My main trick was repetition, that did wonders for me!
BJ GOVERNMENT Medical College, MUMBAI
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.
– Thanks! My name is Samira Davalbhakta. Im in second year, BJGMC Pune and i passed out of 12th grade from DPS. In my first year universities i scored 150 in anatomy, 162 in physiology and 162 in biochemistry.
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?
– To be honest, mastering an MBBS syllabus is quite difficult, and it needs much more than the 8 months that we get in first year. So I wouldn’t say that I mastered the syllabus, rather i mastered the examination. My main trick was repetition, that did wonders for me!
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 ?
– Yes, i did have a set schedule and I followed it as diligently as I could. Throughout the year i made sure I studied as efficiently as i could, and went to the library as often as possible. As the year came to a close and the PL started, i set a schedule for myself which i followed diligently. I divided my day into three parts, giving the morning session to Anatomy, afternoon to Physiology and evening to Biochemistry. I made sure i had at least 30 minutes of the day dedicated to exercise! The daily hours during college that i could put in were about 3.. and during the PL 12-14 hrs a day.. But this number can vary from person!
4.Is there any particular way in which you study or any special notes that you make? Maybe a different approach than what students normally do?
– I never made notes in first year as i felt like there was no time, but that is my personal opinion there are many who cannot study without notes which is absolutely fine. The method i followed was repetition- I made sure I studied with a pace that allowed me to repeat the same topic multiple times. A very basic and simple approach i used during every exam, whether terms, prelims or finals was Question papers. I got my hands on as many previous years’ question papers and bhalanis as i could and solved them, again repeatedly.
5.Do you have any tips on the Do’s and Don’ts of it? How do you manage to keep yourself motivated when studies start taking a toll on you? Are there any ‘distractions’ that actually help you in the process?
– I dont feel im experienced enough to set out a list of Do’s and Don’ts, but i can definitely say- Dont give up. Dont look at the immense portion you have and bog down under the weight of it. Stick to your timetable and dont give in to distractions. One thing that kept me motivated was the free period after the exams and how i wanted to feel during it. I wanted to feel like I deserved that free time and truly enjoy it, which i knew i would, guilt free, if I put in effort during the exams. Thus i toiled and earned my happiness! Everybody has their own thing to look forward to- Their own motivating factor. This is very important if you want to sustain a long journey, especially one that involves studying throughout the summer!
6.Also how important do you think is attending lecrures in college? Considering half of the students are either busy on their phones or sleeping, does it really help?
– Lectures are really important! Sorry to be such a spoilsport but lectures teach you a lot more than just the topic. It gives you a base, or an orientation that makes reading from the textbook much easier. It gives you clues as to how the teacher expects you to explain a certain topic in your answer sheet and it also gives you many facts that can fetch you those extra marks.
7.Was there any help that you acquired while preparing for the exams? 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.
– I did not use any visual aids though YouTube has a huge array of amazing videos one could refer to.
The main ‘tit bit’ was question papers. By the prelims i had already studied my portion at least once, so i focused first on solving and resolving those questions. That told me exactly what i had to work on to improve my knowledge for the universities.
I also made sure i attended the revision practicals in college, and clicked pictures which I referred to before the practical exam.
Time management is a skill that is required in every walk of life.
8.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?
– I think i have already answered this question! I highly recommend solving questions first, rather than having a profound knowledge of the subject. The reason is, that mbbs subjects are extremely vast. It would take up a lot of time to study all topics completely and adequately. With questions one knows exactly what topic to focus on! But since we are in a very vital and respectable profession, i would suggest reading the topic at least once completely so that you have a basic knowledge of every topic, then focusing on question banks.
9.Could you suggest a method of studying or kind of discipline that should be followed during exam time?
– The method i used during exam time is- First, question papers so i got a hold on what i knew and didnt know. Then, studying the portion completely and repeatedly, and finally repeating the questions until i knew them extremely well.
10.What do you do to keep yourself kinda stress free? Go for a swim, go for a walk or just wiggle under the blanket and fall asleep or what?
– My most favourite activity to do when i am stressed is go for an evening jog. I love long distance running with music blaring in my ears! This truly pumps me up and helps me let go of all of the mental stresses that have accumulated over the day.
Wiggling under the blanket will just make me feel lazy and getting back to the books would be very difficult after that!
11.Are you involved in any extracurricular activities, be it sports, cultural or academics? How do you manage it along with your routine academics?
– Yes i am involved in a lot of extracurriculars, be it dancing or singing. Its not difficult to manage it along with your studies if you have identified your priorities. Time management is a skill that is required in every walk of life and is very useful in this case. For example, during my first year there was one cultural event called the annual gathering. Preparation for this began in the month of January, with the main show towards the ending of February. This was the time when we began CNS in Physiology and Anatomy which are two heavy and very important topics. With this in mind, i made sure i was in the library between practice sessions and tried my best to keep up with the lectures that were being taught. I successfully managed to participate in three dances and keep up with the portion!
12.Could you give some important pointers on Exam writing skills? And also how should one prepare for a practical exam? Any special tips for the people of your college who would be reading this?
– Its true, exam writing is a skill. But this skill isn’t difficult to inculcate if you know what the examiner wants from the answer. Keep your answer as precise as you can, which doesn’t necessarily mean short! Make sure you are not writing unnecessary details and wasting valuable time. Make the answer sheet as neat as possible and draw diagrams wherever you can. One problem a lot of people face is the time clinch- To tackle this, keep your eye on the clock. Decide beforehand, how much time you can afford to give to each question in order to answer them satisfactorily.
13.What is the one major thing that you would like to change in today’s curriculum?
– One major thing i would like to change in the curriculum is the practical knowledge. Despite topping my batch, when I entered the wards in second year i realised that i did not know a few things that the doctors in sassoon expected us to know as second year students. Also, a lot of the practical journal curriculum is redundant today and an update is required!
14.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?
– Haha im sorry to disappoint but, no. There was no secret mantra i chanted or drink i drank! While studying in first year my aim was never to top. Not once did i tell myself- Samira study because you have to top. The year i got into BJMC was the year of the NEET fiasco due to which i joined this college in October instead of August. This lag motivated me to work hard, and it was that hardwork that helped me score what i did!
What i can give you though, is a magic thought- One has to earn happiness. It will not come to you automatically. So, identify what will make you happy, and work for it!
Im not talking about transient happiness like a good nap or a fun movie. Im talking about long lasting happiness, like me scoring what i did. That gave me happiness that will last for my whole life!