The number of questions asked in the medical entrance exam - NEET 2021 - has been increased to allow a choice for students. While students still have attempted the same number of questions, the time given in an already time-constrained exam remains the same. Now, students have less than a minute for each question.
The number of questions in the test has increased to 200 from 180 earlier. The number of questions that need to be attempted continues to be 180. The duration of the exam is 180 minutes.
“In any exam, one of the key contributors to score maximisation is the quickness in making decisions about which attempt to attempt and which ones not to," explains Shiva Kumar, director - academics, Career Launcher. He added, “Smarter students who are quick in deciding will have a slight advantage over the others who waste time in selecting the right questions. So there could be a reshuffling of ranks for sure. It is very important that students practise enough tests of this pattern to get enable the rhythm in their attempt."
Many students have been disappointed by the change and are demanding a postponement in the exam. While students claim the changes are a last-minute introduction, experts have asked them to take it to their stride.
Saying it’s not a massive shift, Kumar said, “There must be a few shifts that the students have to make in their strategy. I believe students will take it in their stride. It is all a question of tuning your strategies by practising on a few Mock tests that simulate the actual paper. No change in the exam pattern is ever welcome. So the question of whether it is the right time to make the change? is never right."
Time management is crucial, said Charu Noheria, COO & Co-Founder, Practically, “while attempting the exam, focusing on one question for too long is risky since students have less than a minute to spare for each question. To effectively manage stress and anxiety during the exam, students should attempt easier questions first, divide time for each subject as per their personal strengths and focus on the straightforward questions first. One should focus on revisions more and not start learning afresh in the final days of preparation. With the right strategy and preparation, you can ace the exam. Think and work smart.”
Neetin Agrawal, Senior VP, Knowledge Team, Toppr said that to ensure ease during exams, students need to strengthen their strong points while preparing. “Students should focus on each subject and topic and not overthink about the pattern, instead of that they can focus on the subjects they are good at which will help them to score. As the new pattern provides the option to choose the questions to answer, students should be well aware of their strong and weak topics so that they can make a decision quickly during the exam."
Nitin Vijay, MD- Motion Education said that the competition level can go higher with the new exam pattern. He also highlighted that the option of taking the test in 13 languages and said that this year’s exam will be inclusive. “The choices will enable students who could not study the entire syllabus and language option will be beneficial for students who studied in the mother tongue. Both of these decisions are in favour of students but might lead to elevate the competition level."