Friday, 3 June 2022

How do I prepare for inorganic chemistry for the JEE Advanced?

One of the most difficult topics for JEE Main and JEE Advanced is that of Inorganic Chemistry. Not only is it extremely important, but also this topic can make or break your JEE rank. It is a critical topic and many students take it for granted and skip it. That’s where an opportunity lies for a good student. Let’s go one by one and see how can we prepare for Inorganic Chemistry for JEE Advanced.

Study Material:

  1. By far, the best study material for Inorganic Chemistry for JEE Advanced is nothing but the textbooks we take for granted - NCERT. In JEE, especially in JEE Advanced, it has been seen that many times, question paper setters have picked up a line or two from NCERT and made questions around it. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to study NCERT cover to cover. NCERT is especially important when it comes to p-block elements. The book covers a lot of topics exhaustively.

  2. Preparing NCERT well is more-or-less good for all spectrum of ranks in JEE, especially in JEE Advanced. Having said that, there would always be a few questions that would go beyond the NCERT level and so, some additional preparation would be required. I studied these additional topics from JD Lee. JD Lee is a fat book and might look extremely overwhelming. However, almost half of that book is irrelevant for JEE. If you are aiming for a top 500 or so rank, I’d definitely suggest studying from JD Lee. Having said that, make sure that you only focus on topics that are in the JEE Advanced syllabus. You can find the JEE Advanced syllabus on the official website.

  3. Specifically for Qualitative Analysis, I studied a book called Vogel’s Qualitative Analysis. It is a great book and contains a bunch of equations and scenarios. Having said that, some 40% of the book is not relevant from the JEE Advanced perspective. So, if you plan to pick this book, make sure to stick to the JEE Advanced syllabus only, or else you might overwhelm yourself with irrelevant content.

Apart from these books, I thoroughly studied the material provided to me by FIITJEE. A large part of the material overlapped with NCERT. But the good part about the FIITJEE material was that it contained a bunch of practice problems. Apart from the FIITJEE material, my chemistry teacher also gave me Resonance Kota’s material. It was quite good and quite exhaustive. I think a mix of NCERT + JD Lee + Vogel + Material from one of the reputed coaching institutes would suffice. Make sure to pick up the study material that contains a lot of practice problems also.

For practice, I used the following:

  1. FIITJEE Packages

  2. FIITJEE GMP - excellent problems!


  4. OP Tandon Inorganic Chemistry - this book, like JD Lee, contains a lot of material that is not relevant for JEE Advanced. Having said that, at a broad level, it is quite a good book, especially when it comes to practice problems.

  5. Resonance Rank Refiner - FIITJEE material at times goes beyond the JEE level. Resonance Rank Refiner contains a bunch of great JEE level problems that are at par with what you can expect on the JEE Advanced day.

I think overall the FIITJEE material is tailored to be a little difficult and meant for those who have the potential of getting a top 1000 rank. On the other hand, resonance material is meant for those who want to get a rank in the range of 1000 to 5000. So, both materials have their own benefits. Depending on your preparation and competency level, you can decide to pick one of them or both of them. I always prepared for a top 50 rank and I felt that I had the potential to achieve the same. So, I picked up both. Also, because I attended a dummy school in classes 11th and 12th, I had a lot of time to study from 2 different materials.

Strategy to study Inorganic Chemistry:

  1. A large portion of Inorganic Chemistry revolves around equations and chemical formulae that one needs to memorize. At times, that becomes overwhelming because of the large sea of syllabi. Therefore, it is important for you to plan and strategize around how would you study Inorganic Chemistry efficiently to not get frustrated.

  2. The most important advice I’d give to aspirants for Inorganic Chemistry is to ensure that you do not leave it for the last few months and rather prepare it bit-by-bit throughout the 2 years. The syllabus is so huge that it cannot be done in a few months. I personally hated memorization and it took me a lot of time to cram the equations and formulae involved in Inorganic Chemistry and so, I budgeted a sizeable amount of time to prepare Inorganic Chemistry.

