Cracking JEE. The Joint Entrance Exam for admission to the IITs is regarded as one of the toughest exams in India.
New Delhi, Mar 24, 2013 (The Hans India): The Joint Entrance Exam for admission to the IITs is regarded as one of the toughest exams in India. The offline format of JEE, as formulated by the Joint Admission Board in two phases – JEE Main and JEE Advanced – has been in practice since last year.
Cracking JEE has been seen as a major achievement for years. It is commonly believed that only with exceptional mathematical skills and professional coaching can one get through this exam.
It’s a notion among most parents in India that if their ward wants to become an engineer, it should be from India’s best college, i.e. the IITs. Parents spend lakhs of rupees to send their children to coaching institutes even three or four years prior to their eligibility to take the test.
The number of students enrolling to take this annual admission test has been increasing each year. In the years 2012 and 2013, over 3 lakh students sat for the test but sadly less than 5 percent could make it to the IITs.
Admission into the IITs has been a passion for students especially from Andhra Pradesh. The state solely accounts to 12.5 percent of the total students studying in the premium institution.
Despite the change in pattern last year – in which 60 percent of marks from the school board examination and 40 percent from the JEE (main) score are taken into consideration – the excitement about the entrance test hasn’t died down.
The newly set limitation that only the top 20 percentile of the school board can take up JEE (advanced) couldn’t stop Andhra Pradesh from ruling the roost like every year. The state set a record of producing the highest number of candidates admitted into the IITs when a total 3,698 seats were secured last year.
We found this band of wizards from the Telugu land in IIT Madras. Here is what they shared:
Tharun Bhasker Lingineni, JEE 340
Tharun Bhasker secured 340th rank in JEE in 2012. He is currently pursuing his B.Tech-Electricals in IIT, Madras. He says the preparation for JEE starts from the day a candidate decides to give it an attempt. The two basic requirements, he says, are knowledge about the syllabus and the emotional behavior in handling stress and tension. He further adds that there is no particular limit or boundary for JEE syllabus. “It’s important for a student to love the syllabus and be willing to take the burden.”
“It’s not the number of problems that makes you prepared; it’s the understanding of the concepts. It is okay if you solve very few problems, but you need to be able to reason that why you are applying this specific formula to that particular problem.”
Speaking about strategies to save time during exam, he stresses that JEE is mainly about accuracy; the number of pages of a solution or depth analysis can’t compensate with the right answer. “You need to get the correct answer, and there is no other alternative here.”
But it’s a time consuming process to keep trying to get the right answer, how can a student manage time for other questions?
There are certain questions from which you can save some time. Some problems have options with a range of values. The student should be thorough with the concept, so once he tries to solve a problem, it’s easy for him to guess what could be the answer from among the given options. This saves a lot of time.
Does cracking JEE require many years of study, keeping in view the number of IIT JEE foundation schools that have come up in the state in the past few years? Do you think cracking JEE requires 4 to 5 years of study?
Yeah, it’s good if the coaching begins early form 8th or 9th standard, as this motivates the student in a positive direction. Generally, the coaching institutes give problems which are less difficult or easy, initially, this helps encourage the student to practice more and as the levels of difficulty increase, he keeps himself well versed with the concepts.
Was there anything left to study in the last one month before exam or were you sure of getting a rank?
No, that last one month of revising concepts came to my aid. During my preparation days, I made short notes of all the concepts and topics I learnt, so when I looked at those points I noted, I could recollect the whole subject. I dedicated two weeks before exam to recall what I’ve been studying over years.
What tips you want to give to students preparing for JEE?
As I said earlier, short notes are very important. Secondly, managing the stress. Stick to the timetable, but take enough breaks to reduce the severity of stress. I used to just go out for an hour, play and come home, eat well and have a good sleep. Then got back to my routine study schedule, this helped me recycle my energy. All I would say to the IIT-aspirants is, keep your short notes safe, refer to it often, have a calm mind, eat and sleep.
Muhammad Azad Karl Arthur Cotton Mandela
(JEE- 875 Electrical engineer, IIT Madras)
Mandela cracked JEE in 2012 in his second attempt. He scored above 100 in both Math and Physics but less than 50 percent in Chemistry which lagged him behind from getting a rank in his first attempt. Interestingly, Mandela scored the highest in Chemistry in his second attempt and secured 875th position in the open category.
Mandela shares his experiences here:
“One day I heard the news of a guy in our neighboring village, who made it to BHU, Varanasi. That was the first time I heard about the IIT. I went and told my dad I wanted to get into the IIT. He runs a school in our village, that’s where I studied till my 10th standard. He encouraged me by bringing higher standard books from town. I used to do self study, and this eventually became a habit. I was leaving out all those topics that were boring for me, that’s when I understood the importance of a teacher, I understood I needed guidance to create that interest in me. I needed someone who could teach at snail’s pace right from the basics. I joined an institute in Hyderabad and the teacher guided me very well.”
