PG Blazer: Congratulations on securing top ranks in the PGIMER & AIIMS PG entrance examinations! What is the secret of your success?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: Hard work and intelligent study. (Meaning I did a lot of questions, took a lot of tests and revised more.)
PG Blazer: Could you tell us something about yourself?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: My name is Shruti Kumar. I am from Patna, Bihar. I did my schooling till 10th from St. Joseph’s Convent High School, Patna; my 11th and 12th from DPS RK Puram. I attended Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi. I was my school topper in class 10th and had secured 97%. I had secured AIR 33 in AIPMT examination, and I had tried to stay a regular student during my entire MBBS course.
PG Blazer: Who or what influenced you to take up Medicine as a career?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: Well, I had imagined being a Doctor as long as I know myself, it is undoubtedly the noblest and the most satisfying of all professions.
PG Blazer: What were your aggregate percentage marks for MBBS?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: 65%.
PG Blazer: How did you prepare during your internship period?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: My internship was a bit heavy, like it is for most colleges. But still I tried studying for 4 to 6 hours per day. I had joined Dr. Bhatia TND classes and tried to go parallel with the classes.
PG Blazer: Which were the various entrance exams you wrote in this session? What were the ranks you obtained?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: May 2015 AIIMS – 10.
May 2015 PGI – 5.
PG Blazer: What ranks did you obtain in your previous attempts?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: Nov 2014 AIIMS – not qualified.
Nov 2014 PGI – 275.
2014 NEET – 3780.
PG Blazer: What changes did you make to your preparation after your last attempt?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: I completely changed my strategy. I started doing retrograde studies. First I did questions from previous 5 to 7 years repeats of AIIMS and PGI of any subject I would study and then I would read either notes or subject wise guides. Also I tried revising twice before the exam. Also I took a lot of grand tests.
PG Blazer: When did you start serious preparation for this year’s entrance exam?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: 15th jan 2015 when NEET result came out.
PG Blazer: What was your study strategy?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: As I already said, I did retrograde studies; read MCQs first and then the corresponding part in the text.
PG Blazer: Did you make any notes for helping with your revision? Were they useful?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: Yes I had a folder with the most volatile topics written in it, like IPC Sections of Forensic, CD markers of haematological cancers, classification of bacteria, viruses and so on. They were very useful. I would keep referring to them on and off.
PG Blazer: In your opinion, how much time does a student require for preparing for this exam?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: Around 9 to 10 months of focussed, intelligent study.
PG Blazer: How many hours did you study each day?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: In my internship days, around 4 to 6 hours; but when on holidays and since January, 10 to 12 effective hours.
PG Blazer: Did you have a timetable for preparation? Were you able to stick to it?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: Yes i had a time table, but could only do around 60 to 70 % of it.
PG Blazer: What role did the internet play in your preparation?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: I had joined the DAMS EXCLUSIVE CLUB which helped me solve my doubts. Also I used Google to find answers to my queries when it was difficult to find my answers in the standard text books.
PG Blazer: Did you ever doubt your ability to get selected in this entrance exam? If so, how did you overcome your fears?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: Of course, but I overcame my fears and tried to move forward instead. In that my dear family and friends supported me a lot.
PG Blazer: Did you attend any classroom coaching? Was it useful? Do you think classroom coaching is essential for getting a good rank?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: I joined DAMS FOUNDATION in my prefinal and final year; Dr. Bhatia MEDICAL Coaching INSTITUTE TND in my internship; and DAMS regular after my internship for 5 months. Yes, I think guidance is essential for securing good ranks, although its your hard work that is more important.
PG Blazer: Did you attend any test series? If so, did you find it useful?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: Yes I joined GRAND TESTS of DAMS , DBMCI and ADRPLEXUS. I found them extremely helpful.
PG Blazer: What were the subjects you focused upon?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: I personally think leaving out any subject can be very dangerous, so I focussed on all subjects. Yet I focussed more on Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Ophthalmology, PSM, Biochemistry, Anatomy and Pharmacology.
PG Blazer: Which books did you read for theory?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: Anatomy – B D Chaurasiya.
Physiology – Ganong
Biochemistry – Harper
Pathology – Robbins
Microbiology – Baweja
Pharmacology – KDT, Katzung
Forensic Medicine – Reddy
ENT – Dhingra
Ophthalmology – Khurana
SPM – Park
Medicine – Harrison
Surgery – Bailey & Love
Orthopaedics – Maheshwari
Paediatrics – Ghai
Anaesthesia – Ajay Yadav
Radiology – Sumer Sethi
Dermatology – Neena Khanna
Psychiatry – Niraj Ahuja
PG Blazer: What was your approach to Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: Well in my final year, I had read Harrison well; so I just referred to it later when I was preparing for my pg entrance.
PG Blazer: Which books did you read for MCQ’s? Which ones were the most useful?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: Anatomy – Across
Physiology – Across
Biochemistry – Across
Pathology – Gobind Rai Garg
Microbiology – Rachna Chaurasiya
Pharmacology – Gobind Rai Garg
Forensic Medicine – Across
ENT – Smart study series
Ophthalmology – Across
SPM – Vivek Jain
Medicine – Bhatia Essence
Surgery – Pritesh Singh
Orthopaedics – Apurv Mehra
Paediatrics – Arvind Arora
OBG – Smart study series
Anaesthesia – TND Notes
Radiology – Sumer Sethi Notes
Dermatology – TND Notes
Psychiatry – TND Notes
PG Blazer: Is there anything specific to keep in mind while preparing for AIIMS?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: AIIMS exam is an application based exam, it tests your basic topics but in an applied way. So instead of focussing on rote knowledge, one’s approach should be to understand more and grab hold of the concepts.
PG Blazer: How did you tackle the PGIMER entrance exam?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: PGIMER exam requires you to read very fast and carefully because it is the only exam where u have to read 1250 options where each option could be a potential answer. Also, the negative is higher than for other exams, so try to limit the number of options you mark.
PG Blazer: How did you prepare for the image based questions?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: I did not do anything specially for the image based questions as they are an extension of your overall knowledge.
PG Blazer: What was your strategy for taking the exam?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: For AIIMS examination I started from the beginning but I had left around 70 questions for review; and I had around 80 minutes to read and re read these questions in 4 to 5 rounds.
In PGI exam, I did the questions from the beginning but did it in 1 round itself, because its difficult to go back to these questions because of time constraint.
PG Blazer: How many questions did you attempt?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: AIIMS – 195.
PGI – 550 to 570 options.
PG Blazer: How many do you think you got correct?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: AIIMS – 145 to 150.
PGI – 450 to 470.
PG Blazer: Which speciality are you interested in choosing and why?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: I’ll take Obstetrics and Gynaecology because Artificial Reproductive Technology interests me.
PG Blazer: What is your advice to future aspirants?
Dr. Shruti Kumar: I want to tell the future aspirants that the path of preparation might seem difficult in the beginning, but its a very doable goal to achieve. Focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Also don’t be disappointed because you could not do well in the past, because each exam is different and your performance varies from day to day. Most importantly, keep your mind focussed and always have faith in your abilities. A positive approach works wonders in any endeavour and this one is no exception.
PG Blazer: Please give your comments / suggestions regarding PG Blazer.
Dr. Shruti Kumar: Its a great platform for PG aspirants to get correct guidance regarding approach and direction towards the competitive exams.
PG Blazer: That brings us to the conclusion of the interview. Best of luck for your future endeavours!