eOphtha:Congrats Sabyasachi!! What is the secret of your success?
Sabyasachi:Thank you very much for those kind words. I am humbled. There is no magic formula for success but a combination of hard work, perseverance and a little bit of luck does the trick.
eOphtha:How should one proceed to prepare for the DNB, Ophthalmology exam?
Sabyasachi: The approach to preparing for any examination must be simplistic i.e. what to read and where to read it from and finally How to read everything in a short time. These are the 3 core ingredients that, if planned and executed well, can bring success.
eOphtha:Can you give us a brief idea into these ingredients?
Sabyasachi:The most important consideration is where to read topics. I will give a brief outline of this. It will help students to use these resources and not only expand their knowledge base but also help them apply this to clinical scenarios and thereby improve patient care. There are basically 3 sources of reading:
- Conventional text Books and Journal articles
- Internet-based interactive websites
- Clinical application based books different from textbooks
eOphtha:What are the conventional textbooks and Journal articles to follow?
- Kanski– 7th Edition – excellent for initial basic reading but extremely inadequate for passing the DNB exam
- AAO– American Academy of Ophthalmology series – Precise and concise
- All Major reviews fromSURVEY of OPHTHALMOLOGYJournal (4 issues every year) for comprehensive preparation of the topic covered in the major review.
- DOS Times– Delhi Ophthalmic Society – Read at least the previous 5 years issues
- American Academy – Preferred practice patterns (PPP)– Free download. Provides excellent flowcharts for disease management based on current knowledge. It also has very good tables summarizing and comparing the major clinical trials in a particular field.
- RETINASpecific reading –
- Yannuzzi textbook of Retina and Vitreous for medical Retinal disorders
- Ryan textbook of the retina for Surgical retinal disorders
- Imaging techniques –– Newer Imaging techniques (Textbook) by Dada, Mandal published by Jaypee publishers, Sankara Nethalaya atlas of FFA
- GlaucomaSpecific reading – Shields Textbook and Becker Schaffer
- Corneaspecific reading –
- Smolin and Thoft textbook of Cornea,
- Grayson’s Cornea – provides concise reading but not as comprehensive
- Vajpayee textbook on Keratoplasty – Jaypee publishers
- Uveaspecific reading:
- Uvea textbook by Amod Gupta from PGI, Chandigarh – Jaypee
- Foster – Vitale OR Nussenblatt for additional reading if time permits
- Orbit and Oculoplastyspecific reading
- Jaceobic excellent for Orbital disorders and Proptosis
- LC Dutta – textbook of ophthalmology (Orbit very well given for exam writing)
- Lids and reconstruction – Kanski, Parson’s
- Pediatric Ophthalmologyspecific reading – Khurana, Pradeep Sharma
- Neurophthalmology –Walsh and Hyott Synopsis
eOphtha: How important do you think is the Internet in preparation?
Sabyasachi:I think internet-based learning is a very key issue and often neglected by our students. The websites enlisted below go a long way in helping students bridge the gap between 2 of their best friends i.e. textbooks and patients.
- www.eophtha.com – the best and only interactive Indian website for e-learning
- O.N.E Network – AAO website – Free tutorials, didactic lectures, journal access, teaching videos and lots more
- Ophthalmic hyperguides – Online lectures
- Eyetube.net – Online surgical lectures
- ASCRS – Podcasts.
eOphtha: What are the different Clinical application based books and how are they different from textbooks you used to consult?
Sabyasachi:The clinical application based books are very concise and descriptive. They provide real life like clinical scenarios and help students apply knowledge. However, it’s prudent to read the conventional textbooks first and then the application based books enlisted below:
- Wills Eye manual– carry to clinics every day.
- Rapid Diagnostic seriesfor all sub-specialities
- Ophthalmology Pearls– Janice. A. Gault. MD. Elsevier (Indian reprint 2008)
- Manual of Ocular Diagnosis and Therapy –Deborah Pavan – Langston. 6th edition. Published by Walters Kluwer (India) and Lippincot Williams and Wilkins. Indian reprint in 2008.
- Jack J Kanski – Test Yourself Atlas in Ophthalmology– 3rd edition. Elsevier. Indian reprint 2009
- Common Neuro – Ophthalmic pitfalls. A case-based teaching. Valerie A Purvin and Aki Kawasaki. Cambridge Press (www.cambridge.org). Indian reprint 2009
eOphtha: How to read everything in a short time.. you're advise to students?
Sabyasachi:The tips listed below show how I prepare for all my Exams.
- Divide the available days into smaller periods and decide on deadlines to finish topics.
- Always decide on the main source of reading and then an alternate referral source (more extensive) if time permits
- Formulate an excel sheet with above-mentioned details and revisit it periodically
- If reading a topic from multiple sources, make notes if possible and keep a record of where you have read a topic from
- Refer to exam papers from past exams only in the last 2 months.
- Try to write at least one MOCK EXAM 1 month before the real one.
- While reading for a question, formulate an outline for the answer at the beginning and then expand each point enumerated in the outline at the beginning of the answer
- Remember to prepare for answers in the form of flow charts, comparative tables, and diagrams
eOphtha:How much time do you think one requires serious preparation for this examination?
Sabyasachi:I think it’s very important to be exam-oriented throughout one’s residency. By that I mean, keep collecting valuable resources like review articles, PowerPoint presentations, and books during the entire residency period. Once you have good material to start with, you can read everything in around 6 months and leave 2 months for revision.
eOphtha:What was your strategy for the revision? How many revisions did you do?
Sabyasachi:I did more than 1 revision for the important topics and at least one revision for all other topics over 2 months
eOphtha:What is your opinion about eOphtha?
Sabyasachi:It’s a very innovative website and probably the best website available for Indian students. The material available on the website is ever-evolving and covers a wide array of topics including DNB examinations, fellowship opportunities in India, and excellent academic PowerPoint presentations.
eOphtha:How did your parents; family and friends contribute to your success?
Sabyasachi:I had an amazing support structure. My wife and parents gave me the belief that I could achieve my goals and succeed. If not for them, I would not have achieved as much.