It’s time to brace yourself for DNB practicals, in its new Avatar! One look at its design tells that it has been well designed for accurate and speedy assessment of Examinees with little room for chance or bias. So let’s deconstruct it for better understanding and decode it for exploiting to our advantage!
Firstly 50% of marks i.e 150 marks comes from Objectively Structured Clinical Evaluation or OSCE, which is a good News. Historically most students from the DNB stream, find OSCE easy to answer. OSCE covers a wide range of concepts in ophthalmology creating a level playing ground, compared to taxing Case Presentations.
Few tips for your OSCE.
This time, OSCE mimics a theory exam! you are all seated in a hall and the different stations (slides) are streamed on the screen by the NBEMS command center. The answers have to be written on separate sheets for each station. Make sure that you give away the answer sheet after each station. Write with a dark blue or black pen which makes your writing thick, as your answer sheets are scanned and sent to NBEMS. The split marks for various questions of a station allow you to score at least some marks in a seemingly difficult question (Bouncer!)
Two Clinical cases fulfill the criteria of the quintessential Case Presentation ordeal of any practical exam! However, they carry a total of 70 marks, with each case having 35 marks. One of them will be a virtual case, which obviously rules out you doing any examination and the discussion of the case becomes vital. One can be an actual case with a patent provided to you. I think, with the extensive rehearsals done so by the students, this simplified case presentation should appear less arduous!
Something novel concept is the Ward Rounds covering various subspecialties. This provides an opportunity for the examiners to test the student’s knowledge more extensively. Each carries 10 marks and four such ward rounds cover the entire Ophthalmology. However be wary of the last ward round where offbeat topics like community ophthalmology, appliances, optics & research methodology are being covered. Some homework about this round can prove handy!
Lastly, viva voice happens in four stations each carrying 10 marks. The catch here is the duration of each station, which is only 5 minutes. Examiner cannot cover too many things in 5 minutes, so be crisp and to the point while answering. Format your answers well and help the examiners to cover more items on this table. Be ready with common instruments, gadgets, charts, and consumables like IOLS.
One last word. Presently the entire scheme of things appears to be Students friendly! You have ample chances to impress the examiners, scoring marks session by session. This is any day better than two major cases carrying hefty marks and you had to present them with all the fear and anxiety with high stakes! So ride the wave well and come out with flying colors. Be yourself. Be composed. Never lose common sense! It is okay to make mistakes( if you can correct it quickly with a sorry). The Golden rule remains that ‘Examiner is always right’. Let your confidence show up on your face. Keep a smile on your face always and the whole thing falls in place.
All the Best!