Facing NEET neatly

Facing NEET neatly

Any unexpected or drastic change always brings with it some amount of uncertainty, fear and anxiety. Since the government switched over from state-wise entrance exams for medical courses to the common National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in 2013, there has some confusion and apprehension among students. However, it may not be the case this year with many aware of its pattern.

Conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), NEET will be an offline test where students will compete for around 55,000 seats in various medical and dental colleges all over the country, barring a few like All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), who have been given permission by the government to hold their own entrance tests. This test is exclusively for MBBS and BDS. Those seeking
entrance to Indian systems of medicine like Homeopathy and Ayurveda will need to go through their respective state exams.

Applications will be available from the last week of January and will have to be submitted by March. This year, the exam will be held on May 10. The results are expected to be released by the first week of June, and a week later the counselling for allotment of seats will begin. Unlike last year, it is expected that the students will know fairly early about their chances of getting a seat, and hence can plan if they wish to explore other alternative professional courses. It is better that students do not rely on external agencies for any information regarding NEET. Instead, visit their official website, www.neet2018nic.co.in, for any details.

NEET is a three-hour test comprising 180 multiple choice objective type questions, covering the subjects Physics, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology. Each section carries a score of 180 marks, bringing the overall total to 720. Each correct answer will get four marks and each wrong answer will reduce the score by one mark. Hence, it is better not to make wild guesses while answering.

Scoring well

NEET has come as a blessing for candidates who prepare well and are serious about making a career in medicine. Since most Class 12 exams are being held a little early this year, there is approximately one month to prepare exclusively for NEET. If you are passionate about being in the health sector, it is better to focus on NEET.

Though good coaching for NEET is obviously helpful, there are many candidates who study on their own and get a good rank. The trick lies in systematic preparation, giving balanced importance to each subject, and doing periodic revision of chapters you have already studied.

Whether you have been taking coaching, or choose to enrol for crash coaching after Board exams, what is important is to repeatedly sit and write mock exams. While doing so, you can develop essential skills like time management, selection of which questions to answer, and how to stop at times and recollect your thoughts.

Stress also plays an important role in competitive exams, because often there is pressure to complete all the questions within the limited duration. Just slow down just before the exam, have a full night's sleep, eat properly, drink plenty of water and do deep breathing. Cramming at the last moment rarely helps.

On the day of the exam, ensure that you are adhering to the dress code that is available on the website. On this day, it is better to focus on ensuring writing material, entry cards, etc. After coming out of each subject test, do not discuss with friends what the correct answers were, or what is likely to come in the next paper. This only increases the tension. Ensure that you take a break, stretch out, eat well, and casually browse through for the next test.

Whatever happens, do not put all your eggs in one basket by making NEET your one and only goal. Given the statistics of less than 5% of candidates being selected, have a Plan B ready. This should not be a problem as now there are many allied fields in life sciences that are also lucrative, rewarding and interesting.

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