Aiming for AIIMS
The competition is very .erce for the limited number of MBBS seats at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, because of the unique status of the institution. And the entrance examination is somewhat different from the usual ones.
The entrance test for AIIMS contains questions that expect thorough knowledge of concepts. Photo: R.V. Moorthy
THE ALL India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was established by an act of Parliament in 1956. The primary aim of the AIIMS is to set a benchmark for medical education for all the other medical colleges in the country.
The ever-increasing number of students seeking admission to its various courses attests to the position of AIIMS as the country's leading institution of higher learning in medical sciences.
The MBBS programme offered by the AIIMS is a case in point. There are 50 seats for the course, out of which only 34 are available in the general category. According to a conservative estimate, about one lakh students in the general category compete every year, fiercely at that, for admission to these 34 seats. As is the norm these days, an entrance test decides the classy 34 who will gain admission to the prestigious institute.
Those who have prepared for and written the AIIMS entrance test know that it is unlike any other medical entrance examination in the country. Yes, the entrance test consists of multiple-choice questions.
The similarity between the entrance test to the AIIMS and almost all other medical entrance tests ends here. In the AIIMS examination, there will be MCQ questions worth 60 marks in physics, chemistry and biology. In addition, there will be general knowledge questions totalling 20 marks.
Importance of GK
Any student who gets admission to the AIIMS will vouch for the fact that a medical aspirant can ignore these 20 marks only at grave peril. Often, with students across the nation performing brilliantly in the subjects, the marks scored in the GK section can make or mar a student's chances of gaining admission to AIIMS.
Those in the State who are engaged in training students for AIIMS examinations point out that as is the case with physics, chemistry and mathematics, general knowledge too is something that one just cannot master in a `crash programme.'
These trainers point out that GK is something that needs consistent exposure to the news media, to the Internet and to various magazines that deal with competitive examinations. In other words, GK, for the AIIMS is to be treated almost like a fourth subject and not just as an expendable adjunct.
In the case of the main subjects too, preparation for the AIIMS examination requires a different kind of orientation. For, out of the MCQ's worth 60 marks for each subject only 40, are `pure MCQs'. The rest 20, are assertion-reason-type questions, which require a very thorough clarity of the concepts dealt with in each subject from the candidate.
A typical example that AIIMS trainers point out is that of Boyle's Law, which states that for constant temperature and for constant moles of gas, pressure is inversely proportional to volume.
Now, it is pointed out that many students would be stumped for an answer if asked to answer quickly why, if Boyle's Law is true in a bicycle tyre, the pressure of air increases when more air is pumped in. More volume surely means less pressure, right?
Only a student who has imbibed Boyle's Law fully would answer quickly - answering a question in an AIIMS examination has to be real quick - that Boyle's law also specifies that for pressure to be inversely proportional to the volume, the condition `for constant moles of gas' also has to hold true.
How can an aspirant aim for such clarity of concepts? Trainers say that though AIIMS generally does not prescribe any syllabus for its examinations, students should meticulously go through the National Council for Educational Research and Training syllabus for Standard XII and study each and every topic given there.
A student's capacity for answering the assertion-reason-type questions can be enhanced if he refers to books or guides which give `situation questions' whose solution requires the application of a concept or a law.
Also, aspirants would do well to remember that AIIMS traditionally has been a not-so-high scoring examination. The AIIMS 2004 MBBS entrance test topper, Kanvarneet Singh's score was 74.6 per cent.
This year, the AIIMS' MBBS entrance test would be held on June 1, 2005 and classes would commence on August 1, 2005. The last date for submitting completed applications is February 25. Further details regarding the entrance test, the locations where the application form and the prospectus can be purchased and the address for sending in the application can be had from the web site, `www.aims.edu' or 'www.aims.ac.in'. Advertisements had also been carried in newspapers some weeks ago.
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