Setting Up the Stage - Orientation Guide for Firstullas (2014-19)

Setting Up the Stage
Orientation Guide for Firstullas (2014-19)

By: Muhammad Mohsin Ali Dynamo
[currently standing on the bridge between first and second year]

There are people who get into KEMU. And then there are people who don’t. No one resents it, except perhaps your great-grand-khala whose daughter hasn’t made it. And you can count on her to come up with something like this *add acrimonious voice*:
“It’s just a milestone, not the ultimate goal.”

KEMU is one of Pakistan’s most esteemed medical institutions (apart from the mossy stairs, the decaying buildings and the new auditorium which has been under construction since the time of Haman), and it is indeed a special privilege that you made it here. It’s not without reason that we call ourselves “crème de la crème”. And when a professor chimes it in the class as well, you realize that you’ve achieved something.
But that is the catch. You’ve made it here, cool. So far, so good. It’s when you dress something pretty for your first day and return home (if you can) in the most disheveled state possible, that you realize life is not all snug and cozy.
Now, I know this orientation guide is a bit late in the coming, and the sole reason is the much-stereotyped horror: prof. At the root of a great many evils, prof is the reason why firstullas haven’t enjoyed the full fruits of ragging. And it’s the reason why we’re going to guide you after you’re done with your cell module.
First things first.


It seems snazzy when you find yourself in a class of 300 intellectuals of the finest quality, and you know you stand in-line with them. After all, it’s not every day that you wake up and find you’ve made it to KEMU. At first, you’re confused how to act: proud, cocksure or simply awed? There are all sorts that fill up the audi: bored thetas who have already studied all the lectures and are thinking about signing up for USMLE electives; loud, chattering girls (who, for a reason that has never been really understood, tend to move in giggling groups); hard-fighters with roguish smiles seemingly carved on their faces, who have gone through “it” (whatever that might be) and are ready to take on anyone and everyone; meek newbies, who don’t have a medical soul in their family tree and are blissfully unaware of what medicine entails; smart nerds, who speak louder in terms of actions; and finally, the odd person who doesn’t fit in any category but has still managed to make it here.

And while you’re contemplating over how weird life can get, some seniors grab you and intrude (a bit rudely, it must be said) in your contemplation. Before you realize it, you’re being whisked off to Zero Point (no spoilers if you still don’t know where it is and why you must avoid it). And hence starts the enjoyable experience (for us, at least :D) that people know as ragging.

Now ragging has been stereotyped quite a lot. Personally, I think you just need to chill out and enjoy it. Those seniors are going to stay with you for the next five years of your life, so there is no need to mess up with them. Plus, they’ll help you A LOT. You will find that out during prof, when all your friends have gone into momentary isolation. Ragging is not as bad as it looks. It teaches you some very important things, one of which is manners. But then, it has a darker aspect, which nearly everyone dislikes. So try to use your common sense when someone is ragging you. As far as it is fun, enjoy it. If it takes on a censored note, take a stand. There’s no need to get all paranoid.

Now, moving on to the next chapter.



You might think pigeons as cute and amazing birds, with magnetoception and other bodaciously awesome qualities. Well, there is more than that to them. Pigeons here are one of the essential things you'll experience. Say, you're sitting under the shade of a tree, gazing at any idyllic scene (though those are few) when suddenly, POOP! and you are left cursing and trying to find a source of water. And that is what generations of Kemcolians will always tell you.  


There are all sorts of indoor and outdoor games here at KEMU. Guys can play cricket or football or whatever they like in the big Patiala ground anytime. Everyone can also play tennis, table tennis, volleyball and badminton in the boys’ hostel.
Indoor games are best enjoyed in the Business (or Facility) center, which is that cool little place near Anatomy. You can bring your own Chessboard, or Ludo, or Monopoly, or whatever, and enjoy to your full.
Sports week is organized during March, and includes Theme day, Color Day, Fun Fair and loads of other exciting events. If you really want to enjoy your stay at KEMU, DO NOT miss the sports week. It’s essential that you attend it if you intend to imbibe the true Kemcolian spirit. There are Gymkhana events, and indoor games as well, including something exclusively for all the gamers out there (no spoilers!)


