Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tips for NIMHANS DM Neurology entrance exam preparation

 I managed to secure 6th rank in NIMHANS DM neuro and 2nd rank in PhD neuroscience examination.I took up DM neurology seat.. I m writing this in order to help students to be better prepared for this entrance exam

First , the background.. I graduated from Kasturba Medical College .Mangalore in march 2011 and just finished my internship in march 2012…I was able to score this rank in my first attempt for the course
Here are the few points which I think will help you to succeed..

1. Dream.. as Kalam sir would always say, before you should achieve something big you should dream about it..I started to dream about working in NIMHANS by 3d year end or so..In the sense I’d talk to my friends like, If I go to NIMHANS I d do this that and all..Also make sure you wont forget the dream..My computer password was something related to neurology..so everytime I logged in to my comp in last 2 years I remembered it..

2. Learn from your mistakes…I did not qualify in all india pg exam 2012 or JIPMER exams..this was because I had a hectic Internship and I didn’t mind working and thought pg preparation would start after end of internship..I gave the KCET exam too, had read the previous 5 papers and miraculously same questions appeared and I foolishly raced through the paper in 60 minutes.. didn’t even realize that I had to read a question twice before answering..was the first one to come out of exam hall and I realised my mistake when I got the answer key..so many stupid mistakes I had done just because I thought it was an easy paper..I got some 1600 odd rank..! then I realized no matter how easy questions appear one MUST read them twice, also thinking that exam is easy during exam will actually cause harm …you shouldn’t judge it until you get all the correct answers

3. Prepare in advance..although I had no intention of doing psychiatry I gave the entrance for DPM and PHD neurophysiology in February..It gave me a huge advantage I think..Because the exam pattern and procedure will be same for both sessions for admission..I d say clinical neuroscience aspirants would benefit a lot from giving PhD neurophysiology entrance.. question patterns will be similar..

4. Do not join a job unless there are no other options..I studied at home only..I got extremely desperate by 3 months.. ;) all the saved stipend money was dwindling, some friends had got into PG seats in posh colleges others joined as JRs and were earning quite a lot and I was alone and I had no option but to succeed … this desperation helped me to achieve I think 

5. Always have a back up plan… no matter what happens don’t think it as end of the world..I had prepared very well for aiims june session but didn’t come in the first 500( I got 55%)..that was very disappointing for me..I thought NIMHANS entrance is there..and when NIMHANS exam came near whenever I felt anxious I d say dnb/next aiims is there..so during the exam I had no tension at all. If I didn’t succeed this time ,I d most probably applied for a tutorship in my college by this time..at least that ‘d give me library access!

6. Desire to make quick money and addiction to technology are the most serious roadblocks in path to success in entrance exams..I  left them till I was sure I had succeded..In such a competitive world as ours , for achieving success you  do have to sacrifice these..

7. Having a fixed time schedule helps…I d study from 9 to 5 with only 45 minutes gap in between and then from 8.30 to 11 p m..ya that’s it, I can’t boast of a 16hr schedule  ;)..but when I studied I didn’t think of anything else but the question, the concept and the factual importance. I’d lock my room during study hours..made sure my ‘study ‘room had nothing but books,a table and a chair. No electronic items, no mattress/pillow..No talking with friends.. No distraction. Mental discipline is very important..if you don’t know how to achieve it ,refer to point 6 

8. Now coming to what books I studied..
I started studying 2 days after I completed my internship, luckily my place is near to mangalore only so shifting took only a day. I continuously studied every single day till NIMHANS entrance exam..interrupted only for travelling to aiims exam centre and a bout of fever once..Might look like OCD but I knew every minute I studied would put me a lil’ bit ahead of others…remember it’s a race..If you take a break in between you will fall behind…so once you start DON’T stop..
Initially I prepared for aiims ..I finished amit ashish 2 volumes (2011-2000) and gave one revision also side by side I started few small subjects from across and other question banks like dermatology, psychiatry, ophthalmology and forensic medicine..my seniors had told me PSM was extremely important so I read it from Arvind arora which is very well written..
My 8-11pm session was mainly listening to usmle videos..they help a lot in refreshing biochem, embryology and micro..I used to make notes also during lectures for next day revision..writing down things helps you remember it better..
I started serious neuro revision after may 7(after aiims) …the first and foremost is always neuro-anatomy and embryology…again from usmle videos..that made the further studies much logical and easier to remember..I tried reading Harrisons neurology twice but I m still not confident how much I remember out of it  I bought both the books (omkarnath and neuro integrated by pramod k s) but did not find them useful..I tried solving omkarnath questions without seeing options for  a few papers and then gave up..and by june I started doing pre test series which I think was the best thing I ever did..I did pretest neurology, neuroscience and physiology which gave me a complete review of neurology within 3 wks..I wrote down the explanation and question in a separate notebook whenever I made a mistake..

