by Khalid Bashir Gura
SRINAGAR: Soft-spoken, Dr Mohsin Raj Mantoo, 27, has added many feathers in his cap as he has topped three national-level Super Speciality exams in NEET, AIIMS, and PGI.
A resident of Dooru, Anantnag, Mantoo’s continues to ascend to excellence started when he passed his twelfth class from Iqbal Memorial Institute, Anantnag where he secured the first rank in the medical stream of his batch. Subsequently, he qualified entrance to Government Medical College, Srinagar in 2010, where he continued to top in his MBBS.
Mantoo completed his mandatory one-year internship in MBBS in January 2017 and then moved to AIIMS in July 2017, where he did his MD in paediatrics. As part of the procedure, he had appeared in the PG entrance examination.
“I appeared in NEET, AIIMS and PGI. I got selected in all three of them. I chose AIIMS where I did my MD in Paediatrics,” Mantoo said. After three years, he finished his MD in July 2020 and subsequently after preparation of a couple of months he appeared in Super Speciality examinations in NEET, AIIMS and PGI. “My choice for Super Speciality was Cardiology,” he said where now he has chosen DM cardiology at AIIMS, New Delhi as he has topped the exam.
“One has to compete with thousands of best medical graduates across the country, so ranking among top 15 has to be a priority,” Mantoo said when asked about a bit of advice for aspirants. “One has to be clear with concepts and willing to study hard.” Once the MD is completed, if the quest is for super speciality, again the candidate has to aim to be among the top. Mantoo admitted these exams are marathons. When asked the amount of time he devoted to preparations, the topper believes that what matters is the quality of preparation. In order to qualify in these exams, one has to have a strong base in nineteen subjects taught in MBBS.
As people in medicine get fewer hours to study, while he was doing MD at AIIMS, Mantoo worked for not less than twelve hours a day. “6-8 hours are of quality time and are enough for any exam. Humanly sixteen hours is impossible,” he said as after finishing his MD, Mantoo devoted himself to books for just three months to top in all three Super-Speciality exams at the national level. “I read a lot but ensured quality.”
When asked about how tough these exams are which he appeared in compared to mother of all exams; the civil services, Mantoo said “I am a student of science and I am not interested in civil services. It is not that one exam is difficult and another is easy,” he said but the books one has to read for the medical exams are professional in nature unlike elementary science or social science in civil services.
Mantoo believes that medical student is tested at multiple levels and it all starts after his finishing higher secondary school i.e. twelfth. “He has to qualify entrance exams to get into medical colleges. Then another filter is done at PG entrance. And then again at DM level,” he said, adding that all levels of filtering are extremely difficult.
Mantoo believes that no one is perfect at everything, and whosoever is in whichever field they should give best.
When asked if his topping the exams consistently is a habit he said, that it is the blessing of Almighty Allah that his hard work came to fruition. “It is every human’s desire to realize his true potential. In order to realize one has to work hard, follow goals, and work on one’s potential, the desired results will manifest in life,” he said.
Mantoo is not using social media. “I stopped using Facebook and deactivated it for more than a year. Every time I opened the social media it will consume time, and those little minutes of distraction at the cost of attention away from my real purpose accumulated over a period of time. Watching other people realize their goals one should not forget their own goals,” he said. Mantoo did not join any coaching centre to prepare for PG entrance or the Super-Speciality. He believes they are not necessary. He believes one has to prepare from books, research papers and most importantly patients.
“Patients are our best books,” he said.
He suggested that the Internet can be useful where one can appear and access mock tests. “Everybody should form a strategy which suits their aptitude.”
Mantoo credits his success to his father; an advocate at District court Anantnag and his mother who is a headteacher, and wife who is also a doctor as they all have been supportive all through his journey.