  3. It takes a lot of conscious effort to memorize something. Over time, I learned a simple memorization trick - read the same content every day. Like really. Let’s say, there are 6 chapters in total. You might require a couple of months to complete all of these chapters initially and that’s totally fine. However, once you’ve gone through these chapters, understood the content, solved a lot of problems, and got good marks in exams, what becomes difficult is to not forget these chapters.

For this, the simple technique is to read these chapters daily. Pick up 2 chapters, and read them on Monday. Pick the next 2 and read them on Tuesday. Repeat. Because you already have spent a couple of months studying these chapters, you essentially have to “maintain” them rather than study them from scratch. So, “reading” 2 chapters a day should not take more than 30 - 45 minutes. When you are “reading” these chapters again and again and again, your mind will eventually memorize the content in a “visual” format, and on the exam day, it would be extremely easy to recall the equations and formulae. Try this technique on 2 - 3 pages of p-block elements, and do let me know if it works for you.

  1. For Qualitative Analysis, one has to not only memorize the equations and formulae but also colors. The chapter is full of exceptions and so, at times the colors are counter-intuitive. A simple trick for this chapter is to buy pencil colors and color the compounds in your notebook with the same color. Once you’ve done that, apply the technique in point #3 above. After going through the equations 3 - 4 times, you’d realize that the color has settled in your “visual” memory. You’d be able to recall that on page 72 of the book on the bottom left, there was a red-colored compound.

Overall, I’d say that Inorganic Chemistry is a game of patience more than effort and intelligence. The best way to “win” over Inorganic Chemistry is to study deeply once and then repeat, repeat, repeat and repeat so as to “maintain” the memory. Don’t over-think. Don’t get frustrated. Repeat, repeat and repeat.

All the best!

Other articles:

  1. Organic Chemistry

  2. Physical Chemistry

  3. Best books

  4. All the blog posts

What sacrifice did you make during your JEE preparations?

Too many sacrifices!

  • Didn’t have friends. Except for 1 or 2 people, I didn’t have friends in school. Having said that, I made some of the best friends when I joined IIT Bombay. It has been ~9 years of our friendship and the 5 - 6 of us make sure to connect once every alternate week. Having said that, I have a friend from school with whom my friendship began some 15 years ago and we are still the best friends.
  • Didn’t attend family functions. Except for the house inauguration of one of my uncles, I didn’t attend any family function during the 2 years of JEE preparation. My mother forcefully took me to the uncle’s function :P. Many of my relatives complained that this was bad behavior on my part. However, as of today, the kids of most of these relatives are preparing for either JEE or some other competitive exams, so now, they are able to empathize with my situation. The good thing is that now I attend ALL the family functions because I have full control of my time.
  • Didn’t use social media. On this, I’d say that during my JEE preparation time (2011 - 2013), social media wasn’t as popular as it is today. I am talking about those days when 2G internet cost Rs. 100 per GB per month. Having said that, as of today, I am active on all social media/networking platforms - Quora, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and sometimes on Facebook too.
  • No movies. I didn’t watch a single movie during the JEE preparation period. Even today I don’t do that because I don’t like watching movies. I do watch specific series like Air Crash Investigation, and watch YouTube videos - big fan of Abhishek Upmanyu and other stand-up comedians!
  • No girlfriend. Somehow I had a perception that a girlfriend would be a distraction. A typical JEE aspirant is 15 years old. So was I. And so, I personally feel that it is a little too early. I am sure there are people who are exceptions to this rule.

I think the end reward was totally worth it. I secured an All India Rank of 33 in JEE Advanced 2013 and joined IIT Bombay, Computer Science and Engineering. My life and career became much easier because of the IIT Bombay brand name. I now have a lot of time to compensate for the sacrifices I made. I travel a lot for leisure as well as work - was in Dubai a couple of weeks back, then in Goa, then to Odisha, then Lonavla, then Jaipur for a friend’s wedding - all within 1 month! So, I am glad that I now have full control of my time today because of the sacrifices I made during my JEE preparation days.

