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Of the three sections of the JEE, chemistry is probably the least loved. However, it is also the most scoring, and with some practice, most questions can be cracked. Therefore, chemistry should not be neglected, especially physical chemistry, as it is the most scoring sub section of chemistry. Errors made in Organic Chemistry can easily be offset by accurate problem solving in Physical Chemistry.


The following table shows the number of questions asked per chapter in JEE 2015 and 2016:

TOPIC 2015 2016
Atomic Structure 1 1
States of Matter 1 1
Thermodynamics 1 1
Equilibrium 1 1
Electrochemistry 1 0
Chemical Kinetics 1 1
Solutions and Colligative Properties 1 1
Surface Chemistry 2 2
Basics (Mole Concept) 1 0
Equivalent Concept and Titrations 0 0

As observed, simple topics such as atomic structure, kinetics and states of matter (specifically gaseous state) are regular visitors to the question paper, and are easy to score in. Some tougher chapters, such as ionic equilibrium and thermodynamics are tested fairly regularly as well.


The main mantra for Physical Chemistry is practice. Practice problems every day until the concepts are well settled. Towards the later stages of your preparation, focus on chapters such as Thermodynamics and Equilibrium. Another important insight that is obtained from the table is that in Physical Chemistry, no chapter can be neglected. In an environment where each mark lost means a precipitous drop in rank, being unable to solve even one question is a huge setback.

While practicing, note down the various formulae on Post-its and stick them to your cupboard. Read these formulae every day while studying, and you will be surprised at how long you remember them. Alongside the formulae, write the names and values of the various constants, and repeat the above.

The main stumbling block for many students in Physical Chemistry is a belief that every problem can be bulldozed by merely applying the formulae. This leads to disaster, as without understanding the theory and concepts involved, the formulae may be applied incorrectly or where they cannot actually be used. Please focus on understanding the theory and not on rote memorisation.

Another issue many students face is being unable to perform calculations accurately and quickly. Regular problem solving will help you overcome this issue. Please refrain from using calculators or log books while solving problems as this is detrimental to your computational ability.


Regarding reference material, a textbook that offers some good quality problems is A Textbook of Physical Chemistry for Competitions by OP Tandon. Solving the problems in this book apart completing those in the material provided by your coaching institute will give you a firm foundation in Physical Chemistry. Another very important resource for your JEE Mains preparation is the NCERT Chemistry textbook. Every year, questions similar to those in this textbook are asked in the JEE examination.

Towards the end of your preparation, solve old JEE papers with a reasonable time limit in order to judge yourself accurately. Make a note of topics you do not perform well in, and revise them again. Go back to the drawing board, if necessary. Measure your performance in each topic in each paper over time, and see if you are improving. If you are not, and you are confident that you know the basic concepts, then it is most probably calculation errors on your part.

As always, do not forget that however important Physical Chemistry is, it is only one cog in the machine that is your JEE preparation. Please do not neglect the other subjects, and ensure appropriate time management.

Remember, sample papers will go a long way in helping you forge the perfect exam strategy for JEE Main. Read about it here!

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