Dr. Ajit Goenka (RxPG Nick: bestmedstud; scrapbook) scored 14th rank in highly competetitive All India Post Graduate MD/MS/Diploma Entrance Exam (AIPGE) 2007 (Update: Dr Goenka also secured the much coveted 1st Rank in AIIMS May 2007, Congrats!!) . With this grand success, he became a star in the hall of fame for AIPGE rankers from RxPG. Our overworked staff member Archana contacted him and managed to piece together some of the secrets behind his huge success in this wonderful interview. According to her, he came across as an immensely positive and highly motivated person in this interview. His open attitude towards sharing his insights about cracking the (arguably) most competitive PG entrance exam in India clearly exemplifies the RxPG community spirit and core values of mutual help and collective intelligence. Read on...
RxPG: What is the secret of your success in AIPGE exam?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: Strategic planning, result oriented study pattern,
creative visualization and a resolute will power to succeed in the face of all
odds. Most of all, it was the goal directed efforts that helped me to perform
well in this competitive examination.
RxPG: How did your parents, family and friends contribute to your success?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: My parents have a strong faith in my abilities to make
the right decisions about my career. That gives me an added sense of
responsibility. They will persistently plead my case with God as long as I play
my part to the hilt. My friends have always been understanding of my schedule
and have encouraged me to persevere towards my aspirations and ambitions. When
one has such a robust support system, one just has to do the simple things right
and success always follows.
RxPG: How would you visualize your success? Whom do you attribute your
Dr. Ajit Goenka: God has not fulfilled my desires but he has taken care of
my needs. He always does. This accomplishment for me is a testimony to the maxim
that if you aim for the stars you will at least land on the moon. I managed to
stay afloat owing to the prayers of my well-wishers. In addition to my disciplined work, I owe my success to
my mentor and guru Shri Bhavarlalji Jain (Bhau), the Chairman of the Jain Group
of Industries, Jalgaon, who has stood by me like a rock and who has loved me
like his son. It will be my perpetual endeavour to prove worthy of all his
blessings in me. Besides, I always try to apply management principles to my work
ethos and try to take calculated risks in my career.
Dr. Ajit Goenka
RxPG: Had you not been successful in AIPGE, what would have been your
reaction? Did you have a backup plan?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: I would not have been surprised at the result even if I
had a rank in excess of 1000. This exam was the most terrible of all the tests
that I had given during the past one year as part of my preparations. There were
innumerable amateurish mistakes I made in this paper. In fact, I did not check
my result until the evening because I was quite disheartened by my performance
in it. Though in the end things worked in my favour, it will be difficult for me
to shed off the regret of getting a rank owing to the under-performance of my
I was mentally prepared for a low rank and hence, I was contemplating waiting
for another year. In fact, I was quite excited that I would get one years of
free time to pursue research and my extra-academic interests! I was even
prepared to consider alternate career options if things may not have worked well
in next year as well!
RxPG: We appreciate the fact that preparing for an extremely competitive exam
must be really challenging. During your preparation, did you ever doubt your
ability to succeed in it?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: Yes, many times, every time I would get a
less-then-expected rank in any of the mock tests I would go into an
introspective mood. Besides, odds were against me, there were not many examples
of interns doing well in AIPGE due to the less time available at their disposal.
So, that always stimulated me to try a little extra.
RxPG: How much time do you think one requires for serious preparation for
Dr. Ajit Goenka: If you read all the right books during your Under
Graduation (UG) days, you can get a decent rank
even during your internship. If not, then you should be able to do it in the
next attempt by all means, beyond that it is not advisable.
RxPG: Which books did you read for the theory part?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: There was not much time to read theory for the standard
subjects during my internship at KEM hospital. So, I read the subjects that I
had not prepared well during UG. Anaesthesia Yadav, Psychiatry Ahuja, few topics
from Harrison and Schwartz and others. In my opinion, what really makes the
decisive difference is the manner in which you the process the information from
any of the authentic books.
RxPG: Which books did you read for Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) revision? Which revision books were the
most productive and which were least?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: I had managed to solve quite a lot of the 5 volumes of
the past papers of the Aditya Publishers. Besides, I appeared for a lot of mock
tests during the year. But its difficult to guarantee a rank with only MCQ books
and trying to learn the matter provided in them only adds to your stress. Also,
you do not get the requisite confidence by solving them alone. So, I would
periodically brush up my concepts from standard books. The notes that I had
prepared from various books helped me the most.