Most importantly - My parents are proud of me.

All the sacrifice seems totally worth when I see my parents proudly telling someone that their son graduated from IIT Bombay.

If you are a JEE aspirant working hard to crack JEE, I’d suggest that work 10% harder - it is totally worth the effort. The brand name of IIT helps you short-circuit a lot of things in life. Eventually, in the long run, your hard work will matter. But in the short run, for the first ~5 years of your career, having an IIT tag will open up a lot of doors for you and speed up a lot of things. Also, the 4 years at an IIT will help you compensate for pretty much all the sacrifices that you’ll make during your JEE preparation.

Talking about IIT Bombay, we have so many amazing facilities and clubs:


A US Internship


Snooker (I don’t know how to play!)


Hostel Life

The IIT Bombay Degree

People sleeping in the lecture halls


Academics (Engineering Drawing)



Fun with friends





Open Air Theatre

Open Air Theatre

Clubs (Rubik’s Club)



World Class Lecture Halls

So, all of the hard work and effort becomes totally worth it once you get into an IIT.

If I were taken back in time in 2011 and asked to figure out a way to build my career, I’d probably again for the JEE preparation - I think it is the best bet because the reward is extremely high.

Wishing all the best to the JEE aspirants reading this answer!

Thursday, 2 June 2022

How to maintain consistency during the JEE preparation?

The 2 years of JEE preparation from 2011 to 2013 were the best years of my life. They ended in an All India Rank of 33 in JEE Advanced 2013, leading me to join IIT Bombay, Computer Science and Engineering.

Back in 2010, my best friend’s brother got a rank of 125 in JEE. It was completely a new thing for me. Before that, I had only heard of people getting a 4-digit and 5-digit rank in JEE. At that time, I was in class 10th, barely 15 years old and so, I had limited information about JEE. Because of my friend’s brother’s rank, I was extremely fascinated with JEE. To top it up, my school took me on a visit to the IIT Kanpur campus. I was totally amazed to see the campus, the environment, the labs, the auditorium, lecture halls, and students. It was a life-changing moment for me and it was at that time, that I made a promise to myself that I will work hard to achieve a rank better than 125 in JEE.

Fortunately, even in 2010, my parents had got me a broadband connection at my home. It was because my elder sister was doing an MCA course and so, she needed an internet connection. Being the younger brother, I never let her use the computer and the internet and always hijacked it :P

The hijacking turned out to be one of the best things I did because I used the internet positively - to search for articles and blogs on JEE preparation, interviews of JEE toppers, study material, books, and whatnot! Remember, by this time, I had made a goal of achieving a rank better than 125 in JEE 2013. A rank that good requires a different level of preparation and so, I scanned every bit of the internet to gather all the information I could about JEE and JEE preparation. I learned a lot about various programs at different IITs, including IIT Bombay, Computer Science and Engineering program. When I learned that all the top JEE rankers go to IITB CSE, I revised my goal - a top 50 rank so as to bag a position at IITB CSE.

My parents got me enrolled in FIITJEE Kanpur’s 2-year classroom program. My admission was delayed because of my sister’s marriage that was scheduled in Feb 2011. So, my batch started towards the end of April 2011. To be specific, it was on 29th April 2011. I remember this date because it's my parents’ marriage anniversary on the 29th of April.

On the very first day, the maths teacher went student-by-student and asked each person - “Tell the class about yourself and also talk about which IIT you want to be after 2 years of JEE preparation”. When my turn came, I was loud and clear - “A top 50 rank that takes me to IIT Bombay, Computer Science and Engineering”. I had fixed this goal in my mind. I lived and breathed this goal every day, every hour, every minute. For the 2 years of JEE preparation, I was so obsessed with this goal that I had a sticker in my almirah that said “Top 50 rank in JEE 2013”. Even on my study table, I had written with a pen - “Top 50 rank in JEE 2013”.

