Dr Sahil Mathur, Rank 2 NIMHANS (Neuromedicine), talks about his journey with Marrow

Congratulations, Dr Sahil on the awesome ranks in NIMHANS & NEET PG!

Thank you! Marrow has been quite helpful during my prep. I got Rank 66 in the NEET-PG exam and as my focus was on the NIMHANS exam, I emailed Marrow support and they were kind enough to extend my subscription. I practised a lot of questions especially Neurology and Medicine. Questions were all inclusive and everything from Harrison was covered line by line. Lot of repeat questions were asked directly and I am glad that from the very beginning I have been practising with Marrow.

Tell us a bit about yourself:

My hometown is Rampur, U.P and I completed my M.B.B.S from K.G.M.C, Lucknow. I started preparing with Marrow in May 2018. In my 2nd year I came across my senior who got Rank 4 in Neurology, NIMHANS, that’s when I heard about this institute for the first time, as i had an interest in Neurology from the very beginning I started focusing on it. I was not confident because they have limited seats, I knew that this would be a very tough task, specially after NEET, but I was quite motivated by my seniors.

And now you are a motivation to others 🙂

Students with a focus find their way. I knew that Marrow will be indispensable because previous year questions and new pattern questions which are asked are included, because Marrow always frames questions from standard textbooks and I have been reading textbooks from the very beginning of my MBBS.

Can you explain in brief about your daily preparation plan and revision?

I studied 6-8 hours a day during internship and gradually increased my time.
Practising questions is a 24 hour thing, whenever you are free you should solve them and revise your notes. Scheduling your studies is very beneficial.
I put extra time for my 1st revision so that the subsequent revisions became easier, 2 days for major subjects and 1 day for short subjects. 1st revision should be as elaborate as possible so that the next revision you know what you are dealing with and you get to know your weak areas.

How did you use Marrow videos for your preparation?

I did not take any regular coaching, though I did attend some live lectures of individual faculties who visited Lucknow. Short subjects I prepared on my own, but the videos that I watched on short subjects included everything I recommend pre interns to watch them. Make a flowchart of the topics in your mind and the next time watch the video in a faster speed so that you have a visual memory. Every subject has a premium faculty and you can trust them.
Loved Dr Deepu Sebin’s motivational videos and i’m very fond of Dr Rohan Khandelwal’s video lectures.
You have to be an early bird to start watching the videos and preparing for the exam. I recommend to start studying for PG exams in beginning of 3rd year. Be thorough with the 1st year and 2nd year subjects because we tend to forget it and that’s where we tend to lag. Visual memory is the key, that is why I think people should start early with the videos.

What was your strategy of using Marrow QBank?

Neurology module was sufficient for NIMHANS because everything from Harrison is included. In Neurosurgery 28 out of 30 question were on basic Neuroanatomy and that is why you need to go back to your basics. Anatomy modules are enough if you solve questions right from the beginning. When I practiced some questions from Marrow for the first time, I thought the references are from standard books so I can trust this and some of the explanations felt like reading the book, so Marrow saved a lot of time for me personally. I started solving questions from Marrow during my internship and I completed almost all the modules.

I found the modules all inclusive and no topic is missed out so I knew that if i start a subject it will be 100% complete after I complete the module. Also, having a sequence like completing 1st year subjects first in my opinion is the best, like I started with Anatomy topic wise completed the modules then moved on to the tests. In the modules that i got less than 80% I went back to my notes see where i lagged and revised. If you are solving a subject you must solve it 100%. You must be honest with your preparation. Bookmark helps a lot, but I started bookmarking from my 2nd revision, only specific questions which I knew I will forget. This helped me revise faster. Read the explanation so that you do not miss out the logic of the question. I also, added the extra points to my notes regularly.

How often did your take Marrow tests?

I gave my 1st Marrow GT in August and I got a Rank of 25, this was very good and boosted me further. Before, I gave this test I was sceptical because I did not know how Marrow tests worked, but once I started I knew that this is good for me. Be regular with the Test series. Custom module was a boon at the end, I just give myself a test on my weak topics and I know I am done with that topic.

All GT’s I gave when they were LIVE, they are a must, and at the end of my preparation I made it a point to give at least 2 previous year subject test and 2 current year subject test, so you get 50X4 ie 200 questions. So if you solve 200 repeat questions in a test format you know that you are confident in that subject and you will get a good score.

What other feature of Marrow did you find helpful?

Daily MCQ was another thing that I found solving useful, the last week leading up to the NEET was only focused on updates and 2-3 questions from PSM were direct repeats. The Pharmacology questions especially were also direct, the questions in MCQ of the day were not very difficult, they were not rare drugs, they were questions on type of receptors and the side effects and that’s exactly what was asked in the NEET this year. If you read the MCQ of the day first thing in the morning then you know you will not miss it in the exam.

What is the difference between NIMHANS and NEET PG?

Very similar. NEET had a lot of basic one liners which were easy and that was exactly the pattern followed in the NIMHANS exam in the 70 marks allotted for the common paper. It was that easy that in the first 10 minutes I had reached the 70th question. You just have to read the stem of the question and secure the answer. This year the focus was more on OBG, PSM while some short subjects were left out.

NIMHANS is a high scoring exam, you need 80 and above out of 100 to get into it.
I started preparing for NIMHANS 2 weeks after the NEET exam. There is no specific preparation for NIMHANS, you have to be preparing for the NEET exam well if you want to crack NIMHANS. People get confused that it is a Neuro exam and read solely for that but that is not true. Once you are thorough with the basics you can read about some rare diseases especially in Neuromedicine. Focus on the NEET preparation and you will do well in NIMHANS.

What do you think about AIIMS New Pattern?

This year AIIMS announced a new pattern, although the majority of questions are single answer, people get anxious, but I think if your concepts are strong you do not have to worry. Last year also, GIF’s were introduced in the AIIMS exam and Marrow incorporated it almost immediately.

How many question did you attempt?

In NIMHANS I attempted all the questions, because that is what I missed in the NEET-PG where i attempted 280 out of 300 questions, because I got nervous. I did not want to repeat this mistake so i got aggressive in the NIMHANS. If you want to be in the top rank then you must attempt all the questions, that is what I learnt.

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