Dr Abhishek Gupta
Exams for medical postgraduate medical seats have gone the online route for the past few years which now is in form of NEET PG entrance tests.
A computer based exam throws certain major challenges for test takers. The challenges may be very subtle but yet can have a huge difference in the final results scored.
1. Reading Speed: The reading speed on a computer is about 8-10% slower than when you read the same text on paper. This difference can be much more marked if someone is not very accustomed to read online. Not to mention that the comprehension while reading online is lower than while reading on paper where you can actually underline and mark important texts for answering the question. This alone can reduce the number of attempts by 10-12 questions for a student. This is perhaps the single biggest challenge faced by students appearing for Online NEET PG Exams.
2. Navigability : Remember the challenge faced in bubbling the OMR sheets and invariably there were a few mistakes in bubbling the OMR sheets by everyone at some point of time. Well something similar happens in the online format. Well the chances of marking the incorrect option by mistake are next to nil but the time taken to mark a option and move to the next question is considerable in the Online Format. Estimates suggest that marking the option and moving to the next option takes somewhere between 2-5 seconds based on how comfortable you are with using the mouse. Luckily with usage of various social media sites and other sites people have become much more comfortable with the navigation but however anyone who is not pretty comfortable will lose a lot of valuable time in navigation (Remember you have to solve 240 questions in 180 minutes which means a maximum of 45 seconds per question)
3. Inability to scan the paper: Imagine a situation wherein you have come across 4-5 difficult questions in a row and suddenly you start to panic. If it is a paper based exam all you will do it to scan the entire paper and move to the area/questions which you are more comfortable with. This is not the case with the online format of NEET PG exams. Also in case you have marked / left a few questions to be solved towards the end. In a paper based exam it is very easy to flip back and mark the answer however in the Online Format if you lack the practice on a similar platform as NEET PG entrance exam itself this itself can cause a difference of crucial 5-8 marks. Also not to mention the entire exam itself will go for a toss in case you panic in the exam (Which happens with quite a few students)
4.Exam Pattern : Since question are absolutely randomized from a large dataset of questions it is difficult to predict the pattern of the paper in Online Format. In case of Offline format since there is a predictable pattern of questions as well as topics which are associated with exams. Hence a more comprehensive preparation as well as exposure to larger databank for practice is required.
5. Technical Challenges: Remember since it is a technology based system there is always a chance of technical failure. The major challenge faced by test takers is that when they move to next questions sometimes the entire question (especially those with images) is not completely loaded. In the pressure of an exam so crucial this can be very distressing as well many students may even attempt to do self-destructive maneuvers like refreshing the page. Remember since the images or even text may take some time to load you have patience to let them load. Not to mention the other problems like inability to login into the test taking software or premature submission of the test due to any technical reason all of which may cause unnecessary stress on such a crucial day.
Now understand the basic difference and challenges faced by students in attempting the NEET PG Online Exam there some very simple and basic things which students can do to maximize their performance of the NEET PG online exam.
1. Enroll for an Online Test Series with a Platform similar to NEET PG Online Entrance Exam. This single step will give you lot of confidence as well as comfort level to face the actual NEET PG online exams.
2.Follow websites where you can solve online questions. Set aside half an hour a day to follow websites which give you exposure to solving online MCQs. Though a small caveat is that most of the websites as well as facebook groups and pages gives you relevant MCQs but many of them are without explanation. Also it would be better if you can follow any website which gives short quizzes (5-10 questions) on a particular important topic with complete explanation. There are so many sites which provide such short quizzes for FREE. You can also check out my blog www.medicoapps.org wherein I post daily 1-2 short quizzes on various important topics with complete explanation based on previous year questions and all of them are FREE.
3. Download Mobile Apps with good questions and complete explanation. Solving questions on mobile or tablet will increase your reading speed on computers. You can go to playstore or apple store and find many such free as well as paid mobile applications. My suggestions would be to start with FREE mobile apps for NEET PG Preparation and then move to paid mobile apps if you like.
4. Last in case you face any difficulty during the NEET PG Exam please do not try anything from your end but simply call the Test Centre TCA immediately. He has the complete authority to not only validate your problem but also provide immediate solutions.
About The Author: Dr Abhishek Gupta is a medical graduate from Maulana Azad Medical College (All India Rank-21) currently based out of Hyderabad. He runs a successful blog www.medicoapps.org with focus on helping students prepare for NEET PG entrance exams. He also has launched several subject wise FREE OFFLINE Mobile Apps for Android users to prepare for exams. His apps be downloaded from http://medicoapps.org/category/mobile-apps/