PG Blazer: Congratulations on securing a top rank in the AIIMS PG entrance exam! What is the secret of your success?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: As said there is no secret ingredient for success. It was my hard work and the support of my parents, brother and friends that has helped me achieve this.
PG Blazer: Could you tell us something about yourself?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: I am from Eluru,Andhra Pradesh.
I did my undergraduation from Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam.
In my UG, I got gold medals in Physiology, Anatomy, Microbiology, Medicine and Neurology (our college has a separate medal exam for neurology too).
PG Blazer: Who or what influenced you to take up Medicine as a career?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: There was no particular reason for choosing medicine. It just happened like that.
PG Blazer: What were your aggregate percentage marks for MBBS?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: I got 74.5% in my UG.
PG Blazer: How did you prepare during your internship period?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: My college is one of the busiest colleges in AP. So didn’t have much time during my internship for preparation. Just covered 2-3 short subjects and OBG and I wrote Bhatia exams during internship.
PG Blazer: Which were the various entrance exams you wrote in this session? What were the ranks you obtained?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: AIIMS was the first exam I appeared and after the results I did not write the other exams.
PG Blazer: What ranks did you obtain in your previous attempts?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: In March 2015 (at the end of my internship) I got 17th rank in APPG. In May session I got rank 117 in PGI Chandigarh and 97th in JIPMER.
PG Blazer: What changes did you make to your preparation after your last attempt?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: I read more of textbooks during UG. Didn’t read much of these guides. After completing internship I attended coaching (PGEI) from April. From then I mainly concentrated on class notes and previous questions.
PG Blazer: When did you start serious preparation for this year’s entrance exam?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: April.
PG Blazer: What was your study strategy?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: During the 6 months of preparation I read the class notes and did the MCQS from guides.
Didn’t have much time for looking back into textbooks. Just referred back to them only for important topics and controversial questions.
PG Blazer: Did you make any notes for helping with your revision? Were they useful?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: Yes. I had coaching notes and I also added important points after doing the MCQS. They were very useful. I feel making a good notes for the final month revision is very essential.
PG Blazer: In your opinion, how much time does a student require for preparing for this exam?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: 6-8 hrs/day consistently.
PG Blazer: How many hours did you study each day?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: In the initial months 6-8 hrs. In the last one to one and half month of revision 12-14 hrs/day.
PG Blazer: Did you have a timetable for preparation? Were you able to stick to it?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: Yes I did have a timetable which I had to change every other day.
PG Blazer: What role did the internet play in your preparation?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: It was really helpful for radiology (radiopaedia.org) and for few other subjects where I had doubt but couldn’t find answer in textbook.
PG Blazer: Did you ever doubt your ability to get selected in this entrance exam? If so, how did you overcome your fears?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: There were a few incidents where I felt really low. But it was the support of my parents and friends which helped me to overcome it.
PG Blazer: Did you attend any classroom coaching? Was it useful? Do you think classroom coaching is essential for getting a good rank?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: I attended PGEI,Bangalore. It has helped me in giving a good notes which has helped me a lot in the last month revision. Coaching helps us in orienting to the recent exams patterns and knowing the previous questions. But to get a top rank depends on us. Its our hard work which brings the edge.
PG Blazer: Did you attend any test series? If so, did you find it useful?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: I attempted Bhatia test series during my internship.
PG Blazer: What were the subjects you focused upon?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: 2nd year subjects.
PG Blazer: Which books did you read for theory?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: Anatomy –Datta
Forensic Medicine –Reddy
Ophthalmology –Parson and Khurana
Surgery – Bailey & Love
Orthopaedics – Maheshwari
Paediatrics – OP Ghai
OBG – Datta and Shaw
Anaesthesia – did not read any
Radiology – -do-
Dermatology – -do-
Psychiatry – -do-
PG Blazer: What was your approach to Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: During the preparation I read only few selected topics.
PG Blazer: Which books did you read for MCQ’s? Which ones were the most useful?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: Exam specific books (AIIMS / AIPGMEE / NEET / PGI / JIPMER / state exams etc.):
Prithesh AIIMS volumes
Manoj Chaudary PGI volumes
JIPMER –Arun Babu
Subject wise books:
Anatomy – Arvind Arora
Physiology –Arvind Arora
Biochemistry –Rabecca James
Pathology –Devesh Mishra
Microbiology –Apurba Sastry
Pharmacology –Gobing Garg
Forensic Medicine –Arvind Arora
ENT –Manisha Singabudhiraja
Ophthalmology –only class notes
SPM –Vivek Jain
Medicine –Mudit Khanna
Surgery – Prithesh
Orthopaedics – Apurva Mehra
Paediatrics – only class notes
OBG – Punit Bhojani
Anaesthesia – only class notes
Radiology – Bipin Daga
Dermatology – only class notes
Psychiatry – only class notes
PG Blazer: Is there anything specific to keep in mind while preparing for AIIMS?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: Unlike the other exams ophthalmology and SPM are given more weightage. So one should prepare a bit more for these subjects.
PG Blazer: How did you tackle the PGIMER entrance exam?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: I have regularly written PGI mock tests though I didn’t have the need to write it finally. It IS one exam where time place a crucial role. So one needs to write more mock tests to develop that time management. Also PGI has more questions on biochemistry and genetics. So one needs to spend more time on them.
PG Blazer: How did you prepare for the image based questions?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: I didn’t have separate preparation for images. I have just gone through Harrison and Robbins images randomly during the last few days before exams.
PG Blazer: What was your strategy for revision on the day before the examination?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: On the day before I didn’t read much. I have revised my mnemonic notes and relaxed.
PG Blazer: What was your strategy for taking the exam?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: I answered the questions in 2 phases. in the 1st phase, I answered all the questions which I was sure of. It took me 2hrs 15 min for this. After this I was left with 50-60 questions which took me another 45 minutes. In an exam like AIIMS, attempt the question if you are able to eliminate 2 options. But in an exam like PGI where time is crucial just answer the questions in a single phase and don’t attempt unknown options at all.
PG Blazer: How many questions did you attempt?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: AIIMS – 196
PG Blazer: How many do you think you got correct?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: AIIMS – 150
PG Blazer: Which speciality are you interested in choosing and why?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: I will take General Medicine. I really developed interest in the subject in my second year when I did a research article (ICMR) in Cardiology under my mentor Dr. Ravi Venkatachalem sir. His way of teaching medicine is just awesome. He is an inspiration not just to me, but to all the students of Andhra Medical College.
PG Blazer: What is your advice to future aspirants?
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: Build concepts. Concepts retain. Facts are forgotten.
Do repeated revisions. The more you revise ,the more easily you’ll be able to correlate different topics.
Take every failure as a learning tool . Working hard is important but there is one thing that matters even more….believing in yourself. One day you will do it. ALL THE BEST.
PG Blazer: Please give your comments / suggestions regarding PG Blazer.
Dr. Ram Manohar Talupula: PG Blazer has been really helpful during my preparation. I used to go through the interviews at times when I felt low. It has helped me to follow the way of preparation of rankers and now, I became one. Keep going PG Blazer. You are doing a great help to many.
PG Blazer: That brings us to the conclusion of the interview. Best of luck for your future endeavours!