by Dr. Shanthi Thomas

Even in the era of information and communication technology revolution, the lure of the medical profession has not waned, at least for the middle class of India. It is no surprise then, that the competition for the limited number of seats in medical colleges in India is fierce. It is equally not surprising that the examination that is the hurdle to pass to get into the medical profession, namely NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) has become one of the toughest exams to crack in India. Conducted by the National Testing Agency, the NEET has become more and more challenging over the years. Yet, students do crack the NEET.  Let us take a look at ways in which this can be done:

1. Know the exam format

NEET or National Eligibility cum Entrance Test has a duration of three hours and is in offline mode. The exam has a total of 180 MCQ questions on Physics, Chemistry, Biology (Botany & Zoology). 4 marks are awarded to each right answer and each wrong answer results in the deduction of one mark. Remarkably, the NEET question paper is set in 8 languages.

2. Know the eligibility to participate in NEET

According to the Health Ministry of India, the upper age limit of NEET has been removed. Thus, any Citizen of India, Non-resident Indians (NRIs), Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and foreign nationals are eligible to appear for NEET 2022 exam right from the age of 17.

3. Know the syllabus of NEET

NEET Syllabus 2022 is vast and comprehensive, and understandably so, since it tests topics taught in the CBSE curriculum of Class 11 and 12 Physics, Biology and Chemistry. The topics include all that is taught in class 11 and 12, but in greater depth. In fact, the topics are so vast that many students take one year off just to prepare for NEET.

4. Know what books to study for NEET

No book can beat the NCERT text book for the three pure sciences. Apart from that, Biology from GRB Bathla’s Publications, Biology by Pradeep’s Publications, Trueman’s Biology (volume 1 and 2) and Objective Biology by Dinesh are all very good preparatory material for the Biology component of the NEET exam. Similarly in Chemistry, besides the NCERT textbook, Organic Chemistry by Morrison and Boyd, Concise Inorganic Chemistry of J.D Lee, Physical Chemistry by O.P Tandon and Modern ABC for Chemistry for class 11 and 12 are good. For Physics, other than the NCERT textbook, Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick and Walker, objective Physics by D.C Pandey, Concepts of Physics by H.C Verma and Problems in General Physics by I. E. Irodov are good preparatory material. Having said that it should be remembered that NCERT text books are the go-to books for NEET preparation as nearly 3/4th of questions asked in NEET are from NCERT. Other books of course can be used as a reference to enhance exam preparation.

5. Know what coaching centres you need to attend

Cracking NEET all by yourself can be a complicated task and therefore, the majority of the students seek help from coaching centres. Coaching centers for NEET have mushroomed all over India, one has to be careful in selecting the right on. First and foremost, the coaching centre has to give you quality content. You can do your own research to find this out or check the notes or books of your seniors who have attended the same centre. Another important matter is individual attention. It is typically difficult to get personal attention in a coaching centre but some do manage to do it. Finally, the top most reason to join a coaching centre is the faculty members. They should be knowledgeable with the right credentials and very experienced.

6. Clearing doubts

It is very important, especially if a student is preparing on his own for NEET, to clear his doubts as and when they arise. Most students turn to online coaching classes for this with satisfying results. Many online classes have round the clock doubt clearing sessions.

7. Mock tests and past year papers

The value of mock examinations and past year papers should be emphasized again and again. The NEET is a time bound exam, and it is very important to gain practice in answering questions fast and accurately. Moreover, mock tests give you an idea of what your strengths are and what you need to improve.

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