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 …
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