How to prepare for competitive examinations
Dr K R Mansoor Ali
In order to succeed, you must know what you are doing, like what you are doing, and believe in what you are doing- Will Rogers .
This work is meant for the serious candidates of competitive examinations in Homoeopathy. The work has been made with the purpose of helping the students who my wish to make themselves familiar with competitive examinations like MD entrance, PSC,UPSC,MOH(UAE) etc.
There are no shortcuts. Competition is quite fierce these days and a casual approach to exam is not going to help. But if you plan properly and keep your cool during exam, there is no reason that you can’t make it.
Multiple Choice Questions
Multiple choice questions are widely used for examination purposes and are reliable and accurate in evaluation also comparing to descriptive mode. Lack of familiarity with MCQ may result in unexpected failure but at the same time adequate reading, understanding and systemic study of subject is highly essential.
Students preparing for competitive examinations are recommended to read the appropriate chapters from the text books and then to assess themselves using the MCQs. Try to record your reasoning before checking the correct answer.
Many of the MCQs at any entrance examinations have been repeated (about 35%) in same or altered form, so a candidate who revised the previous year’s questions had a definite advantage over a candidate who had not.
Reading previous years MCQ’s will help to a certain extent, but this is not the sole method of preparation advisable. If the question paper setter is an expert he will never take questions from guide but from standard text book. Read Textbooks thoroughly. This is a must for every aspirant. One can get the basic concept only through the textbooks. Select the book which provides genuine materials picked up from the standard text books.
Self-assessment is an important part in the preparation. Practice as many Mock Tests as possible in close to examination environment as possible. Because time management is very important. Don’t try to read the entire question paper first. Try to answer easy questions first with care.
You have to answer for a large number of questions within a short time. For example, as per Kerala PSC exam pattern, you will get only less than one minute for answering one question (100 questions to be answered within one hour and fifteen minutes). The experiences of the author as well as many selected candidates show that you should have 90 or above correct answer out of 100 questions to get a call for interview.
- Spend more time on the subjects in which you are weak. This is the key to success.
- You have to identify which subjects made you suffer during your profs or during your previous attempt(s). It is always a good idea to finish them first.
- You can follow any order in doing subjects as you like.
Time to spend on each subject: It depends upon how strong(or weak) you are in a particular subject. You have to spend less time on subjects from which less questions area asked.
It is very important not to get stuck at one subject for too long.
Questions can be asked from every nook and corner of the subject and therefore it is not at all advisable to omit any chapter or area. Because even a single wrong answer could miss you a prestigious medical officer seat. We are living in an era of tough competition. Unless & until you have a well-planned strategy you will miss the target.
Previous question papers show that plenty of questions are asked from Allen’s Key notes. Candidates Should have a thorough knowledge of all medicines in Key note. Generally many questions are asked from Relationship part of the book. Candidates should recollect comparison that is given in the book. A detailed understanding of Boericke`s materia medica is also expected. Questions regarding Common name of drugs are also asked. Family wise study of medicine should be done. Candidates should know the source and family of common medicines (Clinical materia medica by Farrington, last part of Clinical repertory by J.H.Clarke & Articles regarding Family wise study given in materia medica portion of www.similima.com can be referred).
Questions regarding History of Repertory, different repertories their philosophical background, year of publications, word meaning, grading of rubrics, Computer repertories, Card repertories are asked usually. Some rubrics with their chapters, rubrics in Kent’s repertory in which only one medicine is given are also asked
Questions regarding drug preparation, Pharmacopoea, source of drugs, rules& regulations are asked usually.
You have to study Communiity medicine including scope of homeopathy in epidemics with latest census parameters such as literacy rate, life expectancy, population etc…
You can guess if you are able to narrow down the answers to two, otherwise not.
Beware of negative marks. Each correct answer carries 1 mark and for each wrong answer 1/3 mark will be deducted in Kerala PSC, no negative marks in UPSC, 1 minus mark in Kerala PG Entrance exam (4 marks for correct entry). No negative mark for unattended questions.
- Avoid heavy oily food just before exam – your brain will concentrate on digetion not on your question paper.
- Take more vegetables & fresh water – like green leaves, carrots etc. which will decrease your eyestrain and sharpen your memory.
- Avoid smoking, excess tea & drinks- Many of us have a belief that smoking, black tea etc. will stimulate our brain so that we can able to study for a long time – but these will definitely decrease your energy, and you will become tired with in short time.