Chemistry requires practical approach to understand the subject in depth. Schools and institutes make students mug up the subject; that is why, generally, Chemistry pulls back candidates from securing a rank in JEE.
A student may mug up chemistry to balance the score with Mathematics and Physics to clear JEE but in later stages, when he gets into the IIT it will be a struggle to complete the course, especially if one gets into a stream like Chemical Engineering or Metallurgy.
Problems are many but the time is limited, how could you manage time?
Yes, I had a strategy in exam, the first five minutes I spent on going through the question paper; I segregate the questions as simple, medium and hard with a pencil mark. As I have a good speed in math, I solved it at last. I first solved the chemistry paper, it’s a yes or no type to me, I don’t make any guesses here, either I know the answer or I don’t. Then I went for Physics, which gives me space to be lenient as most of the concepts are fixed, I can sway here.
What tips would you give for students preparing for JEE?
An advice I would give is, never commit the mistake of starting to study a new concept a month or two before the exam. Brush up all the concepts you’ve studied in Physics, dedicate a good four hours a day for physical chemistry, for math, go ahead and solve all the previous JEE papers.
Before taking JEE, one has to select a stream based on their interest that can help them estimate which ranks help achieve that; that will enable you to work for a target.
And most important is health; a candidate should maintain a healthy diet, which most students neglect. If one falls sick during practice tests or right before the exams, it’s a waste of years of efforts. That hurts badly.
Pavana Siddhartha K
Pavana Siddhartha secured 704th rank in his first attempt in JEE in 2012. He is now studying B.Tech- Mechanics in IIT, Madras.
Siddhartha says it was his personal choice to go for an IIT JEE coaching institute in his 9th standard. He said when all his friends, who were bright, were giving into all kinds of infatuations that take place in teenage years; he promised himself he would not watch movies, stay away from girls and all the “fun” till he cracks JEE. What enthused him to take up that great seriousness into studies at that stage was the coaching centre, which was teaching concepts that were way off his school text books. He was able to follow and solve the assignments they gave, and it pushed him to take Math and Science in +2 and devote his full two years to JEE preparation.
“Some institutes persuade students to mugging up; all they want is some ranks to advertise their brand in big, colourful posters. A good coaching institute that focuses on conceptualized teaching can help bring out the best in students. The guidance from a right teacher is very important. When a doubt arises, be it silly or good, the teacher should be ready to come forward and clear it. Experiences like, small disappointments for being laughed at because of doubts beckons that reasoning ability in students.”
How could you manage time in exam?
It’s not very easy to manage time but there are some tricks for this trade. The first is prioritizing which ones to solve first. For me, it’s easy questions of all the three subjects. They have a kink hiding somewhere in question, and if you know the concept well, it’s easy find and solve such puzzling questions. Then comes questions on which I can play time saving tactics; I can eliminate one or more options by estimating the answer in the range of values given in question and relating them to the options. At last, I went for experimenting on questions which I think requires more time. The practice papers helped me increase my speed of solving problems.
You want to give any advices or tips to students preparing for JEE?
There is a month left, so what a student should do now is, last minute preparations. Revise small concepts, then slightly difficult ones, then the most difficult ones. Never even look at an unknown topic now. By now, there should be nothing in the subject which one didn’t touch. Soon after one completes the mains, they shouldn’t waste time; they must get back to their routine schedule. Never take stress, have a happy meal and a good night sleep everyday.
Hemant secured 240th rank in JEE in 2012. He is now pursuing Btech- Computer Science in IIT, Madras.
Hemant says, his inspiration is his dad, who is a software engineer. He was sure right from childhood that he wants to be an engineer and hence came the driving force to crack JEE. He says the entire IIT JEE preparation is in four phases; Understanding, practicing, revising, and remembering.
“I think a student knows it to himself better, where he lacks, and what are his capabilities. Solving problems from concepts which you know may boost confidence but an aspirant’s quest lies in exploring new concepts. Understand a set of principles, practice, remember and then move on to others, come back and revise all again. This repetition improves memory, as the subject is vast one can’t limit the concepts, they’re unlimited.”
How you managed time?
As math is my favourite, I gave it more time and second importance, to Physics, and the least time I spent was on Chemistry. I applied the same rule in exam, too. When we know we’re not really good at chemistry as our understanding is not practical based, its better to give it a minimum importance but handle carefully. Even if one answers fewer questions, he should make sure the answers are accurate.
Would you like to give any tips or advices for students preparing for JEE?
One should be judging himself basing on his confidence levels. Practice and practice till you gain perfection. Last few weeks spend on recollecting the concepts and practicing papers. This JEE is a test of memory; how well you remember what you studied in all these years is what bags you a rank.
Thejaswi secured 3200th rank in her first attempt to JEE in 2012. She is currently pursuing Electrical engineering in IIT, Madras.
