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Getting 'IIT' Right

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It’s always a confusing state when one decided to take engineering as future course of career. One ends up scratching head over various queries like : how many entrance exams to take? Anuja Chavan, an Engineering Entrance Counsellor talks about solving these queries and why IIT can be a stepping stone to success...

While choosing engineering, everyone wonders about which entrancre exam to give : MH-CET, AIEEE, IIT JEE, BITS Pilani, Manipal entrance or VITEEE, especially if the aspirant lives in Maharashtra. What will the cut-off be for all these exams? How to manage studies of board exams and these extra difficult entrance tests? Should I go to Kota? Should I take gap for a year and how will that affect my future Master’s degree? And the list goes on.

Preapring for IIT JEE is as important as a clear vision of what your aim is and how to pursue it. Surely, majority (by majority I mean who are serious enough to have taken efforts to go through the whole portion of IIT JEE  weightage wise !!!) of those who will be taking exam this year 2016 are quite aware about the finicky changing pattern of this exam every year. Many parents prepare their child from class 8 to start preparing for this exam by ordering study material from institutions in Kota and Hyderabad. But, the best ripe time to start preparing for this exam will be once you have given your 10th board exams. And here is the safety cushion for state board students, they should and must go through physics, chemistry and mathematics of CBSE textbooks from 8th, 9th and 10th standards in the summer vacation after board exams itself. This is the appropriate time as student is mature enough to grasp, retain and reproduce the basic of three subjects mentioned earlier.

And so, you are ready for the race to start. Proper strict schedule for complete two years is the pain you should go through.

Let’s break the second myth about this exam now. Not everybody has to go to Kota or Hyderabad or Jaipur to clear this exam. Maybe 5-10 years ago, but now, with the power of Internet and delivery system, you can get whatever study material you want at your doorstep. Classes for this exam are important as the portion being huge and you might get lost while studying: what to study, what not, which topic to give more weightage, to be regular in assessing yourself.

What makes this exam so different and difficult?
My interactions with various qualifiers of this exam in last decade have revealed this fact that candidate has to work smart as well as hard. Let me make my point by giving example about physics:

Now, we are all aware that IIT JEE is a 50-50 gamble, as even though there are topics that have less weightage from JEE standpoint, you still need to study them as you never know – You might end up getting an entire 10% of a subject from one of the least expected sections

These 3 are the most basic concepts that you ought to know. You can expect at-least 1 question from these topics: Units and Dimensions – Weightage: 2%, Measurement of Errors – Weightage: 2%, Vectors -These topics are classified as fundamentals in physics. You can expect 1 – 2 questions from this section on an actual JEE Paper, Kinematics – Weightage: 1%, Newton’s Laws of Motion, Friction – Weightage: 4%

These 5 topics are important easy and can help your score high marks very easily in the JEE:

  • Work, Energy and Power – Weightage: 5%
  • Electrostatics – Weightage: 6%
  • Current Electricity – Weightage: 7%
  • Wave Optics - Weightage: 5%
  • Ray Optics – Weightage: 6%

These 9 topics are absolutely important for JEE. You can expect twisted questions from these sections, so its very important you know your basics well and practice a lot! You can expect 2 – 3 questions from most of the topics listed: Centre of Mass, Momentum and Collision – Weightage: 5% Rotational Dynamics – Weightage: 4%, Simple Harmonic Motion – Weightage: 5%, Fluid Mechanics – Weightage: 2 – 5%. Bernoulli’s principle can be easily twisted to ask some tricky questions. Wave Motion and String Waves – Weightage: 5%, Magnetism – Weightage: 6%, Heat and Thermodynamics – Weightage: 6%. This is one topic that is very important for both Physics and Chemistry preparation in JEE. Nuclear Physics – Weightage: 5%, Modern Physics – Weightage: 5%

No matter how many coaching classes you join or how many morestudy materials / books you buy, you have to spend time studying these materials and lecture notes. Self-study is one of the most important aspects of your JEE Main and Advanced preparation. The more time you devote towards clearing your concepts in various topics of Physics, Chemistry and Maths – the better are your chances of getting a top rank in the JEE

Studying in groups can be another effective way to study, provided you find the right partner to study with. Studying in groups can also accelerate your JEE preparation and you can see yourself achieving more in less time.

And the hard part, but yes – eventually many of the candidates giving IIT JEE have to face the question: should I take a gap this year- reasons may not be the same. For some, it will be not qualifying mains, for some not qualifying advance, and for the some though cleared it , wait for dream branch.

This part being personal to every candidate and the family, it’s best to evaluate every aspect while taking this decision though limited attempts are being given. And even aspects like mental health, physical fitness should be considered, because it must be very clear that IIT JEE is a part of life, just a stepping stone and not the life itself.

Lets have these 5 mantras for time management while preparing for IIT JEE:
a)    Complete the most important tasks first – Studying a chapter in say, Organic Chemistry is more important now than checking out what is the latest movie release. Once you have done the important task first, you will have a sense of accomplishment and that will lead you to the next important task.

b)    Learn to Say NO to friends and family – Do not cut yourself off from your friends or family while you prepare for the JEE. There will always be that friend who tried to distract you from your preparation, tell them a polite NO!

c)    Don’t procrastinate and aim for incremental improvement.
    Law of 1.01 – Incremental improvement

Above equation is a great analogy of Incremental improvement. It is called the 1.01 law. When we put that out 1% more effort every day, our progress can grow by 3800% in one single year. When we slack off 1% every day, we do not progress, rather we push ourselves to failure!

d)    Turn important tasks into habits – For any task to become a habit you need to do it for 21 days at stretch, and it will eventually become a habit – be it a good habit or a bad habit.

Make it a habit of revising important formulae and concepts in the morning, especially those which you studied the previous day.

e)    Set a time duration to everything you do – Our brain is a funny object! If you tell it that you have just 1 hour to study a chapter, it will give you reverse feedback and make sure that you finish it in not more than an hour.

However, if you set aside 4 hours for something that could be done easily in 1 hour, our brain will be slow in that process and it will end up making you take those 4 hours to complete the task – what a waste of time.

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