I was browsing facebook today and came across a post by one of my friend on PG entrance exam in India. I found the article very interesting so am sharing this here. The article is written by A. C. ANAND, VSM in THE NATIONAL MEDICAL JOURNAL OF INDIA.
The download link of the article is at the end of the post. I am quoting a few lines of the article, which were the most interesting.
……….I looked at the magazine in my hand.
It was an article that said, ‘Multitasking sharpens the brain’. It also quoted scientific studies that had revealed that multitasking was the best method of exercising one’s brain, if one wanted to improve its functioning, especially in an environment where information fired from many different sources had to be analysed simultaneously.
I was ignorant about this research………..
……….‘Uncle, will you help me with this question? It was asked in the AIPGMEE (All India Postgraduate Medical Entrance Examination) in Jan 2010’. ‘I hope it is not one of your pranks!’ I said. ‘No, no, it is serious. The question is:
Which of the following is LEAST likely to be associated with congenital scoliosis?
b) wedge vertebrae
c) block vertebrae
d) unsegmented bar’
I was stumped and I think she could see it in my face. To answer that, I had to know the exact incidence of each one of the four options. Incidences are so difficult to remember, because there are an endless number of them in medicine. In any case, this was not in my specialty. Maybe she is just testing me, I thought.
‘What is the problem with this question?’ I asked. She nonchalantly replied, ‘Uncle, I have picked up this question from an internet chat forum.2 And discussion of this question reveals that one book says wedge vertebra is an uncommon cause of congenital scoliosis, while hemivertebrae, unsegmented bar and block vertebrae may be more common. However, a book by Dr Bhatia has said that the answer is ‘none of the above’.2 On the other hand, Wheeler’s Textbook of Orthopedics4 states that of the congenital deformities, the best prognosis is associated with block hemivertebra because progressive spinal deformity is rarely
produced by this disease.’ She paused for a few seconds………..
…………She said, ‘Many of these entrance examinations are a big problem because they never reveal what answers they have chosen as correct. The majority of questions are not from the textbooks prescribed to us as undergraduates. If you search in the library, different sources tend to give different answers, and one will never know what to answer even if the question is repeated again in future.’ ………….
……….‘You have taken it from an internet forum again?’ ‘No, Uncle. This one is from a book recommended to us by our coaching classes.’ ‘Coaching classes? Coaching for what?’ ‘Uncle, coaching classes are taken for any and all entrance examinations. Even if you want to become an IAS officer, you will have to attend coaching classes. I have also attended coaching classes to take the PG entrance examination.’ ‘You mean learning medicine from patients and textbooks is not enough?’
‘No, it isn’t. ………
………..I have worked at AIIMS and I know that the faculty there is mature, knowledgeable and intelligent. They would never set such questions left to themselves. I could imagine some scenarios that might lead to such questions creeping in. The examination section would send a memo to a professor: ‘Please set 20 questions pertaining to your subject as per the guidelines enclosed!’ The professor, a very busy man, would know that he would not find time for this routine job. So he would ask a junior colleague: ‘Please draft 25 questions and give it to me by tomorrow.’
The junior colleague does not even get time to have his meals. He would ask the pool officer hanging out with him, ‘Can you do it for me?’ So, the drafting of questions would get delegated down to pool officers or those wannabes who would be appearing in the coming entrance tests from that institute. These people have to look after their own interest, so they would draft questions that only they or their friends could answer. Even if 5% of these questions got selected, the entrance examination would be selectively screening out persons who were not in their circle. After all, a difference of 1 mark in these tests means a drop of several hundred positions in merit. ………
I recommend you read the article in full…