On text books throughout my mbbs I read only standard textbooks, no guides, shortcut books..for entrance exam I referred Guyton , Harrison and Tripathi whenever I had doubts..

I came online twice a week to give free medpg thrissur online exams. Although many seniors donot believe in  exam without review, I just gave it a try and it worked for me..It gave a good review of psm and pharma with lots of new stuff.. I restricted my online activity to medpg,rxpg,Wikipedia only..how? slow 2g internet over mobile helped me, and I made sure I had no other options!

9. On the day before exam I took the two notebooks which I made and ‘sure success magic’ by ramgopal to Bangalore..was able  to revise my notebooks only..so much for carrying huge books!

10. I read every question twice and even if I had a little doubt I marked them for review..I attempted all 100 questions in both the exams I gave. My thinking was for five seats cut off would be in decimal point differences. If I left a question or made a mistake it wouldn’t really matter which I did as I was already out of race..also my previous exams I learned how to make an educated guess and was able to use it here effectively for few critical questions..I know lot of people will not agree with me but this is what I did…I wouldn’t recommend it for 200-300 question exams or exams where higher no. of seats are available but for NIMHANS this was effective for me that’s it…

11. Coaching…well it’s a personal decision..My primary education was in kannada and in high school I  joined English medium and I learnt to teach myself..I was one of the toppers in sslc exam that gave me confidence that I could do without coaching. My only bout with coaching was in 1st p.u. /11th when I went for IIT coaching..was terrible..both coaching and my performance ;) in 12th/2nd p.u.  I took guidance from class lecturers and was able to get a merit seat in KMC mangalore (cet 200 rank).To cut the long story short, if you are used to coaching then go, if you are not used to it then give self study a try before you go the coaching way.

Well that’s all I have to say, I hope I haven’t been a terrible bore. I d be very happy if this post helps or inspires pg aspirants to achieve more..and to help others to achieve the same …
                                                                                                                            Signing off
                                                                                                                            Dr. PawanRaj

UPDATE: Kindly note that I did not give Mch neurosurgery entrance exam as I was not interested in it. Hence I cannot guide you regarding its preparation. This post is mainly directed towards DM neurology entrance preparation.
As of 2014 exam pattern has been changed and there is a single entrance exam. This post is pertaining to exam system which was there in 2012.So I suggest aspirants to contact people who've given new pattern exam for further guidance.

Sunday, December 18, 2011



Suddenly Raj woke up. He couldn’t recognise the surroundings but he was wide awake nonetheless..Then it dawned upon him that he had to reach the conference by 6 p.m. where he’d conclusively prove the absence of human soul to the world. He wasn’t a fanatic atheist but he believed in scientific rationale and he believed his experiments would prove it to be a failsafe construct of the mind itself. But still he couldn’t make sense of his surroundings..something had gone terribly wrong somewhere…

His arms and legs appeared smaller..he seemed to be submerged in liquid of some kind. He panicked once he realized that. He flailed his limbs violently but to no effect..he also noticed He was completely naked. What the hell had happened?

“Hm I must be captured by a fanatic religious group who have put me in this container. I had heard of these immersion chambers before but I never thought they could afford to build one here..”That was the only reason he thought he was alive although there was water in his lungs..

