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Special Article


Usha Albuquerque &  Nidhi Prasad

Become a doctor and change your life and that of people around you. Perhaps, there is no other career which commands such respect and awe as medicine. The power to heal has traditionally placed the medical field several rungs above any other profession. And while it requires years of hard work and dedicated study before you can see the light of day, the scope and prospects in the medical field have continuously attracted the brightest and the best. The enormous strides made in medical research for alleviating pain and curing diseases, pose great challenges to young men and women who opt for this profession. No wonder, then, that medicine is regarded as a respected and a lucrative career option by young professionals, today.

Entry into the medical profession, is tough and competitive, so as to select the most- able and competent to deal with human life. The purpose of conducting entrance examinations is therefore to select candidates for admission to medical courses at diploma, degree, post-diploma, postgraduate degree and research levels, and are held at the all India level and state level.

The MBBS or Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery is a professional degree which is conferred by medical schools and colleges in India. Though the name of the degree indicates that these are two different degrees, they are considered as one degree and conferred jointly. This program is a 5 ½ years course divided into three professionals of three semesters each. A semester comprises of 18 months. A wide range of subjects like anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, forensic medicine, general medicine, surgery, ophthalmology, ENT (ear, nose, throat), gynecology, orthopedics as well as preventive and social medicine are taught. The last 1 year is devoted to compulsory rotating internship.

Following MBBS one can apply for post graduate (specialty) courses which will be for 2 to 3 years and receive a degree as MD, MS, DNB depending on the subject and duration. Following this one can also do further super specialty courses in specialized fields of medicine such as cardiology, neurology, oncology, nephrology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, immunology, etc.

The various courses at graduate and post graduate level are:
*MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery )
*B. D. S. (Bachelor of Dental Sciences)
*B.H. M. S. (Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine & Surgery)
*B.A.M.S. (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery)
*B.U.M.S. (Bachelor of Unani Medicine & Surgery)
*B.V.Sc. & A. H. (Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences & Animal Husbandry)
*B. Pharm. (Bachelor of Pharmacy)
*B. Sc. – Nursing (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
*B.P.T. (Bachelor of Physiotherapy)
*B.O.T. (Bachelor of Occupational Therapy)
*B.M.L.T. (Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Technology)

Postgraduate Courses
*M.D. (Doctor of Medicine)
*M.S. (Master of Surgery)
*Postgraduate Diploma
Postgraduate diploma program in medicine is offered by various medical colleges or institutions across the country for MBBS degree holders. The duration of the program varies from 2 to 3 years.

*The minimum age of the candidate should not be less than 17 years.
*A candidate must have passed Higher Secondary Certificate Examination (10+2) or its equivalent examination with Physics, Chemistry and Biology from a recognized board and with English as one of the main subjects.*A candidate should have passed the 10+2 exam with 50% aggregate in Chemistry, Biology, English and Physics.
*The minimum passing percentage for the reserve categories is 55 % to appear in the entrance exams.
*Those candidates who are waiting for results may also apply to appear in the medical entrance tests.

NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) Following the recent Supreme Court order, there will be only one national level entrance exam conducted for the admissions to different under graduate medical courses including MBBS and BDS courses in the country. This is NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) organized by the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) for all the eligible applicants. This entrance exam is being held for the admission of candidates to the 353 Medical Colleges and 297 Dental Colleges located all over India, which includes government colleges, deemed universities, private medical colleges, minority and linguistic minority colleges etc.

To enable all students to appear for the test, this year the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2016 is being held in Two Phases -
NEET-1 AIPMT 2016 which was held on 1st May, 2016 was phase I of NEET.
NEET-2 (for students who have not appeared in NEET 1) will be on 24th
July, 2016
*Candidates who had not applied for the AIPMT/ NEET 1 test can apply with the fee for appearing for Phase II of NEET to be held on 24th July, 2016.
*Combined result of both the Tests will be declared on 17th August, 2016.
*CBSE will provide All India Rank. Admitting Authorities will invite applications for Counselling and merit list shall be drawn based on All India Rank.

