PG Blazer: Congratulations on securing a top rank in the PGI entrance exam! What is the secret of your success?
Dr. Akash Bansal: There is no secret to success as such. It’s all about planning. I had everything planned months in advanced and I kept every day targets to reach my goals.
PG Blazer: Could you tell us something about yourself?
Dr. Akash Bansal: I belong to Bathinda, from Punjab but I have been living in Chandigarh since I was born. I did my 10th from St. Kabir Public School and 12th from DAV Model School Sector 15 Chandigarh. I completed my MBBS from GMCH 32 Chandigarh after securing 67 All India Rank in CBSE PMT. I am also a National Swimmer and have many awards from many extracurricular activities.
PG Blazer: Who or what influenced you to take up Medicine as a career?
Dr. Akash Bansal: It was just what I wanted to do. I always loved biology since my early years in school.
PG Blazer: What were your aggregate percentage marks for MBBS?
Dr. Akash Bansal: 64.2
PG Blazer: How did you prepare during your internship period?
Dr. Akash Bansal: Internship at GMCH 32 is tough. So I did not really get enough time to study. And the time I did get I decided to enjoy to the fullest. So I did not have any regrets later in life.
PG Blazer: What ranks did you obtain in your previous attempts? What changes did you make to your preparation after your last attempt?
Dr. Akash Bansal: In May I got rank 150 in AIIMS and 285 in PGI. I did not really make much difference. It was just that during May I had just completed the syllabus once without revision. I just needed more time to consolidate my subjects.
PG Blazer: Which were the various entrance exams you wrote in this session? What were the ranks you obtained?
Dr. Akash Bansal: I also wrote AIIMS November 2014 exam in which I did not do well. I got rank 182. They announce the results just 2 days before the PGI exam so it was very hard for me to refocus after that terrible result. I got 5th rank in PGI (general category).
PG Blazer: When did you start serious preparation for this year’s entrance exam?
Dr. Akash Bansal: 1st January 2014
PG Blazer: What was your study strategy?
Dr. Akash Bansal: I just focussed on the MCQ books and my class notes. I could not find the time to study textbooks so I focussed just on the MCQ books.
PG Blazer: Did you make any notes for helping with your revision? Were they useful?
Dr. Akash Bansal: Yes I clicked photographs of the topics I found tough. It helped me in my last minute revision.
PG Blazer: In your opinion, how much time does a student require for preparing for this exam?
Dr. Akash Bansal: It depends on how your internship is and how much study you have done during your MBBS years. Varies from person to person.
PG Blazer: How many hours did you study each day?
Dr. Akash Bansal: 8 hours from January till Mid September. 11 hours for 1 month. 14 hours for the last 2 weeks.
PG Blazer: Did you have a timetable for preparation? Were you able to stick to it?
Dr. Akash Bansal: Yes I made a time table for 4 months at a time and I tried to follow it to the hour. There were definitely delays on the way but I stuck to the core of the plans I had made.
PG Blazer: What role did the internet play in your preparation?
Dr. Akash Bansal: It was very helpful especially the forums on FB where our teachers used to put up new information regularly.
PG Blazer: Did you ever doubt your ability to get selected in this entrance exam? If so, how did you overcome your fears?
Dr. Akash Bansal: My first doubts came after the AIIMS result as I mentioned. It was a terrible day for me. But my family stuck by me and gave me their full support at that crucial time. Then I was able to refocus for PGI and give it my best.
PG Blazer: Did you attend any classroom coaching? Was it useful? Do you think classroom coaching is essential for getting a good rank?
Dr. Akash Bansal: Yes I attended DBMCI coaching classes. I think they are best in the business and classroom coaching is definitely the best way to get a rank.
PG Blazer: Did you attend any test series? If so, did you find it useful?
Dr. Akash Bansal: Yes I also attended the test series provided by DBMCI. It was wonderful in the way that it was always challenging and forced you to think about problems in a different way.
PG Blazer: What were the subjects you focused upon?
Dr. Akash Bansal: All of them.
PG Blazer: Which books did you read for theory?
Dr. Akash Bansal: None
PG Blazer: What was your approach to Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine?
Dr. Akash Bansal: I just read Immunology tables from that. Nothing else.
PG Blazer: Which books did you read for MCQ’s? Which ones were the most useful?
Dr. Akash Bansal: Exam specific books : Amit Ashish, Mudit Khanna, Manoj Chaudhary
Subject wise books:
Pathology –Arvind Arora
Microbiology –Rachna Chaurasia
Pharmacology –Sparsh Gupta
Forensic Medicine –ACROSS
ENT – Arvind Arora
Ophthalmology – Arvind Arora
SPM -Vivek Jain
Medicine –Mudit Khanna
Surgery – Amit Ashish
Orthopaedics – Arvind Arora
Paediatrics – Bhatia notes
OBG – Sakshi Arora
Anaesthesia – Arvind Arora
Radiology – Arvind Arora
Dermatology – Arvind Arora
Psychiatry – Arvind Arora
PG Blazer: How did you tackle the PGIMER entrance exam?
Dr. Akash Bansal: The key to PGI is knowing your subjects well as the questions are not repeated. You have to focus equally on all subjects. I took very less risks and marked 562 options out of 1250. I marked only those which I was sure of more than 70%
PG Blazer: How did you prepare for the image based questions?
Dr. Akash Bansal: Bhatia Tests and other books
PG Blazer: What was your strategy for taking the exam?
Dr. Akash Bansal: I always start from the beginning and try to do as many questions as possible in the 1st go. I revise very little and only those which I have left.
PG Blazer: How many questions did you attempt?
Dr. Akash Bansal: AIIMS – 193, PGI – 247/250. 562 options out of 1250
PG Blazer: Which speciality are you interested in choosing and why?
Dr. Akash Bansal: Orthopaedics because I am interested in a surgical field but I am not really interested in General Surgery
PG Blazer: What is your advice to future aspirants?
Dr. Akash Bansal: Planning is the key to success. It is not necessary to study 15 hours for a year if you have a clear plan in your mind about when and how you want to finish the syllabus.
PG Blazer: That brings us to the conclusion of the interview. Best of luck for your future endeavours!