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Experiment with your memory –says PrepLadder alumni Dr. Sivachander (AIIMS PG Rank 4)

Nov 22, 2016

PrepLadder congratulates Dr. Sivachander on achieving this unbelievable feat. We wish him all the best for his career and future ahead.

Dr. Sivachander joined Speed coaching institute in prefinal and  thrissur medical college alumni association after internship. He took PrepLadder mock tests 2 months before the exam for a holistic preparation.

In this exclusive interview with PrepLadder, he shares the plan that worked for him to help you achieve your dream PG seat like he did.

Hello, please tell us something about yourself. 

I'm Dr. Sivachander from Govt. Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College, Salem. I completed my internship in March 2016.

I got rank 4 in AIIMS Jan’17 session.


What do you think is the correct approach to study for AIIMS PG? Only MCQ's or Theory+MCQ's?

AIIMS PG is purely concept and clinical knowledge based. It always tests your basic medicine knowledge and its application rather than rote memory.

First 6 months I read subject wise book and used to give subject test in the end of the week (now I suggest, better you have birds eye view of AIIMS question before starting subject wise).

In last one and half month, I concentrated on solving AIIMS MCQ in subject wise manner and retrospectively reading RELEVANT portion of that question from my notes, guides of that question (if I don't have material for particular question means I will read in AIIMS MCQ book). By doing so, I came to know hot topics and able to identify some pattern (eg: carbohydrate, genetics in biochemistry, graphs in physiology and pharmacology).

This exercise helped me predict question. I believe strongly that institute exams are quite predictable.


When should the preparation ideally be started?

Ideally, from pre-final year. where we have lot of free time. Try to complete MCQ book of first, second and third year. It not only makes you strong in MCQ but also forms base for final year. Always try to get PG in your first attempt. Never waste time for PG preparation.


Please list the books you studied for each subject.

I always had the habit of reading standard books (yet broke the rules few times). One aspect made me to take this decision is, in standard books a few chapter is written by one author, on the contrary, whole book is written by single author. Best way to prepare for your UG is read standard book make stick notes/ notes and revise it quickly for your university exam. Coming to PG preparation, same concept applies, we should read at least a subject written by single author, not whole medical curriculum written by single author (being unaware of this fact at the start of preparation, I made this mistake). I recommend you to get BEST subject expert book.

In UG, I read either of these books, not both.


UG Books

PG Preparation Books


Chaurasia + Grey




Guyton + Ganong




Harper + Vasudevan

Rebecca James 



Devesh Mishra


Goodman+ Sparsh Gupta

Sparsh Gupta 


Jawetz + Paniker

Rachna Chaurasia

Forensic Medicine

Narayana Reddy


Social and Preventive Medicine


Vivek Jain






Sudha Sitaraman



(CVS, CNS, RS GIT, Endocrine, Renal) + Remaining in Davidson 

Read Only Class Notes


Bailey + SRB

Ashish Gupta

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Dutta + Shaw

Sakshi Arora


O.P. Ghai

Taruna Mehra


No Book in UG

Material and Class Notes


Niraj Ahuja

(attempted to read)

Praveen Tripathi


No Book in UG



No Book in UG

Only Class Notes


Have you attempted PGMEE previously? If yes, what did you do different this year that lead to your success.

Yes, AIPG 2015 – 25000

May 2016 AIIMS -1290

This time I concentrated on reading only relevant stuff for AIIMS exam. No use in knowing whole parasitology, if u don't know how parasite eggs malaria protozoa look like.

In the same tone:

Anatomy- Images

Physiology- Calculation and graphs

Biochemistry- Carbohydrates genetics, heme TCA cycle.

Pathology- Histopathology, immunofluorescence, leukemia anaemia.

Pharmacology- GIT, antiplatelet, general pharma

Microbiology- Bacteriology, Parasitology

FM- Toxicology sections

SPM- Biostatistics and programs

Ophthalmology- Images

Medicine- CVS, CNS

Surgery- Breast, thyroid, concepts in general surgery eg suture material

Ortho- Fracture images and next line of management or diagnosis

Radio- Images

Skin- Lichen planus, exfoliative disorders.

Reading relevant stuff will get you PG in 6 to 12 months.

Reading irrelevant won't fetch you anything even in 5 years.


How big is the role of practice and revision while preparing for PGMEE and how much time should be dedicated for it?

