Steps to ace IIT-JEE

IIT-JEE is supposedly one of the toughest national examinations at the undergraduate level, find out ways to crack the exam successfully.

Steps to ace IIT-JEE
By Sanjay Mishra - mentor to IIT-JEE aspirants updated on 08-Sep-2014            

There is a phrase that says ‘nothing succeeds like success.’ In today’s competitive atmosphere, this is the ultimate truth. If you are successful, your efforts will be lauded; otherwise, every effort of yours will look ineffective. IIT-JEE is supposedly one of the toughest national examinations at undergraduate level. But as nothing is impossible, this too can be triumphed with a desire to succeed, meticulous planning, learning the skill of time management, learning how to study, what to study and how to apply the acquired skill and knowledge in solving problems through right guidance. Last but not the least you should have a perfect understanding of the examination pattern and prepare to undertake a lot of hard work. Keep in mind the old saying that ‘time and tide wait for none.’

So, how can one achieve success in IIT-JEE? Let me explain this with the following points:-

1.  Determination: To achieve what others might consider impossible. If you are determined to achieve what you want to achieve, you can very easily acquire academic and other skills. It is just a matter of time. You must believe in yourself and your abilities. Half the battle is won if you believe you can win. With perfect determination, success is almost guaranteed regardless of problems like scarcity of time or fierce competition.

2.  Time Management: Once you decide your target examination, it automatically binds you in a definite time frame. One can optimize the output from each day’s preparation and hence optimize the entire time frame. The next job is to allocate time to different topics of a subject according to the importance of the topic i.e. number of questions asked from the topic in previous years and the length of the topic. Within the topic, there are certain sub-topics of greater importance. You need to identify those sub-topics too. These factors will pay a great role in allocating proper time to different topics.

3.   Planning: Always remember, planning helps you in many ways:

(i) It allows you to work simultaneously on short-term and long-term objectives. It helps you break large daunting tasks into more easily manageable chunks of small tasks.

(ii) It keeps you focused. It generates a feeling of progress and success whenever you achieve a short-term goal.

(iii) In the absence of a plan, there is always a danger that you would end up wasting your time and by the time you are aware of it, the damage is irreparable.

Now the question is how one should plan?

Always break the complete plan into short-term and long-term plans. For instance monthly plans, weekly plans, daily plans, keeping in mind that monthly plan will work only if you have a weekly-scheduled activity, which in turn would be feasible only if you have a proper daily schedule of studies. While making a daily plan you must keep in mind the following:

(a)     Study all subjects daily.

(b)     Give almost equal weightage and time to each subject.

(c)     In between any study session, you can take one or two small breaks for 5-10 minutes. If you take a small break, do not indulge in activities such as watching television because that might prolong the break or disturb the flow.

(d)     The last activity before sleeping should be ‘review of the work done’ on that day vis-a-vis the plan for that day.

4.    How to study:

      (i)  Keep your study room neat and clean and all things important for study (like charts, tables which will aid in quick review and also act as a reminder) close to you for quick access.

      (ii)  Keep your study room free from distraction and noise.

   (iii) Study during hours of your peak performance, for e.g. study tough subjects during morning hours when your mind is fresh and more receptive.

(iv)    A break of 5-10 minutes after 45-60 minutes of concentrated study is required. During this break you should do some light stretching or enjoy some refreshment to freshen up. Be careful not to take a long nap or start chatting during this break. Get back to studying quickly.

(i)       Develop proper sleeping habits. A minimum of 6 hours of sleep is must.

5.     Improving Retention and Memory: A good memory is a positive aspect of your personality

(i)            Study all subjects everyday. Do not study one subject continuously for long hours, it will affect your efficiency.

(ii)          Associating a particular definition with some non-academic objects sometimes proves helpful in memorizing that definition.

      I can still remember RED CAT and AN OX after more than 15 years of being away from chemistry that reduction reaction takes place on cathode and oxidation reaction takes place on anode, just because of the well thought association taught by my chemistry teacher. You can make a number of such associations on your own.

(iii)      You can also make charts and tables of important definitions and formulae and put it right above your study-table so that it is always in front of you. A periodic table is a must to learn basics of physical and inorganic chemistry. Similarly you can make a chart of important reactions in organic and inorganic chemistry or a diagram of important processes.


6. Developing problem solving skills:

      (i)   It is always better to solve less number of quality problems all by yourself than solving a large number of substandard and similar problems by yourself and leaving good problems to be clarified by your teacher later or to see its solution in the book.

(ii)   Do not collect problems from all available sources rather follow one or two good books or study material. Once you feel that you have developed proficiency in a particular topic, move on to the next topic without wasting time doing more number of similar problems from different sources.

