NEET 2018: The examination comprises of subjects such as zoology and botany under biology, physics and chemistry. Check out dos and don’ts, tips and tricks and things to keep in mind while appearing for the exam.
National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2018 will be held by the Central Board of Secondary on May 6 and by now most candidates must be either practising mock tests or brushing up on their weak chapters. Here are some strategies to help you avoid errors and help you score maximum. NEET exam is conducted by CBSE with 11 and 12 standard syllabus. Class 11 is most crucial so, first revise the NCERT properly. Most negative marking is developed from Class 11 syllabus as students have taken 11th lightly followed by 1 year gap thereby forgetting the basics. Class 12 syllabus should not be a problem for most students.
The NEET cut-off of 2016 for Open Category was 145 marks out of 720 (20 per cent) and in 2017, 131 marks out of 720 (18.2 per cent). So NEET qualification is an easy task. Even if a student gets 0 marks in Physics and Chemistry, only Biology with 360 marks can get you qualify if you have studied properly. In 2017, the student with 131 marks in NEET also could secure admission in India purely on merit.
You must ask yourself these basic questions before you go for the exam.
1. Do you need to solve every question in the Paper?
2. What is the right subject-sequence to solve the paper?
3. How do we plan time-management during exam?
4. What is my target score?
5. Is NEET qualification difficult?
6. Is NEET a lengthy exam? How can I complete NEET paper 15 minutes before the time? Time Management is key for exam as many students despite good studies unable to complete the paper.
7. How can I reduce negative marking? One of the major reason why cut-offs are too low.
8. How do I plan to solve the paper? This is the most neglected area?
Let’s address each point in detail starting from entering the examination hall:
1) Answer sheet: Ensure that you fill all details in the OMR answer sheet properly without any over-writing. These are computer readable so any over-writing may lead to rejection. This is basic but most commonly made mistakes that many students in a hurry could end up a mismatch of question number with answer number. Never leave the transfer of answer to answer sheet at the end of the paper. Those are most stressful moments and chances of errors are high. As you solve, you must transfer answer to questions to which you are confident. Only doubtful questions which you have planned to revisit must be held back. Use question paper as rules to align.
2) Time management: Our objective in the NEET exam is to maximise the marks based on the level of studies done in two years. In view, it is not necessary for students to solve all the questions, make mistakes and get trapped in negative marking. Many students do not understand this basic part and waste time in questions which they could have left.
Students often overspend time attempting a question and finally leave it which needs to be addressed. The planning is completely missing during the exams. Time management requires deep understanding of the paper pattern, the sequence to solve but basic question which I always tell the students is very simple: If you are not solving all questions then you must have additional time available by saving time for un-solved questions, that is, if I solve 150 questions out of 180, I left 30 questions which also mean I have 30 more minutes to solve the paper.
3) Subject sequence: When I ask this question, most students say that they would like to start with Biology being strongest and then follow with Chemistry or Physics. The student feels they can score good marks in Biology. This is biggest mistake student make. Every subject will have some easy, mid-level and difficult question and this applies to Biology also. If this was not so, why cut-off in 2017 was just 131 marks for Biology paper of 360 marks. So students must realise that they are failing to solve Biology also.
Let’s take two more situations during the exam:
a) You start solving the paper in sequence and the first question of your paper was most difficult. You try, leave and then move to the second question and that too was very difficult. What will be your mental stage? You start feeling that the paper is too tough this year and you start getting negative thoughts and depression may crop in. You feel depressed and that is a bad sign as good start is very important.
b) Another student sitting next to you will have same paper but the sequence of questions will be different. He/she gets the first question which was the easiest question of the paper. He/she solves easily and moves to next question to find that it was also easy. Think of mindset of the student. He/she has a positive frame of mind, motivated, gain mental strength, happy, cool and thereby get confidence.
Both students got the same paper but just the sequences of questions make both feel completely different. You gain confidence when you solve easy questions.
Can we simulate this simple concept?
So the key to the success in the NEET exam is to solve “Easy Questions” first across all three sections and never attempt subject sequence-wise. Our analysis shows that student with an average profile can also score up to 400-450 marks easily with just solving easy questions first. A number of easy questions will vary based upon your preparation but qualifying NEET is never in question.
4) Psychology and negative marketing: Psychology and negative marking are always related. Most negative marking arises due to psychological aspects. Let’s analyse some common factor leading to negative marking trap which should be avoided at any cost.
a) Keeping target: Student often check the last year cut-off and then set target in the exam. According to our research thinking about target in exam hall will reduce marks drastically.
Students must realise that the strategy in the examination to maximise the marks. Just by thinking does not help anybody. e.g. If student feels that he/she needs to get 550 marks in NEET in order to get into particular Government colleges and feel that he/she can only solve 500 marks questions in exam hall, the student becomes panic and sometimes depression comes.
In order to meet the 550 marks target, student solves 650 marks questions, trap into negative marking and comes as low as 350 marks. He could have scored 500 is he/she was confident of solving those questions. Your ability to answer question or not depends upon your preparedness and not based on your desire.
In 2016, NEET was conducted twice and large number of students got lower marks in second paper than first test due to setting higher targets in the second exam.
b) Planning: Planning how to solve the questions with the proper sequence is the most important factor for success. The objective is to solve easy questions across 3 subjects first followed by mid-level and difficult questions. Let us define:
1. Easy Questions: Student is 100 per cent sure of answers.
2. Mid -Level: Students with some efforts can solve. May eliminate 2 answers.
3. Difficult Questions: The students have no clue and are unable to solve.
Every subject will have all these three types of questions. The first planning phase will require students to identify easy and mid-level questions across all three subjects. There is no need to start solving the paper as soon as you get but first 10-15 minutes to be given for planning. After identification, solve easy questions from each of 3 subjects. This will boost your confidence as well as most students with decent study can cross 350-400 marks with ease.
After easy questions, mid-level questions to be attempted. In case, you have time, you can revisit the difficult questions at the end or just leave the difficult question.
The objective is not to get negative marking in easy questions as these are sure questions. The chances of negative marking are high in Mid-level and difficult questions at the same time these questions take more time to solve. Students can solve easy question in 30-45 seconds thereby saving time for mid-level question and also spare time for planning easily.
Finding 15 minutes for the Planning is very easy for students who leave more than 15 questions or brilliant students who solve an easy question in lesser time. This will ensure major curb into negative marks leakages.
5. Rough work: Student’s most neglected area. They do rough work in shabby un-readable manner and then waste time. Rough work must be neat and clean with the identification of question number with rough work. If you start working on question and then leave mid-way, you should be able to start solving from that point and not from start again once you revisit. This will avoid wastage of time by duplication. At the end of paper, with limited time such partially solved answers will surely help.
6. Practice: You must take multiple Mock tests to master these strategies. Just knowing strategies does not help. Once you start taking mock tests, you will realise you are able to complete NEET paper 15 minutes before time even after sparing 15 minutes for Planning. NEET official website has 2016 & 2017 actual papers. Please take those tests. Do not depend upon the Coaching class tests as it depends upon the teacher’s capability to design.
The author is Chairman & Managing Director, Astute Career Counselling Academy