His captives had put a thick rope like structure around his neck. He wondered what they would do if he tried to escape..probably it would tighten instantly killing him. He didn’t dare to try to remove it. He remembered his training. He calmed himself down..he tried to remember what had happened. He started late as usual so he had to rush his car to the venue..then while driving his secretary had called and when he took it a light had flashed, brilliantly and the next moment he was here..probably that was the light of the vehicle they used to kidnap him..

And then it began…

They started crushing his head…or so he thought as the pressure inside is head built up..any moment my brains gonna pop out of my ears , he thought..but the pressure kept steadily increasing. He lost track of time.. “some sick pervert is enjoying this” he thought in between his terrified attempts to scream. The world around him started collapsing. Suddenly there was blood everywhere..

And in his final moment he experienced the worst kind of pain in his chest. It was so searing and burning it made him forget everything else, he was ready to accept death..suddenly his identity vanished..he didn’t know who he was ..all he could do was cry..cry at the top of his voice...And then there was bright light everywhere and a terrible chill…..

Meanwhile the midwife said to the mother “ you have a male baby, it had umbilical cord around its neck but fortunately it cried immediately after birth so its fine you don’t have to worry..congratulations….”

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My experience in Goa

I'm just returning from a trip to goa and this is an account of what I saw there

Good advertising

The goans have advertised themselves as tourist friendly and it shows everywhere. For the first time I saw a state almost entirely concentrating on developing tourist places.

towns and beaches

Sadly this is a disappointment. Towns are filthy..lots of plastic thrown everywhere...main beaches are similar too..in monuments only a certain area around is kept clean and surrounding it is again garbage..


Single most amazing and exciting experience...flawless..goa is best experienced by roaming around with a rented vehicle..infact roads need a separate blog post..they are THAT good..


A place to be for carnivores and boozers...i dont do both...but I managed to get veg food in all the places..food is good here..although service is a bit late


People are very friendly here.everything here is laid back, relaxed and cool..sometimes they are plain lazy too ! People coming here are incredibly stylish. Nobody's in a hurry here..It feels as if time is stagnant here. No deadlines ,no time limits, no nothing..Its an Ideal place to relax from a hectic schedule. Goa is literally full of foreign tourists.


Its a combination of the extremes..mornings are typically chilly. As sun goes up you get literally roasted! 11 to 4 is hottest then after 5 p.m. Sudden everything cools down and nights are chilled..
Overall its a wonderful experience i must add..to conclude, one must experience the place ..so go goa !

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Inner Light


Rahul was eagerly waiting for his father to arrive , a rare occasion one would say as he s a young boy but its diwali time you see, and this day his father would bring a big gift box, full of crackers..packed and sent from sivakasi. He had asked his mother innumerable times when dad will come home and got scolded in the end. But enthusiasm is a like a magic fountain in kids ,never drying up. He looked up thinking of asking once more but decided not to stretch his luck.

Although his parents were wealthy, they weren’t much interested in buying crackers. Rahul had to beg them innumerable times had to throw a tantrum before they agreed to bring crackers home. He had spent last two days imagining how he would light each type of cracker along with his friends this diwali night . His favourite cracker was ‘atom bomb’ promptly named because of the deafening sound it produced. He had planned to bury it in ground and light it so that it could create the explosion effect!

At eight p.m. he heard the sound of dad’s car arriving. He couldn’t control his excitement anymore, he ran to the gates..jumping and giggling. His father stepped out of the car looked at his boy and gave him a big smile and slowly extracted the colorful gift packet. He shouted with joy and took it and ran straight to his room.
The box was beautifully wrapped in colors which he removed once he was in his room. And it contained many a variety of crackers but rahul cotinued searching .. but it wasn’t there..his favourite cracker wasn’t in the box. He was so disappointed. He ran to his mother and cried loudly. Mother was utterly confused by this and asked what was wrong. ‘ I wanted atom bomb mommy it isnt there in gift box’ . Next moment two slaps landed on his cheek. ‘ why do you need such dangerous cracker why cant you enjoy safer ones. No way you are getting that!’

He was so crestfallen he didn’t even want to eat anything that night. His dad too was surprised to see his kid sulk during dinner and asked why. Mother ‘ whatever we give him is not enough , he needs atom bomb it seems..he’ll become a terrorist I feel.’
Next morning, the day before the festival, rahul started walking to his school heads down,sullen faced. His father saw him walk..something happened..he went to his son and gave him 50rs.’go buy it son,whatever you want..’

