Retrospective views have the ability to entirely alter how you look at certain things. Often enough, you don’t feel good about the choices you made. The mind automatically takes your focus to the rash decisions you took, the mistakes you made, and how it could all have been ‘better’. However, you also gain comfort from looking back on your right decisions, hard work and perseverance. Hindsight might be a bitter medicine – but it’s a medicine nonetheless. You learn from your mistakes, and most importantly, others can benefit from your experiences. Here are some mistakes in JEE preparation that most people make, including me. Hope you can learn from them.

Avoiding Silly Mistakes and Distractions in JEE Main and Advanced Preparation – AIR 1, IIT JEE, 2013

Mistakes in JEE Preparation

Looking back upon my mistakes in JEE preparation, I can see a lot of places where I could have done things differently, places where things went quite against me, and places where I committed outright blunders. At the same time, my mistakes in JEE preparation can aid you in your preparation, if you don’t commit the same blunders. So, here I list some of the mistakes in JEE preparation that I wish I could go back in time and change, and which you might do well learning from:

1) Aid your preparation with extra study resources:

You don’t have to go to a national level coaching class in Kota or Hyderabad. Even an online website which will help you with your doubts will do. Don’t just rely on yourself for making it through. Of course, people do crack JEE through self-study. It’s possible, but it’s truly exhausting, and something you needn’t do. I relied on myself a bit too much – just me, my dozen reference books per subject and tests. I didn’t even think of joining any correspondence programs or anything. What happened was quite predictable – I had to try really hard for a rank.

2) Don’t give up on your hobbies during the preparation time:

This happens all too often with many kids. I understand that you need to work hard. But you can keep taking out an hour a day for your hobby. I used to play the keyboard quite well, and had a burning passion for playing football. My enthusiasm in both is somewhat diminished after two years of constant study, but I realize now that these activities would have eased my stress had I continued to play.

3) Don’t burden yourself with too many reference books:

I used to have 2-3 textbooks and minimal 5-6 practice books for each subject. All too late did I realize that this was unnecessary. One good theory book, one or two decent practice books and regular tests – that’s all it takes. Many books only increase your burden, as questions and theory in most books are quite common.

4) Don’t work hard, work smart:

Yes, smart work is the key to success, not hard work. You obviously do have to put in a lot of efforts, but make sure you put them at the right places. For example, if you don’t work on your weaknesses even after completing your syllabus and having quite a lot of time left, you might as well say sayonara to any hope of landing up somewhere decent.

5) Take decent care of your social life:

Many of us end up isolating ourselves during our preparations. We keep in touch with just those one or two close friends and with no one else. Also, socializing becomes a problem if you carry this pattern forward too rigidly. So, have a decent social life. Meet up with friends for dinner sometime. Enjoy some team sport with them. Go for a movie sometime. Good friends are the best stress-busters in these times!

6) Have timely and healthy meals:

During this phase, we eat what we like, when we like. There’s no rule binding upon us. Fair enough. All the same, I’d urge every reader to have timely and healthy meals. You just might end up falling sick, which can cost you a lot. If not sickness, you’re definitely going to be in poor physical condition once your exams are done. I know I was. There’s just the simple matter of eating good food at the right time to avoid these unnecessary complications.

7) Don’t drift away from the syllabus:

I have committed this blunder time and again. Books almost always add extra spice to the already existing syllabus of JEE, and we all lap it up, get dismayed when we are unable to handle stuff which comes in B.Sc first and second years, fight over it and waste a lot of time doing that. Tests don’t help either because some coaching centers are determined to create papers which nobody would be able to solve. It is easy to get misled on this path, and the only compass that you have is the official JEE syllabus. Stick with it.

8) Don’t turn into the bipolar version of yourself:

On good days, I thought of myself as a boss. On bad days, when nothing went right and I made mistakes in JEE preparation over the simplest of questions and I thought of myself as a useless lump. Both these views are wrong, and they will really hamper your morale. It’s important that you have a healthy image of yourself, and not let anything distort it.

9) Analyse every test paper:

I failed to do this. I committed a lot of silly mistakes in the JEE Advanced paper. Paper analysis will tell you virtually everything you need to know about your preparations. Sometimes, it was just plain child-like fear to see my mistakes in JEE preparation and face them head-on that made me pass many papers without analyzing, and that cost me dearly.

10) Let your study graph be consistent:

If it doesn’t rise, at least don’t let it fall. I used to be a bit inconsistent with my study timings. That inconsistency crept into my test performances. I have witnessed the joys of a two-digit rank in an AITS, and the sorrows of a three-digit rank too. What I learnt was simple: consistency – in your hard work and your performance is the key to everything.

11) Don’t slack on the three-quarters mark:

This is one of the most common of all the mistakes in JEE preparation that people make. I experienced it during November 2014 when I was to appear for JEE a few months later. My syllabus had been completed quite early. I was in the throes of joblessness. I didn’t feel like studying much, got bored of continuous practice and had grown tired and restless. AITS eventually got me back on track. This is more of a problem for self-studying students, as they go about stuff themselves and have no one to tell them what to do and what not to. Take care that you do not end up like this.

12) Take life lessons from your preparation phase:

You may or may not land up at IIT. You may or may not get a good branch. Yet I feel that you should take the best lessons the two years of preparation taught you into the life that begins at college – the qualities of hard work, smartness and the ability to pursue something with passion and dedication. If you do, consider your preparation – whether or not you get admission to your dream college – to be a resounding success.

13) IIT is not the end of the world:

Yes, this is the thing you need to know the most. Realize this: India is home to many good colleges. NITs, BITS, IIITs – these are just a few of the world-class colleges that our country has. I can understand everyone’s craving to get into IITs, but always know that not getting there is not the end of the world. Life will give you many chances to rise and emerge successful.

To put it in a nutshell, work hard, do your best and leave the rest to destiny.

You could also go through our special tricks to help you clear JEE.

Best of luck, guys!

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