PG Blazer: Congratulations on securing a top rank in the PGI entrance exam! What is the secret of your success?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: Mostly hard work. And a good subconscious memory.
PG Blazer: Could you tell us something about yourself?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: I did my class 10th from Dehradun and 12th from DPS RKP. I did MBBS from MAMC.
PG Blazer: Who or what influenced you to take up Medicine as a career?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: I love science and I mainly got influenced by a lot of fictional medical books.
PG Blazer: What were your aggregate percentage marks for MBBS?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: Around 63%.
PG Blazer: How did you prepare during your internship period?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: I revised all my subjects. Twice. And took lot of tests to practise.
PG Blazer: What ranks did you obtain in your previous attempts? What changes did you make to your preparation after your last attempt?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: This is my 1st attempt.
PG Blazer: Which were the various entrance exams you wrote in this session? What were the ranks you obtained?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: AIIMS Nov 14 – didn’t qualify. PGI – rank 20. JIPMER – rank 133. Waiting for NEET result.
PG Blazer: When did you start serious preparation for this year’s entrance exam?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: January 2014
PG Blazer: What was your study strategy?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: During the 4 yrs of mbbs I just read the text books. During internship I revised all the subjects from various MCQ books and solved MCQ’s as well. I also took lot of practice tests.
PG Blazer: Did you make any notes for helping with your revision? Were they useful?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: I had joined DAMS during 3rd yr and IAMS during final year and T&D at DAMS during internship. So all those notes helped. I also have a habit of writing down and memorising . Sometimes I refer back to those notes too.
PG Blazer: In your opinion, how much time does a student require for preparing for this exam?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: Its not about the quantity of time. You need to cover your subjects. Time taken depends on your own speed and grasping power.
PG Blazer: How many hours did you study each day?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: I had prepared during my internship. So the number of hours I studied varied from one posting to another. But I tried to study a minimum of 4 hrs each day.
PG Blazer: Did you have a timetable for preparation? Were you able to stick to it?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: I am not an organised person. So I was never able to stick to the impossible timetables I made.
PG Blazer: What role did the internet play in your preparation?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: The internet is an instantaneous source for information. I think thats its biggest plus point. Saves a lot of time which goes in looking for a topic in 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. Shubhra Mishra: I doubt it even today. The syllabus is so vast. And I have my own weak points. But I believe that hard work always pays. At some point or the other.
PG Blazer: Did you attend any classroom coaching? Was it useful? Do you think classroom coaching is essential for getting a good rank?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: Yes. I attended DAMS foundation batch in 2012. IAMS foundation batch in 2013. DAMS T&D in 2014. IAMS gives excellent reading material and some of their teachers are good. DAMS also has good teachers who ensure that your basics are strong.
The main purpose of coaching institutes is to give you direction and a set of concise notes. If you are organised enough to achieve this by yourself, coaching is not needed.
PG Blazer: Did you attend any test series? If so, did you find it useful?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: Yes. I attended test series from DBMCI, DAMS and IAMS. Test series play an invaluable role in consolidating information. They also gauge your preparation and hence provide a drive to work.
PG Blazer: What were the subjects you focused upon?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: All subjects except medicine and surgery. I had read these subjects well during my final year. So I focused on other subjects.
PG Blazer: Which books did you read for theory?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: Anatomy – Snell and BDC
Physiology – Guyton
Biochemistry – Harper
Microbiology – Baweja
Pharmacology – KDT
Forensic Medicine – Reddy
ENT – Dhingra
Ophthalmology – Khurana and Parson
SPM – Park
Medicine – Harrison and coaching modules
Surgery – Bailey and coaching modules
Orthopaedics – Maheshwari
Paediatrics – OP Ghai
OBG – Dutta for obs, Shaws for gyn
Anaesthesia – Ajay Yadav
Radiology – Dr. Sumer Sethi’s book
Dermatology – Neena Khanna
Psychiatry – Niraj Ahuja
PG Blazer: What was your approach to Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: I read selected topics which seemed important.
PG Blazer: Which books did you read for MCQ’s? Which ones were the most useful?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: Exam specific books: I solved some papers from the AIIMS, PGI and NEET books. But my main focus was always on revising the subjects.
Subject wise books:
Anatomy – Smart study and ACROSS
Pathology – Garg
Microbiology – Arvind Arora
Pharmacology – Garg
Forensic Medicine – IAMS module and ACROSS
ENT – Smart study series and IAMS module
Ophthalmology – IAMS module and ACROSS
SPM – Vivek Jain
Medicine – DAMS notes and IAMS modules
Surgery – DAMS notes and pritesh singh book
Orthopaedics – Apurv Mehra book and ACROSS
Paediatrics – Arvind Arora and IAMS modules
OBG – Smart study series
Anaesthesia – IAMS module and questions from ACROSS
Radiology – Dr. Sumer Sethi’s book
Dermatology – IAMS module and questions from ACROSS
Psychiatry – IAMS module and questions from ACROSS
PG Blazer: Is there anything specific to keep in mind while preparing for AIIMS?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: AIIMS exam is all about application. So be alert and calm.
PG Blazer: How did you tackle the PGIMER entrance exam?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: I tried to limit the number of options I marked. Over marking is dangerous.
PG Blazer: How did you prepare for the image based questions?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: Nothing extra.
PG Blazer: What was your strategy for taking the exam?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: I try to solve as many questions as I can in the 1st go.
PG Blazer: How many questions did you attempt?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: AIIMS – 192
PGI – I marked around 625. But I would recommend people to keep it below 500.
PG Blazer: How many do you think you got correct?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: AIIMS – no idea
PGI – no idea
PG Blazer: Which speciality are you interested in choosing and why?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: Internal medicine. Its one branch which covers everything. n there is lot of scope to specialise further
PG Blazer: What is your advice to future aspirants?
Dr. Shubhra Mishra: Work hard and focus on your subjects. Take plenty of tests.
PG Blazer: That brings us to the conclusion of the interview. Best of luck for your future endeavours!