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How to crack the pre-med examination

Rahat Bano brings you some advice from experts and toppers on acing the Central Board of Secondary Education medical entrance test

education Updated: Mar 16, 2011 10:41 IST
Rahat Bano

The foundation of your Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Test-readiness rests on your mastery over the Class 11 and Class 12 National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks. Textbooks of the ISC Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations can boost your preparation, too. To firm up your chances of acing the exam, you should also have ample practice of multiple choice questions, say experts. Three coaching professionals give more advice on the test, popularly known as AIPMT.

Everything you need to know about AIPMT
. The Central Board of Secondary Education administers one of the major admissions tests for medical programmes, the All India
Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Examination, for 15% merit seats in medical/ dental colleges across the country.
. The test has two stages, preliminary and main.
. The three-hour preliminary exam consists of one paper carrying 200 objective type questions (four options with a single correct
answer) from physics, chemistry and biology (botany and zoology).
. Date and time: April 3, 10am to 1pm
. The three-hour final examination consists of one paper containing 120 objective type questions from physics, chemistry and
biology (botany and zoology)
. Date and time: May 15, 10am to 1pm
. Students can take the papers in English or Hindi.
. More on

Getting ready for the battle: How do you deal with the big three?

Sreevidya Ajith, senior faculty member, Triumphant Institute of Management Education Pvt Ltd, says questions will be from the NCERT textbooks. Therefore, “be thorough with each word and sentence in these books, especially in the ecology unit.”
Ajith doesn’t expect many out-of-syllabus questions, “maybe just one or two”.

For extra reading, students should study the Indian School Certificate textbooks for Class 11 and Class 12, she adds. (The ISC is awarded by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations.)

“Some topics such as plant movement are not mentioned in NCERT books but two questions on this were asked in last year’s APIMT,” says Ajith. Also read additional points on pathology (bacterial and viral diseases) and genetics (intergenic interaction) in ISC books.

According to her, some of the important topics are:
. Class 11 syllabus: Alternation of generations in plants, modifications in plant organs, body plan of various animals, biomolecules, cell division, chemical coordination, photosynthesis, plant growth hormones etc
. Class 12 syllabus: molecular basis of inheritance, sporogenesis, reproductive health, hormonal action in spermatogenesis and oogenesis, biotechnology, microbes in human welfare, ecosystem, environmental issues and so on
For AIPMT main, go a little deeper into the theory portion to attempt descriptive questions. Try to solve descriptive questions given at the end of each chapter in the ISC textbook. Revise the theory portion as much as you can. Recollect important points and frame questions of your own. Answer direct questions without looking at the options.

Manu Arora, senior professor of chemistry and centre head, Brilliant Tutorial, Janakpuri, says students should prepare for single-correct option questions, which will comprise about 90% of the paper.

“There should be more emphasis on questions with more than one correct option to keep yourself on a safe footing.”

According to Arora, the important topics are:
. Physical chemistry: tough and lengthy topics including equilibrium, thermodynamics, electrochemistry and chemical kinetics. Physical chemistry comprises about 40% of AIPMT chemistry.
. Organic chemistry: topics such as hydrocarbons, alcohols, phenols, aldehydes, ketones and amines. Organic covers about 40% of the chemistry portion.
. Inorganic chemistry: topics like complex compounds, p-block, d-block and some s-block elements.

These are the major important topics which make you 80% ready for the test, says Arora.

“Other topics are no less important. They are easy to deal with,” he says.

Arora emphasises that AIPMT preparation requires more practice than reading. “It should be 1:4 — one part reading and four parts practising questions.” This is crucial to be able to tackle tricky problems by understanding the examiner’s psychology and by interpreting the words, he says. “You may know a concept but the language of the question can make you doubtful.”


AIPMT’s physics is usually termed easy. More than a grip over the concept, the deciding factor in this section is speed and accuracy. And that comes from practising MCQs.

Anurag Sharma, associate professor, Narayana Institute, South Extension branch, Delhi, says students may use NCERT text for theory and solved examples but should go for one of the MCQ banks by private authors.

The level of questions is such that “80-90% students can do them but many aren’t able to complete them because a lack of practice,” says Sharma.

The most important topics in physics are mechanics (10-12 questions) from Class 11 and modern physics from Class 12 (10-12 questions).Preparation strategies

Swarndeep Singh

cleared AIPMT in 2009

Follow a fixed study plan
Preparation strategy: I started preparing for medical almost a year in advance before I took the AIPMT. My strategy was to decide how many topics to do in a day, and complete them on time. I alternated between different subjects and chapters, studying different subjects on different days. I studied for about 14 hours a day and followed a fixed schedule, and made sure I would take a run in the park every morning to keep fit as well as energised for studies. Although I did take private coaching, I personally believe that the NCERT books are the best for medical preparation, specially for biology, as all questions in the test come from the NCERT books themselves. Thus I studied the NCERT books thoroughly, about three times each, and even read the old editions as these are very descriptive. I feel that about 10% of the question paper is from the old editions.

Hot tips for candidates taking the test
. Ensure you have covered the basic principles for each concept before tackling the questions
. Stick to learning from the NCERT books
. You should learn to manage your time well, and be sincere in studies
. Take practice tests after you have completed your study plan

As told to

Suzanne Hughe

Ankit Sangwan

AIPMT rank 400, DUMET rank 6

Regular studies helped
Preparation strategy: I always knew I would crack the exam — that’s what I kept repeating to myself every day when I got into gear for my preparations. Since my goal was set, one part of the preparation was taken care of. As far as studies go, I ensured that I was keeping up to date with the syllabus. Right after the Class 10 Boards, I started coaching for the pre-medical entrance exams. After taking it a little light in Class 11, I became extremely serious about the exam in Class 12. As I was in coaching classes four days of the week, I devoted more than seven hours to self-study in the remaining three days. When the entrance exams neared I paid special attention to revising the NCERT textbooks that helped me in acing the various exams. Also, the test series I had undertaken in the past helped me develop a proper strategy to attempt the exam. In all my exams I attempted biology first then chemistry and physics.

Hot tips for candidates taking the test

. Don’t forget to revise NCERT books
. Solve as many test papers as you can and record the time you take to finish the test
. Stay calm… don’t get nervous while writing the papers
. Take your time and don’t hurry to finish the exam, be attentive.
. Have faith in yourself

As told to Garima Upadhyay