Monday, 6 July 2015

Test papers scare you? No more no more

When it comes to JEE preparation, we all are ready to put in as much effort as possible but still, we end up doing bad at times. Why? The fear of test papers.
Well, in this post I will describe my strategy - how I tackled the paper.

Important note: This is my strategy, it worked for me, it might not work for you. Experiment with all of this on a usual coaching exam. Do not change your strategy on the final day of the exam.

So, to make it interesting, lets do it in a Q/A format.

What was your sequence of solving the paper?
Initially it varied a great deal. But by the end, the sequence was Physics followed by Chemistry and Maths in the end. This was my sequence in JEE Main and Advanced as well.

Why Physics first?
Well, I was strongest at Physics. I am usually able to do 90% of the Physics paper in 45 minutes.

Why Mathematics in the end?
Maths consumes a lot of time. If the maths papers is hard, you can end up wasting a lot of time and so, you might end up spoiling the other 2 subjects.

Why Chemistry in between?
Its obvious that Physics is first and Maths is last so Chemistry has to come in between :P
Anyway, usually the chemistry paper acts as a boost. You can solve almost all of it in 30 minutes and so, this is sort of a relief that more than 1.5 hours remain for maths.

This used to be my usual trend, but I was always ready to change it, in case Physics section is real hard.
However, having solve the hardest of problems in FIITJEE AITS, I was confident that Physics paper cannot be so hard that I have to solve Chemistry/Maths first. I had well realized that Physics was my strength and so, irrespective of the paper hardness, I will solve Physics first. This realization wasn't made in the beginning, but made after lots of experience of solving papers of varying difficulty level.

What was your strategy to tackle the paper?
Now that's a good question. I will take that as - "How did you really go about solving the paper?"
I used to solve the paper in rounds.
In the first round, I used to solve those questions, whose solution used to strike me at once, without even a minute of thinking. Such type of questions make up around 70% of the paper (note that this varies from student to student. Something which strikes you easily might not be clear to me at all!). At least for me, such questions made up around 70% of the paper. This round would usually last for 2 hours.
Simply read the question, think for 30 seconds on what to do, solve it!
At least for Chemistry (organic and inorganic), you either know the answer, or you don't. It is rarely the case that you can "think" and then answer "strikes" you. So, organic and inorganic chemistry can really be solved in 15 minutes - be it JEE level or FIITJEE AITS level.
For maths and physics and physical chemistry, if you are prepared well enough, you will be ready with a solution immediately after reading the problem and then you should spend a few seconds to plan the approach/scribble on paper.
This way, you can ensure that at least the selection is guaranteed. Also, having solved 70% of the paper, you can definitely get a good rank.
Next was the second round. This is actually the rank deciding round. This round lasts for 1 hour towards the end of paper.
You solve those questions first, which are lengthy (but you know the method) and so you left them in round 1.
Then you move on to those, which are probably hard and the solution isn't trivial. They require great understanding of the concepts and maybe super hard to think.
An average student might not be able to come up with the solution to those problems easily. You really have to be above average to solve those problems - well, such questions have to be present else there won't be any difference between AIR 1 and the guy who isn't selected.
You can be patient in round 2. It might happen that you are just sitting for 5 minutes, doing nothing but wondering which question to do - all seem to be hard. Don't worry, do not panic, here is a method:
  • If you are completely stuck in round 2 and you aren't able to solve ANY problem now, then move to the subject at which you are strongest.
  • You might be unlucky and it might happen that the subject at which you are strongest is the hardest this time. In this case, make a wise decision between your strongest subject and the subject which is the easiest (you are well aware of paper's difficulty level because you completed round 1).
  • Now stick to a few questions of the subject chosen above. You are more likely to solve the questions of this subject. You can make intelligent guesses seeing the options. You can eliminate choices. Do not make blind guesses in questions which have negative marking (now the whole paper has negative marking, so its better to rather avoid guess work)
  • You should be able to increase your score by around 10% in round 2. If you are able to solve 80% of the paper, you can be assure of a good rank.
  • If nothing works and you are just not getting anything in round 2, don't panic. You can revise the questions of round 1 (especially the lengthy, calculation intensive ones)
Once the paper ends, here comes the most important part:
  • Anyhow arrange the solutions/answer keys
  • Find out where you lost marks
  • Is there a specific subject at which you did really bad ?
  • If yes, then did you perform poorly in specific type of questions ?
  • Did you commit silly mistakes ?
  • Did you read the question incorrectly ?
  • Did you misunderstand question's wordings ?
  • Did a particular question have a shorter trick which you didn't know ?
These questions help you actually improve. They are the ones which will help you to evaluate yourself. Its your responsibility to ensure that you do not make the same mistakes again.
I hope this article helped you :)


  1. Thanks a lot! For making me right but reading your story I am Glad that all this is happening to me also but the difference is of teachers and parents thoughts are like yours I hope you to reply my last comment as I have no time now for 2016 only 11 months for JEE Advance 2016

    Q:It takes me hours to read the theory.What would me mine changes to it?

    Q:As I have lots of Books,Is it good that If I do particular Topic for different Books?

    Q:What would be my Strategy to complete my Study Material in 3 months of Aakash as it contains 30000 questions?

    Please Reply in details so that I will comment you that momemet when my Jee Advance result will come

    1. I think you should cover all 3 subjects everyday (2 hrs to each at least) and try to complete theory for a single chapter in each subject within a few days. Give most of your time to solving problems. You should improve your reading and understanding speed by writing notes to remember, discussing doubts with peers etc. Follow only one book for theory of a topic. Complete only relevant portions of study material and ensure you understand how to solve each kind of question , not necessary to solve all 30000 just learn tricks and techniques. All the best!

  2. Dude I would suggest you to read the theory calmly with full concentration and understand things in depth in a go and don't worry about the time you are spending on it. After all jee only tests your concepts and it is important to give time to it.
    Regarding akash material: jut take a deep breath and start solving -again calmly. Try to extract as much as u can. Remember u r not wasting ur time but rather improving ur rank!

  3. And Aman thanks a lot for this post. I really have some examination temperament issues.

  4. REALLY HELPFUL! Aman please continue with this QA approach it is so friendly! I think it is the best post on the blog.

  5. thankyou very much for this so helpful post

  6. I get up every now and then while studying and though studying for the whole day , effective study is very less. Please help!!

  7. I just love your articles keeps me motivated all the time ...addicted to listening to you..its fasinating how you were so determine to acheive your goal ..mand were so good at it ..
    speakin of me im in a sinking ship ...sent you my problem 2wice ...guess your busy ..
    i hope you get all the success in your life !

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  9. Very Helpful..and quite logical process ..thanks a lot..

  10. Hi aman, is it better to mark each answer in the OMR sheet as soon as I get the answer or should I mark all the answers at the end, once I have completely finished the paper?

  11. Bhaiya , when do the test series such as AITS start ?