Approaching Mechanics in JEE Advanced is quite a task. It is the most important and the dominant part of first year physics and you can expect a majority of questions from within this topic. Mechanics is one of those topics that will either make you fall in love with it or end up being one of your worst nightmares. But let me divulge a little secret to you. The choice is all yours! Mechanics in JEE is unquestionably one of the most interesting and thought provoking topics in the course material and is sure to bust many myths you may have fallen for about Physics, starting from your schooling days.
Crack Mechanics in JEE:
Now when it comes to approaching mechanics from a JEE’s point of view, the single most important thing is practice. Everybody may know what Newton’s Third Law of Motion is. But not everyone will be able to successfully solve a problem on the same. You must have a strong theoretical base – Mechanics is probably the most theoretically refined topic that you will ever get to study in your two years of JEE prep. As questions in JEE tend to be a bit formula-based, you have your task cut out. While it is important to know all the formulae, it is equally important to know the conditions under which they can be applied. Also, know what the formula means. Just blindly memorising formulae will not take you very far. It’s always better if you remember the derivations of formulae, even though they will not be asked in the exam. Knowing the derivations would give you a better understanding of the working of the formulae itself and will also help you in figuring out how and where they must be applied. And most importantly, learn your formulae in their entirety. The Moment of Inertia of a solid sphere isn’t 2/5M*R^2. The Moment of Inertia of a solid sphere about an axis passing through its centre is 2/5M*R^2.
Now, one more quality that the topics of Mechanics possess is a sort of ‘interdependence’. If you don’t understand ‘Newton’s Laws of Motion’, ‘Friction’ would probably seem like Greek to you. So, make sure you have good grip on the initial topics so that you’re able to handle the heavier ones that follow (see ‘Rotational Mechanics’). Moreover, JEE Mains doesn’t test your theoretical understanding in the way that JEE ADVANCED does. So for instance, for the purpose of S, you might as well get away with believing that the work of Friction is to prevent motion (whereas it actually prevents relative motion between two surfaces in contact). It might seem like I’m contradicting myself, but don’t get me wrong here! I’m not encouraging a skimpy grip on theory. Nor am I asking you to overlook concepts in pursuit of formulae. I’m just laying out the bare truth. Traditionally, S has been more of a test of your speed and application rather than your conceptual strength. Although it is true that you would sooner possess speed and application prowess if you have depth of understanding, all I’m saying is that even if you aren’t entirely comfortable with the theory but are still proficient at solving problems, you are good to go!
So, to recapitulate the points of the article, you need to strike a balance between conceptual depth and efficiency in problem solving if you hope to perform well in JEE S (although tilting the scales a little in favour of efficiency shouldn’t hurt). The best way to gain confidence in this topic, like in any other, is by practicing more and more problems. H.C. Verma’s ‘Concepts of Physics Volume 1’ is a good reference book both conceptually and for practicing large swathes of problems. Also, solving the previous years’ papers always helps. So, keep working hard and hope for the best. Best of luck!
To know more about Mechanics and it’s applicability in JEE exam, refer this article on Mechanics.