· Preparation for 2A should begin with a thorough reading of a basic textbook ( Grainger or Sutton).
· Follow this up by practicing MCQS teamed with retrograde study of the relevant / important topics from Dahnert and if required detailed textbooks dedicated to a particular system ( eg. Osborn for CNS)
A word about Dahnert – almost everyone who has taken the exam will vouch for its worth ( “A mine of information”, “covers almost everything”, “must do for the exam” and so on). All quite true, yet its also one of the most frustating books to read for an exam – the reason being its not meant to be a textbook. The best way to tackle Dahnert , I feel, is to use it the way it was meant to be used – as a reference book. So once you are done with a basic textbook for a module and are attempting the MCQs, read the topics covered in the MCQs from Dahnert. Once you have read the important topics in a particular system from Dahnert, you”ll have the familiarity and confidence to revise that system from Dahnert cover to cover.
· The MCQs are of varying difficulty --- the key to the exam is to maximize points on the easy ones and avoid guessing on the ones you don’t know. The range of topics covered in the MCQs may seem mind boggling at first glance but remember you are only expected to know half the paper ( 45%). And with proper preparation that should not be too difficult !!
· As with any MCQ based exam , there is a sort of pattern to this exam too….the first few questions are related to physic( Fahrs should suffice for this segment), anatomy and procedures( read Chapmans procedures) and nuclear medicine ( Fahrs/ Chapman / Dahnert). Some questions are related to differentials ( cover lists of important differentials from Chapmans differentials / Dahnert – does sound boring but will hold you in good stead in both 2A and 2B ! ). Next expect a few questions on some pet topics ( eg sarcoidosis, retroperitoneal fibrosis ). Finally there are the unpredictable questions – these are loose cannons both in terms of the subjects covered and the level of difficulty. A little difficult to prepare for these because you never know what to expect ; but a thorough reading of the text ( and a few prayers !!) would probably be useful.
· While questions may or may not be repeated , the commonly covered topics in the different modules remain fairly consistent, expect questions on these topics in every exam and study them thoroughly(including the infamous Dahnert percentages! ) . We will be dedicating a lot of space to these topics in our MCQ sessions going forward.
· Practice as many MCQs as possible – keep doing mock tests, mark yourself honestly and you will get a fair assessment of your preparation and progress. You will also realise whether you are a good guesser or a poor one. Work out your own strategy for attempting MCQs and you will figure out what works for you . Though the pass percentage is 45% , keep a safe figure like 60 % in mind to keep a margin for careless mistakes etc. If you consistently score more than 60 % in mock tests, that should be good enough ( barring of course the element of luck and a tough unpredictable “ OH MY GOD” exam – regular prayers are strongly recommended to take care of these variables ; atheists may have to outsource to more god fearing relatives !)