How to prepare for NEET at home without coaching?
If you are a biology student and are planning to appear for NEET, then you have landed at the right place. In this article, we are going to shed some light on NEET exam pattern, and how to prepare for it.
Though many students like to join some coaching (online or offline) for this purpose, but you can also prepare for NEET at home. Anyways to crack any competitive exam it’s your self-study that will eventually help you.
- NEET Exam Pattern
- Study Matter for NEET exam preparation
- Subject-wise Preparation Strategy for NEET exam
NEET Exam Pattern
NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) exam is conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA), for admission into medical undergraduate colleges of India.
Major features of this exam are:
- Total Questions 200, out of which only 180 have to be attempted. Total Time: 3 hours
- Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) are asked – 4 marks for correct answer, -1 for incorrect answer and no marks for unattempted questions.
- Total Marks: 720, i.e. 180 × 4 = 720
There are 4 subjects in the paper, each divided into two sections.
- Botany: 140 marks + 40 marks
- Zoology: 140 marks + 40 marks
- Physics: 140 marks + 40 marks
- Chemistry: 140 marks + 40 marks
Section A of each of the subjects carry 35 questions for 140 marks. All questions in this section are compulsory. (35 × 4 = 140)
Section B of each of the above subjects carry 15 questions for 40 marks. A candidate needs to answer 10 of these questions. So, some choice is available to students here. (10 × 4 = 40)
As you can see, half of the marks of NEET paper are allotted to Biology (Zoology + Botany).
Study Matter for NEET exam preparation
In NEET exam you will encounter all the science subjects – Biology, Physics and Chemistry. You should study theory, practice questions, as well as have a look at the previous year questions.
The first thing you should do is to study NCERT science books of 11th and 12th classes. Though ISC board science books are pretty good too. These will form the base of your preparation. More than 90% of NEET questions will be from NCERTs.
Once you have studied these multiple times, you may move on to other books too for extra knowledge. Some of these books have been mentioned below:
- GRB books for NEET (G. R. Bathla Publications) – Apart from theory, you will get a lot of MCQs to solve here (around 500 per chapter, or more)
- The books provided by the coaching institute (if you are enrolled in one)
For Biology you may also read Trueman’s books for NEET – they also have MCQs. But either read this or GRB, not both. Otherwise, you will be wasting a lot of time.
For Chemistry you may also read Cengage (especially for Physical Chemistry). The theory part of Cengage books is excellent. It will solve a lot of your doubts. For Organic Chemistry you may also read D. K. Singh. It has good MCQs too.
For Physics you may also read H. C. Verma. Though this book is recommended for IIT-JEE preparation, and it may be an overkill for NEET. But if you can go through this book, then NEET Physics will become a child’s play for you. The beauty of this book is that you can read it on your own, even without the help of any teacher. It’s solutions are also available online for free. Just search H. C. Verma MCQ solutions and you will get many sites showcasing their solutions.
However, reading all these books will take a lot of time. You can only do so, if you have 2 years of preparation time. Ideally, you should read only 1-2 good books and then practice a lot of questions (at home, as well as in exam conditions).
Make sure you solve previous year questions of at least past 10 years. Many a times these questions reappear in NEET exams as it is, or with minute changes. If you can get a book that has categorized previous year questions chapter-wise, then it will help you out a lot. The book should also provide good quality explanations for these questions, e.g. Oswaal previous year questions bank.
Solve previous year questions as soon as you are done studying a chapter. It will give you a good estimate of your preparation level.
Though you can easily prepare for NEET and AIIMS at home nowadays. Because apart from standard books, nowadays there are so many good website articles, YouTube videos, etc. available for free. But you may enrol in any good online coaching too, if you want. There you may study the chapters that confuses you the most.
But the most important use of any coaching is the chance you get to resolve your doubts, and the motivation you get by watching other serious candidates study. You may also form a study group of serious students.
Moreover, one other important use of any coaching is test series. Even if you do not join any coaching for classes, you should join their test series program. Some institutes also provide a few mock online tests for free.
However, make sure you give some of these tests in actual exam centres (not just at home). It’s essential to give some tests in exam conditions, so that when you appear in the real exam, you don’t feel extra pressure and feel at ease. It will also help you practise solving the questions under time constraints.
Subject-wise Preparation Strategy for NEET exam
Now, let’s see how you should approach the various subjects. We will start with Biology, which is obviously the most important subject in NEET.
How to prepare for NEET Biology?
For Biology and Inorganic Chemistry just focus on NCERTs. In these subjects you have to remember and revise a lot. Either you know something or you don’t. Reading a lot of books will be of no use if you cannot revise them and remember the facts and terms.
Even if you have not solved a lot of MCQs on these topics, you will be able to answer the questions if you have knowledge. So, focus more on theory here. Revision is the key.
Here, If you Know, you will Score. So, Focus on theory: 80%, and Focus on MCQs: 20%
Biology is very closely related to Inorganic Chemistry. So, their preparation strategy will be similar.
How to prepare for NEET Physics?
Physics and Physical Chemistry is not only about theory and the facts you have memorized. Here, you need to master their application part too. These subjects are just like Maths, wherein just remembering the formulae and concepts is not enough. You need to know how to apply those formulae and concepts to a variety of situations.
So, after going through the theory quickly, you must attempt a lot of MCQs on these topics. It’s a must. For example, even if you have studied Mechanics theory 10 times, you won’t be able to do good in exam, until and unless you have solved a lot of questions.
Here, If you Know + Practice, you will Score. So, Focus on theory: 20%, and Focus on MCQs: 80%
Physics is very closely related to Physical Chemistry. So, their preparation strategy will be similar.
How to prepare for NEET Chemistry?
Well, we have already covered the approach to Inorganic and Physical chemistry above. Now, let’s see the ideal approach for Organic Chemistry.
In Organic Chemistry you need both. You need to study a lot of theory and revise to build up concepts. But you need to practice MCQs too, so as to get used to applying those concepts.
So, Focus on theory: 60%, and Focus on MCQs: 40%
The exam preparation strategy and recommended books for NEET will also work for your AIIMS exam.
You can aim to achieve a certain score or percentile in any exam, but never be very rigid about it. Exam difficulty level and competition-level may vary from one year to another.
For example, a score of 620 out of 720 was considered pretty enough a few years ago. But during COVID years (2020 and 2021) NEET paper was pretty easy, and so the cut-off went higher. Students even scored 685 pretty easily.
So, just follow a very basic strategy during exam time. Give your 100% and fight for marks till the last minute. That’s it. Don’t think about the marks too much. Just give your best. As Gita has said, focus on what you can do, not on the results.