PrepLadder congratulates Dr. Kasturi A. Sakhardande on achieving this unbelievable feat. We wish her all the best for her career and future ahead. Dr. Kasturi did not join a coaching institute, she only took PrepLadder mock tests for NIMHANS preparation.
In this exclusive interview with PrepLadder, she shares the plan that worked for her in order to help you achieve this too.
Hello, please tell us something about yourself.
I am Dr. Kasturi A. Sakhardande, graduated from Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Sion, Mumbai (aka Sion hospital). Started MBBS in the year 2011 and completed my internship this year in February. My AIPG Rank is 244 and NIMHANS Rank is 2.
What do you think is the correct approach to study for NIMHANS? Only MCQ's or Theory + MCQ's both?
The correct approach according to me is a very good AIPG preparation till December and then, a focused study for NIMHANS in 3-4 months that follow. I read my subject wise guide books, synopsis as well as solved the MCQ books. I was not able to complete all of it as I had internship going on along with exam preparations. So after NEET, I spent time on clearing the AIPG leftover stuff and also read Neurology and Psychiatry books. Don't ignore either of them completely.
When should the preparation ideally be started?
I was able to solve around 4-5 MCQ books in my UG days and rest I solved during internship. While you are in your MBBS, focus more on reading textbooks and building concepts with whatever amount of MCQ oriented study you can manage to do; but not at the cost of textbook reading. But, it is never too late to start, provided you believe it can be done and put in an amount of hard work that matches your belief!!
Please list the books you studied for each subject.
I studied from the following books:
- Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry: Arora
- Pathology and Pharmacology: Garg
- FMT: Dr. Sumit Seth
- Microbiology: Arora
- PSM: Vivek Jain
- ENT, Ophthalmology, OB&GY, Paediatrics: Arora
- Surgery: Amit Ashish
- Medicine: Thameem Sir's medicine class notes
- Radiology: Dr. Sumer Sethi's book
- Skin, Anaesthesia and Psychiatry: Arora
Beside these books, read textbooks in UG. For NIMHANS specifically: Harrison neurology part, but I couldn't finish it all. So in such cases, there is book called Harrison pre-test, that has around 80-100 questions on Neurology and Psychiatry, go through those along with solutions. There is also a book called Pramod for NIMHANS, read it once.
How big is the role of practice and revision while preparing for NIMHANS and how much time should be dedicated for it?
After I was done with AIPG, I kept revising my AIPG books that I had read. Utilise 60% of your time for AIPG revision and 40% for Neuro and Psychiatry. Also, I gave whatever mock tests came my way. Although no test can predict the type of questions that can actually come for the exam and your scores and ranks therein are no reflection of your final score and rank. Solving these tests helps you to get an idea of how to approach MCQs and the solution key helps you to know those many more questions.
Did PrepLadder play a part in your success? If yes, then how?
I had given the NIMHANS mock test conducted by PrepLadder. My rank in that test was 32 and expected NIMHANS rank was 48.That motivated me to study very hard in the last few days which really helped me to achieve a rank of 2 in the actual NIMHANS exam.
Did you use a time table/study plan to keep your preparation on track?
Yes, I would always make one. However, I was not able to strictly follow it because often, you don’t know what things come up and disturb the schedule and your study plan. So my suggestion is to make a plan that is slightly outside your comfort zone and which is not easily achievable. But don't make it so hyper-ambitious that you feel it cannot be achieved and so you give up.
Were you a topper or a mediocre student during MBBS?
Not throughout MBBS. My first year was chaotic and I didn't do well because of a poor self-confidence and lack of guidance. But I started studying well from second year and I did do well over the next few years, came first from my college in the Final MBBS exam. But, I don't mean to say that you have to be a topper in MBBS to do well in the PG exams. Yes, it certainly helps. But, if you believe in yourself and have a single minded focus on what you want to achieve and put in all you can with discipline and commitment, there is nothing that cannot be achieved.
List the most difficult and easiest subjects for you.
Biochemistry and Anatomy were the toughest. Final year subjects were the easiest.
One mistake that you believe everyone must avoid while preparing for NIMHANS.
Doing only Neurology and Psychiatry or doing only AIPG preparation. Using around 40% of your time for Neurology and 60% for AIPG revision is a good way to keep in touch with both!!
Some last tips for our readers preparing for NIMHANS?
Don't stop studying after NEET, especially if you are interested in Psychiatry, Neurology or Neurosurgery. It is an exam worth putting all your efforts for. It’s a great institute and the AIPG questions are of a reasonable difficulty level. So don't lose the opportunity just because you didn't revise well. Go for the exam in relaxed state of mind. Sleep well on the previous night. Avoid reading anything 2 to 3 hours prior to the exam.
Just be calm, it will help you think clearly. Also, while answering the questions, don't choose the right answer straight away. Eliminate 3 options and then reach the correct one.
Focus only on the questions and reaching the right answer and prevent the entry of thoughts about how many questions would go right or wrong or what your scores will be. Don't be scared of failure as 'He who is afraid of failure is denied success'.
So, study well and all the very best!!
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