Thejaswi says her interest in Math dragged her to join a coaching institute after 10th standard but disappointment followed when Chemistry was taught in a conclusive manner. She tried hard for a right teacher’s gudance to understand why there are exceptions in laws and reasons why these principles are applied.
“I was not among those who study for 10-12 hours a day. I attended classes regularly, came back home, and revised what was taught. I studied for few hours but with deep concentration. I rested enough and enjoyed my regular life. I was never really serious about getting into IIT. I used be in 10-20 positions in my institute. There were brighter students in my class but they couldn’t secure a rank. One has to have a calm mind, no stress and be sportive.”
How you managed time in exam?
As I have strong hold on math, I solved the questions which carry more marks first, then the rest; I solved the entire math question paper. I scored 100 out of 108 in Math. I applied same strategy for physics and scored pretty well. I am weak at Chemistry, its natural with most of the students as most of these laws are not fixed, there are exceptions everywhere, if my teacher could’ve given me some clarity in why those exceptions I could’ve scored better and my rank would’ve been moved forward.
Any tips for students preparing for JEE?
Do not allow your stress, tensions to pull you back, you have to repel from all those situations and survive. And I personally feel hours and hours of study can emotionally drain a person, have a regular life, opt for smart study over hard work and follow a strict time table.
If your parent recognizes you can crack JEE and sends you to good institutes, first step is telling them to keep calm and leave you free. Being controlled under a force can have a negative effect on the student, parents should understand this. Stress will haunt you very bad, especially in this one month before exam, divert yourself from negativity, and be cool and confident. Go, give an attempt casually, you’ll crack it, that’s how I did it. It’s not very hard.
Kavya Kantha R S
Kavya secured 3061st rank in JEE in 2013. She is currently pursuing electrical engineering in IIT, Madras.
Kavya’s preparation for JEE started in her 11th standard when she joined an institute in Vizag. She says, the institute taught her how to prepare for JEE by clearly giving an idea on what books to refer and how to study. She feels Chemistry is superficially taught, and maybe if the theory could’ve developed properly, more students could make it to IIT. She assumes lack of time as one of the reasons why topics like Quantum Mechanics are made to mug up.
How you managed time in exam?
I failed to manage time in exam. Time was always a problem for me even during practice tests. I think, not all students are completely prepared for all three subjects, some do good at math, some physics, its easy to solve the paper you are good at but the rest, take more time. In my case, I love Physics, I scored well in that, for Math, I took reasonably enough time; frankly, I was doomed when I saw chemistry. Here I will make a point, to ensure you get a rank, teachers make you mug up some topics but there are even topics where you need to apply mind.
How is the new format of writing the exam in two phases; mains and advance? Was previous better or this?
Previous format was the best. In the present model, JEE mains is all about testing how good you’re at basics where as JEE Advance is about the depth of concepts you learnt. There is a huge variation. In the previous pattern, you’re directly preparing for an admission to IIT. Yes, I agree that a person who knows depth of concepts should know basics but its like after solving problems that are highly difficult, coming down to beginner level is like a fall, it’s like you’re going backwards. I know many who could’ve got top ranks if the pattern didn’t change. Even because of 92% cut off in state board and this idea of taking only top 20 percentile disappointed many students.
In a month, one can’t jump from basics to advanced level, I don’t get the basis why a format like this is made.
Would you like to give any tips for students appearing for JEE 2014?
As the format is changed, even if you’re into deep analysis of concepts, please be thorough with basics, if not scoring in Mains isn’t possible. And yes, make sure you give your board exams well, one has to balance time for both, and it’s an extraordinary work if they succeed. For Chemistry, take guidance from a good teacher; don’t waste time in institutes that don’t pitch with your demands, like, clarifying doubts. All the best.
Niveditha secured 1023rd rank in JEE 2013. She is currently pursuing Aerospace engineering in IIT, Madras.
Niveditha says, she heard that IIT is the best college for engineering and now she is experiencing it. She said the college provides best resources at lowest prices and the professors are very good, and this is where an engineer discovers himself.
“My focus was more towards Physics and Chemistry, the teacher at my coaching institute helped me a lot. But I lacked at math, the reason for that is our Math teachers were frequently changing and I couldn’t pace with them, this is a very common problem in corporate institutions.”
How you managed time in exam?
I gave more time for Chemistry, then Physics and I couldn’t perform well in Math. If I did a little better in Math, my rank could’ve been better.
Any tips for candidates appearing for JEE?
Be perfect with basics for mains and even do well in your 12th boards. JEE advance needs an extra application of concepts and principles, scoring here is a result of years of effort. One may not be in top ranks in their coaching institutes but they should be confident during exams that yes I can get into IIT. Even parents should create that positive environment. I’ve seen students, who failed because they panicked in exam, do not panic, be chill out.