In the last post, I talked about the importance of testing yourself using practice exams. But often you need more practice than what’s available – especially for the NET Life Sciences exam, where there’s a real shortage of good questions (which is why I made this site, to provide free help to those who want to study). The CSIR NET website has some good practice questions, but only a few. On the other hand, the usual books (like Pathfinder etc.) have a lot of questions, but their quality is suspect. They seem to focus more on quantity than quality – a lot of those problems would never be seen on the NET exam.
So what can you do about this? The number one resource for good practice is, of course, previous NET exams. Review questions from a good textbook are also valuable. But what if you want to practice more?
That’s what today’s tips talk about – where to get more practice.
1. Write your own practice quizzes
Kind of like making a study guide, this also encourages you to look over the information and identify what’s the most important. By trying to make good questions, you’ll automatically hone in on the broad ideas and specific details that are most crucial about a topic.
You will also start looking at the material like a teacher and not a student, which is very helpful for an exam like the NET that covers so much material – it helps distinguish between what’s useful to remember and what isn’t.
I recommend waiting a couple between when you make the test and when you take it. That way you’ll be retrieving the information from your long-term memory, not your short-term memory. In other words, give yourself time to forget the question!
2. Exchange quizzes with friends
If you have friends who are also studying for the CSIR NET Life Sciences exam, you can set up study dates where each of you creates a quiz. Then you can exchange quizzes or pool the questions together.
Because everyone will write different questions because you have different views on what’s important. This means you’ll step out of the narrow view that we all each hold of what is relevant to the test. Of course, not all questions will be equally useful, but even the process of the deciding what you need to focus on makes you engage with the material – and so it helps you remember it. You can also exchange grading duties, so you don’t miss any mistakes you alone might overlook.
It’s also a lot of fun to work with friends. There is the danger of procrastination, though, so you have to judge whether group study is a good use of your time.
If it suits all of you, you can also make an exciting game out of it. Turn it into a Quiz Contest – assign points and give out prizes (or bragging rights :D). The NET exam is serious, of course, but the process of studying for it doesn’t have to be boring!