NOTICE for AKUites

Notice for AKUites

All students from AKU who wish to help their juniors clear the rigorous AKU admission process are encouraged to submit a written piece about their AKU interview/test experience at! We are sure the readers (prospective AKUites) would love to have your contribution on this blog.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mayera Tufail's AKU Interview Experience

Mayera Tufail (a very amazing person) is from the Batch of 2018 and this post contains her recollection about her AKU interviews.


My first AKU interview was with Dr. Maria Andrades, she was really polite and asked the routine questions. Like, tell me about yourself?
How would you examine a male patient? (DRE digital rectal exam is their favourite)
To which you answer that you would take informed consent (that requires telling the patient what the procedure requires you to do) and then take consent along with keeping a male chaperon (attending or a nurse) nearby to make the patient comfortable.

Next, she asked me about the social and economic problems of Pakistan.
I mentioned female illiteracy. So, she wanted me to tell that what have I done at grass root level to help the cause and how I educated my maids. I replied that mass media is a better way to reach out to them.

Oh yeah, when they ask you your weaknesses be sure to call them your areas of improvement. This session lasted for 35 minutes to be exact. So, nothing out of the usual.


(This interview was bilingual; english and urdu.)

My second interview was something of a roller coaster! Dr Asad jamil, chairman of the department of surgery, was the interviewer.  His office was in the community health centre. So, when an administrative employee escorted me to his office I read all the signboards along the way, scared of a rumour from my friend that her sister was asked which ward she had passed and in which department was she sitting. I was not asked that but you can never be too careful. Always ask for your interviewer’s name if you don't get it the first time, and refer to them by their name for the rest of the interview; Dr. so and so.

Well, soon the the intimidating interview started.

Dr Asad: Tell me about yourself?
(This question boosted my morale. I told myself: Yeah Mayera, you can ace it. This will just be like the one before like you practiced. So, I went on with the usual.)
But then, Dr Asad stopped me in the middle.
Dr Asad: So, you mentioned you have been to three different schools uptil now. How has each of them impacted your personality?
Me: (Yikes! what the hell? This was not a routine, well one can expect anything in an AKU interview after all. I took a millisecond to understand this and then started)
Mama Parsi was a very strict school, marks would be subtracted from our daily report for every small mistake we made (I did not quite like it there but don't ever say anything negative about your school), if we were late for assignments, if we talked in class or interrupted the teacher. It made me very disciplined in life, taught me time management skills and very proper behavior. I learnt to respect my seniors and my teachers.
St. Joseph Convent, well, it was a missionary school. Much less strict than my previous school. Teachers taught us for a monthly salary of a thousand rupees. Education was virtually free. Teachers just came in to teach us in hope for seeing a better future for Pakistan, they instilled in us a deep sense of patriotism.
Dr Asad: In a country where almost everyone reads their prayers and is religious yet corruption is the highest. People still break the traffic signal. My driver has a beard, he reads the Qur'an and yet he breaks the signal. They take to the streets like crazy on 14th august yet no one is honest to the country. Do you think with this type of people in Pakistan there is hope for our country?
Me: (This conversation was heading in uncharted territories but I had to speak with passion.)
I think there is hope for the country. I am optimistic and optimism pays off. My teachers taught me that even if there is one good fish in the ocean, everything will work out. We all have to learn to see the light in the darkest of places. We all have to work.
Dr Asad: How are you going to convince others? With these people I have to keep a guard because my money and my life is not safe; political violence, target killing, drones.Is Pakistan heading into its darkest era?
Me: You have to be passionate, dedicated and obstinate to achieve your goals. I told him that one night my street light was left on during the day, I called KESC to come and close it because I felt electricity was being wasted. I bugged them so much that they had to come in the end to close the light. They said I was insane but so be it. When I went to get my equivalence made, there were agents yet I still stood in the line to reach the end of it. As long as there are people like you and I, I am positive that together we will save Pakistan.
Dr Asad: Girls leave during or after MBBS, they do not contribute to the work force. Most of our students leave us to settle in the US and they never come back. I feel that as a teacher they disrespect me because I trained them and made them what they are today but they just leave. We have put our entire lives for the service of the country. My son lives in the US, I can’t convince him to come back as the water shortage and increased crime rates bother him. How do I convince him to come back?
Me: (The entire time I was listening carefully.) Dr Asad, I told you that I am very patriotic. I will never leave my country and never forget what it gave me; my childhood, my memories and everything. I will give back to my country.
Dr Asad: How are you different? Because, what you said, everybody says it for the sake of getting an admission.
Me: (This question gave me the creeps. How could I make him read my mind, suggest him to give me a truth serum, I think they exist, or use a time machine? I took a deep breath and spoke with a dedicated tone.)
Dr Asad, I cannot give you any guarantee at this moment but 10 years from now I will come to tell you that I have fulfilled my promise.

