How to prepare for PG entrance exam?

Guest article by Dr. Gobind Rai Garg.

One of the very commonly asked questions from me is HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE PG ENTRANCE EXAM? Dear friends, although I feel that the study strategy should be individualized and varies from person to person. The general points that should be considered are:
1. The syllabus should be finished at least once (with crisp study material for final revision, mostly notes) around one month before the exams.
2. Keep last one month for revision only
3. An average of 6 to 8 hours (focussed) per day is sufficient for studies. There should be no use of facebook, whatsapp or any other distraction during these hours. Take small breaks after every 1.5 to 2 hours of study. 
4. Keep ONE DAY OFF EVERY WEEK. It increases the productivity of remaining 6 days.
5. Most importantly give around HALF AN HOUR FOR REVISION DAILY for the topics you have studied in that particular day. Revising same day help in incorporating that topic in long term memory. 
6. Try to practice around 100 MCQs daily WITHOUT SEEING THE ANSWERS. You should match the answers after solving these. Seeing the answer side by side is likely to miss many concepts which are unlikely if you answer using your memory and concepts.
7. The most important part of the preparation is to remember so many facts and concepts. One of the very effective methods for this is DISCUSSION. Keep on asking (the fact or concept which you feel is difficult) to everyone you meet. If you ask 5 people the same question, you are sure to remember this as you have revised it 5 times.
8. Another common mistake students tend to do is to target all the questions asked in previous years. You must be knowing, that even toppers never get 100 percent of marks in any competitive exams. So just keep in mind that if you know 80 to 90 percent of the questions in any competitive examination, it is good enough. The reason I am specifically focusing on this is that I have seen many students wasting time on many topics which are useless but have been asked once in some examination. E.g. once a question was asked on speed of some mosquito, it is totally illogical to remember the speed of all the mosquitos because once it was asked on Anopheles, so it can be asked on Culex next time. In every exam, around 20 percent questions are asked which are unlikely to be repeated again ever. So, concentrate more on those topics which are frequently repeated and know them thoroughly and such type of questions should be just crammed.
9. One more area where most of the students waste a lot of time without any gain is regarding CONTROVERSIAL QUESTIONS. For some questions, different books mention different answers. Please don’t waste time on these questions and just remember any one which seems logical to you. Students keep on searching n number of books for these questions and still are confused. Even if you are able to find out some source, you still won’t be sure that whether the examiner has made question from that book or not. Remember, that’s why these questions are controversial. So, I will suggest not to waste time on these questions.
10. In any competitive examination, even if there is negative marking, attempt all the questions in which you have zeroed down to 2 options.
11. SPECIAL MARKING PATTERN IN PGI CHANDIGARH exam needs special mention.
a. Marks in PGI are calculated as 
a/A – b/B
a: No of correct options you marked
A: Total no of correct options
b: No of wrong options you marked
B: Total no of wrong options
Every option in PGI exam is thus considered as a separate question. So, rather than 250 questions with 5 options each, consider them as 1250 questions. 
• Logically analyzing this pattern, your marks depend upon something (a/A) minus something (b/B). If the first factor (a/A) is say 70 means that your marks will be less than 70 percent because something is being deducted from 70. So, for getting a good rank, at least first factor should be 100 or as close to it as possible. 
• Normally in most of the exams in PGI, out of 1250 options, around 500 are correct whereas rest (around 750) is wrong. Again if we analyse it, suppose you tick a doubtful option, if it is wrong, then you lose 1/750 marks whereas if it is correct, you will get 1/500 marks. So leaving a doubtful option should never be done.
12. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Certainly GIVING UP IS NOT AN OPTION one must have. 
13. BOOKS AND NOTES recommended by me are:

First Professional: 
Anatomy: Phybians by Dr Vivek Jain and class plus class notes of Dr Rajesh Kaushal
Physiology: Phybians
Biochemistry: Phybians or Biochemistry by Dr Rebecca James
Second Professional:
• Pharmacology: Review of Pharmacology by Dr Gobind Rai Garg and Sparsh Gupta and classes of Dr Gobind and the class notes
• Microbiology: Microbiology made easy by Dr Akhilesh or Book by Dr Apurba shastry
• Forensic Medicine: Sumit seth book plus Dr Akhilesh Jhamad classes
• Pathology: Review of Pathology and Genetics by Dr Gobind Rai Garg and Dr Sparsh Gupta 
Third Professional
• PSM: Dr vivek Jain book + Class + Class notes
• ENT: Dr Manisha Budhiraja or Dr Sakshi Arora
• Optha: Dr Vineet Sehgal and class notes of Dr Shaswat
Final Professional:
• Medicine: Dr Thameem class notes plus selected topics of Mudit Khanna
• Surgery: Class notes of Dr Deepak Guliani plus minus Dr Pritesh surgery book
• Obs and Gynae: Dr Puneet Bhojani
• Orthopaedics: Dr Apurv Mehra Plus Ortho dhoom dhadaka
• Radiology: Dr Sumer seth
• Psychiatry, Anaesthesia, Dermatology: PROAFS by Dr Vivek Jain

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