Art & Science of Entrance Exams | Dr Praveen Tripathi | TEDxSCBMCH | Summary and Q&A

September 25, 2023
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Art & Science of Entrance Exams | Dr Praveen Tripathi | TEDxSCBMCH


Medical students face perpetual dissatisfaction despite achievements due to constant pursuit of the next academic goal.

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Key Insights

  • 😷 The pursuit of academic excellence often leads medical students to a state of perpetual dissatisfaction despite accomplishments.
  • 🔉 Choosing authentic role models, such as senior colleagues, over social media personas, is crucial for realistic expectations and motivation.
  • 🧠 Visualization serves as a powerful motivational tool by tricking the brain into feeling satisfaction from imagined achievements.
  • 😷 Perseverance in the face of self-doubt and difficult thoughts is vital for success in the medical field.
  • 🥶 Applying the "10-year-old sibling rule" can help detach from overwhelming problems and offer simple solutions.
  • 🏑 Developing a genuine love for one's subject, through reading textbooks and academic materials, is key to success in the medical field.
  • 🍦 Soft skills, such as empathy and communication, are crucial for becoming a successful clinician beyond academic achievements.


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Questions & Answers

Q: Why do medical students struggle with perpetual dissatisfaction despite achieving academic success?

Medical students obsess over the next academic goal, such as getting into a prestigious specialty, leading to a cycle of unsatisfaction and the constant pursuit of higher achievements.

Q: How do role models impact the satisfaction and success of medical students?

Choosing role models wisely, preferably among seniors and mentors, is crucial to avoid unrealistic expectations and feelings of inadequacy in comparison to YouTube or social media personalities.

Q: Why is visualization considered a powerful motivational technique for medical students?

Visualization taps into the brain's response to imagination, tricking it into feeling the same satisfaction as if the achieved goal was real, providing motivation to take action towards academic success.

Q: Why is perseverance essential for medical students, and how can they cultivate it?

Perseverance is equivalent to taking tasks to completion, and mastering the art of responding to self-doubt and difficult thoughts is crucial in maintaining motivation and success in the medical field.


In this video, the speaker discusses the preoccupation of medical students with the next step in their career and why doctors are often unsatisfied. He explains the neurobiological reason behind this and the importance of doing something worthwhile and challenging to activate the brain's reward pathway. The speaker also explores the role of role models and emphasizes the need to choose them wisely, highlighting the importance of personal connections and knowing someone's journey. Additionally, visualization is discussed as a powerful motivational technique that can trick the brain into responding as if the desired outcome has already been achieved. The speaker also addresses the need for perseverance and the art of responding to self-talk in a positive and empowering way. The concept of the "10 year old sibling rule" is introduced as a method to gain perspective and find solutions when feeling overwhelmed. The video concludes with a reminder to prioritize a love for the subject, rely less on willpower, and not judge oneself solely based on exam performance but on the development of important soft skills for becoming a successful clinician.

Questions & Answers

Q: Why are medical students often preoccupied with the next step in their career?

Medical students are often preoccupied with the next step in their career because the desire to progress and get into a good college or branch consumes most of their time. It is an ongoing cycle of wanting to move forward and reach the next level of achievement.

Q: Why do doctors continue seeking more despite already being in a prestigious position?

Doctors continue seeking more because the brain's reward pathway plays a role in their dissatisfaction. The brain releases dopamine, the "reward" chemical, only when they do something worthwhile and challenging. Therefore, doctors constantly strive for more difficult tasks and opportunities to trigger the release of dopamine and feel satisfied.

Q: Why is it important to choose role models carefully?

It is essential to choose role models wisely because we often look up to people we see on platforms like YouTube without truly knowing their journey. By choosing role models who are personally known, such as seniors in college, students can better relate to their experiences and gain a more accurate understanding of what it takes to succeed.

Q: How can visualization be a powerful motivational technique?

Visualization is a strong motivational tool because the brain responds similarly to imagined scenarios as it does to reality. By closing one's eyes and visualizing the achievement of a goal or any motivating situation, the brain reacts as if it has already been accomplished, boosting motivation and encouraging action.

Q: What is the difference between positive and negative reinforcement?

Positive reinforcement is when one wants to repeat a behavior because the consequence of that behavior is positive. For example, studying for a certain period and then rewarding oneself with a treat like chocolate. On the other hand, negative reinforcement is when one increases a behavior to avoid a negative or painful consequence. For instance, studying to avoid feelings of frustration or inadequacy.

Q: How can responding to thoughts help in maintaining motivation?

Responding to thoughts, especially negative ones, plays a crucial role in maintaining motivation. By challenging negative thoughts with positive affirmations or logical arguments, one can avoid losing motivation and falling into self-doubt. The art of responding to oneself in a proper and empowering way can redirect thoughts and dictate positive behavior.

Q: What is the "10 year old sibling rule"?

The "10 year old sibling rule" is a technique borrowed from cognitive behavioral therapy that helps individuals find solutions when they feel stuck or overwhelmed. By detaching oneself from the problem and imagining advising a 10-year-old sibling facing the same issue, a fresh perspective emerges, making it easier to find a clear answer or solution.

Q: Why shouldn't one solely rely on willpower?

Willpower alone is not effective because forcing the brain to do something does not work well. It is important not to solely rely on willpower but to make the difficult behavior or task less accessible or challenging. By creating an environment that supports the desired behavior, one can overcome the limitations of relying solely on willpower.

Q: How does falling in love with a subject contribute to success in the medical field?

Falling in love with a subject is crucial for success in the medical field as it enhances motivation, engagement, and dedication. Professors and successful practitioners in the field have a common attribute of loving their branch or specialty. Love for the subject can be fostered through reading inspiring textbooks and avoiding over-reliance on videos and notes.

Q: Why is it important not to solely judge oneself based on exam performance?

Exam performance is only one aspect of becoming a successful clinician. Soft skills, such as empathy, communication, and building trust with patients, are equally important. While exams may test certain skills like studying for long periods and memorization, they do not necessarily reflect one's potential as a good doctor. The final target should be focused on becoming a proficient clinician, not solely on exam results.


This video highlights the preoccupation of medical students with the next step in their career and the constant pursuit of satisfaction. It explores the neurobiological aspect of the brain's reward pathway and emphasizes the importance of engaging in worthwhile and challenging tasks. Choosing role models carefully, using visualization as a motivational tool, and responding to self-talk positively are all strategies discussed to maintain motivation and resilience. The "10 year old sibling rule" serves as a technique for gaining perspective and finding solutions when feeling overwhelmed. Avoiding excessive reliance on willpower, falling in love with the subject, and recognizing the importance of soft skills are all crucial for success in the medical field. Finally, it is emphasized that exam performance is not the sole determinant of one's potential as a great clinician.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Medical students face relentless preoccupation with achieving the next academic milestone, leading to dissatisfaction.

  • The neurobiological basis of satisfaction involves achieving difficult tasks, fueling the perpetual pursuit of higher goals.

  • Role models, visualization, and perseverance are essential tools for success and satisfaction in the medical field.

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