If a student has been given an admit card, and did not take the test on May 1, he/she will not be eligible for NEET Ph 2. The second phase is only for students who did not register for AIPMT. This is also for students in some States, particularly Tamil Nadu, where they are evaluated on the basis of marks in Class 12 Board exams who can now take the second phase of NEET.
(For recent updates and cross checking the facts, one can refer to the websites of CBSE, MCI and other concerned organisations)
After obtaining the M.B.B.S. degree, candidates are eligible for taking the entrance examinations for admission to the specialized MD/MS courses. They should also have completed 1year house-job prior to their admission to a Postgraduate degree/ diploma course. Postgraduate medical students get a stipend too, which starts from the internship period.

Medical Entrance Exams Pattern
Every year lakhs of students appear for the Medical Entrance Exams to achieve their dream of becoming a doctor. But they are possibly the toughest tests to crack largely because the numbers competing are so huge and the seats in medical colleges limited.  It is for this reason that students who are well prepared with proper guidance and the ability to handle the rigour and pressure of the competiton have an edge and are able to perform better in the exam.
The exam preparation time varies from one individual to another, but the start of class 11th is considered the best time to start preparing for the medical entrance exams, since the syllabus for these entrance exams is almost same as that of class 11th and 12th. In fact, the syllabus for almost all medical entrance exams, for the M.B.B.S programs in India is similar. It is best to keep the AIPMT Syllabus as a reference point. You will have to study Physics, Chemistry, Biology and General Knowledge thoroughly. It is imperative to concentrate more on biology particularly topics related to Botany, Zoology, Ecology, Biotechnology, Biomedical techniques, biomolecules, and physiology. The AIPMT syllabus covers everything you would have studied in Class XI & XII of CBSE/ICSE.

*Persistence towards studies
*Dedication to their preparation
*Clear objective towards your career and life ahead
*Hard work and clarity of basic concepts of your study programme

Following are the guidelines to help you prepare better for the medical entrance exams:
1. Have a long term goal of finishing the syllabus till  the exam date, but focus more on short term goals. The syllabus is vast, take baby steps. Don’t plan too much in advance. Plan for a day or a week. Set realistic targets for a week and check your progress at the end of the week.
2. Do not buy every book in town. Go through the NCERT books thoroughly, and refer to another 1 or 2 books, for each subject for the numerical aspect and to know a little more about a particular topic.
3. Focus more on clearing your fundamentals. Once you are clear about your concepts, only then move to the depths of a particular topic. In case you feel you do not understand a certain concept, do not hesitate to ask your friends or mentors.
4. Prepare a time table. Adhere to it.
5. Keep a check on your progress by taking sectional tests. Sectional tests help you fine tune your preparation, help you manage time better and, also, bring your weaknesses into the limelight.
6. Keep revising whatever you do.
7. Read blogs/articles/papers/books by famous doctors. If nothing else, it will tell you a little about what these people have done, what drives them and why they like what they do.
8. Do not put yourself under too much pressure. Take time out for yourself. Do something you love, develop a hobby and have fun while preparing.

Medical Entrance NEET Exam Basic Pattern
*There will be one paper of 180 objective type questions.
*Questions will be asked from Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
*Candidates can choose either English or Hindi as language of the question paper.
*Exam duration will be of 3 hours.
*Every question will carry 4 marks and one mark gets deducted from the total for each incorrect answer. The candidates after clearing the entrance exam are called for counseling and hence a prospectus of comprehensive admission procedure along with the counseling letter is sent to them.

Long hours, over a decade spent in education, and eventually an erratic personal life is what a medical career has in store for you. Yet, medicine is a noble profession, and one that is not for the faint-hearted. Good luck!

(Usha Albuquerque is Director & Nidhi Prasad is Senior counseling Psycho-logist at Careers Smart Pvt. Ltd New Delhi. email careerssmartonline@ gmail.com)