COVID-19 derailed NEET preparations, self-study helped small town see Hrutul to secure rank 5

Coming from Kodinar in Gujarat’s Gir Somnath, Hrutul Chhag had to relocate in search of better education, however, when COVID-19 hit India, he had to relocate to his hometown. The move, said the 18-year-old, derailed his preparations for the medical entrance exam – NEET 2021. While Chhag dreamed of preparing in a highly competitive environment with like-minded peers, he had to stay home and attend online lessons instead. Despite initial hiccups, self-control, hard work and strict routine made him not only crack the exam but also secure the All India Rank (AIR) 5.

When preparing at home, Chhag followed strict discipline. He studied 10-12 hours every day and also practiced sample questionnaires to assess his preparations on a regular basis. “Through COVID-19, the coaching classes moved to the online mode, which affected my studies because the interaction and doubt removal sessions became less, however, I later went to self-study and managed to get the studies,” Hrutul told

He used the online mode to study, however, refused to surf the internet and was inactive on social media at the time of his preparation. He claims he used social media only to dispel any doubts and to request notes from coaching class and friends.

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Chhag secured 715 marks out of 720 in NEET 2021, the results of which were announced Monday. The first to crack his family’s medical entrance, Chhag now wants to join AIIMS Delhi for his undergraduate course. The son of a businessman and a housekeeper, Hrutul says he always wanted to be a doctor and was fascinated by the medical profession.

A resident of Kodinar, Gir Somnath, Chhag moved at a young age to have better education. He claimed that he knew early on that he would pursue medical entry and therefore started making since class 10. He first moved to Ambujanagar to study class 10 boards and engage with NCERTs. He completed his class 10 of Ambuja Vidya Niketan, Ambujanagar. He then completed Class 12 of Krishna International School, Rajkot, and stayed there with his mother to complete his schooling. He received 99.4 percent in the CBSE Class 12 board exam.

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During his board preparations also his main focus for the preparation of NEET. He claims to have used NCERT books as the basis of the medical entrance exam. He enrolled in Allen Coaching Classes to prepare for the entrance exam, however, had eventually studied online.

“I prepared for NEET 2021 after completing class 10 and have always wanted to become a doctor. I have always been interested in the medical profession and knew before I joined class 11 that I wanted to appear for NEET, “he adds.

For his fellow NEET aspirants, he suggests that NCERT is the main source of study. “Study NCERT and focus on it. Many students do not read it well. Practice a sufficient number of questions from NCERT. If someone is unable to pass NEET 2021, they should not give up and stay motivated. Exercise and perseverance are the keys. Study hard and you will crack it, “suggested Hrutul.

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