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In-Depth Jobs

volume-47, 22-28 February 2020

Preparing for the Neet 2020


Rruchi Shrimalli

The National Testing Agency  has made many changes to the only All India Pre-Medical Test in the country. The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is the only gateway to take admission to the undergraduate medical and dental courses in any Indian college or institute.

NEET is the only UG medical entrance exam medical aspirants should focus on now. However, students who qualify NEET and want to take admission in the MBBS courses of the Institutes of National Importance (INIs) like AIIMS and JIPMER will have to meet the institutes' eligibility criteria and minimum qualifying marks.

NEET 2020 will be held on May 3, 2020 - the first Sunday of May.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has introduced some changes to the exam in the light of the new National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill. The Bill will come into full force by 2021. The new Bill states that the 60-year old Medical Council of India (MCI) will now be replaced by the all-new NMC.

The NEET paper will be a single paper of three-hour duration. It will have a total of 180 objective-type questions (in the MCQ format), which will include:

  • 45 questions from Physics,
  • 45 questions from Chemistry, and
  • 90 questions from Biology (including both Botany and Zoology).

The question paper will carry a total of 720 marks. Each correct answer will be awarded 4 marks and for each incorrect answer, 1 mark will be deducted from the total score of the student. There is no penalty for not attempting a question.

Many aspirants are confused whether the NEET exam will now have sections like:

  • General Knowledge,
  • English Language, and
  • Logic & Reasoning

Which were a part of AIIMS and JIPMER exams? But the NTA Director ensures that since only a few months are left for exam preparations, no extra sections will be added to NEET 2020.

Like always, NCERT will be the backbone of NEET preparation. The actual NEET 2020 syllabus will be the one notified by the NMC in the examination brochure. The NEET coaching experts say that the NTA may increase the difficulty level of the exam by a notch this year to make up for the loss of AIIMS and JIPMER exams.

Do note that NEET 2020 will only be conducted in the pen-and-paper mode or the offline mode. Last year, it was decided that NEET will solely conducted in the CBT (computer based test) mode or online mode in 2020. But due to concerns about the lack of online test practice centres (TPCs), the decision was withdrawn. Now, it will only be conducted in the pen-and-paper mode.

In 2019, it was announced that NEET will be conducted twice a year - in February, and in May. But the decision was withdrawn because of students' and parents' objection. NEET 2020 will only be conduced once in a year.

One big change has happened in the eligibility of the NEET exam. The Supreme Court ruled that the upper age limit to appear in the NEET exam should be done away with. Now anyone above the age of 17 years on December 31, 2020 can appear for the NEET 2020 exam. It means that candidates above the age of 25 years can apply for the exam too.

Since NEET 2019, the poor students of General Category can apply under the 10% reservation quota for the EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) students.One can check if one is eligible for a seat under the EWS quota or not.

NEET 2020 in 11 Languages

NEET 2020 will be conducted in 11 languages:

  1. English,
  2. Hindi,
  3. Urdu,
  4. Assamese
  5. Bengali,
  6. Gujarati,
  7. Kannada,
  8. Marathi,
  9. Odia,
  10. Tamil, and
  11. Telugu.

The candidates will have to choose their medium while filling up the application form. The language once chosen cannot be changed later. Please note that question papers in English, Hindi, and Urdu languages will be available at all examination centres in India. But the regional language facility can only be availed at examination centres of the related state.

Candidates choosing English language will get the test booklet only in English. Candidates opting for any of the regional languages will be provided a bilingual test booklet. In case of any ambiguity in the question, the English version of the question will be deemed final.

Important Topics for NEET 2020

NEET coaching experts analyze the previous years' papers and predict the most important topics for the upcoming medical entrance exam. Here are the subject-wise important topics you should focus on first:


  • Optics, including:
  • Ray Optics and Optical Instruments, and
  • Wave Optics.
  • Electronic Devices (Semiconductor Electronics),
  • Electrostatics, including:
  • Electric Charges and Fields, and
  • Electrostatic Potential and Capacitance.
  • Thermodynamics,
  • Current Electricity,
  • Electromagnetic Induction & Alternating Current
  • Dual Nature of Radiation and Matter


  • Coordination Compounds
  • Thermodynamics
  • Equilibrium
  • Chemical Bonding and Molecular Structure
  • Solutions
  • p-Block Elements
  • Organic Chemistry: Basic Principles & Techniques
  • d- and f-Block Elements
  • Alcohols, Phenols, and Ethers
  • Aldehydes, Ketones, and Carboxylic Acids


  • Physiology, including:
  • Digestion and Absorption,
  • Breathing and Exchange of Gases,
  • Body Fluids and Circulation,
  • Excretory Products and their Elimination,
  • Locomotion and Movement,
  • Neural Control and Coordination, and
  • Chemical Coordination and Integration.
  • Genetics and Evolution, including:
  • Principles of Inheritance and Variation,
  • Molecular Basis of Inheritance, and Diversity of Living Organisms, including:
  • The Living World
  • Biological Classification,
  • Plant Kingdom, and
  • Animal Kingdom.
  • Cell: Structure and Function, including:
  • Cell - The Unit of Life,
  • Biomolecules, and
  • Cell Cycle and Cell Division.
  • Reproduction, including:
  • Reproduction in Organisms,
  • Sexual Reproduction in Flowering Plants,
  • Human Reproduction, and
  • Reproductive Health.
  • Biology and Human Welfare, including:
  • Human Health and Diseases,
  • Strategies for Enhancement in Food Production, and
  • Microbes in Human Welfare.

