10 tips for admission to Bangladeshi medical colleges

Ishmam Sakib | Update:
Getting a chance to study in a government medical college is a coveted dream for many students, and their guardians, in Bangladesh. Only a tiny portion of thousands of students passing the HSC examinations can make it to government medical colleges. According to the health ministry, there are 3,729 seats in 36 public medical colleges, while 6,155 in 64 private medical colleges for the MBBS course. We know how tough it is to get a berth in government medical colleges. Now, the student who stood first in last year’s medical admission test and currently studying at MBBS first year in Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Ishmam Sakib, has come up with suggestions for students on how nail one of the toughest admission tests.

Ishmam SakibWhile writing this article at 10 at the night, I try to revisit the same day of last year. Perhaps I was preparing for the model test for the next day, or perhaps was solving question of previous years or was dreaming for this very day!

I had to shift schools several times during my childhood due to my parents' jobs. I thought of becoming an engineer at that time. But my aim in life changed somehow while I was studying HSC in Khulna’s Majid Memorial City College. My only younger brother is autistic and that prodded me to do something for those suffering from autism. Thus, I decided to become a doctor.

Over-confidence or pessimism- neither worked on me. I just concentrated on my own work. I followed my routine and finished my studies every day. I used to study less, but with concentration. Some might say getting chance in medical admission test requires grueling studies day and night, but that was not the case for me. I tried to go to bed early and resume studies in the morning. I felt getting enough sleep was important for good preparation. I used to spend time in coaching centres up to the afternoon and then spend time with my parents or do something or the other just to unwind.

Students at Dhaka Medical College10 suggestions from Ishmam

1. Reading text books is a must
You already know the marks distribution of the medical admission test. The exam will consist of 30 marks in biology, 25 in chemistry, 20 in physics, 15 in English and 100 in general knowledge. Thorough study of biology, chemistry and physics text books is important. It will help you identify your weaknesses and strengths. So, it is important you have a very firm grip of text books.

2. Practice and practice
Take as many model tests as you can. Tests can be taken at coaching centres. Also, you can solve questions of previous years. The more tests one takes, the more self-assessment one can make. Even if you cannot take proper preparations due to illness or other problems, you cannot forego model tests.

3. Recent news
For general knowledge, you have to keep abreast with the important incidents which took place three months before the exam. Extra effort should be given in English and general knowledge as there are no fixed syllabuses for these two subjects.

4. The month prior to exams
The last one month before the exam is very important. Coaching centres remain closed during this time due to government order. Many students spend this time a bit relaxed and that's the biggest mistake. A student should be more serious in preparation at that time.

5. Strategy varies from person to person
Your study plan should be unique as you know your strengths and weaknesses more than anybody else. So, you should make your own strategy. You have to make a study plan which fits you the best.

6. Don’t listen to everyone
Different people will give you different suggestions about your preparations. You cannot take all the suggestions. Do not listen to any negative comments on your ability to do well in the test. But you can take suggestions from seniors who studied at medical colleges and who have the experience to take the test.


7. Time is precious
Every moment is important during the exam. Make sure nothing disturbs your concentration during exam. Check beforehand if the chair you or table in the exam hall is okay. It is better answering those questions you are certain about. I answered comparatively easier questions in first 47 minutes and took the risk of answering some more questions I was not certain about in remaining time. I got 87 marks.

8. Keep fit
It is important not to fall ill by concentrating too much on preparation. Be cautious of the dengue outbreak. It is a big loss if you cannot study even for three days. I studied everyday even for some time without any break.

9. Be confident
This exam is more like a cricket game, you must be confident. You can become nervous if any negative thoughts enter your mind. This much needed confidence could be accrued through repeated practice. Never lose hope.

10. Don’t fall prey to any trap
Medical question paper did not leak out in recent years and there is no way it can be. So, do not listen to anyone who claims to have the questions the night before the exams. Do not pay any heed to any such discussion even of your friends and concentrate on your own business.

*This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo’s weekly supplementary Swapno Niye on Sunday, has been rewritten in English by Galib Ashraf.

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