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The pressure on our Indian students never ceases. Not even when you are Prudhvi Tej, AIR 1 IIT JEE 2011 and have achieved the unthinkable. He already has secured a full time opportunity to work with Samsung in South Korea before the start of placement season. After reading our blog on AIRs of IIT JEE and where are they now, Prudhvi Tej was conscious about whether he would be able to live up to the high standards set by the previous AIR 1s of IIT JEE as a million aspirants and their parents watch his progress carefully every year. Prudhvi Tej, AIR 1 IIT JEE 2011, visited our Mumbai office recently for a heartfelt interaction on his IIT JEE preparation, his suggestions for aspirants and how he evolved his exam strategy. (To read about how to prepare for IIT JEE please refer this)

Bringing you the man himself – Prudhvi Tej, AIR 1 IIT JEE 2011:

Why did you decide to pursue engineering?

Prudhvi Tej: I never thought of pursuing engineering but rather it came very naturally to me. I was highly inclined towards Maths and Physics till my 9th standard and gave a lot of competitive exams. After my matriculation, engineering was the natural choice given that I was in love with Maths. So I decided to prepare for IIT JEE.

Can you walk us through the journey of your preparation for IIT JEE?

Prudhvi Tej: Sure. I didn’t follow a particular plan but relied a lot on my integrated curriculum which I undertook since class 11th in Vijaywada, Andra Pradesh. Initially, I would spend 6 hours in classes equally divided in Physics, Chemistry and Maths. I would further spend another 6 hours of time in practice at home. We would take a full 3 hour mock test every month. Once the entire course was covered in August during my 12th, I would spend 9 hours of time at home in practice and revision. I also increased my frequency of mock tests to 1 every week. Before every mock test, I would revise the theory for 1-2 days and then practiced solving problems on the topic for 3-4 days. I might have taken about 25-30 full time-bound mock tests in total during my preparation and tracked my progress through this. One key thing which I followed during practice was not jumping to see the answer without coming up with a solution on my own.

Also see: The Most Challenging All-India Online IIT JEE Test Series

What were your strengths and weaknesses during exam preparation?

Prudhvi Tej: I derived biggest strength from being constantly tested for almost 2 years and hence I was quite relaxed few weeks before the exam even though our board exams got over just 20 days before JEE. I also ensured that I was not fatigued by giving too many tests before the final exam. I have a habit of keeping notes on whatever I read and these notes were extremely handy during my final revision. I was weak at chemistry initially and I only picked it up during revision. Every subject is equally important and hence I was glad I didn’t ignore it. In the end, chemistry made a huge difference in my final rank.

What was your IIT JEE exam strategy to attempt the final papers?

Prudhvi Tej: Finding a right exam strategy suitable to you is extremely crucial. I evolved my strategy only after giving a lot of time-bound mock tests. IIT JEE is not about getting more tougher questions right but rather getting more marks as each question carries the same weight-age. As soon as I used to get the paper, I would start solving it in the same order and attempt only the easiest questions in the first go and used a marking system to identify the tough ones. Any question which required lot of calculations I would skip them. In the first hour itself my target was to solve upto 35-40 questions which were the easiest across all sections and ensure that I have enough marks in my basket. I would then again come back to these tough questions and try to solve them with having enough time on my hand. This way I used to skim through the entire paper alteast 2-3 times. For this strategy to work it’s important that you get over your ego of trying to crack the tougher questions which would in the end fetch you the same marks as the easier ones.

What are your suggestions for IIT JEE aspirants?

Prudhvi Tej: My biggest suggestion is to that you need to constantly assess yourself atleast once every month, be it through mock tests or other exams. Having a good support system including teachers and family helps a lot in the long run. Just be smart while giving the exam as today IIT JEE is about smartly outsmarting the paper. Finally, there is no substitute for hard work so give everything you have as this is a life changing opportunity.

What are your thoughts on

Prudhvi Tej: As I said, constant assessment is extremely important and I really liked the way Toppr is helping students tackle this. Practice is usually underestimated and unless you practice it’s difficult to apply the concepts you have learnt in theory during the exam. It’s also interesting to see various chapters divided into different goals based on concepts and how anyone can track their speed and accuracy in each test. Such data would without a doubt help the students improve. I wish the team at all the very best in their endeavour to help students prepare for IIT JEE.

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