I worked really hard during the 2 years from 2011 to 2013:

  • Studied about 8 hours a day on a consistent basis.
  • Skipped family functions.
  • Didn’t have friends.
  • Didn’t play sports or computer games.
  • Had little presence on Social Media.
  • Didn’t go on any family trips.
  • Left my school to join a dummy school.

Many people would think that I was naive to be so rigorous with myself. However, I had one and only one goal in my mind - “Top 50 rank in JEE 2013”. Everything else seemed to be a distraction. Because I was so fixated on my goal, I could easily keep myself away from anything that didn’t align with my goal because to me, that thing felt like a waste of my time.

Around the mid of class 11th, my Physics teacher introduced me to Vipul Singh, who was JEE 2010 AIR 5, and a student at IITB CSE. He also introduced me to Ashwin Paranjape who was JEE 2010 AIR 75 and also at IITB CSE. Both Vipul and Ashwin were the students of my Physics Teacher when Sir was teaching at FIITJEE Bhilai Center. You can imagine the kind of motivation I got talking to Vipul and Ashwin. I spoke with them only once and after that, I went back to my goal of getting a “Top 50 rank in JEE 2013”. Ovbiously I met both Vipul and Ashwin when I joined IITB CSE.

I bought all the relevant books and study material:

  1. FIITJEE 2-year Classroom Program material.
  5. FIITJEE Open Test.
  6. FIITJEE Pinnacle Program material.
  7. All the relevant JEE books, about 50+ of them.
  8. Resonance Kota Coaching Material.
  9. Bansal Kota Coaching Material.
  10. Allen Kota Coaching Material.
  11. Brilliant Tutorials Coaching Material.

I didn’t leave any stone unturned to be able to hit my goal of “Top 50 rank in JEE 2013”. I put in all the efforts to hit the goal and I was able to avoid all the distractions.

To answer your question - How was I able to maintain consistency?

Because I was extremely focused on my goal of “Top 50 rank in JEE 2013”. If you have a goal in life and you live and breathe it daily, it's extremely easy to work for it consistently. Goals help you take a daily decisions. Every time I faced a distraction, I asked myself - “will this help me achieve my goal of a Top 50 rank in JEE 2013”? If the answer was no, I didn’t get distracted.

Let’s accept it - decision-making is difficult. There are so many decisions that we have to take in our lives on a daily basis. Go out with friends or study? Check that Facebook notification or study? Go on that family trip or study? If you live your goal every minute, you can use it to take all your decisions in life and life becomes extremely easy.

Set goals in your life and everything else will fall into place. Consistency, motivation, distractions, friends, family, functions - everything will suddenly become so easy to determine once you’ve set goals for yourself in your life. The goal could be as simple as - getting selected in JEE Advanced, or it could be as specific as getting a “Top 50 rank in JEE 2013”.

Hope this helps. The COVID time has been really hard on the JEE aspirants. I wish that all of you achieve all the success in life.

Bonus: I have written A guide to get a top 50 rank in JEE!

Did Aman Goel meditate during the JEE preparation?

Social media wasn’t that widespread when I prepared for JEE and so, there was no need to meditate.

What the hell did you just say? Social media and meditation??

Ok, so let us understand why is meditation needed.

Today, we are surrounded by social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Quora, etc. Each of these platforms provides something called a “feed” which shows the latest content. We tend to spend a lot of our time in browsing through the content in this feed. In fact, a lot of us are so much into it, that we just can’t imagine a day without browsing through our Facebook newsfeeds.

What’s the end result?

The result is that the attention span has gone down drastically. We are so used to seeing “new” content at a high velocity that we have lost our attention span. We cannot concentrate for even 5 minutes on a single thing because due to feeds, we have developed a habit of seeing a large amount of content in a given amount of time.

