This how-to guide on clearing the Forensic NTA UGC NET/JRF Exam in Forensic Science in form of a one-to-one chat interview with Kuldeep Kawar. ForensicMCQ didn’t give him any sort of award or promise of money for writing it.
Tell Us About Yourself.
Hello everyone, my name is Kuldeep Kawar. I scored a total of 240/300 in the NTA UGC NET/JRF Examination, in November 2021. My Paper 1 score was 90/100 and my Paper 2 score was 150/200.
I have completed my graduation and post-graduation in Forensic Science from the Institute of Forensic Science, University of Mumbai. I have specialized in Questioned Documents, Fingerprints, and Forensic Physics. Currently, I’m a Ph.D. scholar at Dr. Harisingh Gaur (Sagar) University, Sagar, Madhya Pradesh.
Q1: Is It your first attempt?
Ans: Yes, this was my first attempt.
Q2: Did you seek coaching to prepare for the NTA UGC NET? Did you suggest others have one?
Ans: I did not seek any formal coaching whatsoever. I believe that in today’s age, all information is available at your fingertips for free. The most complex concepts can be found to be explained in the simplest words all over the internet. One just needs to keep on searching until the most precise explanation is found.
So, if there’s no dearth of free content and tutorials, why opt for coaching? For guidance and motivation? Personally, I don’t believe in paying someone for that purpose. If you want to qualify for JRF, that’s enough motivation. However, I would like to clarify that this is my personal opinion and it’s neither mandatory nor is it natural for everyone to concur.
Some candidates may lack the confidence to study on their own, or might have been accustomed to coaching style since childhood. Such aspirants can surely seek coaching. But aisa nahi ke coaching lagaye, jo sikhaye wohi padhe, aur baith liye. Whatever fancy and expensive brand of shoes you might wear, it’s finally the strength of your legs that’ll decide how far you’ll run.
It’s your self-study that’ll matter in the long run!
Q3: How long have you been preparing for this Forensic NET exam?
Ans: I didn’t apply for UGC NET 2021 when registration started for the first time. This was when I had other plans after finishing my PG, and NET was not in my foresight. However, things happened and I had to drop my earlier plans.
After I completed my PG in July 2021, I gave my future plans some serious thought and made up my mind to prepare for NET. Expecting the next exam to be held in June 2022, I started preparing. I visited this article on this website itself- [Tips + Books] How to Prepare for NTA UGC NET/JRF Forensic Science 2. This article helped me immensely to build a plan and gather resources for studying.
I started my preparation by reading Nordby. I was a slow reader at first, but it didn’t bother me because I wasn’t in a rush. I had nearly a year to prepare. Then, UGC dropped another notification in the first week of August 2021 regarding merging two cycles.
The registrations had reopened and exams were supposed to be held in the first week of October. I decided to give it a shot. That gave me less than 2 months to complete the syllabus.
It took me almost 15-20 days to finish reading Nordby. “How could I manage reading all the other reference books, along with Paper 1?” Something had to be done, and I didn’t have much to lose. Which is the reason why I took a gamble which I’ll be explaining later 🙂
Q4: How do you Manage your time throughout the day? How much time do you allot for papers 1 and 2?
Ans: I used to wake up at 4 in the morning, study for 3-4 hours, and relax for about half an hour. I would repeat this cycle 3-4 times, so that would add up to 12-13 hours of study every day. A power nap once in a while would do wonders.
I did not specifically allot a particular day or time frame to Paper 1. However, I made it a point not to ignore Paper 1 for more than 3 days.
Q5: How do you approach paper 1 and Paper 2? How do you study differently for both papers?
Ans: So, as I have mentioned earlier, I had 2 months to complete the syllabus altogether. If I started reading reference books, I would have barely completed 4-5 subject books without revision.
To study efficiently, I would have had to decide what topics to focus on and what to ignore. NET, especially for this subject, is a very tricky exam. You can’t predict which topic would carry more weightage and which not. The trends have also been unreliable lately. Most of the topics of the syllabus cannot be ignored at all. Therefore, I decided to ditch all the reference books for Paper 2.