He, to my utmost relief, understood me and moved on (Well, sort of)

Dr Asad: Exactly why do you think people don’t have values anymore?
Me: The world has become materialistic. None of the grandkids have the opportunity to live in an extended family. Those who do, don’t interact with their grandparents. Gadgets like television and smart phones have widened the generation gap. No one listens to their grandparents' stories; what they experienced during the partition of Pakistan and why was this country created. We have not seen the harsh times.
Dr Asad: Haan ab tum logon ka waqt hai hum ne umar gava di ab tum log is mulk ko bachao*

Just then the personal assistant came to my rescue “sir ab ka patient so and so wait kar rahe hai**”
And then, Dr Asad had to cut the interview short  from his expected time. (Yaaaay!)

Dr Asad: This debate beta can last for an eternity, we'll debate more on this but if you say so then there still might be hope for our country.

Then, he asked me if I had any questions.

Me: Yeah. I saw a video about AKU that computer software simulators are used to train AKU residents for real life crisis situations. Is that technology available for my course ?
Dr Asad: Yes, it is.

Too happy to be done with the interview, I came out and switched my mobile on. To my surprise, my second interview lasted for one and a half hour. It was exhausting but it was an awesome experience. Don’t freak out due to the length of your interview, they can be short or long. Keep the conversation interesting and don’t ever look at your watch during the interview; it shows you are distracted. And yeah, just be sure to take out your mobile's battery even when you have to take it. (you can never be too sure about the untimely alarms!) Of course, this is only for those mobiles that power the alarms despite being switched off.

Best of luck! And be prepared for an apocalypse.
Kidding. Stay Cool B)


From the AKU Challenge Team: We hope that the interview experiences posted at this blog help you with AKU preparation. Drop in an email or comment below regarding this interview or any other queries.

Read Sohaib's Interview here.
Read Lubaina's Interview here.
Read guidelines for AKU Interviews here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Lubaina's First AKU Interview

What did they tell me?
-They told me to be 'Out of the Odd' when I sit for an interview,
-They told me to show the 'spark' that I have which makes me different,
-They also told be to be original, no matter how many interview experiences I listen to or how many times I rehearse the best possible answers, I was NOT TO COPY; I was to get the idea, let it sink in and learn from the interviews of others.

Well, that's what they told me and I am telling the same to you. Read the interviews posted at The AKU Challenge but do not, for even a fraction of second, think about copying the answers because those answers won't be you, they'll be us (Sohaib, Alizeh and I)...

P.S. I won't be going into the lengthy details of the interview, will be writing the prominent questions down only. Despite that, I know this is going to be a VERY long blogpost.

You can read Sohaib's AKU Interview Experience here.
Guideline for AKU Interviews can be found here.


First Interviewer: A Paediatric Cardiologist
Level of Nerves: Not Very High
Thoughts: I can do this!
Duration of this interview: 45-50 minutes

Lubaina, this is a different name. What does it mean?
It means Strong (The interviewer looked up for explanation)
I continued: Like a tiny strong brick that supports the other bricks to keep the wall strong and standing.

I was then asked about the jobs of my parents.
I answered accordingly. (Yes, you should know about the qualifications and professional specifics of your parents)

What do you like to do in your free time?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Introduction to Alizeh's preparation experience.

Greetings, prospective medical students, fellow bloggers, and everybody else!

My name is Alizeh Abbas and I am really excited about contributing to this blog.
Exactly a year ago, I was in my room, staring at the midterm exams schedule in front of me, and trust me when I say that it did stare right back at me.
The second year of A level started with the much awaited CIE results, first term passed in the blink of an eye, and, before we knew it, arrived the time of discussions regarding university applications, tests, interviews, and requirements, including SAT exams and the likes.
I distinctly remember what it was like thinking about preparing for the AKU test, not knowing exactly where to start from, and trying to maintain a healthy balance between curriculum and extra-curricular activities (for most of us).
During those moments of chai refills, determination, anxiety, hard work, and exhilaration, there was one thing I was certain of, and that was this:
When I am done with all of this and have finally been admitted to the medical school of my choice, I shall help those who are still trying to find their way to success and need guidance, assistance and, many times, just a little push in the correct direction.
On making it to Aga Khan University Class of 2018, I was looking for a way to do what I had promised myself, when I thought of contributing to this blog. Now, here I amthanks to the very kind Sohaib Qadri who agreed to let me co-author ittrying to make a difference in the lives of those who have dreams they want to live and goals they want to achieve. 
I have been working on some pieces to answer most of the queries that many of you may have:
- AKU paper pattern and time management;
- Difference between preparation pattern for A level and intermediate students;
- Importance of SAT I AND II exams;
- Importance of a strong ECA profile;
- Community service and internships;
- Emphasis on one's achievements in the interviews without flaunting; and
- A timeline to help you plan your preparation schedule.
If any of you have anything else in mind, please don't hesitate to let us know.

