NEET Exam - Strategies- What to do on day of Exam?

Enough articles are written for the Dress code and rules during the examination. However, students fail to understand what is expected in the NEET paper and how they need to approach the paper.

Dr. Tushar Vinod Deoras’s research lab under Deoras School of Excellence has done extensive research starting from CBSE paper pattern to the type of questions and examination strategies. Dr. Tushar Vinod Deoras conducts Full/Half-day workshops for the benefit of students and these workshops have resulted in improvement of NEET marks by50-70. Here are some extracts of the Strategies which Dr. Tushar Vinod Deoras explains.

Psychological Aspect: Exam day psychology is very crucial. The 3 hours paper with 180 questions to be solved in 180 minutes poses many challenges for the student. The mental fatigue during examination is far higher than in 12th exam as in NEET every minute you get new question across Physics, Chemistry and Biology which forces you to be alert for 3 hours.
Being Calm and composed during the exam is the key to success. This is easier said than done. Before I take all strategies, let's go through basic facts and answer a few questions.

1. NEET exam is conducted by CBSE with 11th & 12th Syllabus. 11th is most crucial so first revise 11th NCERT properly. Most negative marking is developed from 11th syllabus as students have taken 11th lightly followed by a 1-year gap thereby forgetting the basics. 12th is fine as student studies hard and also just appeared for the 12th exam.
2. The NEET cut-off of 2016 for Open Category was 145 marks out of 720 (20%) and in 2017, 131 marks out of 720(18.2%). So NEET qualification is an easy task. Even if a student gets Zero marks in Physics and Chemistry, the only Biology with 360 marks can get you to qualify if you have studied properly. So relax, NEET is not difficult.
3. In 2017, the student with 131 marks in NEET also could secure admission in India purely on merit without paying any donation. Donation is past and now admissions are easily available on merit. This fact will make you more comfortable addressing the paper with a cool mind rather than tense moments, panic in this highly competitive world.

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 the 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 the 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 mismatch of question number with answer number. Never leave the transfer of answer to answer sheet at the end of the paper. Those are the most stressful moments and chances of errors are high. As you solve, you must transfer the 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 maximize the marks based on the level of studies done in 2 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 waste too much time attempting a question and finally leave it which needs to be addressed. Planning completely missing during the exams. Time Management requires a deep understanding of the paper pattern, the sequence to solve but the 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. i.e 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 the strongest and then follow with Chemistry or Physics. Student feel 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 realize that they are failing to solve Biology also.

Please take 2 more situations during the exam:
a) You start solving the paper in sequence and 1st question of your paper was most difficult. You try, leave and then move to 2nd 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 bad sign as a 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 1st question which was most easy 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 sequence of questions make both feel completely different. You gain confidence when you solve easy questions.

Can we simulate this simple concept?

So the key for the success in NEET exam is to solve “Easy Questions” first across all 3 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. The number of easy questions will vary based upon your preparedness 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 analyze some common factor leading to Negative Marking Trap which should be avoided at any cost:

a) Keeping Target: Student often checks the last year's cut-off and then set target in the exam. According to our research thinking about the target in the exam hall will reduce marks drastically. Students must realize that the strategy in the examination to maximize the marks. Just by thinking does not help anybody. e.g. If a 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 the exam hall, the student becomes panic and sometimes depression comes. In order to meet the 550 marks target, the 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 a large number of students got lower marks in 2nd paper than the first test due to set higher targets in the 2nd exam.
b) Planning: Planning how to solve the questions with a 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% sure of answers.
2. Mid -Level: Students with some efforts can solve. May eliminate 2 answers.
3. Difficult Questions: The student has no clue. Unable to solve.

Every subject will have all these 3 types of questions. The first Planning phase will require students to identify Easy and Mid-level questions across all 3 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 the 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 secs 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 easy question in lesser time. This will ensure a major curb into negative marks leakages.

5. Rough Work: Student’s most neglected area. They do rough work in the shabby unreadable 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 the 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 the 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 realize 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.