15 Tips to Help you Excel at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal


MBBS at Manipal isn’t quite like any other degrees, so forget about attending classes for two hours a day and submitting homework once a week like in high school. Learning begins at the molecular level – about the anatomical structures, the physiological aspects and the biochemistry of the body in year one, and ends with the macroscopic – a real person who is sick and needs treatment, stat. A medical student’s head is filled with dogma from the start – that you cannot and will not be judged by the standards of others – whether that be academic endeavour, constraints on your time, or professional behaviour.

Whatever you have heard about KMC, Manipal and KMC, Mangalore is probably true. MBBS is a very time-intensive degree and one that will increasingly be a huge financial ask for students given the rise in tuition fees.

Every clinical case you take, every anatomical region you dissect, every class you attend at KMC, Manipal is a source of knowledge and an experience you need to file away for use later in your professional career.

These are the 15 Tips that will help you excel at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal/Mangalore.

15. Sleep

Medical Student Sleep

During my MBBS days, I would notice many of my classmates studying even when they were completely exhausted and drained. This never made any sense to me! If I found myself reading something over and over and still wouldn’t get it, I put the books away and went to bed.

No good comes from studying late at night when you’re half-sleeping already and then the next morning you won’t be able to concentrate because you didn’t sleep much the night before. Don’t be counter-productive!

14. Learn what medicine is all about.

Medical Student Reading

Don’t just stick to textbooks! This is the biggest mistake you’ll make as a Medical student at Manipal. Read journal articles or medical blogs about topics that interest you. Yeah, it’s more reading, but those articles are only a few pages, will hopefully be more enjoyable, and will help bring together all the facts that you are learning to show you how to apply them. Also, use an educational service that offers great assistance with a wide variety of complex topics like upper extremity anatomy. There’s a big difference between “book sense” and “common sense.” You need both to succeed.

13. You’re not a doctor.

Medical Student outside college

Don’t act like one. I see students of KMC going around, in their aprons and a stethoscope around their necks, Manipal and even in Udupi. You’re making a fool of yourself doing so. Not only is it disrespecting to your colleagues and teachers, it is also demeaning to your college.

12. Purchase USMLE Step-1 First Aid book during your first year.

USMLE First Aid 2013

This is not on the recommended books list for any of the courses/subjects at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal/Mangalore. However, it is something that will help you organise your notes and reading material and will come in handy later when you prepare for your USMLE (if you are inclined towards it).

Do not make this book your primary source of reference, but use it as a supplementary to the recommended course books. Overall, it’s a good investment to make.

11. Enjoy your last summer as much as possible.

Enjoying before college

You think that the board exams/high school years were tough. Med school is tougher. So enjoy the break you get before you begin your life at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal. Med school lectures can change on the fly, and you may spend hours learning a biochemical pathway that the professor will never ask you about on the exam. Just enjoy your summer, because it’s the last chance you’ll have to have fun for two months without thinking about studying.

10. Choose a Mentor to help you navigate Medical College

Mentor - Student

Whether it be study tips, finding the right balance between studying and rest, identifying research opportunities, planning on your future specialization or an opportunity to study a part of the course abroad, choosing the right mentor or guide would be the first step in tapping in to your hidden potential.

There are endless benefits to forming such a relationship which may last years, no matter what your original reasons for searching out a mentor.

  • Mentors offer you an opportunity to interact with senior colleagues
  • Mentors expose you to people who are inspiring and motivating
  • Mentors give you a chance to learn about the environment you will enter into the future (clinical/research)
  • Mentors allow you to get career guidance in the short and long-term
  • Mentors foster interest and involvement in mutually beneficial research projects
  • Mentors introduce you to academic and clinical networking opportunities

An ideal Mentor should be able to guide you through the rough and tough aspect that studying at Manipal is. As Kahlil Gibran reminds us “the teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.”

09. Being in Medical College is a privilege


“There is no cure for death” – This was a statement made on my first day by a senior professor of Anatomy during my first day of MBBS.

During my second year, I lost my grandfather to Tuberculosis. From that day on, my inclination towards the medical field encompassed a deep-rooted devotion and earnestness that keeps me occupied to the present. This event made me realize that someday, I might be taking care of someone’s father, mother, uncle or sister.

As you enter the world of Manipal, remember that it is only for a privileged few. Among the thousands and thousands of students who aspire to be doctors, you’re one among the handful who’ve got the opportunity to study medicine in a top-rated brilliant college that is Kasturba Medical College.  You will be honoured so long as you uphold the traditions of this profession! It is not a business, it is a calling and a life of caring.

08. Everyone has something to teach you

Everyone teaches us something

Possible mentors and teachers can be found everywhere and anywhere. Everyone you meet at the hospital or in your college has something they could teach you–a skill, a bit of wisdom, or a personal secret to success. All you have to do is look for it and ask plenty of questions. So whether it be a patient, a senior nurse or a technician, do not waste the opportunity to get a new skill during your training program.

