Why is solving previous years’ question papers important for NEET aspirants?

NEET or National Eligibility cum Entrance Test is one of the most important and most attempted exams in India. It’s held twice a year for aspirants seeking admission to reputed medical institutions across India. Conducted under the authorization of the National Testing Agency (NTA), qualified students can take admission in undergraduate courses like MBBS, BDS, AYUSH, Veterinary, etc. Every year more than fifteen lakh students appear for this exam, making it highly competitive. This cutthroat competition may appear daunting and challenging for many students and thus a solid strategy is needed to sail through. Any kind of shortcut methods or tricks hardly helps when stakes are so high. The only key to sure shot success is good preparation and smart work.

Students who secure top ranks in exams like NEET need not necessarily be extraordinary but their plan and approach towards the exam undoubtedly comes out to be extraordinary. As they say, toppers don’t do different things, instead, they do things differently. One such decisive step that they take is regular solving previous years’ question papers which provides them with an edge on the competition. 

Here are some pivotal reasons helping students comprehend the actual importance of solving previous years’ question papers and how it helps them in improving their scores significantly.

Introduce the syllabus and paper pattern 

Beginning with a thorough analysis of past years’ papers is an important tool to understand the syllabus in its entirety and what all topics are important. A little research into paper trends and repeated topics opens up avenues to understand what examiners are expecting from aspirants and what approach will be the right one. For example, the varying weightage of topics in any of the subjects speaks volumes about what sort of questions one can expect in the final exam. Not only this, most of the times question too get repeated with just a little change in language. The best way to analyze past years’ papers is to refer to any of the compilations available out there and mark the number of questions and their difficulty level topic-wise. Students must keep this data with them when they begin studying that particular topic. It will make sure that they are conscious of the amount of effort that needs to be put in, saving their precious time and energy

A great revision tool

The importance of the act of revising concepts over and over again can not be stressed enough. Right from entrenching all the information in students’ minds, the revision allows them to gain confidence and clarity. Using previous years’ papers to revise is a useful tool for candidates. The questions practiced will be in accordance with the paper pattern and thus, the chance of going off track won’t be there anymore. Generally, it is advised that one should solve these papers full-length but students can also solve them topic-wise. Even for last-minute revision, going through frequently asked questions is a good idea. Candidates can even use paper compilations available which come with solutions given alongside, such as NEET PYQP with Answers Keys for 2019 Code P1, for a quick revision through them, available both offline and online.

Crucial for preparation assessment 

Regularly assessing one’s performance during preparation allows one to improvise and improve on areas of weakness. Solving previous years’ papers is one such practical way to know where a candidate stands in the competition. Students can set a time frame within which they must solve the questions with maximum accuracy. Later on, they can use the marking scheme set for the final exam to assess their marks. A lot of times, students fall short of answering questions either due to exam pressure or due to the failure of recalling facts even after rigorous study. To make sure that this doesn’t happen on the final day, solve past years’ papers as much as possible.

Refines time management skills

Time management is one of the crucial factors both during the preparation of the exam and while attempting questions in the final exam. Candidates often fail to solve all the questions in the exam even though they know the answers, naturally leading to less than their best score. The main reason behind all this is their poor time management skills. In order to alleviate such situations, candidates should solve previous years’ question papers within a set time frame to devise the best paper-solving strategy for themselves. It’s only with constant practice that candidates can assess which portion of the paper they should attempt first or how much time they wish to allot to each section of the paper. Additionally, a lot of times students spend unnecessary time on any one particular question which leads to dire consequences later on. This can be tackled with the help of past years’ papers as while solving them candidates will estimate how much time at an average they can spend on questions of various types.

Increases efficiency and accuracy 

This exercise of solving previous years’ papers will gradually lead to fewer mistakes and the ability to solve questions in less time. Their speed will also significantly increase. For example, if a student is taking 2 hours to solve a paper for the first time then it is highly likely that in the second attempt, the paper will be solved in less time than this. This boosts the confidence of the candidates preparing them to work even in the worst of cases. 

Having mentioned the benefits of solving previous years’ papers for NEET, students should also keep certain pointers in mind while attempting them. It’s highly recommended to start doing this exercise once the NEET syllabus is completed or at least 40% of it is done. Doing it daily, especially a few weeks before the exam, should be sufficient. However, if one is not confident enough regarding their performance then he/she can pick it up during preparation as well by referring to any book that compiles questions asked previously topic-wise. Candidates can schedule this exercise based on the three-hour slot that NTA fixes for the NEET exam. This way a smooth revision of the syllabus can be ensured along with time management and mental preparation for the final day. After completion, analysis of the paper and performance must be done without fail. Without it, solving PYQs won’t be of much importance. 

In conclusion, solving the last ten years’ papers for NEET will help students in improving their overall performance. The benefits of doing so are paramount. For a national-level exam like NEET in which robust preparation is the only way to success, this exercise should not be neglected at any cost.


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