PG Blazer: Congratulations on securing the top rank in the AIIMS PG entrance exam! What is the secret of your success?
Dr. Saif Memon: Consistency and regularity in work, putting your best foot forward and leaving the rest to God’s will!
PG Blazer: Could you tell us something about yourself?
Dr. Saif Memon: I am from a small city called Belgaum in Karnataka.Did my schooling in St.Pauls High School,which played an essential role in making me the person I am today.Did my PUC from RLS College in Belgaum.I completed my MBBS from Karnataka Institute Of Medical Sciences,Hubli. And the time I spent in Hubli is by far the most wonderful period in my life so far!
PG Blazer: Who or what influenced you to take up Medicine as a career?
Dr. Saif Memon: I was always fascinated about why things are the way they are. And what gr8r fascination than the human body! About one thing I have been very clear in my life, that my life should be spent in serving the Lords creation, and what better service than to get someone out of pain and misery..
PG Blazer: What were your aggregate percentage marks for MBBS?
Dr. Saif Memon: 68.4%
PG Blazer: How did you prepare during your internship period?
Dr. Saif Memon: Internship is pretty hectic in our college and it was the most wonderful learning experience! Totally worth the toil. Whatever time we used to get after duty, would be spent with friends.
PG Blazer: Which were the various entrance exams you wrote in this session? What were the ranks you obtained?
Dr. Saif Memon: AIIMS-41
PG Blazer: What ranks did you obtain in your previous attempts?
Dr. Saif Memon: Wrote the AIPGMEE last year during internship,got a rank of 13 thousand and odd!:-P.. Wrote May 2014 AIIMS and did not get any rank..PGI this was my first time..
PG Blazer: What changes did you make to your preparation after your last attempt?
Dr. Saif Memon: Revision is the key.If you are not able to revise something you have read in the past, a few days before the exam,then that kind of reading is a waste of time..
PG Blazer: When did you start serious preparation for this year’s entrance exam?
Dr. Saif Memon: April this year.
PG Blazer: What was your study strategy?
Dr. Saif Memon: We studied in a group of 3 (Rohan Kamat, Divya Joshi and me),right from 3rd year MBBS, and we continued studying together even for the entrance. That was probably the best thing to happen to me, for I never felt stressed out or bored while studying. And discussion deepens your understanding of the topics. We went finishing the portion subject wise, reading the class notes first, the MCQ books next and appearing for the weekly test on that subject. We knew where we wanted to be as far as the portion is concerned and we were quite clear that we needed to start revising by September 2nd week. We stuck to our plans and it worked out well in the end
PG Blazer: Did you make any notes for helping with your revision? Were they useful?
Dr. Saif Memon: Yes, making notes is quintessential. Apart from the coaching class notes, whatever we read from the mcq book and knew that it would be difficult to remember,would be noted down in the form of points in the class note book itself.So the next time we revised the class notes,we would be revising the key concepts that were there in the mcq book at the same time.Its all about consolidating what you need to revise in the last 15 days in as little space as possible.It may take time when you are actually preparing the notes but its totally worth the effort in the end.
PG Blazer: In your opinion, how much time does a student require for preparing for this exam?
Dr. Saif Memon: 6 months of proper planned study is more than enough.
PG Blazer: How many hours did you study each day?
Dr. Saif Memon: 8-10 hours on regular days after April and around 10-12 hours in the last month.
PG Blazer: Did you have a timetable for preparation? Were you able to stick to it?
Dr. Saif Memon: As we learn in PSM (And I know most of us hate those chapters),planning is the beginning of everything. Everyone should have a PERT ready in front of him/her and should also know about ones ‘critical path’. And studying in a group helped us stick to a common time table.
PG Blazer: What role did the internet play in your preparation?
Dr. Saif Memon: The DAMS Exclusive club on FB was amazing.If you spent half an hour on it each day you would revise 30-40 questions and see 10-15 new ones. So that was extremely useful.
PG Blazer: Did you ever doubt your ability to get selected in this entrance exam? If so, how did you overcome your fears?
