One year ago, when I graduated med school I had
roughly two options in front of me (as an Indian medical graduate) – Either start working in a hospital setup or prepare for a post-graduate entrance exam to get into the residency of your choice! There’s a third option as well when you can choose to do both simultaneously but I knew I could give my 100% to either of them. Preparing for this entrance isn’t easy, the competition is crazy and the ratio of doctors vs seats available in India is crazier.
I chose the latter and from what I had heard, people who got through had to cut themselves off of every possible human contact, go on a hiatus and be completely immersed in their books. Now, for me, to be honest, that seemed unreal. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fairly hard working student but I was not someone who could be absolutely disconnected from the world and study for 12 hours a day for one year because that’s what is required to complete and revise and re-revise 19 subjects that we read throughout med school.
However, each one of us is different and we have different ways as well. I did whatever was required for me to stay focused according to my standards and not because others told me to be like that. Today, I am writing this post so if anybody out there is like me can relate to this and know it’s doable and also because I am so excited to be back to planet normal and share everything with you all. Wohoo!!
I am not going to lie, the last couple of months before exam were stressful. I had been preparing for 8 months now and I was behind my schedule (which freaked me out big time, I have an anankastic personality you see :P), my PCOS symptoms were flaring back up and for some reasons I wasn’t sleeping well. All of which led to less number of revisions and I did very bad in my mock exams towards the end so you can imagine my condition. But not so soon enough, I started to get hold of the situation, turned towards yoga, it helped me in staying focused and with PCOS even though my sleep cycle remained disrupted almost till the end.
I have taken all of my mock and main exams in Mumbai because it was closest to where I moved for this year and I stay at IIT hostel because that’s where one of my girlfriends is doing her PhD from so she makes all of my arrangements and makes it super easy for me, I am so thankful because these things can definitely affect how you perform. The exam is 3 hours 45 minutes including a 15-minute tutorial and 300 multiple choice questions. Even when the answer is right in front of you, it’s not as easy as you may think!! To give you an example – Now let’s say you are asked – What is the most common cause of neonatal sepsis? To answer that question you also have to know:
- The common cause of sepsis in adults,
- The most common cause of neonatal sepsis in India,
- The most common cause of neonatal sepsis worldwide and also
- The commonest cause overall!
Or else you will get it wrong. The answer to all the question is different and there are millions of such question from million different topics that you are bound to get confused if you didn’t revise at least 3 times or so and THIS IS ONE OF THE EASIEST EXAMPLE QUESTION!!
However, I took this crazy exam which I felt was a little tough but I think I did okay but more on that later! So for almost a year I had been contemplating things I wanted to do post-exam 😀 The time between you take your PG entrance exam and when you start your residency is the freest time you are ever gonna get as a doctor, it’s like a jackpot and one should definitely make the most of it. So as soon as I finished it, I went straight to mall to get some Tacos and fulfilled my craving for sangria after about a year with two of my close friends. Yipee! Later that evening I got a couple of books (non-academic) I wanted to read in a long time – Being mortal by Atul Gawande and When breath becomes air by Paul Kalanithi and had a good night sleep after months 🙂
That shortly summarises when I took one of the most important exams of my life. Now I am not saying I did great or anything that sure shots my chances of making it through but I gave my best and pleasantly surprised myself in the process and that’s what ultimately matters to me. If you want to know what helped me stay focused this one year and the things I did after my exam, stay tuned!
How are you guys and what you been up to? I am so glad to be back 🙂