JEE Advanced is a gateway to the most prestigious, premier technical institutes in India – the IITs. It is also probably the most notorious exam to ever have taken form, as far as UG entrances go. Let’s take a moment to think about it. Out of the 14-lakh odd students who aspire to become engineers every year, this exam finally chops down that number to a mere 10,000. Those are brutal statistics, hinting at the savage level of competition. Now, as this ugly beast prepares to rear it’s head yet again, we focus on the best way to handle it and give some tips for your safe-passage to the haven called the IITs.
Why is it So Difficult?
Let’s first discuss the simplest thing: What makes JEE Advanced so tough? Is it the level of questions? To a certain extent maybe, yes. But that is not the real reason. Is it then, the psychological pressure that builds up due to the hype, because you are afraid to fail, after all, the hard work of the past two years? This one strikes closer to home. The main reason is mostly the neck-to-neck competition between the most brilliant minds in the country. These minds, pitted against each other in a one-off show, create an environment of extreme turbulence and competition, which in turn makes the JEE Advanced tough to crack. The extreme level of competition, and not toughness of questions, is the reason why this exam is considered so monstrous. Keep that in mind, and questions will stop paralyzing you while practicing, answering papers, or writing the actual examination.
Preparing to Dive into the Belly of the Beast
Once you have the right mindset, let’s move on to the stuff you need to ensure is in order, before you start your prep. It is considered advisable to join a good coaching class, in your hometown if possible. Also, for those who are a bit more homesick, please ask yourself whether you can live by yourself in a hostel if you don’t have good coaching centers in your hometown. You can also skim through some tips to deal with homesickness. For those who don’t want to join coaching for whatever reason, you too can do it with some extra work put in. Do your research, look up videos to explain complex concepts and exchange notes with your friends or form a study group. Also, be prepared with the right set of books. ‘Right’ is a misleading term, though, as the preferred reference books differ from person-to-person. If you join a coaching center, their material is quite exhaustive, and you’ll be sorted. In case you opt for the self-study method, use good reference books to solve questions, and you won’t lose out on much. Also, before going all gung-ho about JEE Advanced preparations, make sure you are well-rested after your board exams. Take breaks, eat at regular intervals, and set a time to sleep to avoid burnout. The two years of continuous preparation is taxing and can take a toll on your health and general well-being.
Now, going a bit into the preparation part. The day’s timetable and the amount of study involved seem fascinating for some time. But then there is an inevitable slump in the preparations, where all of a sudden you start getting bored out of your mind. There is stuff to be done, but you don’t feel like doing anything. That is one of the periods where a make-or-break situation arises. Ride out this period guys. Things will go out of hand later if you do not conquer this slack-phase properly. As you go along, find your strengths and weaknesses, and keep taking tests often.
Study Tips for JEE Advanced
As you progress in your syllabus, don’t rush to read the solutions to the problems. Don’t be dependent on the revision period to teach you something extra in the chapters you have already prepared. The ability to read between the lines is highest during the first go-through of any book. For example, go very slow with your mechanics prep. Understand everything that is being taught, do some online research, discuss doubts with your friends, and make sure your understanding of the subject matter is thorough. Do not understand concepts in parts. Similarly, the theory of equations, permutations and combinations are topics in maths, which will find a large application in further topics in JEE Advanced.
Now we come to the end of the 11th standard syllabus. A short synopsis of every chapter will surely help in revising and recalling the main points. Get creative – draw diagrams or create your anagrams, whatever helps you the best. Enter the 12th standard; again, there will be some important topics, there will be slumps, ups, and downs. However, the number of important topics increases, with calculus, carbonyl compounds, electrostatics and what-not coming in. So, tread slowly, be thorough, and you will be done.
Check out this comprehensive guide on all you need to know about JEE prep.
Keep Calm and Revise!
This period is extremely important as far as JEE preparations go. You need to keep calm, center your thoughts, keep revising and most importantly, give as many tests as possible. Tests will keep you on your toes, and make you focus on your weak spots, strengths, and help you in designing that coveted strategy which will help you in the main paper. Know your strongest subjects, know where you lack finesse, and work accordingly during this period. Most importantly, develop a strategy. Go through this guide to the exam pattern, and devise your strategy.
Whether it is to solve all the tougher questions first and move on to the simpler ones, or vice-versa, a good strategy will help you in attempting the paper properly. It will also help keep you calm and focused through this last lap. Read through this article, which gives you some top tips and insight into the last lap of preparation and how you can ace it.
Beat the D-Day Jitters
On the day of the JEE exam, take care not to break your routine. It does not mean you get up at 8:30 for the 9:30 paper! Keep it simple and easy. Go for some light breakfast, and reach the exam venue at least half-an-hour before the scheduled timing. Do some light reading or listen to your favorite music to help steady your nerves. I can tell you, in hindsight, that however much you have prepared, or not prepared, worked hard or not – it’ll all melt away in the exam hall. It’ll be just you and the paper. In there, the biggest justice you can do to all your hard work is by not losing your cool. Think of it as just another day. JEE Advanced papers are designed to freak you out. Don’t panic, and you are halfway through.
So, go for it, guys! If your heart cries out for the IITs, make sure you put in every effort into getting here. Life here is not that easy, but then again, it is not as much fun elsewhere.
All-in-all, this was a general overview, or should I say highlights of the prep days. Feel free to ask any queries and put your doubts to rest. All the best!