In my first article of this series I had briefly outlined a strategy for preparing for the NEET. Now it’s time to move forward towards the next major juncture, the AIIMS exam, passing through minor ones like various state PMTs and other miscellaneous exams. One thing I can tell you for sure is that once you are through with the NEET in a fairly satisfactorily manner, there is a feeling of relief which creeps in, because one, you know that you are fairly thorough with most of the two-year syllabus and more importantly, the most important of the exams is behind you. Bask in this relief for a day or two and take it easy before embarking on the AIIMS-specific preparations.
· How to best utilise the one-month gap between NEET and AIIMS
What I said about the pre NEET preps is even more true in this period; you are fairly sure of your grip over the syllabus so solving more and more questions of the AIIMS pattern and mock test papers is highly recommended (of course if the NEET reveals some weakness in a particular topic or two, focus more on them). There are books available with questions of the AIIMS pattern, practice them and get your doubts solved. More-over, most coaching centres hold AIIMS mock tests. In my case it was mock tests two times a week followed by discussion and doubt solving sessions on other days of the week.
Again, to keep yourself motivated, you must keep refreshing yourself with small breaks, give adequate time to your hobbies etc. Remember, burn-out is the enemy.
· How is AIIMS different from other entrance tests?
- The most important point to note is that AIIMS has a stricter negative marking pattern (+1 vs -1/3). So the difference between a selection and just being left out at times, is the lesser number of questions attempted wrong rather than more number of questions attempted right. So you need to be very conservative with making guesses. At my time, I guess I had left around 30 blank (most of them from Physics). It’s better to not risk too much in the hope that you may be right. If you’re in a lot of doubt, it’s best to leave it blank.
- Secondly, the weightage to Physics-Chemistry and Biology is equal- 60 questions each. Remember PMT is partial to Biology with 90 questions from Biology and 45 each from Physics-Chemistry, so allot time appropriately while solving the paper. Out of 200 minutes, I had first wrapped-up General Knowledge in 5 minutes, Biology in 25 minutes, Chemistry in an hour and 5 minutes and left the rest for physics.
- The joker in the pack is the 20 General Knowledge questions (one of the reasons my rank zoomed from 336 in NEET to 30 in AIIMS) – they can make or break your chances of selection in some situations. It’s either you know it or you do not – try not to accrue negatives by making needless guesses and wrap-up this section in the minimum possible time. A lot of people ask about how to prepare for this section. I’m not sure if preparation really helps; according to me, it’s more about how good a grip you have on the day-to-day happenings in the world. There are some books available in the market, and you can try them out if you feel they help and have the time for it (maybe in the last month of prep or so). Some recurrent themes are: national awards, geographical landmarks, Indian history etc. Keeping abreast with news and newspapers over the course of the year (and not just last-minute newspaper browsing), may just help. Find a few tips for preparing this part here.
- AIIMS has ‘Assertion-Reason’ questions which are slightly difficult to crack. Practice enough of them in the month before and you will get the hang of it. A good grip on the nuances of language and grammar is an added incentive – it helps to affirm or negate the ‘cause-effect’ relationship between two statements.
- You also have an option to appear for an online exam in AIIMS. While the call is yours as to whether to opt for online or the more traditional paper-pen based model (depending on your familiarity with computers), I went in for the online mode and strongly recommend it to anyone who knows the basics of how to use computers. Why, do you ask?
- There’s no risk of spoiling your papers due to bubbling mistakes.
- The ambience (sounds silly, but its true) – most online centres are centrally air-conditioned, and this makes a big difference when it comes to your state of mind during the gruelling heat in June.
- You can mark out questions for review and go back to them later.
- You can manage time efficiently as the user interface constantly shows the time left, questions left unanswered etc. which you may miss if you’re filling them in manually.
In addition to the above, it’s also important to know what NOT to do. Do keep these points in mind while preparing as well as attempting the AIIMS entrance exam, and remember, well begun is half done. All the very best to all of you! 🙂