Dr. Sikandar M. Shaikh, DMRD, DNB, EDiR, MNAMS, FICR (DNB examiner) and Dr. Niharika Prasad MD FRCR guide you with 'Helpful Tips for the MD/DNB/DMRD Radiology Exam Preparation'.
DNB (Diplomate of National Board) is a course conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NBE). DNB is recognised by Medical Council of India. There are two types of the DNB Radiodiagnosis courses - Primary and Secondary. Primary DNB is of three years and secondary DNB is of two years. There are specific recognised hospitals and Institutes which run DNB courses in India. The admission to DNB Radiodiagnosis course is based on the NEET score. There are specific criteria laid down for admission and for the curriculum.
After securing a good score in the NEET exam, candidates are eligible for counselling. Subsequently, DNB Institute or Hospital is allotted to candidates according to the merit list. After joining the allotted institute/hospital, the residency starts for primary and secondary DNB candidates. Based on the DNB guidelines, various postings are allotted to the residents:
Every institute has fixed durations of postings as per the NBE guidelines, however some flexibility will be there according to the requirement and functioning of the department. All modalities shall be covered during this residency tenure. If due to some reasons this is not done, then you have the option of rotation to a tertiary centre having that modality like PET-CT and allied modality like Nuclear Medicine
The teaching pattern also will be in the following order : Radiological physics, Positioning in conventional radiology, then system-wise teaching all the body systems.
Formative assessment tests or FAT are conducted every year by different institutes in major cities for theory and practical exams.NBE also conducts online teaching programmes and provides study materials which will be available in CDs in every institutes.
Many CMEs and Conferences are conducted from time to time in India, most of which are resident oriented with focussed targeted teaching. With the current ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the conference scene has shifted to a ‘Webinar-based’ teaching pattern. Daily/weekly webinars are conducted on a plethora of topics which can be assessed from any smart-device either for free or for an affordable price.
There are also numerous dedicated Telegram groups for residents which help provide guidance for free. Many teaching channels are active on YouTube and other paying portals, which teach residents basic concepts with tutorials and case-based discussions.
Most International Radiological societies have regular resident education programmes with specialised modules that train them to crack international exams like FRCR & EDiR.
Radiology can be studied by two approaches – sub-specialty wise books and general radiology books.
General radiology books have all sub-specialty chapters in 2 or more volumes and usually cover the subject in a “something from everything” manner.
Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology (Adam et al) and Textbook of Radiology and Imaging (David Sutton) are two books commonly followed for general studies.
Read our detailed list and analysis of ‘Recommended Radiology Books’.
The importance of regularly reading articles from recognised Radiology journals cannot be emphasized enough. I suggest all residents and practicing radiologists to inculcate a habit of referring to Radiology journal articles for exams and daily problem solving. The recommended Radiology Journals are :
With the expanding internet, we have been provided the boon of accessing case-based teaching material from all over the world. This is something our previous generation of radiologists did not have, unfortunately. This provides us a great opportunity to access and learn cases from all over the world and not be limited by the relatively sparse number of cases in the books we currently own.
DNB final examination is held two times in the year (June and December). This DNB exam is divided in Theory and Practical exams.
Theory exam is usually scheduled on second Saturday and Sunday in June and December. After passing the theory exam, Practical exam shall be held. There are three attempts to appear for practical exam after passing the theory exam. If candidate fails in third attempt, then candidate has to write the theory exam again.
Theory exam is divided into four papers: Paper I, II, III and IV
(These is the sequence of imaging findings if specific imaging modality finding is not asked.)
The preparation of practical DNB exam is mostly based on the spotters, case presentations and viva discussions. More the number of case presentations you do in practice, more the confidence you attain. The background knowledge is also important for any case along with the approach, specially during the discussion with the examiners.
You should provide the key differentials, unless it is an Aunt Minnie case. Here, the more common differentials need to be mentioned first followed by the least common cases. Avoid mentioning the irrelevant differentials as this shall only lead to excess cross-questioning and might divert the discussion from your case.
Answering spotters need to be precise and fast. Attempt all spotters.
The new pattern of exam also comprises total 300 marks. It is divided into 2 parts as follows:
PART 1 : 200 marks - CENTRALISED EXAM for 2 and half hour duration which will be held simultaneously Pan India on same date and same time. The answer sheet shall be given to each candidate where you are supposed to write your name and roll number. The exam is conducted in an examination hall where all the candidates can be accommodated.
There shall be a large LCD screen, where questions shall be projected. The questions will be on Physics, all modalities, clinical questions as well as imaging questions.
PART 2: After this entire process of uploading the answer sheets of the first part, the second part begins:
|100 marks at Centre as follows -|
|• 40 marks table viva – four examiners each examiner 10 marks, 5 min each station per candidate|
|~ LUNCH ~|
|• VIVA 60 marks, 2 stations with two examiners each, 30 minutes viva at each station|
|= Thus, total 200 marks for CENTRALISED EXAM and 100 marks at CENTRE – Grand Total 300 marks.|
* THESIS OR DESSERTATION NEEDS TO BE SUBMITTED SIX MONTHS BEFORE THE EXAM. The acceptance/revision/rejection will be communicated and accordingly the changes to be done before timeline. This should be carried during the exam.
Department logbook needs to be completed and should be carried during exam. This logbook will have the mention of the name of candidate as well as the training period.
This should also include the following:
Lastly, I would suggest all residents to study well, study well in advance and keep up your heads high. You have entered this profession by your merit and you are good enough to pass this exam. Win!
Author: Dr. Sikandar M. Shaikh, DMRD, DNB, EDiR, MNAMS, FICR , Consultant PET-CT & Radiology. Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, India.
Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology, Shadan Institute of Medical Sciences. Hyderabad. India.
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, IIT, Hyderabad.
Author of the book ‘PET-CT in Infection and Inflammation’
'You have to make it a Priority to make your Priorities a Priority.'
'Failing to plan is planning to fail.'
'Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.'
Most importantly- ‘Do not panic!’ It is just an exam and confidence is more important than you might think. Radiology seats are usually opted by the top rankers, so you already have what it takes!
Best of luck!
Author: Dr. Niharika Prasad M.D FRCR is currently an Assistant Professor & Fellow in Musculoskeletal Imaging at Dr.D.Y.Patil Medical College, Hospital & Research Center, Pune, India.