Monday, November 3, 2014

The way I got through my final exam- In retrospect

People asked me “ayya were you so brainy? How did you remember all this while doing all other stuff? How did you manage to pass exam? “etc.

Finally thought to pen down this small story. This is not boasting, but some words to encourage my junior colleagues who are now disappointed with heavy academic work load. In my view this is just a sharing of an experience. 

1.       Unless you are a clever student you can never enter medical/ dental faculty.
2.       Practice makes perfect.
3.       Always help your colleagues, no matter whether they even remember or not.
4.       Though you work hard, yet no good outcome, you must immediately identify where it goes wrong.

Ok let’s see how you spend your time for a lesson. E.g. facial nerve
You go to a lecture 2 hrs- take down a note 1, collect photocopy of slides. Now 2 notes
Go home, read Neuroanatomy book for 1 hr & prepare another note. 3 notes
You see your friend is having a better note. You take time to read 1 hr. 4th note
Friends are telling about better kuppi note. You start reading anonymous content written decades back in which the content may not be reliable even. Still you spend some time on reading 1 hr 5th note
Try to answer essay questions/ mcqs. 0.5- 1 hr you find ur knowledge is not enough. Read some other book & prepare a note or get another note 2 hrs  6th note
Evening practical session- 3 hrs good diagrams are displayed. You note down them too; 7th note.
By now for 1 cranial nerve you have already spent minimum of 11 hrs & having 7 notes (may be 30-40 pages)
Now it is day before exam, 24 hours only. You have notes. But you have not gone through any note properly or may be once only. So ideally you need to have 11 hrs to go through those 7 notes. But there are 11 more cranial nerves & some more big topics remaining.
You start reading one note. As they look unfamiliar, you feel bored. You start reading 2nd, 3rd notes etc.. Repeating the same thing. Again feel bored. You just turn pages & throw away notes. Go to the exam without any confidence.
In the mcq paper, you see familiar terms, but you are not confident enough to mark. Ultimately low marks. Low ranks. Low class. Perhaps opportunity to take the repeat exam too.
Having bulks of notes, spending thousands of money for photocopies, why you still get couldn’t get good results?
In my case, how I did was,
If I’m getting photocopy after the lecture, I write only the extra points explained during the lecture in a draft paper. After going home while reading the lecture photocopy, I add those extra points to the same photocopy note. So I have read twice my note by now. Lecture is familiar to me & I do it in the same day. So it does not take hours to add.  Then I try to go through past questions, look for weak points in my note. I read a text book & add ONLY the extra points to my same note. To add to the relevant areas, again I have to go through my note. So that is the 3rd time I’m reading my note. I go to practical & see clear diagrams. Rather making another note, I add those extra stuff to my old note. Now my note is having lecture, extra points said in lecture, important points in text book which had been questioned before, practical class diagrams too. And I have read again- 4th time. I see my friend is having good note. If something extra I add. It does not take much time as now I’m quite familiar with my own note. So by the time I go to exam I have read my own note which is rich in all the aspects 5-6 times & it will never take 11 hours to revise. Maximally within ½ hr you can read. Next day you can go to the examination hall confidently. You save time. You save money. You save space in your study room. You save plants by preserving papers.

In next years you will go to clinics. Will take another example, imagine you see a TMJ problem patient.
Consultant asks you basic anatomy & physiology. You can’t remember. You waste whole morning 3 hours without knowing TMJ anatomy. You go to library read a book. Make a note. Go to lecture make another note. Take kuppi note. Gets another from your bright colleague. Try to answer questions, make another note.  After the oral medicine appointment you throw away all. Start restorative or some other clinic work. When you are doing oral medicine again, you do not know where you have kept your notes. Again same cycle. You spend 10-20 hours uselessly.
I’m not going to repeat what I said earlier. I did the same thing. I used my 3rd year notes even for my final MBBS. Same note with the added content from various consultants’ knowledge, text book facts, & exam points. Most importantly, that note is quite familiar to you. So it won’t take much time for you to find a forgotten fact or to revise.

People think that I’m so brainy. I do not know how far that is true. However in a reality I did not work that hard, but I worked in a very organized manner which saved me a lot of time. I enjoyed maximally (parties, trips, playing, movies etc) & now I have no regrets when I look back.  
I entered Faculty of medicine with 2A & B, island rank 509 in 2008. In 2014 I passed out as MBBS graduate with a second upper class, island rank 111.  Therefore I do not think what I did was a faulty method. It is up to you to follow or not.
Whatever it is I’m really happy if you all can go at least one inch beyond where I could go. Good luck!!!