You may, or may not join a society (you know you’re not doing it right if you don’t join one), but you MUST attend the events. Organized by some legendary people (some of which will be your own dark-horse classmates) for all and sundry, these events will show you the real charms of KEMU.
Kicking off with KAC’s heart-warming “Make a Dream”, these events whisk past as fast as pics in an album. You will love Lights of Hope, Bake Sale, Annual BaitBaazi, APICS, Intra and Inter-Collegiate Declamation and Parliamentary Debates, and many other events, including Annual Dramatics, where acting reaches a new acme, and is redefined in the light of human psychosocial experience.

Class Groups

You must have joined your class group by now. Now there are some general rules about class groups, which you should know.
1.       Try to upload any notes, videos or stuff you find useful in your class group. This isn’t FSc, where there is a strict competition for the strongest ratta. Help others, and when the time comes (prof), you will find help coming from quarters you previously didn’t know existed.
2.       Avoid political discussion. It leads to needless fights, and no one is amused.
3.       Respect the opinion of others.
4.       If you are listening to a song, or eating MoongPhali, or simply lying in bed gazing at your ceiling (an entertaining act, I confess), there is ABSOLUTELY no need to shout about it in your class. You have you own Facebook wall for a reason. Use that.

Novels and Movies 

You have spent two years living in a hole: now emerge out of it. Enjoy your life at KEMU, especially your holidays. Watch some seasons, especially those related to medicine, like House. Watch movies. Read novels, especially the Harry Potter series (if you haven’t already read it). There are some seriously amazing novels out there related to medical life by Robert Cook. Utilize the spare time you get this way.


Ah, the word is so beautiful, so charmant, so panache. Holidays mean fun, right? And food and friends and a lot of sleep.
Sadly, not exactly. Holidays at KEMU are more of utilizing your time in the best way possible. You need to catch up on your study stuff, watch movies, hang out with friends, and do everything during a period that runs towards completion, dammit. What should be your policy? Well, I’ll leave you to figure out that yourself. I have no intention of becoming Dale Carnegie and selling self-help books in the future, both distant and near.


Societies are the best part at KEMU. But here's the catch: I don't want to tell you everything right now. Voices in my head tell me to keep that bit hanging in mid-air. So stay tuned!

Hostel Life

For girls, everything you need to know about hostel life has been briefed by our GR Lubaba here:

For boys, your dorm life will be made easier after reading this handy guide:


It's not only okay, it's legit to avoid all these fellows, as they will take the sunshine and butterflies from your life by bombarding you with their "depressors". So BEWARE!


And even after that. 
Food is love, food is life. The sad thing is, there are no snazzy restaurants around kemu. The only thing is Al-Kareem, Qasr-e-Shirin and Mohkam. And that "Burger King" outside the Bus-Stand-gate. Trust me, a time will come when you will find a cone bought outside Neela Gumbad better than a magnum bought from a mall. 

Let’s turn over a new leaf now.


This, guys and gals, is what I’m sure you have been waiting for impatiently. I mean, come on, don’t deny it. All sorts of people make up this world, but only the most “khapti” ones (in matters of studying) come to KEMU. Your cell module is done with and over. Just chill a bit. There’s no need to study for at least a week. Let the happiness sink in before anatomy comes.
So here is a general overview: there are 3 main subjects for you firstullas: Anatomy, Physiology and Biochem. In the modules, you might have experienced the occasional (not-so-much) lectures of Molecular Biology, Pathology, Pharmacology and whatnot. Well, here’s the catch: those lecs are only restricted to the module. Their main purpose is to help you understand the proper applications of what you learn in your basic subjects. One more thing: there’s a commonplace term, “clinicals”. This just refers to the aspects of your basic sciences which you actually get to see in Wards and clinics. They are not something out of this world. Bear that in mind.
Now for the actual stuff. There are going to be three modules, one each for Cell, Respiration and CVS in that order. In modules you will study anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of the respective topic ONLY. Plus, you will have some lectures from Medicine, Surgery, Pathology, Pharmacology and Radiology. These lectures are only meant to enhance your grip over clinical aspects of basic themes. So don’t fret over them. No one will kill you with death-stares if you don’t study Robbins’. You are not supposed to do that. Just stick to your basic subjects and you’ll do fine.
In between modules, you will have intramodullary blocks, during which everything will be mumble jumble. Say, you will be reading Upper Limb in Anatomy, Proteins in Biochemistry and Blood in Physiology. So everything is going to be sorta disorganized. But here’s the good thing: you won’t have those lecs of Medicine, Pathology etc. Plus, you won’t have a combined module test at the end.
So now, a little bit about each subject individually.


