1. What was your study plan?
Thorough revision of what I had already studied. The mistake that I had made before was to try to cover everything once. Which is useless. Reading the same topic again and again helps go deeper into the subject and those are the areas where questions are frequently asked from.
2. How many hours did you study?
Initially I was studying in a relatively relaxed manner, studying effectively for about 6 hours a day but as the exams drew closer, I reduced my distractions and could make around 12 hours or more. Regular breaks are a must to relax the mind and a couple of naps now and then help consolidate memory. The productivity of study per unit time is more important than number of hours
3. Your tips for success
I have learnt through my arduous two year preparation period that making mistakes is the best teacher. Writing maximum number of practice tests, checking the answers immediately after, and noting down the mistakes, to be revisited again and again is the key to success.
Apart from that, having a clear mind and staying cool in the face of crisis are qualities to be aspired towards.
4. During your preparation, did you ever doubt your ability to succeed in it?
Moments of self doubt and despair are normal for everyone. It is upto you to let it get to you. A major setback for me was when I got my NEET rank of 4.7k. I was devastated to the extent that I did not touch my books for a good whole month. Collecting myself and restarting preparation was hard but well worth it. It is imperative to keep up hope and stay motivated. Remember, "God's delays are not God's denials". “Fear can hold you prisoner; hope can set you free”
5. How much time do you think one requires for serious preparation for this examination?
7-8 months of solid preparation is enough.
6. When did you seriously start preparing for this exam?
Soon after completing internship I began my preparation. May '12. Had not touched a PG preparation book during internship which is one thing I now regret. For Nov ’13 I started around June-July focusing on revision. The extra year of preparation I would say was a gift of sorts as I was able to revise topics that I had already studied before but had no recollection about.
7. Did you face the problem of volatile memory? If so, how did you deal with it?
Repeated study alongwith associative learning is probably the best technique for memorization. Use mnemonics sparsely, once you start, you tend to overdo it. Looking at images, schemes and flowcharts helps.
8. What was your daily timetable during the preparation? Were you able to stick to the timetable strictly?
I know my limits so I never planned overzealously. In fact I would plan less than I knew I could cover, just for that feeling of confidence at the end of the day. Some days are just not your days and you end up covering close to nothing. These fluctuations apart, your focus should remain. 5 hours before lunch. 1 hour sleep after lunch. 5 hours before dinner. 4 hours after dinner (I am used to studying into the night)
9. What is your advice to the future aspirants?
The trend of prePG exams is changing. On one hand the AIPG is shifting towards a fact oriented paper and on the other hand the institutes are moving away from the usual trend of asking repeat questions. Both these can be overcome by a good knowledge of the basics of the subject. Choose a couple of subjects for which you read the text book thoroughly. For the other subjects do thoroughly, MCQs with explanations.
10. Which books did you read for the theory part?
Medicine AshishGupta, Harrison 18th Paediatrics Arora, Ghai, rare references from Nelson Pharmacology Sparsh, Tripathi And Pathology Sparsh, Robbins. Remaining subjects only MCQ books- Across I and II, Microbiology
11. What was your strategy for the exam day?
Get a good night’s sleep. Have a sizeable breakfast. Having reached the exam center before time, I tried to completely relax my mind by talking to my friends and making jokes. It really helped.
12. What was your style of answering question. Whether you started from question number 1 and ended with 250 or started from middle of the question paper.
13. Did you undergo the phase of depression . How did you overcome it ?
My biggest setback during the prePG journey was when I contracted adult onset chicken pox right before NEET 2012 and PGI Nov 2012. It was doubtful whether I would even be able to appear for the exam or not. But even though I did, I was not able to give my best. And it reflected in both the results. This was a setback and I got over it by spending time with friends and family; the immense support that I got from my mom, dad and elder brother gave me all the strength that I needed. And I kept telling myself that in the long run, it doesn’t matter whether you got your PG in the first or second attempt.
14. About ADrPlexus
One thing I can confidently say about writing a PGI exam is that I was never hard pressed for time. And credit for this goes to the Adr PGI mock exams. The first mock test that I wrote, I was not able to complete the paper. But as I progressed through the mock exams, I learnt to manage time well. I finished Nov’13 PGI with 40 minutes to spare and revisited the options from question 1. Another thing about Adrplexus is, they have perfected the scoring algorithm for PGI. So the results of the mocks truly reflect on a slightly smaller scale how you fare. Take the Adrplexus PGI mock tests seriously.
15. What was your strategy for November PGI 2013 ?
Reading PGI repeat questions with explanations is very important. Manoj Chaudhary atleast 3 times I would say. 5 times best. Revise your notes well. Closing in to the exam, do latest papers. They help because even though the questions may not get repeated, the topics do. I had revised the last 3 papers on the day before the exam.
16. How many choices did you attempt ? Rough number. Please detail your strategies
Again, this answer is based on Adrplexus mock tests. I performed the same way in the main exam. 560-580
17. What are the do’s and don’ts in PGI exam Do’s
- Stay alert through the exam. You never know where there might be a twist. Like for eg. None of the following are not false except - Read each option completely. Never assume what the question is testing Don’t’s - Panic when you don’t know a topic. Nobody has studied everything. - Panic, for anything. - Hurry through questions. Time is a major factor. But not marking anything is better than marking more wrong options.
18. Your recommended books for PG preparation
Already mentioned above. But choosing the right book is only the first step. Whichever book you choose, do justice to it.