This shall be it for now. I will be back with more posts.
Happy studying and preparing! Best of luck.

- Alizeh Abbas.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sohaib's AKU interview!

Before i start, please keep in mind 3 things:

1) This is not a marking-scheme/answers-bank. Everyone's interview is unique and simply copying what other people said would not be the best idea. Just make sure whatever you say in the interview is true and really makes your personality shine in front of the interviewer.
2) This post became longer than I had initially expected. But i'm sure this recollection will give you a nice feel of the interview.

3) Always remember: be calm, be prepared, and be confident (like a boss!) [leikin ziada over bhi nahin].



Preparing yourself before the interview is essential. That is in fact, something i learned just a few days before my interview date. Receiving an AKU test score of 85.21%, which was the highest in St. Pats Alhumdulillah, i became a bit over-confident with regards to the interview, almost thinking it doesn't even matter now. Fortunately, one of my seniors took a mock interview of me a few days before the actual event and that REALLY got me down to earth; making me realize i HAVE to PLAN myself.

The night before the interview, i took 2 pieces of paper and started writing. I mapped all the achievements i wanted to talk about during the interview and wrote/thought-out my own answers to the most common questions (like those mentioned in the AKU Interview - Guidelines post). This also made me ready for some of the rather tough questions like 'what are your weaknesses?'.

Interview day:

Dressed in a black pant with black socks and black dress shoes, i contrasted by wearing a striped white shirt with a black tie (oh and the tie had several thin ECG lines forming hearts on the front. Was a funny one indeed. Borrowed it from a senior in 013). Having been lectured several times by my (awesome) teacher Dr. Afshan Latif, to have a GOOD BODY LANGUAGE, i walked my tall figure with a straight back and confident posture to the Sports center where i was to have my first interview.

Monday, November 11, 2013

AKU Interview - Guidelines

General Overview

After you've received the letter stating that you've cleared the AKU Admission Test, you'll be called in for an interview. Each candidates sits down for Two Interviews. Each one can range anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. It's very rare that an interview is prolonged beyond an hour. There is one interviewer in each interview (I had always imagined myself being interviewed by a panel of AKU interviewers, don't now where that thought came from)

Also, keep in mind that an interview has two parts to it. One part is what you can prepare for, it includes a few common questions and lies. While, the other part is what you are to beware of, not in a scary way though, as the interviewer might pic up any topic to discuss with you.

Before anything else: Just be yourself.

How to prepare?

Firstly, keep in mind that you have been called for an interview because AKU wants to know about YOU.

Secondly, dress elegantly; not too lavishly nor too informally. Many guys wear suits but my schoolfellows were advised to wear a dress shirt with pants. As for the ladies, mostly go for the eastern look, a long shirt with chooridar or trousers would do. Some do choose a western attire, well, if you're confident with that then it's fine. Anything that would say, "Oh, I'm just me" :)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Another Contributor

Hey guys,

I was looking for a place to post my experience regarding the 'AKU Challenge' and all the other admission mania (in hopes of doing something for the 'greater good', perhaps) when a couple of AKU Seniors from AKU's Class of 2017  trolled us Juniors (The ones from Class of 2018) at Facebook; the details of the troll are a story for another blog though.

During all that trolling I found out that a senior, Sohaib Qadri, runs this blog. I asked him if I could contribute. He agreed. And, here I am. I could have started my own blog but during the time I was surfing online for help and guidance regarding the AKU test, interview and the likes I was unable to find a blog that had EVERYTHING. Thus, I decided to contribute to an already existing blog so that the ones who plan on applying to AKU have just one place that acts as a complete guide for them.

Hope this blog helps you out. Ask any questions regarding AKU's admission procedure and feel free to point out any specific areas that you need help with so that the new posts can be focused on those.

This shall be it for now. Cheers.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Holidays at AKU

This is just a side note.
Today im enjoying one of those rare holidays you get as a student in AKU.
Its Kashmir Day!
AKU has a policy of following federal holidays only (apart from 3 weeks of summer vacations in June and 2-4 weeks in November). It wont ever call off university due to a provincial holiday (aam tateel) in case of hartaal, strikes, bomb blasts, killings, or anything of the sort. So be ready to see burning tyres and rioting mobs on your way to AKU on such days when your younger siblings/cousins may be enjoying at home due to the tense situation of Karachi, where as and you still have to make your way to AKU no matter what. But this issue is only faced by the karichi-ites, ofcourse. The hostilites are already in AKU and have nothing to worry about. But its all good, Alhumdulillah. Makes me relish these federal holiodays even more. I literally have long weekends now! haha, makes you feel all grown up.

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