Approach to Competitive Exams in Materia Medica

exam9Dr Arun Prasad K P MD (Hom)
Govt.Homeopathic Medical College. Calicut

A thorough preparation is essential, as you would before a final BHMS exam. The complexity and depth of the questions ensures that one cannot succeed with a hit and miss approach. Questions are asked on all aspects of remedy – Name / common name, family / source, alkaloid, prover, action /affinity, temperament / constitution, symptomatology, relationship, caution / warnings on use etc. Expect questions also from general topics like source books / materia medicae, observations / quotes of authors and even rare topics like bowel nosodes, tissue remedies etc.

Read standard books on materia medica. MCQ books though very important, should be used mainly for exercise / revision purposes and not as the primary source of information. Of the text books the most important are Allen’s “Key Notes” and Boericke’s Materia Medica Nash’s “Leaders”, Farrington’s Clinical Materia Medica, and Kent’s “Lectures” should also be referred. Questions can be asked directly from these books (eg. According to boericke / Nash, which remedy has this symptom etc)

Allen’s “Keynotes” should be known inside out to answer some questions.
Example :-
Which of the following is not correct in respect of bad effects of tobacco ?
Phos – tobacco heart b) Ign – hiccough c) Nux-v – occipital headache and vertigo d) Sepia – right sided facial neuralgia
Comment – Question asked from the relationship section of Tabacum

While reading “key notes”, make special attempt to collect all the remedies known for a particular symptom. Questions invariably require knowledge of more than one remedy.
Example :-
Which of the following symptoms are common to kali-bi, Apis and Lac-c ?
a) shifting pains b)thirstlesness with dry tongue c) offensiveness with forgetfulness d) delayed painful, scanty menses with increased sexual desire and weeping
Comment – Apis is not given in brackets after the symptom under Kali-bi

Candidates should not forget to make adequate repertory reference (Kent’s repertory). Peculiar / Single medicine rubrics should be gone through, especially mind and generals chapters. Sometimes questions are asked directly quoting repertory.
A) Choose the correct remedy for the rubric “Perspiration profuse, sitting quietly, while”
(a) Sambucus Nigra (b) Psorinum (c) Kali bichromicum (d) Calc. C

B)Match List-I (Symptoms) with List-II (Medicines) and select the correct answer using the codes given below the lists (UPSC)
List-I List II
(Symptoms)        (Medicines)
A. Ardent             1. Merc.
B. Hypocrisy         2. Ign.
C. Inconsistency   3. Phos.
D. Precocity         4.Nux v.
(a) A B C D
2 3 4 1
(b) A B C D
4 1 2 3
(c) A B C D
2 1 4 3
(d) A B C D
4 3 2 1
Comment –Phos and Merc are the only medicines in their respective rubrics – but both are hardly highlighted in the materia medica.

Though as mentioned above all aspects of remedies are important, special attention should be paid to, food desires /aversion < & >, relationship of remedies synonyms, families etc
Example :-
Which one of the following is the correct order of remedies that matches with > coffee, < coffee and desire coffee ?
a) Ign-Ang-Cham b) Ang-Ign-Cham c) Ign-Cham-Ang d) Cham-Ign-Ang

While going through Boerick’s materia medica pay special attention to introductory paragraph, italicised symptoms and relationship of remedies

The Pattern of questions for UPSC is different from that followed by the Kerala PSC and come in various level of complexities. Examples of some of the more common types of questions asked are given below. MD Hom candidates can focus on these as well, as there is a tendency for paper setters in Kerala to follow UPSC questions.

A. Find symptom / s for remedy
Consider the following symptoms
1) stool partly expelled, recedes 2) Much urging, but inability to expel
3) Stool lies in rectum without urging until there is a large accumulation
4) stool hard as stone

Which if the above form the indication for Sanicula ?
a) 2 & 3 b) 1 & 3 c) 1,2,3,4 d) 1 only
Comment – Answer requires more than a superficial knowledge of the symptom

B. Match symptoms & remedy
See example given earlier under repertory reference

C. Find remedy for a case
I) A 7-years old child with convulsions, screams and has violent jerking of hands and feet. He, has pinching colic in abdomen before passing stool with mucus like white pieces of popped corn; also grinds teeth at night. Choose the correct remedy from the following :
(a) Bell .
(b) Chamomilla
(c) Cicuta
(d) Cina

II) A nine-year old child is brought to you. with complaints of moderate fever and sore throat for 2 days. There is sore aching, bruised feeling all over the body. On examination, head is hot and limbs are cold. Tonsils are red with white patches. He also feels as if a hot coal were present in his throat. Which one of the following will you choose for him ?
(a) Bell
(b) Arnica
(c) Merc-.Cya.
(d) Phytolacca

D Logic & reasoning
The following items consist of two statements; one labelled as the ‘Assertion (A)’ and the other as ‘Reason(R)’. You are to examine these two statements carefully and select the answers to these items using the codes given below:
(a) Both A and R are individually true and R is the correct explanation of A.
(b) Both A and R are individually true but R is not the correct explanation of A.
(c) A is true but R is false.
(d) A is false but R is true.

Eg. Code (b)
1) Assertion (A): Sulphur is a great antipsoric remedy.
Reason (R) : Sulphur often has a great use in beginning the treatment of the psoric cases.

Eg. Code (c)
2) Assertion (A): Thuja is the king of antisycotic remedies.
Reason (R) : Thuja can cure each and every type of warts at each and every locations.

Eg. Code (d)
3) Assertion (A): Hamamelis and Millefolium belong to same family.
Reason (R):Hamamelis and Millefolium are antihaemorrhagic medicines.

Comment – First see whether both assertions are individually correct – if yes choose code a or b, if no choose code c or d

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  1. I want help . I am in fourth year BHMS . How should I start studying for it for better result ? I am weak in materia medica please help me

  2. thanks for this information sir! u mean that i should study allens,boerick,kent,nash fine.
    1 more question what i wanna ask is my xams r on head i’m hvng just 1 1/2 month for xam then how i could refer these book,& i hv told u that i’m in bhms 2nd year have to cover 75 drugs in such short period how could i make it?????????????????????????????

  3. Thanks for these information.

    Would like to know the more details about MPSE exam for BHMS, website, where to contach to know about exam schedules.

    Kindly please find time send me above details.

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