Special Reports

Kerala Medical Entrance Exam Topper

Muhammed Sabith

Calicut: “I want to join government service. Instead of focusing on earning more, I want people who know me should say only good things about me,” says Muhammed Munavvir, the topper in Kerala State Medical Entrance Examination. Munavvir, a native of the northern district of Kannur, scored full 960 marks in the exam. He topped in one of the much sought after public exams in the state which was attended this year by 116,477 students seeking admission to medical colleges in the state.

Muhammed Munavvir (2nd from right) with his family

The eldest of two children of his parents - his sister Ayisha, an equally talented girl like her brother, passed Xth public exam this year with A+ grade in every subject, Munavvir is a boy next door. Son of a government school teacher, Munavvir did all his schooling at government-run schools. Munavvir’s mother Nadeera teaches at a government school in Kannur at primary level and father Muhammed Ali works as a special village officer in the same district.

The 19-year-old Munavvir says he didn’t think much about his career until his mother suggested medical education during his higher secondary days. He later began attending a coaching centre in Kannur near his home, as many other plus-two students in the science stream do.

Munavvir made his first attempt last year but the result was not good enough to secure him admission to any government medical college in the state. Munavvir then went for another one-year rigorous coaching starting from June last year and eventually emerged as the top ranker this year.

Munavvir says he doesn’t have any ‘big’ dreams. He wishes to study outside Kerala. Apart from Kerala Medical Entrance, Munavvir also attended the NEET. “I am not attending the second NEET exam as I already performed well in the first. I would lose my present marks if I didn’t attend the next exam. I prefer to study at AIIMS or JIPMER,” says Munavvir although Kozhikode Medical College is the top priority in his home state.

He says that support from his parents along with his own hard work were instrumental in his success. “People who influenced me most are no one but my parents,” he says. “Umma (mother) is my first teacher who taught me at class one.” He also remembers his upper primary school teacher Abhilash Sir, whom Munavvir recalls as the “first one who introduced me to the world of general knowledge.” There have been many inspiring teachers at the coaching centre too,” Munavvir adds.

Munavvir thinks that his systematic lifestyle has a role in his achievement. “During the preparation, I used to wake up 5:45 in the morning. The classes would begin at 7:30 and end at 4:30. After returning to the hostel, I study from 8 pm to 12 am and go to the bed. I had the hobby of watching TV but for last one year I watched it rarely,” Munavvir says adding, “Reading is my main hobby and I participate in quiz competitions.”

Munavvir says he expected a good rank in the exam but not to be the top one. “I felt like as if I reached somewhere. It was really an exciting moment. But I was not really shocked with the result. I knew that I wrote the exam very well and expected a good result.” 

Munavvir says he’s a practising Muslim who performs regular prayers like other members in his family.

The top ranker admits that his concentration level is not best and that he needs to work to improve it.

As people flow into his home to congratulate him, Munavvir says he does not really feel comfortable with this “hero” status. “I have a bit uncomfortable feel”, he adds with smile.

Representative of a prominent school in the area had come to invite him for a programme at Deenul Islam Sabha Girls Higher Secondary School which was scheduled to be attended by a former Union minister from the area and Kannur University Vice Chancellor. After the organisers of the event left after telling his father that they would send a vehicle to pick him up, Munavvir says he is thrilled, yet a bit uncomfortable with the sudden publicity coming his way. Every Malayalam newspaper splashed Munavvir’s photo after the results were announced.

Munavvir has an advice for students aspiring to enter prestigious medical colleges: attend the NEET exam without fear! “If you study the plus-two textbooks well, it would help you much. Questions are largely coming from the school syllabus itself,” he says. “Here, I don’t think there is much difference between CBSE and Kerala state board syllabuses. There’s a saying that the entrance exams are tough for those who studied under the state board. But this is not true. And this unnecessarily creates panic among a section of students.”

He also advices his fellow students that preparing with previous exam question papers will also be highly helpful. “I first attended the exam without referring to previous question papers. I studied with notes only and my performance was poor. Many questions being asked are the same ones asked in the previous exams. This is my experience. Therefore, it will be good if you have a good understanding of the questions asked earlier.”   

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 July 2016 on page no. 13

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