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All about NEET UG from a medical student
In an exclusive interview with Eastern Mirror, the 22-year-old Ningam Rainam medical student shared his experiences and tips for aspiring NEET candidates
DIMAPUR — Choosing a career path is a matter of personal interest for most people, but for Ningam Rainam, it was shaped by the struggles of his sister who needed constant medical attention and the desire of his mother for one of her children to become a doctor in the hope of turning the tide of the family. These inspired him to pursue medicine, and today, he is grateful that his interest has aligned perfectly with his mother’s prayers.
He started writing the National Eligibility Entrance Test – Undergraduate (NEET-UG) after completing intermediate school in Chümoukedima and cleared the exam in his third attempt in 2023. He is currently pursuing Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) at Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal. In his free time, he likes to write, play badminton, go for a long walk or sleep, to keep his body and mind active.
In an exclusive interview with Eastern Mirror, the 22-year-old medical student shared his experiences and tips for aspiring NEET candidates.
How did you approach your preparation for the NEET-UG exam?
I prefer classroom teaching, meaning, I learn better in the classroom. Therefore, I joined Potential and Concept Educations, a coaching institute in Guwahati for a duration of 8 months. Here, I focused primarily on attending classes regularly and attentively, prioritizing learning from well-informed teachers over self-study. And I did not shy away from clearing my doubts or asking questions to the teachers. Whenever I did not understand a particular topic that was taught, I cleared my doubts on the same day.
At what stage of preparation do you think aspirants should start taking mock tests?
PYQs, MCQs and mock tests are the keystones for cracking NEET. As the saying goes ‘Practice makes perfect’. I recommend practising MCQs as soon as you start learning new topics. Telegram, YouTube and many websites provide thousands of MCQs and mock tests free of cost. Ultimately, in the end, there are certain concepts and applications that you will understand only via solving questions. I referred to The Question Bazaar (online free questions) for PYQs, Unacademy app for question practice and Telegram channels like Rakshita Singh, Physics Wallah, etc. All these sources were free of cost.
Can you share us your approach to revision during your exam preparation?
While preparing for NEET, I came across a revising technique called ‘The Feynman Technique’, in which after reading a particular topic, you explain that topic to yourself or someone else. It is extensive but very effective. I always explained topics to my siblings over dinner or during leisure time, to the point where they got fed up (laughs). It worked out great for me because I did not forget certain points if I explained the topic to someone else. Also, this technique helped me in pointing out the topic or terms I needed to familiarise myself more with.
Secondly, the importance of short notes and mind maps. This is because, in the last month before the exam, it is impossible to revise the whole syllabus within days so, having short notes which you can revise within hours or days is so important, at least it was for me.
How did you manage time during the exam, and any tips?
Setting a schedule and timetable never really worked for me; studying has always been mood-based. However, I always made sure to follow up the syllabus that my coaching institute was covering. So, every day we had 5 hours of class from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., for every subject of NEET syllabus namely Chemistry, Zoology, Physics and Botany (1 hour each). So, I devoted approximately 15-30 minutes for each subject to revise what was taught in the class.
How crucial are NCERT textbooks for NEET-UG?
NEET is 100% based on National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). It is essential to make NCERT your primary resource and other materials as supplementary. We tend to neglect the NCERT for Physics and Chemistry papers, which is the biggest blunder we make while preparing for NEET.
Study materials that you think aspiring candidates may find helpful
Every material has its merits and demerits. But it is essential to stick to one source of material whether online or offline. I gave my trust to my coaching institute i.e., Potential and Concepts, and relied on some NCERT-based textbooks (like MTG and Master the NCERT) for practice.
Given your emphasis on coaching institutes, how significant are such study centres in preparing for NEET?
These days, as the competition rises at an accelerating rate, I believe coaching is quite essential. It gave me an upper hand as compared to my peers who self-studied. But though it is essential, it is not a necessity as some platforms like YouTube, Telegram and certain websites give the same, if not better teaching than some coaching centres. Apart from that, most of the toppers and rank holders are often from the coaching institutes, so it speaks volumes about its significance.
Beyond spending several hours in preparation, what would you consider the secret sauce to cracking the exam?
The unending prayers and extraordinary support from my parents and siblings helped me in my journey. As a Christian, I always believed I could do anything through God, along with prayers.
Any specific challenges you faced during the exam preparation, and how did you overcome them?
At certain points of my journey, I had self-doubts and mental instability when my efforts and the output did not coincide. Thankfully, my family always encouraged me and appreciated my efforts despite my failure to perform well in mock tests. They always told me that the result wouldn’t matter to them if I had given my best, they would be satisfied irrespective of it, what mattered was my efforts.
Anything to share with aspiring students who are planning to sit for the NEET-UG?
I encourage aspiring students to kindly follow this path purely based on choice. It is a very significant career for humanity in which you lose a fraction of your life. By that I mean, you lose your youth, studying inside the four corners while your peers enjoy, go out, and socialise. And that pattern continues even after NEET when you join medical college. It is glorious from the outside and it is a very noble profession but it is stressful, pressuring and physically very tiring for example, you will be forever sleep-deprived. But it will always be repaid through prayers, gratitude, blessings and respect.
Last book you read
Funny enough, I just reread the NCERT biology textbook.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a good surgeon.
A self-affirmation you frequently remind yourself of
I remind myself this: “You have done it before, you can do it again”. Whenever I feel lazy, I always say to myself, “I can, I will, I must.”