Mechanics of Successful Preparation

We, at (yes, MCQdb is now Achieve.AI), have been reaching new heights in terms of helping our students achieve their goal (getting top ranks in exams). This has been a long uphill journey and it’s only because of the support from our community that we’re able to make such rapid progress. We ask our users for their results & feedback after each year’s exams, and this year is no different. The feedback we got was overwhelmingly positive. We heard stories of new mothers getting a rank they wished; long time doctors who always dreamt about clearing for years, and then using Pre-PG to score a respectable rank to finally become an MD; students who had given up hope but found Pre-PG in the last few months and got a rank in the top 15K; along with several heartwarming stories. We feel fortunate to be a crucial part of the life of so many students who trust us to help them succeed. 

I would also like to share that ~92% of our students who followed through our “Selection Guarantee” program got ranks in top 10,000, and 87% got rank in top 5,000. I’ll pause here a bit because it’s a number that we have never achieved before. For many, this is an opportunity to celebrate, but for us, it is the moment to analyze what went wrong for the 7% of students that did not get expected results. As a part of improving our selection rate, we are making a few changes, and more will follow throughout the year. 

To better understand the process, I’ve listed the preparation guidelines below. 


Successful preparation is all about maximizing learning & retention, but to achieve that, students must follow strict guidelines 

  1. You must work hard; we expect 6 – 12 hrs. preparation for the next 8 – 9 months. 
    1. 6 – 8 hrs. if you are at the top of your MBBS class, 
    2. 8 – 10 hrs. if you’re in the middle, 
    3. 10 – 12 hrs. if you’re at the bottom of the pack. 
  • Remember, no one gets selected without giving a good amount of time, the toppers are preparing 10+ hours per day (they may not admit it). 
  1. Never read books or notes for long periods of time. Instead mix it with practice. General rule of thumb is 50 – 50. i.e., when you read books or notes, spend the same amount of time practicing questions. No reading session should exceed 30 mins., always practice questions on whatever you’ve read in last 30 minutes. 
    1. Without mixed practice, you will retain only 30% of the content. 
    2. Most of the time, students will read only what they know, and they will not focus on the things they don’t (it’s just human nature), and mixing practice with reading will help you focus on the things you missed. 
    3. Most overconfident students will not mix practice with reading notes/books. These students work hard, but in the wrong way. 
  1. Notice the kind of mistakes you’ve made. 
    1. Strong students will only make a few easy mistakes, but they will get stuck on more difficult questions. Use these mistakes to understand what your notes were missing. 
    2. Weaker students will make a lot of mistakes on easy questions. At this point, they should not think about moving to the next topic, instead spend yout time focusing on basics. Most students with a low PrepDNA fall in this bucket. 
    3. Goal is to have more than 90% easy questions correct. If you can’t get easy questions correct, selection is entirely based on luck. 
  • If there are too many careless mistakes, start focusing what kind of careless mistakes you are making and get in the habit of recognizing questions where you are prone to making negligent mistakes. 
  1. Always revise your mistakes until you correct them. There is no point practicing unless you do this. If you do daily revision, Pre-PG will make sure all your mistakes are corrected. 
  1. You should complete at least 5 focused revisions (revision where you also read books/notes) of your weak areas, and 10 fast revisions (mostly through deep revision). Read our full revision guide here.
    1. 60% of revision time should be dedicated to Focused Revision. i.e., students should read though notes and practice questions through the Workout tab (avoid changing filters) 
      1. 60% of this time should be devoted to the weakest 30% of topics/subjects. 
      2. 40% of this time should go towards subjects that have not been revised for the longest time. This requires students to keep track of when they last focus revised a subject. 
      3. Complete 4 – 5 subjects every 2 weeks (2.5 days avg. per subject). 3 subjects from weak areas, 2 from the oldest touched subjects. 
    2. 40% of the time should be spent on revising subjects through “Deep Revision”. All the subjects not touched in focused revision category must be visited every 2 weeks. This typically means, you’re completing deep revision of 1 – 2 subjects each day (1.5 hours per subject of deep revision). 
  1. Take daily tests. 
    1. Best way to measure improvement is with your ranks. 
    2. Makes test-taking second nature, just this aspect will get you 2 – 3% more marks. 
    3. A place to experiment with different strategies which can be validated and perfected over time. 
  1. Make full use of the Second chance feature. 
    1. Before the second attempt, think about what went wrong. 
    2. Students who spend very little time on second chance will most likely not remember their mistake or improve their question reading abilities. 
    3. If second attempt is also incorrect, read notes if you are in focused practice/revision mode. If it’s daily revision session, second attempt mistake is an indicator of not focusing during practice. 
  1. Make use of elimination. 
    1. Any mistakes on eliminated questions helps in pinpointing your weaknesses to our algorithm. 
    2. It helps you recognize incorrect intuitions, just like not knowing easy questions does. 
    3. Will help you get in the habit of automatically eliminating options even if you know the answer, and in the process help you avoid careless mistakes. 
    4. Finally, good elimination allows you to increase your score by 5 – 15%. In most cases, you can eliminate 2 options. 
  1. Only bookmark questions that you really want to revise at the end. No need to bookmark questions that you got wrong, leave revision of wrong attempts to our revision feature, it will do better job. 