Instead, I decided to go all out on the modules from the E-PG Pathshala. I combined all the modules for a particular topic into a single pdf- such as Forensic ballistics, Fingerprints, other impressions, etc. The reasoning behind this approach was that E-PG Pathshala is a resource under the purview of UGC itself. The modules are written in clear and concise language. They might not contain as much detailed information as in the reference books, but I believed it’d be way easier to complete these modules than study the rest of the literature.
I only had two months; so if I make it, I’ll well and good. If it didn’t work, I would start reading the books for the next attempt. That was my gamble.
Thus, I stuck to the syllabus and read relevant material from E- PG Pathshala. I used to complete topics (Forensic Toxicology, Forensic Medicine, etc.) in less than 2 days. Plus, I made it a point to thoroughly go through all the PYQs from 2004, with explanations. This website (now forensicmcq.com) helped me immensely for that purpose.
Regarding paper 1, I read and revised KVS Madaan thoroughly. Whenever I had some free time or I became bored of reading the same material, I used to watch videos for Paper 1 from different educators at 2X speed. It ensured that I never detached from Paper 1, which might be the case for different aspirants as examination as the exam dates approach.
Q6. Which is the hardest forensic category you think students should tackle first? How you learn various tables and tests?
The hardest category…..well, it’d depend from person to person.
Personally, I believe topics like fingerprints, ballistics, and questioned documents are easy to master. FMT, Instrumental techniques, Forensic Biology/Serology, and DNA are a bit harder to grasp.
You need to read these topics twice or thrice and then focus on the parts that need to be remembered well. There are lots of detection tests and tables that an aspirant must be aware of.
Learning them all by heart is no joke, especially when you only have a few days to prepare.
My method was not to memorize them but rather to read and revise them so that they triggered the memory when an MCQ is presented to you. Remember, you don’t need to remember each and every name, each and every reagent and color, etc. You are not going to write an answer in this exam. Revise enough so that the correct option just clicks you while solving MCQs!
Q7. Which book do you recommend reading in preparation for the NET/JRF of Forensic Science?
Ans: As mentioned, I’ve not read a plethora of books due to a lack of time. But I’d have read the books mentioned on this website if I had sufficient time to do that. From personal experience, the E-PG pathshala turned out to be enough.
Q8. Do you revise on a regular basis? How should one revise for the NET/JRF Paper 1 and Forensic Paper 2 (differently)?
Ans: I’m a quick learner, quick reader, but a lazy reviser. I don’t make notes (except for certain topics such as detection tests, formulae, certain terms, etc.). I highlight or underline stuff while reading and revise that part only.
In the beginning, I had planned to revise daily and weekly. But when I actually sit to revise, I’ll be like “ye toh aata hai, ye bhi aata hai..chhod yar, naya kuch padh leta hu”. It was only after I did complete all the topics from E-PG when I started revising each topic again.
Around 2nd-3rd October I had completed my revision and was anxious for the exam, which was supposed to be held from 7th October. But then it got delayed again. I was both frustrated (because I did not want to go through the drill again) and happy (because I could revise a few times more). New schedule was announced starting from 20th November.
Enough time! But did I revise? Not even once. I lowered my guard. Celebrated festivals, went out traveling, watching movies and web series. It was only when the admit cards were out on 13th November that I started revising again, in top gear. That being said, I’m a pretty irregular reviser. But now that the results are out, I suppose I might be the topper for this subject.
So, is this approach recommended? ABSOLUTELY NOT. That is because every learner is different.
In the last week when I had to revise everything, I was totally washed out. I hated myself for not making the most out of the bonus days from the first week of October to the 2nd week of November. I could’ve revised at least 5-6 times in this time period, could’ve given mock tests, could’ve started a book………..and whatnot.
I loathed myself. When I solved previous years’ papers, I was clearing the JRF cut-off in most of them with a very small margin. So, Yes, clearing JRF was seems to be possible but only if I kept revising. I would’ve been sure of clearing it. The last days before the exam (and even till the answer keys were out) I kept on thinking what if I miss the JRF cut-off by a thin margin? I regretted not studying enough and that really messed up my head.
I hope that underlines the importance of revision. Though I have cleared JRF with an 80% score, I must confess that I did not give my best.
