special brand of energy drink you savoured? Just kidding. Seriously though, anything at all?
11. As a parting thought , I would really like to thank you for considering me suitable for this interview. It has been both a pleasure and an honour to be able to share these thoughts with you. The website iMedScholar is truly one of its kind and I am glad the students would now be appropriately guided with something like this , so informative and valuable. All the best to the team , behind this website for its future endeavours!