NEET 2018 Topper Interview: Bihar girl Kalpana Kumari has secured AIR 1 with 99.99 percentile in the country’s biggest medical entrance exam NEET as well as topped the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB). She frequently travelled from her hometown to Delhi to take coaching classes and Kalpana studied for 12-13 hours a day.
Following the guidance of her teachers, Kalpana believed in taking as many mock tests as possible to avoid repeating the mistakes. She wanted to be a doctor from a very early age and right now her aim is to pursue MBBS and then an MS in Cardiology. While Kalpana likes playing badminton, during her preparation days, she only concentrated on her studies. With her dream institution being AIIMS, New Delhi, her second preference will be Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi.
Question: Congratulations on grabbing AIR 1 in NEET and topping the Bihar state board exam. How are you feeling and celebrating your NEET results?
Kalpana: Thank you for your wishes! It was not at all expected. I thought that I will make it to the top 5 but I never expected that I was going to secure AIR 1. After two days of the declaration of NEET result, I got to know that I have also topped the Bihar state board in Class 12 examination. I can’t express it in words. It is just an amazing feeling and I am letting the feeling just seep in.
Question: Tell us something about yourself and your background?
Kalpana: My father is a lecturer at Mahatma Budha Teachers Training College, Sitamarhi and my mother is a teacher in my home district. My brother is studying at IIT, Guwahati and my sister studied at NIT and now she is serving in the defence services. My parents and siblings were always there to give me moral support and each of them had been a great example for me to look up to and achieve my goal.
Question: What motivated you to pursue medicine as a career?
Kalpana: I wanted to become a doctor since I was a child. There are a lot of people in the country who cannot even afford medical treatment. This motivated me to become a doctor and for me, it is not just a profession but a service for the society. My family always supported me even if I didn’t perform well in exams.
Question: What is your overall and subject-wise score in NEET 2018?
Kalpana: My overall score is 691. In Biology, I have scored 360 out of 360, in Physics and Chemistry I have scored 171 and 160 respectively.
Question: Which other medical entrances have you appeared for?
Kalpana: I have appeared for AIIMS and JIPMER. JIPMER was okay but I don’t think AIIMS went that well as the paper was very lengthy. I didn’t realise the time in NEET but for AIIMS I feel I needed more time.
Question: How did you prepare for NEET 2018 and balanced the studies for boards exam and other medical entrances with NEET?
Kalpana: I used to follow Aakash study material, teachers’ notes and that’s it. I was living in Bihar but I have been travelling back and forth from Sheohar to Delhi in these past two years. Whenever I had a doubt, I used to come to Delhi and consulted my teachers at Aakash. I never faced a problem in balancing my studies because I believe we kids don’t have much to do apart from studies. Therefore, I made sure that I study 12-13 hours a day at least. I knew my hard work will help me in overcoming failures.
Question: Which according to you was the toughest and easiest section?
Kalpana: I won’t say tough but Physics was lengthy so I tried to give more time to this section especially to chapters like Rotation. In Chemistry, I focused more on the Organic section, on the other hand, I never faced a difficulty in Biology but you need to give equal time to this section as well since it carries 360 marks.
Question: What are your hobbies? Did you engage in them during the preparations?
Kalpana: I was never into anything in particular apart from studies. The only social media website that I have used was to video call my parents. I like playing Badminton but during my preparation days, I didn’t play it.
Question: Which factors would you attribute this success to?
Kalpana: I believe all the credit goes to my parents and family. They have been there with me in each step of my life and never allowed me to doubt myself.
Question: Any college you have in mind for admission?
Kalpana: My dream institution is AIIMS, New Delhi, but I am not sure about the AIIMS entrance exam results. With NEET, I would like to join Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi.
Question: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
Kalpana: My goal was to score well in NEET. So, I never decided what to do after that besides taking admission in a good college. Although, I believe I will choose MS in Cardiology.
Question: Any message or advice for future medical aspirants?
Kalpana: Work hard as much as you can with full dedication and never lose hope.