Some Tips for Both Papers:
- Make notes, underline, highlight- whatever you are comfortable and habitual with.
- Revising daily, weekly, and monthly is what is recommended.
- Test yourself by solving previous years’ papers and tally your marks with their cut-offs.
- Solve mock tests.
- Don’t be lax on Paper 1
- If you are too lazy to read Paper 1, just watch videos on 2X.
Q9. What advice would you give to students preparing for the exam who have completed their M.Sc and cannot afford to lose the following NET/JRF exam?
Ans: If you were a good learner in your MSc, I consider you to be already familiar with most of the concepts.
- Pick up the toughest topics first and get done with them.
- Study the topics related to your specialization in the end.
- If you have limited time and are starting from scratch, E-PG Pathshala is the way to go.
Q10. How do you deal with anxiety and Fear? What helps in building your confidence?
Ans: I have different ways to cope. I used to listen to music while studying. In the morning I used to study on the terrace, with the sun and the birds lending a positive start to the day. Sometimes, when I got too stressed, I used to go for a walk and meet a friend.
Solving previous years’ papers and realizing that you are clearing the JRF cut-off instilled a lot of confidence in me.
Yes, this is true, I author of this website, was also sure, how hard the exam will be I am clearing it even before the question paper landed in my hand. My story was published at forensicreader.com. And this confidence is only backed by revision and repetitive solving questions. So, I highly suggest, you do the same.
Q11. What online sources help you in your JRF? (both paper 1 and paper 2)
Ans: For Forensic Paper 2: E-PG pathshala and this website for PYQs (Previous Year Question Papers) with detailed explanations.
For paper 1, I have referred to different YT educators for different topics. Bharat Kumar for research aptitude and Indian logic, Navdeep Kaur and Mohit Sharma for complete chapter revision in a single video.
Q12. How did our website forensicmcq.com help you with your JRF?
Ans: The very first day the thought of preparing for UGC NET crossed my mind, I came across the article regarding book lists and study plans for the exam. It was by far the most logical and comprehensive approach I had found. It was after reading this article that I decided to stick to the plan and started reading Nordby. However, the unprecedented circumstances that I’ve explained brought a change in plans!
The PYQs since 2004 with detailed explainers is the USP of this website. I can safely say that there is no such resource for Forensic Science PYQs anywhere else! I used to take notes from the explanation and read them during revision.
Back then there were MCQs available only for a few topics, but now this website looks a lot better. The posts are getting a lot more interesting.
Note: Forensicmcq.com was previously named at mcq.forensicreader.com.
Q13. How much time do you think it takes to crack the JRF for Forensic students preparing for the first time?
Ans: Minimum 3 months of diligent study, with a smart plan. Just be aware of sticking to the syllabus and not reading anything extra.
Q14. What is one mistake that you believe many aspirants make while studying for the Forensic NET/JRF?
Ans: Aspirants often ignore how scoring Paper 1 is. They often get satisfied with a 70-75 score, when you can score 80+ easily with a little bit of extra dedication.
Plus they often stick to a particular topic and don’t let it go even if they find it difficult to grasp. One should learn to let go of such time-consuming topics and visit them later. Till then, study something easier.
Q15. What is the most important element of your preparation that helps you to crack JRF?
Ans: Quick reading and understanding comes naturally to me.
Q16. Anything You want to Add? Any advice, tips related to Exam?
Ans: While solving a question, read the question thoroughly and got through the possibilities of each option being the right answer. Make this a drill even if the question is very easy. It will help you in polishing your guesswork.
Pay attention to the questions, sometimes they are just variations of PYQs. There are also times when you might find the answer to a question in the statement of another question itself!
For Paper 1, work on easy topics such as data interpretation and comprehension. Though easy, they take up a lot of time in the actual examination. Solving them every day will guarantee 15-20 marks.
Q17. Lastly, What’s your future plan? Are you going for FACT+?
Ans: I’m currently in the first semester of my Ph.D. (admission through entrance test and interview) at Sagar Central University. While the research is yet to begin, my interest is in QD and fingerprints. No, I’m not appearing for FACT+.