RxPG: What do you think is the better way of preparation between selective,
intensive study and wide, extensive study? What did you choose as your style of
Dr. Ajit Goenka: Wide, extensive study during your UG days, intensive study during
internship and if you are giving this exam another attempt then again extensive
study for the first six months of your preparation. Intensive worked quite well
RxPG: Cramming for Indian PG entrances is often taxing for the brain and
many people struggle with retention of facts. Did you face this problem as well?
If so, how did you deal with it?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: You really do not have to cram a lot if you keep you keep
a sense of perspective about what is asked in the exam. I did not face this
problem because I would always discus such facts with my colleagues in the
college. Besides, I had appeared in and won a few competitive exams during my UG
days so many of these facts were already very well registered in my mind. I
believe it is important to try to think like an MCQ examiner while reading our
stuff so that we can have fewer things to remember. One can develop this knack
RxPG: Did you attend any coaching? Were they useful?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: Only the tests of IAMS, Bhatia and Vidyasagar classes.
All of them were quite useful in giving the final touches to my preps. They also
gave me an idea of where I stood amongst the aspirants. I always managed decent
ranks (in the first 20) in them so that gave me a lot of confidence.
RxPG: How much time do you think one requires for serious preparation for
Dr. Ajit Goenka: As I have mentioned, usually one year of internship is
enough if you were good during the UG.
RxPG: What was your daily timetable during the preparation? Why did you
decide on such a timetable? Were you able to stick to the timetable strictly?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: I had not set myself any rigid timetable. As such, you do
not have much control over your time during internship. But I used to divide my
residual time between past papers and new reading equally. Besides, I would
study everywhere and anywhere during the working hours in my hospital. The
important issue is one should not lose the enthusiasm and the momentum gained
during the initial months of the preparations. Also, I would always try to gain
maximum output from the time that I would get for preparations. Periodic
evaluation of my efforts guarded me from any complacency. As they say, work that
gets measured gets enhanced.
RxPG: Which subjects did you focus on?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: Short subjects, basic sciences and Para-clinical ones.
There was not much time for final year subjects. Besides, I was reasonably
confident about my clinical sciences so I did not devote much time to them.
RxPG: What was your strategy for the revision? How many revisions did you
Dr. Ajit Goenka: I would prepare a skeleton of the topics that I had read
and I think this way I was able to get a birds eye view of everything that I
studied. There was not much time for formal revisions. I would also reserve time
for online discussions with my friends (Apurva, Nikhil and Avinash). All three
of my friends were extremely disciplined and professional in their approach to
such discussions and hence, we benefited a lot from such interactions.
RxPG: What was your strategy for the exam day? How many questions did you
attempt and why?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: To stay focused and to concentrate on every word of the
question. But I was a little nervous in the initial half-an-hour and as a result
I messed up a lot of simple questions in this exam. I must have attempted around
285 questions. I did not know much about the remaining questions.
RxPG: After the exam, you must have checked your answers with text books and
the community prepared answer key here at RxPG. What was your approximate
Dr. Ajit Goenka: Yes, I did, the score must have been something like 220
right. Though I must add that there were lot of questions where I differed from
the consensus opinion. I guess the examiners were in agreement with me on these
questions and that must have made the difference to the score!
RxPG: What is your impression of the AIPGE exam? Is it fair?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: Its pretty fine. The paper has good combo of conceptual
and factual questions thought in the recent past the balance has been shifting
towards factual ones which is a little disheartening. I am told that every
question that appears in the paper is pre-validated and the paper as a whole is
very scientifically set perhaps, we still have a long way to go in
understanding the purpose of the examiner in asking us the questions that they
RxPG: Is the pattern of the examination appropriate? Would you recommend any
Dr. Ajit Goenka: The questions (i.e. the information provided in the
question) should be more elaborate so that somebody who understands the concept
should be able to rule out the competing options with certainty. There should
not be any ambiguity in the language of the question. That is very frustrating.