Most of all, respect that each patient has something of value to offer, something that will be useful for another of your patients down the line in a few years. If you can’t find one “feather” to pluck from someone, you’re not looking hard enough.

07. What helped you succeed in college is likely to be different than the knowledge, attitudes and skills you need to excel in Kasturba Medical College, Manipal


Being admitted to medical school is tough, so if you’re a medical student, chances are you do well in high school. However, the study methods that helped you be a successful student at that point in your life may not translate well in med school. Why? Because of the sheer volume and pace with which you are required to learn the material.

They say that Medical College is a job and you should treat it as such. Well, that’s all and good, except the job is much more intense than a 9 to 5. Before starting MBBS, I had heard that I might have to study 6 hours a day. I didn’t really believe it and I didn’t think I could ever do that. Well, I ended up studying harder than I ever thought I could.

 06. Be Humble

Be humble

Every day we go through a thousand different experiences, When you come to Manipal and especially at Medical college in Manipal, the experiences will be multiplied manifold. Exposure to emotional outbursts from your colleagues, professors, patients and their relatives, plus the pressure from your family can make you cultivate a “hardness of heart” and make it difficult for you to help someone out.

What makes it hard is that to keep our hearts from getting hard, we have to retain some humility.

To be humble is also to be open. When you know you don’t have all the answers, you can be more sensitive to new information. That means it’s easier to change your mind. To be flexible. You need to be humble at Med school so that you can understand the mistakes you make. Because after all, it’s a life that you’re holding in your hands at the end of the day.

05. Study Hard – for your patients

College Student Studying in Library

Turn off your internet connection. Shut down your computer. Don’t even take it with you.

Stop checking your e-mail messages on your phone. Don’t take it with you, either.

We didn’t have “smartphones” when I was in medical school, so I didn’t have to worry about that distraction.

Study every single day — being a good student requires developing good study habits. As clichéd as this is, it is really, really important as a med student. There is a huge volume of material being presented, and it is very easy to fall behind. Even if you can’t study every single day, try to read at least a bit when you can. Medicine is a high-volume course that progresses and builds on complex concepts. These concepts are then applied to your patients, who, look up to you to help them in their moments of pain and vulnerability.

The more you study, the more detailed your analysis of a patient will be and the better you will be at alleviating their problems.

04. Listen emphatically

listen emphatically

Empathic listening (also called active listening or reflective listening) is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding and trust. One-sided persuasion is not sustainable and is often insulting, especially to a patient who is in pain and distress.

As a med student, one of the first things I was taught upon entering our clinical years, is to be empathetic to my patients. Put yourselves in the shoes of another person and practice effective listening. As clichéd as this may sound, it is a patient’s trust in their doctors’ ability, that helps in improving the outcome as much as 50% of the time.

03. Have Respect


  • Your teachers: No two teachers are the same. Their knowledge and skillsets may be different. It does not mean that either of them is good or bad. What may work for you may not work for others in your group. Respect the teachers and try to inculcate the positives from them.
  • Your Classmates: Treating your classmates the way you want to be treated by them is paramount in our field. If you cannot respect your colleagues, you will soon be missing out on a lot of stuff that could be very important to you.
  • Your patients: This goes without saying. They are the ones from whom you learn what it is to be a doctor. Take the utmost care when speaking and listening to them and you will surely turn out to be a success.

02. Find your own balance


Don’t compare yourself to your classmates at medical college. Most medical students have type-A personalities and are, in some fashion, competitive. A streak of competitiveness isn’t all that bad, isn’t it the same competitiveness that brought you to med school in the first place?

However, this competitive nature may backfire when you begin comparing yourself to your peers. Frankly, each of us has our own methods of going about things, it is important that you focus on what works for you and balance your study hours according to your needs and demands.

01. Have Fun in Medical College

Medical College Meme

Enjoy what you are doing — if you find yourself getting bored while you study, stop. Take a break, and think of a way to make what you are studying interesting, whether that is by turning it into a game, making it interactive, more visual, or even reading interesting case reports online of a related disease.

In my recent article, The Twenty Mistakes you Don’t want to make during your Manipal Days…, I mentioned that “A life of partying, weed and pretty much having that YOLO attitude will leave you flat on your ass”. This doesn’t mean that you at Kasturba Medical College shouldn’t have any fun at all!!

As one of the commentators on that article rightly pointed out, it’s okay to let your hair down once in a while so long as you know your responsibilities. You can have a life outside of Kasturba Medical College. Many medical students do community service work, play intramural sports, go to the gym, socialize, etc. The key factor is knowing how to manage your time wisely and studying efficiently so that you can set aside some time to do the things you enjoy.

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