Please note that the topics listed here are in the order of their importance. So, you should pick up the first topic first, prepare it thoroughly, and then move to the next topic.

Do not assume that preparing these important topics is enough for clearing the NEET exam. More than 13 lakh medical aspirants are estimated to sit in the exam in 2020. You should prepare each and every topic in the NEET syllabus thoroughly.

When we say that these are the important topics of the exam, we only mean that these chapters carry the most weightage in the exam. Many questions are asked from these topics. Generally speaking, there are 2-3 questions from every topic covered in the NEET syllabus. Hence, you should prepare a study schedule where you master these topics and also cover the rest of the syllabus mentioned in the brochure.

NEET aspirants are advised to solve as many previous years' NEET papers as they can. It can give them an idea of what kind of questions are asked in the exam. It will also help them judge the topics they know well and topics in which they need help or practice.

NEET 2020 Dress Code

Normally, the dress code for the NEET exam is quite strict. But the rules have been relaxed somewhat - keeping in mind the religious sensitivity and medical conditions of students. Besides the religious symbols, candidates may also obtain permission for gadgets needed for medical reasons before the admit cards are released on March 27, 2020.

To avoid any hassles at the last minute, students should adhere to the NEET guidelines about what they should wear and not wear during the exam:

  • Light clothes with half sleeves: Long sleeves are not allowed inside the test centres.
  • Slippers and sandals with low heels: High heels and shoes are not to be worn inside the NEET examination centres.

Male candidates should take special care not to wear clothes that can create hindrance in frisking or could be used to hide any communication device. Shirt buttons should be of medium size. Large buttons and kurta-pajama should be avoided for the day.

Female candidates must not wear big buttons, brooch, badge, or flowers. Saree cannot be worn to the NEET centre. So, it is advisable to wear a half-sleeve kurta, t-shirt, or shirt with salwar, trousers, or jeans. Instead Female candidates who are married may wear bangles but unmarried girls are not allowed to wear them.

All the candidates should take care not to wear any accessories, such as:

  • watches,
  • sun glasses,
  • bracelets,
  • belts,
  • rings,
  • ear-rings,
  • nose pins,
  • chain,
  • necklace,
  • hair clips,
  • rubber bands,
  • cap etc.

One can only wear specs prescribed by the doctor.

What to Carry:

  • Admit Card with passport size photograph pasted on it (same as the one uploaded on the application form),
  • One passport size photograph (same as the one uploaded on the application form),
  • One postcard size (4" by 6") color photograph with white background pasted on the Proforma downloaded with the NEET Admit Card.
  • One of the following Photo IDs:
  • Aadhar Card,
  • PAN Card,
  • Driving License,
  • Voter ID,
  • Passport,
  • Ration Card,
  • Class XII Roll No issued by the Board, or
  • Any other valid photo ID issued by the government.
  • PwD Certificate (if applicable), and
  • Scribe (if applicable)
  • Ball point pens to mark the OMR sheets are provided by the examination centres.

Do Not Carry:

  • Stationery items (like geometry or pencil box, printed or handwritten material, bits of paper, plastic pouch, calculator, pen, scale, writing pad, pen drives, eraser, log table, electronic pen or scanner, etc.),
  • Communication devices (like mobile phones, pagers, health bands, microphones, earphones, bluetooth, etc.),
  • Wallets, handbags, or plastic pouches,
  • Cameras,
  • Metallic items,
  • Eatable items (like water bottles or open or packed packets of edibles), or
  • Any item you do not need for the exam.

Diabetic students can carry:

  • Transparent water bottles, and
  • Eatables (like sugar tablets or fruits).
  • But they cannot carry packed foods like chocolates, candies, or sandwiches inside the exam venue.

Examination centres will have highly sensitive metal detectors. No arrangements will be made to keep the belongings of candidates safe during the examination time. Candidates should also be mentally ready for extensive and compulsory frisking to prevent them from taking barred items inside the examination centre.

This year, the NTA is also taking help of the artificial intelligence to prevent cheaters taking the seats of the rightful candidates or pulling off other kinds of fraud in the exam. The candidates' Class 10 and Class 12 certificates and roll numbers will be verified to make sure they are authentic and have not been tampered with.

(Rruchi Shrimalli is a career counsellor. e-mail: rruchi shrimalli@gmail.com.)

Views expressed are personal.

(For cross checking exam schedule and rules and regulations etc. visit the concerned official websites)

Image Courtesy : Google