I know you’re too busy preparing for your next entrance exam therefore I am not planning to waste your time by typing down an introduction to this article. Let’s get straight to the point.
Reading too many resources
We don’t need to solve all questions to get a good rank in a competitive exam. NEET 2018 rank 200 had 66% marks. This means that you can be selective in choosing topics to study and you should. Concentrate more on the class notes given in the coaching classes. If you don’t want to join any coaching classes, then you can take photocopies of DAMS notes which are available on the internet. The advantage of that notes is that it gives you an idea about the areas where you need to keep an eye on.
For example, reading a guidebook of pediatrics will consume an entire day, if not more, but coaching class notes can be finished in half of that time and it retains well also. Considering the experiences of my friends, I would advise limiting your subject resource to only one book. If you read a book multiple times, you will create a picture memory of all the pages and it will be easy for you to recollect that at the exam hall. Going behind extra study material to learn in depth about the things you already know will be counterproductive, and so is introducing new reading materials in the last two months.
I have read only notes and I refrained myself from reading guides as it was time-consuming and less yielding. This strategy helped me a lot.
Solving MCQs given after each chapter in MCQ books
I don’t need to stress the importance of practicing MCQs during your preparation, but like choosing the right study material, it is equally important that from where you choose to practice MCQs. After each chapter in the MCQ books, there are many practice questions which they claim to have appeared in previous year real exam papers. But, solving those questions is a pointless exercise because you already know the chapter from which the right option will come. The options not pertaining to that chapter won’t be the answer. So, you will be biased to one option and you will be right also, but that will do more harm as you are wasting your time.
Instead, what you should do is to solve a grand subject test in which all chapters of a subject will be covered. I have seen people trying to solving some 300 odd questions given after each chapter in General Medicine guides and killing their time.
Going in-depth of chapters which are rarely asked
You need to know a little bit of everything in all subjects but you don’t need to go in depth about everything. For example, you should know in and out about contraceptives but you just need to know superficially about uterine cancer as it is less frequently asked. People who try to read in details about the entire topics end up having less success as compared to those who concentrate more on frequently asked topics. Frankly speaking, I hardly knew any syndromes other than the common ones. 50% of the questions will be basic questions and you shouldn’t make mistakes in that. Examiners tend to ask more about certain topics which are emphasized on the coaching class notes. Read only those portions because trying to cover everything is like climbing Mount Everest without oxygen.
Forgetting to revise
Since the portions are vast, if you want to feel confident about your preparation, spend at least 60 days for revision. Last 60 days, never try to read anything extra. It will take at least 12 days to complete one revision. You need to complete at least 4 revisions before sitting in front of the computer in the exam hall. While revising, read and just flip the pages fast. Don’t bother much that whether you can recollect it or not. Because, by the end of fourth revision, as I said earlier, an image will be created of all pages of your notes in your mind. You will easily be able to recollect each eerie detail in your notes if you complete four revisions. Continued reading without revision is like sailing without a compass. Remember, 50% of the questions will be very basic and you need to revisit the study material again and again so that those basic facts will be at your fingertips.
Following the strategies of others
You are different and unique. So never try to copy others way of doing things. Some may study for 10 hours and you may get tired after 8 hours. Don’t sit just to complete 10 hours for the sake of it. Go through the previous papers and understand the pattern of questions and based on that, prepare a strategy. I started my preparations very late, so I knew that I won’t be able to complete my syllabus if I try to read the guides. So, I concentrated only on DAMS notes which I had photocopied from my friend. I did some mock exams and my ranks weren’t that good but I didn’t change my plans because I had a gut feeling that, questions won’t be like this in the real exam. Don’t get disheartened by your mock exam ranks. Those exams are called ‘mock’ and not ‘real’ for a reason.
I took a one-month extension during my internship to prepare for the NEET-PG (which happened on January 2018) because I was lacking in time. I started my preparations in September 2018 and I finished my first round of reading by November 20. I was able to do 4 complete revisions before exams. My rank was 1020. I know it’s nothing great but I was happy that I could do it in a limited period of time. Keeping that as a launch pad, I prepared for the AIIMS July 2018 session and I could do well there. My AIIMS July 2018 rank was 58.
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