How should a student prepare for IIT entrance examination?
Time management is of essence while studying for the IIT entrance examination. JEE syllabus of Class XI and XII contributes about 45% and 55% of IIT-JEE question papers respectively. Avoid selective study since the number of questions in the two objective-type papers is large with intermingling of concepts, and all topics are likely to be covered.
On the three subjects physics, chemistry and mathematics, detail-out the chapter-wise topic-wise time schedule. Allocation of topic-wise time should be based on trend of proportional weighting of marks and a student’s competence level with regard to clarity and conceptual understanding. Make summary notes or points to remember all concepts topic or chapter-wise and flag the questions with an intermingling of concepts requiring analytical skills. This will help in quick revision couple of days prior to or even on the eve of examination.
The right approach is to stick to one source and not to refer to a multitude of books/study material. For example, it is sufficient to go through study packages, IIT-JEE archives, review packages, work-books, grand masters package, AITS/AIITS series etc. Students, throughout the preparation period, should remain focused with a positive attitude.
Periodically, progress should be monitored by mock quizzes after each chapter and mock test papers at regular intervals in a simulated IITJEE style examination environment. Students should bridge the gap based on the feedback of performance in mock-tests which will help improve and build examination temperament.
For an aspiring student who is still in school, which grade or class should a student start preparing from?
An aspiring student in school should start preparing from Class IX itself. IIT-JEE foundation can be rightly built at this stage.
What should be the focus areas/subjects in the preparation?
IQ should be progressively enhanced. Physics, chemistry and mathematics are the subjects a student should work on. Application of learning, comprehension and analytical abilities should be developed. Strategy of solving questions from the fundamentals will induce in the student parallel thinking processes that are necessary to increase and master analytical skills with conceptual understanding.
A week or so before the examination, what is your advice to students?
Go through the summary notes/points to remember all concepts, topic/chapter-wise made during regular preparation. Similarly, questions with an intermingling of concepts flagged in summary notes should be revised. Nothing new should be attempted in the week. Minimum 6 hours sound sleep and healthy food intake are necessary to keep physical, mental fitness and healthy biological cycle. It is quality of time spent rather than quantity, which is important.
Any tips during examination, in terms of particular questions types or attempting contain sections before others etc.
It is advisable to reach examination hall at least 15 minutes early. Few deep breaths on the seat will ward-off nervousness. Instructions given in the questions papers should be read and followed very carefully. For present pattern of two papers three hours each (one hour per subject physics/chemistry/mathematics) students should not spend more than 45 minutes on any of the subjects in the first attempt. Student should prioritise after a concentrated quick reading of paper and start answering with the questions, he knows best and move progressively to ones in ascending order of difficulty.
All questions with no negative marking must be attempted. The 45 minute cycle each should be observed for the three subjects starting with subject where confidence level is high and so on. Thereafter, the student should come back to the three sections (subjects) for attempting questions left over, conceptually with well reasoned logic and for over-all revision during the last 45 minutes. Even if some questions/segments appear to be tough, one should keep his/her cool since it is the relative performance which will count and hence students should put-in his/her best. One should leave black-box type questions, thereby avoiding negative marks.
In view of the unemployability issue of engineering graduates, and NR Narayana Murthy’s comment on the quality of IIT graduates, how do you think can this problem be addressed?
The need of the hour is to standardise the education system so that what is taught at schools is at par with what is asked in the IIT Entrance tests. Students today go to coaching centres to bridge this gap and help themselves prepare for the tests. The poor quality of education in Indiain the primary, secondary, and higher levels and poor quality of faculties in universities and colleges in the country cannot help produce good students.
(The writer is director, FIITJEE, a IIT JEE coaching institute)