Dr. Saif Memon: Making efforts is in our hand, results are not. Why worry about things which we cannot control. I have always believed that only God knows what is the most appropriate for us ,and he gives it to us at the right time. My Immense faith in Allah, and my firm belief that He will give me what I deserve, erased all the doubts and worries if ever I had them.
PG Blazer: Did you attend any classroom coaching? Was it useful? Do you think classroom coaching is essential for getting a good rank?
Dr. Saif Memon: I joined DAMS in March,and it then dawned upon me how medicine should actually be taught in our colleges.We had the most wonderful teachers,and I owe whatever little I have achieved to them.
PG Blazer: Did you attend any test series? If so, did you find it useful?
Dr. Saif Memon: I took the online test series which DAMS has.Apart from that nothing else.
PG Blazer: What were the subjects you focused upon?
Dr. Saif Memon: The first year subjects,microbio and pharma and minor subjects like anaesthesia, radio, opthal, ortho. These are volatile and I used to revise these subjects before the exam.
PG Blazer: Which books did you read for theory?
Dr. Saif Memon: Anatomy – BDC
Physiology – Guyton
Biochemistry – Satyanarayan
Microbiology – Ananthnarayan
ENT – Dhingra
Ophthalmology – Khurana
SPM – Park
Medicine – Parts of Harrison,George Matthews
Surgery – SRb,Bailey
Orthopaedics – Maheshwari
Paediatrics – Ghai
OBG –Dutta and Shaws
PG Blazer: What was your approach to Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine?
Dr. Saif Memon: I had made notes of some systems and read them for my final year.During PG prep I did not touch Harrison and I am pretty sure its not essential to crack entrances.
PG Blazer: Which books did you read for MCQ’s? Which ones were the most useful?
Dr. Saif Memon: MCQ books I did subject wise.Apart from Kalam did not solve any other volumes. Its more important to become strong in your concepts rather than reading old questions from volumes is the principle I followed. Did the last 5 papers of AIIMS and PGI 2 days before the exam and the last 3 JIPMER papers.
Subject wise books:
Anatomy – Across
Physiology – Across
Biochemistry – Across
Pathology – Arvind Arora
Microbiology – Apurba Shastry
Pharmacology – Gobind Garg
Forensic Medicine – Across
ENT – Sakshi Arora
Ophthalmology – Across
SPM – Arvind Arora
Medicine – Amit Ashish
Surgery – Ashish
Orthopaedics – Across
Paediatrics –Arvind Arora
OBG – Sakshi arora
Anaesthesia – Across
Radiology – Across
Dermatology – Across
Psychiatry – Across
PG Blazer: Is there anything specific to keep in mind while preparing for AIIMS?
Dr. Saif Memon: AIIMS is more conceptual than any other exam. If your concepts are strong you ll do well.
PG Blazer: How did you tackle the PGIMER entrance exam?
Dr. Saif Memon: You need to mark only what you know. Guesswork is suicide. I repent that I made a lil too many guesses in PGI.
PG Blazer: How did you prepare for the image based questions?
Dr. Saif Memon: We had a wonderful teaching programme in DAMS for the visuals.That really helped.
PG Blazer: What was your strategy for taking the exam?
Dr. Saif Memon: Start from the beginning and go till the end. For questions which you are not sure of the answer, go with your gut feeling. Its Your subconscious mind telling you what you might have read a long time ago.
PG Blazer: How many questions did you attempt?
Dr. Saif Memon: AIIMS – 197
PGI –490 to 500 (Should have marked 15 to 20 less)
PG Blazer: How many do you think you got correct?
Dr. Saif Memon: AIIMS – Around 145-150
PGI – Don’t really know
PG Blazer: Which speciality are you interested in choosing and why?
Dr. Saif Memon: Doing Medicine has been my dream as it fascinates me. I feel I will be able to reach out to the max underprivileged people by doing medicine.
PG Blazer: What is your advice to future aspirants?
Dr. Saif Memon: Have faith in God,Put your best foot forward and leave the rest up to him. Life doesn’t start or end with a pg seat. We all are special in our own ways and we all will do something wonderful in our lives.
“The woods are lovely,dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep;
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep!”
PG Blazer: That brings us to the conclusion of the interview. Best of luck for your future endeavours!