I dedicated last one and half month for revision. While revising also I prioritized my portion, I used to start from high priority to low priority in my schedule, eg. reading notes will fetch you more points than guides (added advantage is you can remember for longtime). I used to remember this "forgetting is normal, failing to revise is a crime". You shouldn't expect your brain to remember unless you revised it.


Did PrepLadder play a part in your success? If yes, how?

Yes, it helped me identify my weak areas with section analysis. Scoring differs a lot when Prometric normalization is applied.

Biggest advantage of giving a PrepLadder exam is the all India rank (by competing with 60,000 people) which helps you correlate between your marks and rank (since they don't have linear relation).

I used to take screen shots of the explanation from PrepLadder exams for last day revision.


Did you use a time table/study plan to keep your preparation on track?

Yes, I always used to make plan. Could never stick to it though. But don't fail to make a study plan, even if you can’t stick to it.

Planning makes you to achieve at least 75% of your efficiency, if you don’t plan at all, you won't achieve even 25%. So make a realistic and achievable plan according to your strengths and weaknesses.


Were you a topper or a mediocre student during MBBS?

Mediocre student


List the most difficult and easiest subjects for you.

Most difficult: Ortho, Radio, Surgery

Easiest: Physiology, Medicine, Obs Gynae


One mistake that you believe everyone must avoid while preparing for PGMEE.

Keeping mental floor low. PG preparation/exam tests your mental strength more than knowledge. I always used to put myself in the shoes of Dhoni, Kohli etc. Have you ever seen, captain cool fearful of losing the game? Developing sportsman attitude will definitely fetch you seat.

Second one is complaining they have poor memory power. I learnt that we are using only less than 10% of memory power. Every individual has enormous potential but they fail because they never follow the basic law of remembering

  1. Attention (while reading never allow another thought to creep into your mind, I used to read three hours continuously since we need to to have three hours’ attention span in our exams, so start practicing from day one of PG preparation)
  2. Repetition (try to revise as much as possible)
  3. Most important one is association (unless you associate it with your PERMANENT MEMORY, it will fall like a stacks of card. I always used to associate with life events/ freaky things/ mnemonics).

Never rely too much in mnemonic, they are not fool proof. But photographic memory is fool proof and utilize it to maximum eg for deposits in eye I kept mnemonic like REC(rifampicin, etambutol, chloroquine) ACC (amiodarone, chloroquine, chlorpromazine) HTC (hydrochloroquine, thioridazine, chloroquine)but I'm not sure I will remember so I made photographic memory of a person standing in REC college holding HTC phone near construction site having ACC cement. HTC light rays fall on retina (retinal deposits) ACC cement splashes on cornea and the other is vitreal deposits.

Though it may sound crazy, I don't think I l forget this photographic memory till my last breath.

Try it once, you will know the power.

Likewise try to associate with statement eg. Beckwith-WIEDemann syndrome (so everything gets enlarged -macroglossia, macrosomia, midline abdominal wall defects Hepatoblastoma) Nothangel (angel walks like ataxic patient ) Hardeolum eXterna (X is near to z so zeis gland ) iNterna ( N is near to meibomian gland).

Unless you memorize like this, you will keep forgetting words. Try to experiment with your memory as much as possible and select the best method which suits for you.


Some last tips for our readers preparing for PGMEE?

Always I used to remember

He who says HE CAN and he who says HE CAN'T are BOTH USUALLY RIGHT -Confucius

The first step Before anybody else in world believes in you have to believe it. - Will Smith

Be confident of yourselves, never let even single negative thought to creep in. Try to do yoga and meditation which adds another few hours to the day.

Do your day’s work sincerely, without thinking of results.


Also read:

Interview by PrepLadder alumni Dr. Nayani (AIIMS PG rank 1, PGI Rank 3)

Interview by PrepLadder alumni Dr. Aashir (PGI rank 1, AIIMS PG rank 5)

Interview by PrepLadder alumni Dr. Saumya (AIIMS PG rank 2)

Interview by PrepLadder alumni Dr. Shivabalan (AIIMS PG rank 8)

Interview by PrepLadder alumni Dr. Laboni (AIIMS PG rank 10, PGI Rank 18)

Interview by PrepLadder alumni Dr. Sagnik (AIIMS PG rank 12)

Interview by PrepLadder alumni Dr. Email (AIIMS PG rank 18)

More topper interviews will follow soon. Keep following this space.