In anatomy, you will have four things:
a.       Gross Anatomy
b.      Histology
c.       Embryology
d.      General Anatomy
I hope I don’t need to explain what these are.
Here are the recommended books and the not-recommended books :D

Gross Anatomy


BD Chaurasia’s Anatomy (personally, I’m not inclined in its favor, but BD is indispensable if you want to pass your exam)
Clinically Oriented Anatomy by KLM—this book is AWESOME. The main thing to do from here is clinical anatomy.
Netter’s Atlas of Anatomy—you will need this for spotting on cadavers, as well as reinforcing your knowledge. It’s not really essential that you use Netter’s, you can use McMinn’s Atlas, or Gray’s atlas as well.

Last’s Anatomy, Regional and Applied—you don’t really need this book. Some teachers do consult this book, and they might ask you a question from it in a substage or a stage. So just go through it once if you have the time after reading BD. It is not really useful for Profs.
Gray’s Anatomy for Students—Again, this book is wonderful when it comes to diagrams, but a total mishap when you study everything from it. However, the clinical cases at the end of each chapter are excellent and you should read them if you want a good explanation. It’s not a favorite for prof prep.
Snell’s Anatomy—This book is not good as far as basic anatomy goes. However, the clinical boxes in it are good, and if you want to build up on your knowledge of clinical anatomy after reading KLM, you should give them a read.



Liaq Hussain’s Histology—Most of you have been studying it already. Although it gives more explanation than you really require, most students prefer it because it’s simple.
Di Fiore’s Atlas of Histology—do not buy it. I repeat, do not buy it. You can issue a copy from the library and use it forever. This Atlas is great when it comes to drawing the diagrams in your histology notebooks.


Junqueira’s Basic Histology—this is an EXCELLENT book. It’s the one preferred by Maam Mahjabeen, and it’s pretty good when it comes to explaining concepts. But it has just a few details which you don’t really require. In fact, you have a choice: either read Liaq Hussain or Junqueira.


Wheater’s Histology—it is a good book, but not really for first year students. You might need it in second year though.
Ross’s Histology—this is purely a REFERENCE book. You will not need it in the first place. Even if you do, just download a copy and give it a brief look.


There are two basic books
KLM’s Clinically Oriented Embryology
Langman’s Embryology
You can study either of these, and it won’t affect your score much. There are a few topics, which are best done from either book, but your seniors will tell you that when the time comes.

General Anatomy

GA by Tassaduq Hussain—this is the main book that you should use for GA. It’s going to be enough for you guys.
GA by Liaq Hussain—a good book, but the only thing of note is the diagrams. Otherwise, Tassaduq is best.

Review and MCQ Books

Friends’ Yellow MCQS—they are good, but not immaculate.
Anatomy MCQs by Bhatnagar and Roy S. Choudhry—this is an excellent book which you must have to solve MCQs.
BRS Anatomy—this is a good book, but you only need to do the MCQ given at the end.


In gross anatomy, you will study three regions: Upper Limb, Lower Limb and Thorax. Each region is further divided into three or four sub-parts. Once you read each sub-part, you will have an exam called a substage. In a substage, you’ll only have a viva in which you’ll be marked out of 100.
Once you study all sub-parts, you will have a composite exam called a STAGE. This extends for three days: one for written exam, one for spotting and radiographs and one for viva.
For histo and GA, you will have a short test after your March break. This is easy peasy.
For embryo, you may or may not have a test. So chill out.