His joy knew no bounds ..finally he would get his favorite cracker. He couldn’t sit in the classes. His mind was set at the cracker shop nearby. Evening came and bell rang..he rushed out of school eagerly crossing the gully to reach the cracker shop. Then something caught his eyes. Three little children, all in ragged clothes were trying to lit a half burned cracker, hoping that it would light. He stood and thought for sometime. Then rushed to the crackershop and bought few smaller flowerpots and lightersticks and gave it to them. And he watched them light it..he could see the light in their eyes ,and somewhere inside him, a light was lit.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Whose life is it anyway?


As usual i got up earlier than everbody.But it was still early dawn i started reminscing about my life..

I dont know who my parents are..i think i was separated when i was very small.I dont remember much of my childhood really..most of it was terrifying..until i was rescued by this guy. He likes to be called as 'boss' . And i dont mind calling him like that. Because he raised me from my vulnerable childhood to this vigorous youth.

Boss will be busy most of the time. He stays out of this house. I stay here most of the time. Somebody should look over house also right? And i dont think i can manage much outside. But i have few talents of my own. Like my hearing is lot better than his and vision too..but still i cant do whatever he's capable of. Like the food he prepares...is there any better food anywhere else?? I think not!

Well i think boss got up. I can hear him getting up from his bed,walking lazily towards bathroom. I looked forward to our morning walk together. I know he'd never change that .

He came out of the door. I greeted him. He acknowledged. He had something hidden behind his back. He showed it to me and threw it right in front of me..

I couldn't control the temptation... I ran quickly towards the toy...A dog can never resist the tempt for a fetch game you see..

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The basic question

what do I mean by this title? these are rather simple questions for which there are no easy answers..i always believe complex questions have simple answers where as easy looking questions may need a lifetime to understand and one maynot be able to explain it to others!

Sometimes one might think He knows the solution but, the next day it doesn't look so!these questions define one's quest sometimes..simplicity so, can be great in its own way

coming to my reason for writing this blog, since i was a science student i was thinking about one very interesting concept.what would one get, if one delved too deep into the depths of knowledge of subject?

Lets start with biology. If one went on studying it finally it would lead towards chemical interactions or chemistry.then one had to study chemistry and one day it would lead to interaction between atoms i.e, physics . But the thought process wouldn't stop..if one studied physics in depth he would find mathematics everywhere .then on studying maths deeply he would find out logic inside. And logic is based on our belief of the system of logic. In short; we are ,what we believe..

But now since i focused my efforts on biological science, i find the differences..it isn't so simple to explain biology. Its a mixture of sorts. A biological phenomenon has inside itself, all the other scientific phenomena..its simultaneous.. not serial manifestations.

And when i took medicine as my graduation subject, i chose my basic question, my personal quest..it comes every now and then in my mind ..and as i told before the answer keeps changing or rather ' updating' as i know more about it. I may not get the final solution but i dearly like the search..

The question by the way, is 'what is life?'

Friday, July 23, 2010

Palpable differences

I was just reading gerald durrell's 'my family and animals ' few days back and while reading i couldn't help noticing few facts and differences between his time i.e, early 20th century and ours or 21st century..

In his book he describes the island corfu beautifully..and how minimalistic the life was there.people lead simple lives and were proud of it. There was ample space for each and everyone.They had enough time for spending for their interests.people could sleep for 12hours a day and still do a good job..oppurtunities were everywhere.Education was rare but whatever they learnt,it was direct one to one learning.they learnt what they wanted to learn.

Coming to our times, we can see how much changes have taken place..our lives are so complex, an amalgamation of mechanical and biological comforts. But oppurtunities are becoming rather less as there are more people..now one has to work whole day and night in order to achieve similar success. The word 'rest' &'personal interests' are losing their value..we are defined by our occupations..and our success is measured in amount of money more than anything else.people are thinking of sleep as a folly!and about education everybody learn but most often not what they want but what they have to learn to earn...looks like we have become a result oriented ,money minded ruthless society.