Tips to avoid negative marking in MCQ-based Competitive exams

  • ACIO
  • November 24, 2023
  • Views 8830

All the major competitive examinations in India, including JEE and NEET, follow the MCQ-based examination pattern. MCQs (for Multiple Choice Questions) are a popular assessment format used in competitive exams to test a candidate’s knowledge, reasoning ability, accuracy and speed in answering questions.

However, one of the major challenges that students face while attempting multiple-choice questions in competitive exams is the risk of negative marking. Negative marking is a scoring scheme in which marks are deducted from the total score for incorrect answers. Here we’ll discuss some practical tips to avoid negative marking in MCQ-based competitive exams like JEE and NEET.

Negative Marking in Competitive Exam:

Negative marking is a scoring scheme implemented in all the major competitive exams in which marks are deducted for incorrect answers. That means, for every wrong answer, the prescribed marks will be deducted from the total marks that candidates scored for all the correct answers.

Since negative marking can substantially decrease your score, candidates hesitate to answer even when they have an excellent idea about the correct ones.

Negative Marking in NEET-UG:

The NEET-UG marking scheme is as follows:

  • (+4) Four marks will be given for every correct answer
  • (-1) One mark will be deducted for every incorrect answer
  • (0) No marks will be given for unanswered/un-attempted questions

Negative Marking in JEE Main:

The JEE Main marking scheme for both MCQs and numerical-value questions is as follows:

  • (+4) Four marks will be given for every correct answer
  • (-1) One mark will be deducted for every incorrect answer
  • (0) No marks will be given for unanswered/un-attempted questions

What is the Reason Behind Negative Marking?

Apart from JEE and NEET, other competitive exams also follow the negative marking scheme. The primary goal of negative marking is to eliminate applicants. In competitive exams, lakhs of candidates appear and compete for limited seats. Negative marking has been used by authorities to filter out candidates who lack adequate knowledge, skills and confidence for the exam.

Thousands of students lose their selection and dream spot yearly because of negative marking. Hence, it is the primary concern for JEE and NEET aspirants. Here we’ll present some practical tips to avoid negative marking and maximise your chances of success in JEE or NEET 2023.

Tips to Avoid Negative Marking in JEE/ NEET Examinations:

1. Read the Questions Carefully:

During competitive exams, candidates often feel overwhelmed by the pressure and anxiety and end up making silly mistakes. One of the most common mistakes candidates make is rushing through the questions without correctly understanding them, and in that rush, they tend to mark the wrong answers, which leads to negative marking. While it’s essential to complete the exam within the given time, it’s equally crucial to take the time to carefully read and comprehend the questions before attempting to answer them. Candidates are advised to read the question carefully and underline the keywords like not, incorrect, wrong etc.

2. Avoid Guesswork:

Another common mistake students make while attempting competitive exams is guessing the answers. Guessing can be compelling, but it can also lead to negative markings. If you are not sure about the answer, it is better to leave the question and move on to the next one. Guessing should be your last resort only.

3. Skip Doubtful Questions:

While attempting highly competitive exams like JEE or NEET, you come across questions you are not confident about. In these cases, avoid guessing answers randomly because if your guess is incorrect, you will receive negative marking, which is not a risk you should take. However, leaving too many questions unattempted is also disadvantageous. The ideal practice in such circumstances is to take calculated risks and answer questions about which you are at least 80%–90% confident.

4. Don’t Answer at the Last Minute:

An effective exam approach necessitates students to spare the last 10-15 minutes for revision. Hence try not to solve questions in the last moments as you’ll tend to make more mistakes in a rush. Instead, properly utilise every last second for revision and re-checking your answers.

5. Eliminate Wrong Options:

If you are unsure about the answer, try eliminating the wrong options. Sometimes, the options give you a clue to the correct answer. You can eliminate the obviously wrong options and then try to choose the correct answer from the remaining options. It can increase your chances of getting the answer right and help you avoid negative marking.

6. Keep Calm and Stay Focused:

During the exam, it is essential to stay calm and focused. Panic and anxiety can lead to mistakes, which can result in negative marking. If you feel stressed, take a deep breath and try to relax. Staying focused can help you to answer the questions accurately and avoid negative marking.

7. Practice Mock Tests:

Practice is the key to avoiding negative marking. First, take as many mock tests as possible and carefully analyse your mistakes while attempting them. Then, make conscious efforts to rectify your mistakes. Also, it would be best to work through an issue until you reach the solution rather than bypass it because they believe it to be simple. It can help you to avoid negative marking and increase your chances of success.

8. Manage Your Time:

Time management is crucial while attempting MCQ-based exams like JEE and NEET. It is essential to allocate time to each section and question. You should answer the easy questions first and then move on to the difficult ones. If you are stuck on a question, it is better to move on to the next one and return to it later. Time management can help you avoid negative marking by ensuring that you have enough time to answer all the questions.

Competitive exams can be challenging, but you can avoid negative marking with the right preparation. Understanding the exam pattern, managing your time, avoiding guesswork, eliminating wrong options, staying calm and focused, and practising mock tests can help you to achieve success in JEE or NEET.

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