Well after you complete your class 10 board examinations, you are often interviewed with this question:
And you are like, “Am I not supposed to decide that after I
take my class 12 board exams?”
That sad part is, you can’t. If you are adamant on pursuing a career of your choice, you should really choose your roads from before. I was a bit late myself in deciding that I seriously wanted to pursue medicine. So here are some things you should keep in mind.
- Subjects you like studying – Just the way it is important that you choose the subject you love, it is equally important that the subject loves you back. For example, you love Physics, but you are not very comfortable with Maths. Be wise. See whether it is easier for you to cope up with the difficulties of the subject or there is a better alternative.
- Choose your stream judiciously – Since you are getting an opportunity to decide on a path among bifurcated roads, make best use of the opportunity. Frankly speaking, I chose the Science stream because I knew that History and English literature aren’t my cup of tea. That isn’t anything to brag about, it was my drawback. My point is, don’t choose the Science stream just for the sake of it. If you want to study English Literature or Law in future, take up subjects like Psychology or Political Science that will actually help you. Of course, if you want to keep options open, the choice is yours.
- Your secret weapon – There will always be that ONE subject in which you know that you are way ahead of the others. That is your weapon. It doesn’t have to be your main subject or most favourite, but it will help you to earn brownie points. For example, Biology was my favourite subject, so was it for a lot of other girls. However I had this specialty in Chemistry, even though I had no intentions of studying it for Honours in college. I used to be well ahead of my adversaries because of this subject, it bridged the gap in marks that were created by Mathematics since that wasn’t my strength as it was for some others.
- Practice, job or research – You must realise whether its research you want to pursue or the job. Yes, you can pursue research work after you complete your MBBS, or MD, but that is only after 6 or 7 years, and after learning things perhaps you don’t need. So decide on your field of preference.
- Give it time – Most people will ask you to join a reputed (read well-known) coaching institute if you just utter the word “doctor” or “IIT” by mistake. I joined the Aakash Institute for my pre-med coaching, but that was only in class 12, after I somehow learned to swim in the sea (that’s a metaphor, where classes below 10 are ‘ponds’ and 10+2 level is considered an ‘ocean’). I did not hurry, I took the time to understand exactly which subjects I needed coaching for, whether self-tutoring or private tuition or coaching centres proved more useful, as per the subject.
- Nothing is “the best” – You have often heard, “Mr. A is THE BEST teacher in this field, if you want to score well you should definitely take tuitions from him.” or “Institute B is THE BEST in the country.” Stop! First see exactly what help you need from a guide. In my case, I gave most of the ‘best’ teachers in my city a miss, because I basically needed someone who would keep me on my toes and provide me with a sound understandable solution to a problem, not someone whose notes I could learn by rote. Make sure the teaching pattern or technique in that centre suits you, otherwise it becomes a waste of time.
- Different strategies – Let’s face it, people. Two years isn’t enough for covering such a vast syllabus, especially when you want to score well in your board examinations and crack your competitives at the same time. Please understand this from the very beginning – you cannot study for your boards and competitive examinations using the same strategy. For boards, the study has to be more theoretical, syllabus and methodology oriented. For entrance exams, you need to be more aware, learn how to solve problems in the shortest and simplest ways and focus on concepts rather than learning huge explanations by heart.
How do I know whether I should study for Medical or Engineering or both?
Start with both. And keep both pre-med and engineering entrances as your target at least for class 11. You may or may not prioritise in class 12. In fact, do not even venture into these clichéd way of looking at things. From the very beginning, study as if you are going to do a PhD on each subject, be it Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry or Biology. As all of us know, Physics and Chemistry are common for both the entrance exams. However, for Maths and Biology, if you have strong convictions against either, you will know in a few months time. Till then, do not decide on anything .
They say that if I don’t join the coaching institutes, I won’t perform well in the entrance exams, is this true?
Let me make it clear to you exactly what these coaching institutes do. Before that, remember, there are some who have got good ranks in the entrances without joining these institutes. So what these coaching centres do is, hand you some nicely compiled materials, question papers set according to the pattern of various competitive exams and trap you for 6 hours at a stretch twice a week. Does that benefit you? You have to choose.
Look, whether you want to join or not, it’s entirely your decision. Some of my batchmates preferred self-study, so they collected the materials and studied at home. I was the kind who would rather pay attention in class than have the patience to study at home. However, I wasn’t dependent on the teachers at the coaching institute. I diligently followed classes, cleared doubts, but at the same time I took a lot of help from online sources – be it study material, clearing doubts, getting pdf files or viewing question papers.
The wise man with no name once said:
“It is more important to choose the right goals before aiming to reach them.”
So, remember, it is not the career of your parents or your siblings or your relatives that you are going to choose. It is YOUR career, make a wise move. Do not get worried if you think you have taken a wrong decision at first, there is plenty of time to rectify and work on the good parts of your decision.