NEET Kerala toppers on securing their dreams after initial hiccups

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A Lulu, Saneesh Ahamed and S Aisha
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This is the tale of a trio who initially missed the bus but reached the station subsequently due to sheer hard work and perseverance. Here are the bright minds who secured the first three ranks in the state in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) - S Aisha (All-India 12th rank), A Lulu (22), and Saneesh Ahamed (25). For all three, the previous attempts did not give the expected results. They then decided to devote one year for NEET preparation.

There is more to be proud of for Kerala - all of them studied in public schools. The three brilliant minds met as part of a forum arranged by Manorama Career Guru. Here are excerpts of their conversation:

On the achievement

Aisha: Expected good marks but it was indeed surprised to secure such a high rank. 

Lulu: I started preparing for NEET after Pus Two. So, this is a dream achievement.

Saneesh: Did not even expect a two-digit rank. I think hard work paid. 

A full year for NEET

Aisha: Took time to learn biology as it is more of a theory paper. Did mock tests on the website of the National Testing Agency as exam neared. 

Lulu: Initially, the marks in the mock test were not good. I just focussed on the learning part and didn’t listen to detractors who thought a year was being wasted.

Saneesh: I studied NCERT textbooks well. There was a bit of pressure but I overcame it and went ahead. 

Experiences during exam

Saneesh: Last year’s experience showed that even one wrong answer could pull the rank down. Tenison is not good at all; the chances of erring is high. The exam was relatively easy this time. 

Lulu: Initially, I marked one wrong answer in Physics. Then, I was extremely careful. 

Aisha: I knew even one answer should not go wrong. I focussed on answering questions I knew well. After that, I revisited all questions that were ambiguous. 

COVID-19 and exams

Aisha: The more the examination got delayed, the anxiety went up. But there was a lot of time to prepare. 

Lulu: I could catch up on topics that needed more time during the lockdown.

Saneesh: Used to prepare for 15 hours during the lockdown. That is what probably secured me this rank. 

Hobbies

Lulu: I had secured A-grade in the State School Arts Festival in the Hindi story and poetry writing. I avoided using social media in the past year. Should get back to it a bit now.

Saneesh: Reading is my hobby. I uninstalled Facebook when I felt that would hinder studies.

Aisha: I still do not have a Facebook or Instagram account. Thinking of getting it soon.

What next

All three had the same answer - All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi. 

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