The advent of the pandemic has brought us into a new age. Mother nature has put us into challenging times to come up with a coping mechanism. While we are slowly getting used to social distancing and wearing masks, organizations are still struggling to come up with a smoothly functioning system for their employees. Being a student, you are your own boss, which makes it even more challenging because now it is your responsibility to make your business (scores) flourish.
As a NEET aspirant, adapting yourself to the lockdown and the inability to attend in-person classes might give you a hard time. I have been through this exam and I totally understand that NEET preparation in itself is a tough ride, let alone a pandemic to complement that.
How to Prepare for NEET at Home?
In this post, I will give you the most beneficial tips for NEET preparation at home but before we move ahead, I want you to take charge. You have to sit in the driver’s seat and take responsibility for all your actions. Keep in mind that every action you take will impact your journey.
I hope you understand this and agree to move forward in this amazing path which will help you crack the NEET exam. Below are the best effective strategies that will make the tough ride for NEET preparation at home simpler for you.
1. Switch to Online Classes
The pandemic surprised us but there is one important tool that we were given much before the pandemic – The 4G network. If you are someone who has already started with the NEET online classes, congratulations! you are ahead in the game. If you are someone who has never taken online classes before, do not worry, I have got you covered.
Most of the coaching classes and institutions have switched to the online mode of teaching, considering the lockdown and the social distancing. If your institution has not yet switched to the online classes then it’s high time you change the source.
Why are online classes necessary while preparing for NEET at home?
- You get 24×7 access to the material – I remember attending 6:00 am classes at my coaching, and to reach on time I had to wake up at 5:00 am. I am very grateful for those valuable classes but wouldn’t it be much better if I had 24×7 access to this class. It would at least save me that 1 hour prior to the class. The good part is, even if you are a night-owl, you can study according to your comfort levels.
- You can pick the subjects according to your preference – You are not restricted to the class schedules set by your institute. If you want to start your day with some brain-work by solving physics numerical, go ahead.
- You can pick topics from the lecture – For instance you are studying the reproductive system. If you know the anatomy of the testes very well then you can completely skip that portion of the video and begin with the physiology of the sperm production. Wouldn’t that spare you from the boredom you feel in the class when the topics you already know are just getting repeated? Think!
- You can customize the video speed – If you are a good listener, you can speed up the videos to even 2x speed. This will save you so much time. I also want you to note that this is one perk of the video lectures but don’t compromise the quality. If it is difficult to understand for you, do not increase the speed.
- You get access to the renowned NEET faculty at your doorstep – offline classes may limit your reach to a faculty member who lives in a metropolitan city far away from you. However, through an online platform you can get access to multiple renowned teachers around the world, who are just a click away from you.
How to make the best out of the NEET online classes?
- Firstly, analyze which is your weakest subject. It is that subject which you are scared of or something which you never feel like studying. I am sorry to inform you but with a heavy heart you have to first prioritize this subject. I promise you that by the time you will be near your exam, you will love it. So, let’s first be friends with our enemy.
- Since you have identified your weakness, it is time to come up with the plan. I am assuming your weakest subject is Chemistry. You have to create your study schedule in such a way that you practice Chemistry daily. One way to do this is to dedicate one day for the lectures and learning, and the next day you can just solve some questions to keep it light. I advise you to do at least 2 subjects in a day. It is possible that you might just get into the flow state and only study 1 subject for the whole day but the exam will cover all 3, so be wise. While Biology constitutes a greater percentage of questions, getting hold of Chemistry and Physics should not be neglected.
- After you have made a plan, see the hours of each video or online classes that you have to cover. Make sure you have kept that in mind while creating the study plan. Do not overburden yourself.
- Keep practicing questions. You can use the question bank from the online resources and also add on with the plenty of NEET MCQ books that are available in the market. One advantage of practicing NEET tests/ questions online is that you get a score comparison with your peers. This gives an idea whether you are doing well or there is still more work to do.
- Take the Grand Test. To be honest, I was always scared of the Grand Tests but I know that it had a major role in my success. After giving so many grand tests, I was accustomed to the NEET exam pattern. I had an idea of which section I have to attempt first, how many questions do I need to attempt, which question I can risk to take a chance on, etc. If you are directly taking the exam without any similar test before you are just inviting anxiety. Do not wait to complete the course and take the test. You will never complete the course. This is the harsh truth, even one minute before the exam there will be something you did not study, and that’s completely ok. You will survive. Try to take at least one grand test a month when you are 6 months away from the exam and then increase it to twice a month. It is better late than never.
2. Participate in live sessions and discussions
There will be many live classes and test discussions that will happen on the NEET online platforms. Make sure to attend the live sessions every now and then, especially the test discussions. If you are spending 3 hours on a test but do not review it then it will all go in vain. Reviewing the test and learning from your mistakes is equally important. In the live discussions the teachers share some pearls that you will always remember. Highly recommended.
3. Create a virtual study group
Preparing for NEET at home can get tough since you don’t have anyone standing on your head who would push you to complete a chapter or sit for the test. It is important to hold yourself accountable to someone so that you stick to a routine. The best way to do this is to make a study group with like minded people.
Note that I wrote, like minded. It is because your study buddies should have a similar target as you, only then you can go along well. If your target is to get an all India rank of 10000 and you are studying with someone who wants to be in the top 1000 rank then it is not the best deal for both of you. Another important thing is to have a similar approach to study. It would be easy for me to say I want a rank in the top 1000 but I am not putting in the work for it, even God can not help me in that case.
You should have a group of 3-4 people (not more than that) who have the similar target and similar level of seriousness for study.
All of you can agree on covering the same topics in a day, then discuss the questions, teach each other some concepts, and much more. This will help you learn better and even make it interesting. Help each other, you are competing with lakhs of students, your friends are not your competitors. Considering the pandemic, it will be hard for you to meet your friends in person but you can call or get on a video conference. Make sure you just stick to studies during the calls.
4. Limit social media
The pandemic has brought all of us in the habit of endless scrolling through Instagram. One motivational post on Instagram can definitely give you a boost to study for NEET but before you reach that motivational post you have to go through the pictures of your friend’s birthday party or a mesmerising piece of pizza that is not even available at your location. Or worst of all, maybe your friend posted about scoring 90th percentile in the test but you just got a 70. Why distract your mind?
I know that you need a break from studies but social media is like a slow poison, you will not even realise that it is harming you. Okay! I don’t want to take away the fun from your life. So, let’s have a deal here, you will limit your time for social media to 30 minutes of the day and you will only use it after your daily targets are achieved. Should I lock the deal?
5. Practice time blocking
Lastly, the important thing is to block your time. It is likely that you are either staying with your family or with your friends in a hostel, which might lead to some disturbances in between your study session. No matter how supportive your friends and family are, it just happens unannounced. Your grandma called and now your father wants you to get on the call with them but you are trying to understand rotational acceleration. How will you handle this situation?
You can avoid this dilemma by blocking your time. Decide the hours of the day that are most suitable for you to study, and inform your family and friends that you will not be available during this time. Before you sit on the study table, let everyone around you know this explicitly. If they wish well for you, they will not even roam around your room.
At the end, I just want you to know that nothing that I have mentioned above is impossible. You are the master of your life. You can definitely get that rank you are thriving for. If you are preparing for NEET at home that does not mean your chances are low. A pandemic does not have the power to take your dreams away from you. You have got this and I am rooting for you. I am waiting for you to get that rank in the NEET exam. Go for it.
Doctor (MBBS from RNT Medical College, Udaipur)