This is where meditation helps - redeveloping your lost attention span, which is very much needed for JEE or for that matter, any mind-intensive activity.

While meditating, you try to concentrate on exactly one thought or object. This helps your mind in forgetting other things and delving deep into that one thought/object. This eventually improves your attention span which may be better called as “concentration”.

Back in 2011 when I was preparing for JEE, I was:

  • Not very active on Facebook. I did spend some time but did not do that all day.
  • Non-existent on Twitter
  • Non-existent on WhatsApp
  • Non-existent on Quora

I had a great attention span and I could read and study for hours without getting distracted. As a result, there was no significant need for me to meditate.

Today’s generation needs meditation more than ever before. Here are a few suggestions from me:

  • Uninstall social media apps. Apps reduce the access time. If you uninstall them, you are forced to open them on the browser, which is generally slower.
  • Don’t keep the apps on the home page. If you cannot uninstall them (for whatever reason), do not keep the apps on the main page of your smartphone. This will increase your access effort because you will have to open the app drawer and navigate.
  • Logout of the platform. Force yourself to log in whenever you want to access the social media platform. This will surely increase your access time and thereby decrease your usage.

What is the best schedule and timetable that I can make for serious JEE preparation?

Here is what my timetable during JEE preparation looked like:

  • Wake up at about 7.00 AM.
  • Freshen up, have breakfast - ready for study by somewhere around 7.45 AM (Edit - my mother read this answer and she told me that it is 6.45 AM and not 7.45 AM. Moms are moms :’))
  • Continuous study session till 11.00 AM. During the morning session, I used to focus a lot on 2 things:
    • Areas where I was weak.
    • Areas that were new to me.
  • Over time, I realized that my most efficient and most productive study time was morning from 8.00 AM to 11.00 AM and so, that was the reason that I used this time for weaker areas and new concepts.
  • Take a break till about 12.00 PM.
  • Continue for another couple of hours till 2.00 PM.
  • Take a break till 3.00 PM.
  • FIITJEE classes used to be from 4.00 - 8.00 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. So, if it was a coaching day, I used to leave by 3.00 PM. If it was a non-coaching day, another study session from 3.00 - 5.00 PM.
  • By 5.00, much of the day used to be over unless I had something more to study. For instance, there were days when I had to solve FIITJEE material like GMP, RTPF, AITS papers, etc. That was basically additional work. In such situations, I used to take another 2-hour long session from 6.00 PM to 8.00 PM.
  • I never studied after 8.00 PM partly because I used to get exhausted and partly because my dad didn’t appreciate it since studying at night may lead to poor eyesight (dads are dads).
  • After 8.00 PM, the activities usually included dinner, sitting with parents, browsing the internet, playing something (GTA fan here!), etc. Sometimes I also used to hang out with a couple of friends after 8.00 PM. However, that was quite rare.

The best part here is that since I did not actively attend the school (I was enrolled in a dummy school), I got lots of time during the morning which I could use entirely for my JEE preparation. That helped me to maintain a balanced lifestyle. I feel sad to say that most schools in India at the 11th and 12th standard levels are least concerned about the competitive exam results. They care only about marks in the board exams. Talking specifically about engineering - board exam marks do not matter (at least they didn’t matter during my year). They did matter for JEE Main, but then I was targeting JEE Advanced. Of course, there was that “20 percentile criteria”. However, the cutoff for that was barely 78% (CBSE board). By all standards, it is easy to score that (in CBSE).