7. Improving your test performance:

        (i)   Do all practice with a particular time span. Only then you will be able to monitor your speed. For each objective question give yourself 50-60 seconds and for each subjective question, give yourself 5-10 minutes.

      However, that does not mean that you should not study beyond the stipulated time. 

              (ii)  Memorize all important definitions, formulae and concepts. You should practice hard so that all land-mark problems are deeply imprinted in your memory.

              (iii) Develop your own short-cuts.

               (iv) While doing objective problems, do not write all steps. Use as little space as possible.

               (v)  Never start a problem which you are sure, you cannot solve.

              (vi) Move quickly through questions. In first round, solve only simple questions leaving lengthy and uncertain questions for second round by clearly marking them. All guess work/intelligent elimination of the options etc are to be done in the second round.

(vii) Mark your answers in a bunch of five or ten. Never leave all answers for the eleventh hour. You may also go on marking your answers simultaneously.

           (viii)  Mind the silly mistakes and petty calculation mistakes to minimize erroneous answers. This can be done only through practice, practice and more practice.

              (ix) First concentrate on those questions which are based on the topics that you have carefully selected during preparation. If your strike rate is more than 90% in such questions, you will most probably clear the cut off.

(x) Don’t see the options before you solve the problem or else you may get confused. There may be a certain bias to get a particular answer which may be wrong. However in certain problems, options themselves may guide you towards the correct alternative. 

              (xi) Sometimes you read the first one or two sentences and falsely assume the questions as something read and done earlier. This will prove damaging. Remember, you have to read the complete question and after solving too, you have to read all the options even when an option may seem to be perfect.

             (xii)  To do the calculations fast, (especially in physics & chemistry paper) you have to do certain approximation. You may have to take help of Binomial expansion etc. First decide the order (power of ten) of the answer quickly and then calculate the significant figures.

          (xiii) While answering subjective problems, dimensions play an important role in deciding the correctness of each term and each equation.


8.   Revision: As the cumulative courseware of the three subjects is bulky, there are chances that you may forget ceratin ideas, concepts which are not in frequent application. Therefore my advice is to prepare your own compendium list of all important ideas, formulae, concepts for all three subjects topic-wise so that just before the examination you can recall them by glancing at the list. Also your focus must remain on mock tests and problem solving rather than wasting time in flipping pages of your long and bulky books and notebooks.

9.  Conclusion: Success demands a lot of sacrifice, discipline and hard work. When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then success will certainly touch your feet. Perseverance is the key to success. Positive attitude is also a key factor. So, always think positive, speak only positive words. Think always for the best and remain prepared for the worst. A certain amount of anxiety is essential to perform good but do not let the stress take a toll.

‘If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you are right.’

About the author: 

Sanjay Mishra is an author of several Pearson books. He has a B.Tech (Civil Engineering) from IIT Varanasi and has earned a reputation as a mentor for IIT-JEE aspirants as he has mentored more than 10,000 students in the last 15 years. He is also the director of MIIT EDU SERVICES PVT. LTD. Chandigarh. 

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5 ways to make life easy at college

Need a hassle free four-year stay in college? Make sure to find these when you reach there.

5 ways to make life easy at college
By Anam Naqvi updated on 08-Sep-2014

Write board exams? Check. Sit for college entrance exams? Check. Get admission? Check. Reach campus on day one of new term? Check. What next?

Get acquainted with the campus, your new home away from home. In particular, locate these facilities and adopt these tips to make your life easy and enjoyable. 
1. Photocopy shop: You will find yourself making numerous trips to the photocopy, printing and binding shop every now and then. There’s bound to be one on the campus offering discounted rates. To be on the safe side, locate a couple of shops outside the campus as well. Ask your seniors which offers a good deal and which works late into the night for an emergency situation. Introduce yourself to the shop owner.

2. Book bank: Visit the book bank. A book bank is like a library but with more lenient rules. Most libraries allow students to issue books for a week or two, but a book bank lets students keep two books per semester. Discovering it sooner can ensure you access to the most expensive books. Another way to save on books is the old and trusted method of borrowing or buying seconds from seniors.

3. Academic notes: Keep yourself in your professors’ good books for tips on notes. Healthy interactions with seniors and previous years’ toppers can also help you in this area.
Online portals for college notes exist but the authenticity and quality of free content is debatable.

4. Cheap eateries: Hostel food has the reputation of being barely edible. You are sure to need a change from that grub fairly often. So, identify cheap eateries near the campus, serving edible food. To save your stomach some pain, ask your seniors for recommendations. These places will also come in handy when you have to treat your friends on a tight pocket.

5. Hobby club: Developing a hobby or honing a talent can make college life less stressful. Club activities and sports make for a balanced student life and help you grow. Solely focusing on academics is a strict no-no.










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