- Sleep deprivation will result in decreased mental alertness – Many of the students will prepare thoroughly before the exam, but in the night before the exam, they avoid sleep and try to revise the whole topic. This will definitely decrease their mental alertness and they are unable to grasp the questions. So go to bed early in the night before exam.
There are many books available in the market, but the following books are more comprehensive with essential and quality materials and their authors adopted a novel way in presenting the matter. This will help the students to remember the facts and conceptualize the topic. Moreover important information about some topics is given in the form of charts and boxes for ready reference.
A comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge on all the 12 subjects of BHMS syllabus is essential. In addition to the standard text books (which are of top priority) – these books provide a comprehensive outline to the essential content of the subject with summaries and tables.
In addition to the text books we advise the following books- these are highly useful
- Post graduate Medical entrance review –Salgunan (Which contains MCQs from major competitive examinations in India)
- SARP or PARAS series of condensed books on PG medical admission- in Medicine, OBG, Physiology, Anatomy, FMT etc-(These books provide a comprehensive outline to the essential content of the subject with summaries and tables) Published by Scientific Book Company. Ashok Rajpath Patna. 800004
Try to purchase the latest edition of books on competitive examinations, since medicine is an ever changing science and confirm any doubts with standard text books since few mistakes are there in guides.
Analysis of previous question papers shows that questions were asked from all the subjects of B.H.M.S course. A concise idea about all the 12 subjects of BHMS syllabus is required- with more importance to clinical subjects. Normal biochemical values, Death Certificate, Medical certificates etc. Common disease with their aetiology, clinical features, diagnosis with Homoeopathic medicines.
Nowadays many exams are online and question paper setters are taking questions from websites. You can download these questions with answers on various subjects free of cost.
Study materials (MCQ) available in http://www.fleshandbones.com – A website based on Davidson’s practice of medicine. MCQs and descriptive questions based on all the chapters of Davidson’s practice of medicine are available in this site.
Study materials (MCQ) available inThis is the largest portal on homoeopathic education & research developed by postgraduate homeopaths which provide online coaching for PSC,UPSC,MOH(UAE) and MD(Hom) entrance examinations.
Plan your studies at least 2 months prior to exam – this is the most important aspect towards securing a good rank. The plan should ideally be drafted up to 2 months prior to the date of examination; thereafter a revised schedule might be put into operation. Prepare a simple timetable with sufficient time for each subject.
Make notes in a separate paper in abbreviated form (a must). It will considerably shorten the revision time & improve your memory. This proves very useful while revising the textbook also. Use different colored pencil or pen for marking tricky confusing questions.
Take a small notebook and start taking notes of difficult to remember points, some important flow charts and tables – not an elaborate note but small and precise.
Group discussion is also an important factor in preparation. One among you asks questions in haphazard/ rapid manner and others try to answer. This will quicken or sharpen your memory and reflexes. But not conceal any points for fear of others knowing it. It is always said to be good to do group study. But it depends upon your nature. I have always studied alone.
- We may forget 75% of topics with in first 48 hours
- So try to read the same topic 2-3 times with in 2 days – otherwise you will not be able to remember majority of the points.
Last moment revision
It pertains to the last three days before the examination. Relax the schedule’s bit, try recapitulating the information, and revise the matter which you couldn’t recollect. Revise the easily forgettable information like Biochemical values, aphorisms, observations etc.
Read the notes you prepared in abbreviated form.
Remember that there is no magic formula for success in an interview. Good preparation, judicious application of common sense and self-confidence are the key factors that will help us in an interview.
Regular assignments and home works are unavoidable for getting a higher score
Pattern of questions
- 50% can be answered by an average student
- 30% can be answered by above average
- 20% very difficult to answer (You should very careful while answering it)
Avoid anxiety & jealousy
- It is very difficult to comprehend and concentrate if you are over anxious.
- If you are jealous towards your friend and classmates on competitive exams- it will create turmoil in your brain – so you are unable to concentrate.
- Make preparation – a thrilling experience
Remember the famous words of Swami Chinmayananda : “ You cannot get into the ocean without getting wet, you cannot get into the fire without getting hot”.
“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion you must set yourself on fire”
With best wishes
Associate Professor Govt. Homoeopathic Medical College, Calicut.Kerala
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