Our goal is to make sure we update our PrepDNA and EffortDNA algorithms to reflect these guidelines. Therefore, we’ve updated PrepDNA to index more on learning and EffortDNA to focus more on the right kind of efforts being put in. 

I hope this post helps students in utilizing the tools that we’re providing to the fullest. 

Upcoming features 

One of the biggest missing links with Pre-PG is that we only focus on practice, revision and guidance. We did not focus enough on the aspect of acquiring knowledge. As we’ve learned with our first “Selection Guarantee” batch, this approach is good if students are disciplined enough to give the correct amount of time to notes and practice and are diligent enough to keep track of their mistakes in notes. But for most, they are not reaching their potential because it’s hard to manage this time. 

To address this, Pre-PG is introducing notes. We will be releasing notes over the next few months on our app and as hard copies for students to buy. Most importantly, Pre-PG will automatically highlight notes where you make the most mistakes. This will help us work with students to focus on the right content during focused revisions and achieve better time management. 

We’re also working on “Guided Study Plan”, which will help students make best of the time they have on hand, complete syllabus in a timely fashion and do as many revisions as possible. 

Q & As 

Q. Why is my PrepDNA not improving? 
A. PrepDNA focuses on your learning, if PrepDNA is not improving, then you might be practicing but are most likely not learning. 

Q. How do I improve my PrepDNA? 
A. Follow the above guidelines, and it will certainly improve your PrepDNA. Alternatively, make sure your EffortDNA is 100% on a daily/weekly basis. 

Q. How to make EffortDNA 100%? 
A. Easiest way is to follow Guided Revision extensively. Or keep track of your preparation and follow the above guidelines. 

Q. What’s special about the “Selection Guarantee” program? 
A. The above guidelines will take you close to your goals, but in many cases, we must tweak the guidelines to match your learning style. This is where “Selection Guarantee” fits in. In this program you’ll receive an individualized touch to ensure that your preparation strategy is optimal. You will have access to a coach that will work with you to find what works best for you. Most important aspect of the “Selection Guarantee” program is that if you prepare as we ask you to prepare, we stand behind your selection and offer a full refund. 

Q. Do I need to be premium to follow the guidelines? 
A. It’s possible to follow the guidelines without premium plan but not practical. If you’re not a premium user, you’ll not have access to topic level PrepDNA, EffortDNA and Guided Revision plan. You can still improvise and follow the guidelines by keeping track of everything. 

Q. If I practice all the questions on the platform will I get selected? 
A. Nope, we have seen not seen many students getting selected purely because they attempted all the questions. In fact, we’ve seen a much higher success rate with students who have practiced 30 – 50 thousand questions but with high level of accuracy in revision (over 80% accuracy in revision before exams). Remember, it’s about how many questions you’ve corrected that counts and not how many questions you’ve attempted. 

Closing Thoughts 

At, we only focus on your success, and we sincerely hope that every student makes full use of the resources available on our platform to achieve their goals. 

Best of luck and enjoy the journey.