When creating your schedule, keep a note of the following points:

  • Most productive hours: some people prefer studying during the day (like me). Others prefer studying at night. You should try both for say 3 days and find out which one suits you better. You should then stick to it. Do not blindly follow any advice. I remember I also tried studying late at night following a few friends. But now I realize that it was stupid of me to do that because my peak efficiency hours were from 8.00 AM to 11.00 AM.
  • School: if your school isn’t the best school, don’t try to oblige them by being a 100% attendance student. Remember, for them, it's the career of yet another student. For you, it’s your own single career. I hate to say it but the fact is that you need to be a bit selfish about your career.
  • Self-study: you should try to create the timetable in such a way that you get ample time for self-study. I personally believe that the best learning happens when you actually sit down and delve into a concept. There were many students in my coaching who were much sharper than me and they understood things much faster. Therefore, at times, I could not keep up with the pace at which the teacher was teaching. In such situations, I always used to go back home and properly spend time understanding that topic on my own. That always resulted in a better understanding. You should incorporate such a thing into your timetable.

Hope that it helps you create a proper timetable for JEE!

What are the most important chapters to score a three-digit rank in JEE Main?

Scoring a three-digit rank in JEE Main is very much possible with some dedicated efforts and thorough practice. Since the exam is easier as compared to other engineering entrances (read: JEE Advanced) many students give it with their board-level preparations and a few extra efforts. So, knowing the important topics for the last month's preparations helps a lot. Thus, go through the following list and know the most important chapters for JEE Main.

Important chapters for JEE Main Physics:

Physics has a lot of theoretical chapters which are done at the end of class 12th. One shouldn’t skip them as they are easy and scoring and since they are only coming for JEE Main they are bound to be asked in it (for example, semiconductors). The other important chapters are as follows:

  1. Current electricity: This chapter is taught in class 12th and forms an important chunk of the JEE Main. Doing this chapter will simplify a few other topics too as it is analogous to some portions of electrodynamics.
  2. Modern physics: This portion is mostly learning and concept based. It is easier as compared to other topics and fetches some easy marks.
  3. Electrostatics: It forms an important part of the JEE Main physics and its questions can be tough at times too.
  4. Rotational motion: It is a very vast chapter but once you understand it well; its questions will be really easy to solve especially in JEE Main.
  5. Oscillations and waves.

Important chapters for JEE Main Chemistry:

Chemistry roughly has 10 questions from each of organic, physical and inorganic portions each year. Chemistry has a vast syllabus and should be prepared smartly as there is a lot of learning to do. Also, it is the least time taking when compared to the other two subjects. Here are the must-do chapters for JEE Main chemistry:

  1. Equilibrium: Consisting of both ionic and chemical equilibrium, it is an important portion of physical chemistry and is asked in a majority of the paper.
  2. Aldehydes, ketones, and acid: Mostly this section of organic chemistry is asked in the form of named reactions.
  3. Coordination compounds: It is an easy and conceptual chapter and is pretty important and fetches easy marks too.
  4. Heat and thermodynamics: This chapter is present in the physics and chemistry syllabus and the difference is only a few rules so doing this one will help both ways.
  5. Biomolecules and polymers: This is the most boring part of chemistry and is skipped by a lot of aspirants. But this is just rote learning and if done properly can fetch lots of quick marks.
  6. Chemical bonding: It is a conceptual portion of inorganic chemistry and is always asked in a good number.

Important chapters for JEE Main Mathematics:

Mathematics is very scoring but it gets too long at times. Know the important chapters of mathematics to prepare wisely and maximize your score:

  1. Probability and permutation-combination: This is very logical and every year JEE makes new and interesting questions on these topics. Being a fun topic, it seems like the favorite topic for JEE mathematics.
  2. Coordinate geometry: This again is a vast topic but from among its sub-units, straight lines and circles are the most important. Knowing its formulas is very important.
  3. Integration: Out of definite and indefinite integration, definite is more important. It must be prepared thoroughly.
  4. Vector and 3D: This is the last portion of JEE Main mathematics and is widely asked. For this, imagination power needs to be good, and practicing surely helps a lot.

JEE Main is all about speed and accuracy. Practice a lot of mock tests and you will surely excel. Don’t skip out any of the above topics!

All the best!