Further, some modification in the system is warranted whereby students who do
well in their first attempts get the recognition for it. There should be a level
RxPG: What do you want to specialize in, why and where?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: I have opted for MD (medicine) at the Maulana Azad
Medical College (MAMC), New Delhi.
Absence of bond, better living conditions, moderate work load and an opportunity
to make a mark in a new academic community are few of the many reasons why I
opted for this hospital rather then my parent institution (KEM Hospital).
Medicine offers me the widest range of options after my post graduation and this
is the specialty where I will have time to pursue multiple interests in the near
future. Perhaps, I may even be able to contribute something worthwhile to the
RxPG: How important you think is internet in preparation?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: It does not add to your knowledge that is required for
the entrance exams. But it keeps you updated of what is happening around so that
you are not caught unawares. One has to guard against spending too much time
browsing things that do not matter in the long run.
RxPG: How did RxPG help you in your preparation?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: I was able to keep myself updated about the exam
notifications, results, new books and also got to know few interesting people
through the medium of the website. Browsing RxPG is now an addiction for me!
RxPG: RxPG is the largest and most active community website for medical
students. How do you visualize the role of RxPG in moulding the careers of the
Dr. Ajit Goenka: RxPG is an excellent platform for any aspirant to have
healthy exchange of information with other students. RxPG helps one to know
about the latest happenings on the entrance circuit so that one does not have to
waste time searching everywhere. The efforts that must be involved in
maintaining such a colossal website is beyond the realms of imagination.
RxPG: When did you join RxPG and how did you come to know about it?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: Joined it around a year back when a friend suggested to
me about this versatile site. In retrospect, it was one of my shrewdest
RxPG: What is your opinion about RxPG?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: An enormously friendly succour for all the sincere and
hard-working PG aspirants.
RxPG: RxPG is developing the website to be able to cater to the needs of
students who are doing post-graduation and super-specialization. Can you suggest
a few features you would like to see in RxPG which can be useful to you during
your post graduation?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: There is acute need for streamlining the voluminous
information that is put up on the site by the students. Also, the site may
perhaps recruit expert individuals who can accurately answer the queries based
on their knowledge and experience. I would like to see a section where
opportunities for participation in co-curricular events are notified by the
RxPG: As we see on RxPG website, most of the doctors and medical students Are
somewhat disillusioned by medicine as a career and some seriously Think about a
career change. What would you like to say to them?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: To each his own. There is nothing wrong in considering
alternate options if you feel that you can better serve the interests of the
people in some other position. Its purely ones choice and there should not be
any regret in doing so either. One should try to give ones best to whatever one
may undertake. Though I personally believe that there is no better profession
RxPG: What is your advice to the future aspirants?
Dr. Ajit Goenka: Smart work is the name of the game. Strategic planning
and working within ones limitations is very important. Try to modulate your
study style as per the demands of the examination rather then investing time
into blaming the system. If one is incredibly focused on where one has to go
then nothing and no-one in this world can retard your progress. As Paulo Coelho
says, when you deeply aspire to achieve something, the world conspires to get it
Note: Dr. Ajit Harishkumar Goenka is currently completing his Internship from Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai.
He opted not to appear in his State CET this year as he was not very keen on taking a seat in
home state. In addition to the top rank in AIPGE, his CV is full of
extraordinary achievements e.g
Best Medical Student of the State (Maharashtra) 2004-05 from the State Medical
University MUHS in recognition of all-round performance during MBBS;
Gold Medal 18th National UG Quiz Competition of the Indian Academy of
Recipient The KVPY Fellowship of the Department of Science and Technology (DST),
Government of India (2002-07);
Rank 2 in the UG State CET for admissions to the medical courses in Maharashtra
Recipient National Talent Award at the All India Youth Festival (Indore)
Editor Student section of the Journal of Post Graduate Medicine (JPGM) 2005-07.
He likes reading motivational literature and a variety of other books written by
the admirable authors and the personalities. His special interests
are in patient-oriented research and innovations in medical education. He
considers himself as a workaholic and doer.
RxPG Interviewers: Archana Desai; Proof reading and formatting: Dr V. Yelamanchili; Photo Adjustments: Dr V. Sharma
Please leave comments and feedback on this interview here in this thread http://www.rxpgonline.com/postt66597.html