Residency Study Plan

Dr. Tanya Jain, MBBS, DNB, FICO
  • Dr. Tanya Jain is currently working as a Vitreo-Retina Fellow at Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, New Delhi.
  • She completed her MBBS from Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore and went on to pursue DNB Ophthalmology from Sadguru Netra Chikitsalaya, Chirakoot. 
  • She is an active reviewer for the European Journal of Ophthalmology and Associate Editor of Retina Special Issue of YO Times.
1. Start preparation form the beginning!
  • I was a person who used to make my notes. So I had a bunch of topic wise notes which I made during 1st and 2nd year itself and I used to keep adding stuff into it whenever we used to have a class on that topic or if there was a recent advance in that topic or if we had a faculty lecture. 
  • So to make those notes in my 1st year I used to choose one topic a day of a case I saw and I used to make notes of that from good and standard books and by the end of second year I had my notes for everything. 
  • Also I had notes of collections as well. For example I made a page for all genetic disorders (so whenever I would read one, I would add it, and by the end of my residency I had a huge list). Similarly for scientists in ophthalmology, DDs, Stains etc. So in the end you don’t have to waste time finding all this stuff out. 
  • I also recommend solving MCQs as reading only theory could be boring. 
  • I gave all 3 steps of ICO in the 3 respective years of my residency and hence I had a motivation of doing MCQs.
2. Right books set you on the right path!
  • I did not follow 1 book for any speciality. I used a combination of books and articles. 
  • Kanski is Basic! One has to read it and see it again and again (If you wish to make a base book – There is nothing better than it), It’s best to see a case and read it, and learn it. So, one case a day also takes you a long way.
  • Retina – Kanski, Ryan and Review articles 
  • Cornea – Krachmer and Jakobiec
  • Oculoplasty – Jakobiec and review articles (Algorithms for surgical management from Collins) 
  • Glaucoma – Schaffer’s 
  • Paediatric – I only read the handbook by Kenneth – Wright along with Kanski (It was my weak area but I think this worked pretty well)
  • Cataract – Articles 
  • Anatomy and Physiology – Khurana 
  • Refraction and Optics – Elkington and Khurana 
  • I would like to emphasize the role of these review articles in IJO. They are very good and comprehensive! It takes hard work but you wouldn’t miss anything in that topic.
3. Right balance between residency and study plan!
  • I would say diligently working in the OPD, following up your patients and asking questions will help you develop an acumen for the subject.
  • It wouldn’t take you much time to read (As you already know the clinical features, treatment etc, all you need to read is the ethology!).
  • I think MCQs also helped me a lot as it refined my preparation. (But it’s totally up to the candidate as it is not a part of the examinations). Also paying more attention to the previously asked questions helps.
  • Working in the clinics never goes in vain, so the more you would think of it as hectic, it would become impossible to stick to your plan.
  • I used to study one case a day in my 1st and 2nd year and hence my notes were ready by the time my exam arrived. 
4. Do not panic before the exams!
  • Revision is only required for the basic sciences and optics and the some theoretical topics.
  • What is seen in clinics can easily be reproduced in the exams which is easily 60-70% of the portion. 
  • I used to study for 10-12 hours a day. And give 2 hours for revision. Discussing with senior fellows or colleagues and teaching juniors also helped me a lot.
5. Theory exam tips!
  • I made a format to write all my answers.
  • For clinical questions – History, incidence, definition, etiopathogenesis, symptoms and signs, anterior segment findings, fundus examination, sequelae, investigations, treatment, prognosis and recent advances.
  • For Investigations/Instruments – Indications, optics, Uses, Contraindications, recent advances.
  • This makes writing answers easy and comprehensive.
6. Practical exam tips!
  • Diligently seeing patients in the OPD and following them us is the key. The examiners usually don’t ask you about the case you took. They judge your approach towards the patient. 
  • Pay extra attention to investigations. Discuss with colleagues. Try to read out the investigations and speak as if in an exam. 
  • Presenting as many cases as possible not necessarily only to consultants, batchmates or fellows can also equally help. 
  • Don’t mess up the basics. Even if you mess up the recent advances you will not fail. Parsons/ Kanski is considered as a decent source of definitions/basic clinical stuff.
  • Take all the instruments as not having the same shall not be construed as a reason for not having done an examination.