How To Crack NEET SS GI Surgery & Get That Elusive Mch GI Surgery Seat
Getting an M.Ch GI Surgery seat in the NEET SS super specialty entrance exams is probably the dream of at least 50% of post-graduates who complete an M.S in general surgery in India. Reasons for this marked preference towards gastrointestinal surgery could be many – a love towards the subject, familiarity of the field from having had maximum exposure to this super specialty during the PG training period, taking inspiration from seniors and peers who have gone on to do GI surgery, etc. The ‘why’ of M.Ch GI surgery apart, the reality remains that it is one of the hardest super specialty seats to crack.
Besides the sheer number of qualified surgeons who want to get into a GI surgery M.Ch program, the limited number of GI Surgery seats available in India poses a big challenge. Most places have only 1-2 M.Ch gastro surgery seats open per session of the exam, and you must have been familiar with the spectacle of hard-working aspirants missing out on their dream seat by a sliver – sometimes even by decimal points. That said, the NEET SS entrance exam contains the largest available pool of GI surgery seats in the country, so if you are an aspirant, you would be well advised to set your target towards cracking this particular exam. Here are some tips that could help you in your journey:
Prepare for the long haul
It is not uncommon to see GI surgery aspirants preparing full-time for several years. If you are blessed with a combination of talent and good luck, you might crack it within the first year of serious preparation, but more often than not, this is not the case. Routinely, surgeons prepare for 2-3 years before getting an M.Ch GI surgery seat in a college of their choice. Remember, this is not a reflection of your abilities as a surgeon, or your worth as a student. The system is merely designed in a way that the odds are stacked against you. Before you start serious prep for NEET SS GI surgery, carefully plan it out in a manner that takes into consideration your mental health and economic needs.
So, is it impossible to get a GI Surgery M.Ch seat in the first attempt? Surgtest is a platform that attempts to address this question by offering a one-stop destination for your learning (video lectures, immersive classes, doubt clearing) and testing (MCQ question bank) needs. You can download the Surgtest app on google play store or apple app store.
The most crucial step in cracking NEET SS is knowing what to read and how to read it. Shift your focus from reading for PG exams – and towards solving MCQs. Reading for MCQs is a unique art – you’ll be looking at nitty gritties and small details, rather than a broad overview of the topic. This shift of focus towards MCQ style preparation is crucial, and it will be very difficult to crack NEET SS if this shift does not occur in your mind. What you want to retain for writing long essays in exams is very different from what you want to retain to solve MCQs.
Get Your Basics Right
The trick to breaking into the top ranker category in GI surgery entrance exams does not lie in chasing that one factoid from the footnotes of an obscure topic in Blumgart. Many aspirants make the mistake of doing this. This is not only a big drain on your time and resources, but also an incredibly difficult thing to do consistently, not to mention the near impossibility of retaining such information for long periods. The smarter way to secure your position is to be absolutely confident with the General Surgery basics. What better book to master the basics other than your good old Bailey & Love? Do not neglect to read Bailey & Love’s Short Practice of Surgery thoroughly thinking you have already covered it during your UG/PG days. Take the most recent edition of Bailey (27th edition, as of now) and re-read it, this time, from an MCQ point of view. To know more about preparing for general surgery from Bailey and Love, click here
You cannot afford to make mistakes in the General Surgery section of NEET SS if you aim to get a top rank which will get you the seat of your dreams.
Mastering The Ocean That Is GI Surgery
Here also, the basics are your best friend. Read the GI surgery section from the latest edition of Sabiston Textbook of Surgery completely, at least twice. This will form the bedrock upon which you can build your further GI surgery-specific prep. As you may have already studied Sabiston for your PG exams, this should not take a long time. But beyond Sabiston, lies an ocean of knowledge in GI surgery. It’s natural to feel confused about where to begin. Here’s where watching comprehensive video lectures on topics in gastrointestinal surgery comes in.
The Surgtest app offers in-depth video lectures on various important topics by the subject experts, containing updates from the latest editions of all textbooks. Instead of cross-referring each topic in ten different textbooks, these videos present all that information in an easy-to-digest format, with extensive images. Since the information is audio-visual, you stand a better chance of retaining it as well. In Surgest, Dr Venkatesh Mahadevan’s video lectures on Upper GI surgery are extremely popular for their accessible content and deep dives into important exam topics.
Video lectures on the topic of Pancreas by Dr Prasanna are also a must-watch as they cover a lot of concepts from Shackelford’s Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and Blumgart’s Surgery of the Liver, Biliary Tract and Pancreas. These videos are especially great for finding info that are not routinely covered in standard textbooks but are often asked, not only in NEET SS GI surgery, but also in the institute entrance exams for M.Ch GI surgery.
Dr Samrat Jankar’s video lectures on Colorectal surgery are particularly useful as they present data in a tabular format, and also cover colorectal imaging which is a hot topic for the entrance exams.
Solve, Solve, Solve
Reading standard textbooks and watching video lectures is great, but you can only unlock the maximum potential of your gathered knowledge if you practice solving MCQs extensively. After watching the video lectures on a topic, you should attempt to solve the related MCQs on the Surgtest app – there are over 2200 questions framed from standard textbooks like Sabiston, Shackelford, and Blumgart, and are designed in a way to improve your information recall. A common mistake that many aspirants make is – when they solve an MCQ, they go back to the big textbooks and spend a long time reading about that topic. This is definitely interesting, but is also a rabbithole that ends up consuming a lot of time. MCQs in the Surgest app come with extensive answers referenced from the standard textbooks. So, a more time-efficient method would be to note down the points covered in that MCQ in a separate sheet – a physical or a digital notebook. The explanations given under the answers in the Surgtest app are comprehensive enough that one doesn’t need to go back and refer to the textbooks themselves, in most cases.
The MCQs in the Surgtest app are framed in such a way that a greater weightage is given to oft-repeated topics in the NEET SS GI surgery exam. When you identify such topics while solving questions on the app, you can make a note of these separately, and refer to those important topics alone in the textbooks at a later time.
With these tips, hopefully your path towards bagging a GI surgery M.Ch looks a bit clearer now. Remember, it’s just an exam at the end of the day – as a surgeon, you have conquered far greater challenges with ease. Take heart, and march on!
NEET SS GI Surgery is not just a dream. You have the power to crack it.
About the author | Dr Pranavi AR
Dr Pranavi is a qualified who graduated from JIPMER, Pondicherry. Dr Pranavi is a faculty with Surgtest and is in charge of content creation.