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How to prepare for your NTA exams

National Test Agency (NTA), established in 2018, is responsible for conducting a wide range of entrance exams for higher education in a multitude of disciplines as well as for different academic institutions. Every year hundreds of students appear for competitive exams, such as JEE Mains, UGC NET, CMATNCHM, and JNU-CET, that are conducted by the NTA. The NTA also assists registered students with mock papers as well as lectures for Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics. These competitive exams play a pivotal role in defining a student’s academic future and can sometimes serve as a deciding factor determining a student’s career path. Thus, preparing well for these exams is crucial for students who understand that their future career choices and trajectory depend on the outcome of these competitive exams. Every student eventually develops his/her own study pattern and style that supports his/her learning and should understand what works best to be well prepared for competitive examinations. These exams are created to test a student’s overall understanding of the curriculum and conceptual knowledge.

At Oxford University Press (OUP), our mission is to advance knowledge and learning, and we are profoundly motivated by creating a positive experience for students where they can discover and understand the world around them. To this end, we have developed the following tips that we think might play an important role in shaping a student’s journey towards success in examinations with improved results.

Know Your Syllabus

A thorough review of the exam syllabus helps the student identify his/ her strengths and weaknesses with respect to topics. There will be some topics that a student make excel and others that require more practice and assistance. Knowing their individual strengths and weaknesses helps students devise holistic winning strategies that focus on sharpening the strong topics while including a more rigorous and regimented schedule for practicing the weaker topics on a regular basis. There is finite time to prepare, so use it wisely!

Know what to expect by reviewing question papers from previous years

Reviewing the examination papers from previous years, helps students identify and analyze patterns if any, with regards to the questions typically asked as well as the key topics covered. It also helps estimate the difficulty level, and prevents any surprises on the examination day. Gauging and evaluating the instances of repetition with respect to questions and concepts allows students to be better prepared as they are now aware of the syllabus content that must be thoroughly prepared. This is a critical step towards acing the NTA examinations. No surprises on D Day!

Create a unit-by-unit preparation strategy

After the students have identified their strengths and weaknesses with respect to the syllabus and reviewed the examination papers from the preceding years’ question papers, they will need to devise a unit-by-unit plan of action, based on the weightage typically assigned to the different units over the previous years.  Students should devote more time to significant units which historically carry higher weight in the NTA examinations. If these align with a student’s strengths then the student must continue to devote more time to sharpen his/her understanding of the topics further. While all units eventually need to be covered, the students can use their time more effectively for maximum impact.

Accurate, well-drafted and easy to read notes go a long way!

Post planning, once students begin the unit-focused preparation for key topics identified, they must get into the habit of taking detailed study notes right away. These will prove immensely beneficial during the syllabus revision process. The syllabus must be reviewed and as mentioned earlier, preparation time is finite. Hence, preparing detailed notes for the syllabus often in the form of flash cards makes it easier to revise topics as well as assess one’s understanding of the topic through the flash cards. Well-crafted notes and flash cards can easily be reviewed while travelling or performing daily tasks and chores. Practice and revision remain the key to excel in these NTA examinations.

Practice questions are a must 

Practice questions should be used to assess one’s conceptual understanding of the different topics. While studying theories and concepts, students must always solve practice questions on that subject. It will provide them with additional information about the concept. as well as a glimpse into the different types of questions that are asked. Besides boosting confidence, the practice questions will gradually enable the students to complete questions in shorter periods of time which is critical for NTA examinations. The test series will also help students develop essential time-management skills that will go a long way in ensuring success onin examinations as well as their personal and professional lives.

Revisions is essential given the vast syllabus

When students begin their preparation, they should review and update the topics once a week for the first week. The next revision should be planned for the following week, and the third revision must be slated for the following month. The final revision should take place before the final NTA examination. Students must plan and aim to finish the syllabus well in advance in order to allow time for revision. Without planning for subject-wise revision, the student’s NTA preparation will suffer. NO REVISION MEANS INCOMPLETE PREPARATION.

Staying calm is the most important and critical step to succeed

Throughout NTA Examination preparation, students ought to be calm and confident. As  well as quicker and improved understating of concepts, staying calm and collected, enables students to remember the concepts for a prolonged period of time. Unnecessary stress will only hinder the students’ understanding of the concepts and impede their NTA preparation. Students who are more relaxed throughout their preparation, tend to typically perform better on the day of the examination. Proper rest, and a calm mind empowers these students to perform better! . Students must not panic before or during the NTA examinations. 

Along with the above tips every student must ensure they eat and sleep well. Rest and diet play a vital role in keeping the mind and body performing at an optimum level to enable the students to better and more quickly understand their study material.


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