You will study the following things in Physiology: Cell, Nerve and Muscle, Blood, Respiration, Body Temperature Regulation, Heart, and Circulation. Out of these, you have studied cell and will study Respiration, Heart and Circulation in the Modules. The rest will be taught in Intramodullary block.
Physiology Lectures be Like...



Guyton’s Medical Physiology—Guyton is going to be your constant, bedside companion for the next two years. Nuff said.


Ganong’s Physiology—this is a high-yield book, and a very good one. It just delves into too many details, so you don’t really need to study it except for some topics.
Sembulingam’s Medical Physiology by JAYPEE—again, a good local book, which many students prefer over Guyton. I admit that it has some good topics, but it’s not the ideal book out there. Still, if you just want to pass the exam, read this one.


Sherwood’s Physiology—some teachers have read it, but that doesn’t mean you need to do so as well.
Vander’s Medical Physiology
Rhoades Medical Physiology
Berne and Levy Physiology


Boron and Boulpaep’s Physiology—it goes into too many details, so use it only as a reference. Again don’t buy it, just download it.

Review Books

BRS Physiology—the best physiology review book out there. It’s concise, to-the-point, and really great. Plus, the MCQs given at the end come in prof and send up exams.
BRS Physiology Cases and Problems—another excellent book, which will help you get the hang of clinical scenarios.
Firdaus’ Physiology—I am not sure, but I’ve heard it’s another excellent book for revision and review. It doesn’t have any mcqs though.
Mini Guyton—It’s like Guyton with all the extra stuff removed. You can use it for revision.
Guyton Physiology MCQ review—don’t use this one, as MCQs from it rarely come in your exams.

For physiology, you will have tests comprising mcqs and short questions. One thing: you need to pass all physio tests. This is because the current HOD is perhaps the only one who focuses A LOT on internal assessment. If you have passed all tests, well and good. If not, steel yourself for a bisti program.


You will study the following topics here: Physiochemical Principles, Carbohydrates, Proteins, Lipids, Enzymes, Plasma Proteins, Oxidative Phosphorylation, Vitamins, Minerals, GIT, Nucleotides, Acid-Base Balance, Eicosanoids, Water and Electrolyte balance.



Mushtaq Biochemistry Vol. 1 & 2—Mushtaq is for biochem as Guyton is for physio. It’s hell essential.
Lippincott’s Biochemistry—this is another must have.


Hashmi’s Biochemistry—you need to do only the end of chapter mcqs from it. And prepare a few topics like plasma proteins from this book.
Satyanarayana Biochemistry—a good book, but you only need to do minerals from here.

Faiq’s Biochemistry—it’s a concise summary of Mushtaq, ideal for quick revision.

Harper’s Biochemistry—I was surprised to know some firstullas have actually read this. Whatever happens, Harper’s is and remains a reference book. Do not use it for basic study.
Chatterjea Biochemistry—it is not even relatable to you guys. So don't waste time and money over this.

You will have tests after each topic i.e. carbohydrates, proteins etc. Tests include only SEQs and LEQs.


You’ll have practical classes per schedule. Try to attend the ones for histology at all costs, and try to make diagrams while you’re in class.
Make your copies neat and clean and get them checked.
Your practical exam will consist of three portions: Written, Performance and Viva. In histo practical exam you will only need to identify some slides and draw diagram for one major slide. The rest you'll learn when you get there.

All the important stuff regarding studies is regularly uploaded here at the first year page on Kemunited. Try to keep track as you’ll find a lot here, including important questions, past papers, video and animation links and a lot more.

The Closing Line

Always remember that the main purpose of your stay in med school is to become a proper “human” as well as a doctor. Respect your seniors, as respect begets respect.
Enjoy as much as you can, because at the end of the year, you realize that studying is not the only thing out there. There’s much more to KEMU than some people realize.
And finally, remember the aunty-acid remark: You have achieved something, but it’s only a milestone, not the ultimate goal.


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