History Repeats Itself. Entrance Exams Should Not.

keep-calm-and-repeat-73I personally felt that the type of questions asked in the AIIMS and Jipmer exams were far superior to those from the AIPG and DNB exams. I thought they were more case study-based, and though they did have a certain number of fact-based questions, these are to be expected. A doctor after all does need to have a reasonably good memory.

The thing that surprised me was the inordinately large number of “repeats”. These are questions that are copied ver batim from a previous year’s question paper. When the syllabus for an exam is simply ‘anything relating to medicine’, I think there is a sufficiently large pool of information to draw a mere 200-300 questions from, without having to cheat a few off of your own old papers.

I haven’t quite understood the point of this anyway. All it does is simply add one more burden to the already time-pressed candidate. In addition to the pile of books he already has, he now also has to memorise the answers to every question that was asked in the last 5 years, and will be penalised significantly if he doesn’t. And since the questions are repeated word-for-word, without even changes in the order of the options, such things as understanding the reasoning behind the question become superfluous. All the matters is remembering the one or two words that will inevitably appear in the correct option.

For example in the AIIMS exam, there was something about the FNAC findings of a fibroadenoma. Now I have zero knowledge of what an FNAC would look like, but I did know that this had been asked a year earlier (and thankfully posted on a certain facebook page that I read), so I knew the answer would be a long statement with the words “bare nuclei” somewhere in it. Needless to say, I got my 1-mark for this fortuitous circumstance of fate, and for no other reason.

The converse is also true. Someone who’s never seen the question before, yet happens to actually know the answer, comes out of the exam only to be told that that question was simply a ‘repeat’ and everyone got it right anyway.

But credit where credit is due – though the AIPG papers used to have repeats previously, I don’t think there were any this year, so personally I think that’s a step in the right direction. I would of course be very interested to hear from you if you have a different opinion.

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About Post-MBBS

Critiquing Indian PG Entrance Exams since 2014 View all posts by Post-MBBS

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