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Can a Foreign Medical Graduate thrive in NEET-PG?

Our hearts are with our children from Ukraine.

-          Dr. Deepti Bahl &Dr Sumer Sethi

Directors, DAMS

(1500 words, 7.5 minutes read)


1.       Acknowledge how far you’ve come

2.       Dealing with self-doubts

3.       Redefine your goals

4.       How to prepare for NEXT

5.       How DAMS can help


Being from a private institute, is there any chance of securing a government PG seat?”

This is a question that plagues the minds of most foreign medical graduates, because the insecurities that were seeded into his head by NEET-UG ranks have continued to fester and grow.


Acknowledge how far you have come

Whenever self-doubt plagues your mind, the first thing we should do is: remember how far you have come. Acknowledge your struggles of moving to a foreign land, all by yourself, at impressionable ages of mere 17-20 years. It is definitely not easy to be ousted from your comfort zones, forego families, friends and everything that you’ve ever known. To balance studies alongside your responsibilities that come with living abjectly alone in a strange land- only adds to the huge burden that was already weighing you down. So, hats off to each one of you, because reaching to this height has not been easy. Yet you persevered and pulled through with your grit and diligence. That is both commendable and admirable! Never forget that!

Remember- If you can reach till here, then you can soar high to any length you wish to. The sky is your limit!


Yes, you can do it!

Am I capable enough to secure a government PG seat?

This self-doubt is not exclusive to foreign medical graduates. It is omnipresent and we all feel it at some point of life or the other. So, you have to tell yourself, that you’re not less than anybody. This is your life, and only you can determine how far you want to go. Don’t give that power to anyone else to judge you. Yes, we all have some flaws, but you are no different than any of your colleagues, whether Indian or foreign. Striving towards getting better every day, and seeking perfection is all we can do to be recognise our dreams.

Ekbar private se kiya, toh government college kabhi nahin hoga,

NEET-UG mein rank nahin aaya, toh kabhi achcha rank nahin aayega…”

Extricate this thought from your head just like Dumbledore from Harry Potter and toss it in the wastebin.  

Because this is FAR from the truth! DAMS alone has been a witness to countless FMG students not only getting through these exams, but have even thrived and shined in them with some securing postgraduation seats in AIIMS and other coveted institutions.

A few examples:

·       AIIMS RANK-125 Journey as a foreign medical graduate Dr. Milind Shinde (interview available on DAMS YouTube channel)

Dr. Milind Shinde, a foreign medical graduate from Russia, not only clears FMGE, but works hard, sheds all his self-doubts and goes on to securing an incredible rank of 125 in AIIMS examinations. He says, once he cleared his MCI examination, all he thought was “I have to study in AIIMS one day.” Even though a lot of people told him “Its not possible for an FMG to study in AIIMS,” he shut all of them up by seeing it through. “Sometimes you have to dream for the moon, only then you can reach the stars,” he says, with a glisten and grit in his eyes.


·       Dr. Gagan Deep Rank-88 AIIMS MAY 2016 -Foreign Medical Graduate to AIIMS PG (interview available on DAMS YouTube channel)

Another FMG from Russia and a regular batch student at DAMS, he says “I just used to follow the schedule given in DAMS.” With his determination and hard work, the journey from Russia to AIIMS was surely long and tedious, but if he could overcome it, ask yourself: why can’t you?


·       Dr Asha Ahuja, Foreign Medical Graduate to MS Obs-Gynae PGIMS Rohtak (interview available on DAMS YouTube channel)

This proud DAMSONIAN did her MBBS from Ukraine. A true beacon of hope to everyone who thinks an FMG cannot make it to a clinical branch in a good institute. Each one of you can and will make this happen just like Asha has done!


So, tell yourself “The fact that I’m studying in a private medical college or I am a foreign medical graduate has nothing to do with my success in future. It doesn’t mean that I can’t be more successful.”

You’re a doctor/ going to be a doctor! A position that is coveted by millions of people. So, you have already achieved a huge milestone in your life and you should be proud of it.


Redefine your goals

If we don’t even dare to dream, how can we make it happen?

Irrespective of where your journey started, your aim should not be to only clear the FMG Examination. Change your thought process from aiming only for FMGE to realising that FMGE is just a door to clearing NEET PG. NEET PG is the target. FMGE is merely the path to it. Once we broaden our horizon, we will stop compromising on our dreams. Instead of dwelling on only those topics that are important for FMGE, go that one extra mile by studying from standard text books and a few lines extra to keep you at par with other NEET PG aspirants.

Whether FMGE or NEET PG, remember it is only a stepping stone. If we shift our perspectives from viewing it as a hard exam -> to it being as a gateway that leads you to myriad prospects- then I think the exam will seem less of daunting task.

Also, ditch those backup plans. Tell yourself: It’s NEET PG or nothing. Because in some ways, keeping a safety net only allows you to make room for the possibilities of failures.   


How to prepare for up-coming NEXT examination?

FMGE has been somewhat easier than NEET PG. But both the examinations will soon be replaced by NEXT which will not only give license to practise in India, but will also determine your rank to secure post graduate seats. Hence, needless to say, NEXT is going to be tougher, so even procuring a license to practise in India will emerge to be a huge point of concern for FMGs.

But if you inspect closer, over the last 2-3 years, you will see the transition has already been taking place. Along with one-liners, now most of the questions have become more clinically oriented with short histories/ images. The NEXT examination will nothing but be an extrapolation to what the current FMGE and NEET PG are already doing.

1.       Start well in time so that you don’t have to run in the end

NEXT examination will take place in 2 or 3 phases

ü  NEXT 1: at the end of 2nd year.

ü  NEXT 2: at the end of final year.

Starting early is imperative to success. If we don’t invest time right from the beginning, in the end we have to hurry up and frantically search for short cuts. For example, “I can’t complete this entire thing, so let me just ask my senior what are the important topics to study.” 

2.       Be consistent

If a huge daunting task awaits us, it is wise to break it up into small pieces and do it consistently. The marathon of NEET PG will require persistence, perseverance and if you start well, half the battle is won.

3.       A directed study

Instead of focussing on the quantity and duration of study, study with a clear direction right from the beginning. Even if you’re studying 3 hours in a day, studying standard materials will help you make sure that there is no gap in the knowledge between you and your Indian colleagues.

ü  Content should be concise and high yield

o   Cutting something short but still high yield is “concise” material

o   Only cutting short, but not making sure its high yield, will decrease your probability of doing well

ü  Content should help you be at par with Indian graduates: use standard books as much as possible.

It is no secret that standard books are difficult to understand. If you’re not being able to do it on your own, it is completely okay to ask and take help in various formats. This is where mentors, teachers and faculties come in. We teach the same standard text books but in a language that’s easier to understand so that you can write them in our way, retain it and reproduce it in the exams. 


How DAMS can help: WhatsApp +91 98996 64533 for further info

Key takeaways:

·       Give yourself credit for leaving everything behind to study your dream subject in a foreign land

·       the journey from FMG to NEET PG is surely long and tedious, but if one person can overcome it, ask yourself: why can’t you?

·       Dream bigger and make NEET PG your target instead of thinking about just clearing FMGE

·       Start early with a directed approach

·       Consistency is key to ace any exam

·       DAMS can help with LIVE interactive tuition classes/ test series by giving you concise high yield information in palatable format

Can a Foreign Medical Graduate thrive in NEET-PG? Reviewed by Sumer Sethi on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 Rating: 5

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