Wednesday, 31 August 2016

JEE preparation tips by All India Rank 5 in JEE

Hey guys, we contacted Vipul Singh who was AIR 5 in IIT JEE 2010 and AIEEE AIR 1 and he kindly agreed to allow us to share his articles. Vipul has been a great mentor and he also helped me in my academics at IIT Bombay. We are glad to share his experience with you :)

Here is a link to Vipul's blog: Vipul's blog

Here's an article that I recently wrote for a magazine. It contains most of the things that I usually talk about in seminars and while interacting with future IITians.

                SELF-STUDY  MAKETH  A  RANK,
                   PRACTICE MAKETH PERFECT   

“Practice makes a man perfect.” This perhaps is the one golden rule that I have followed throughout my preparations for IIT-JEE as well as all other competitive exams. So, my dear readers, here I am to share some of my experiences and to give you some advice on how to prepare for these deadly-looking exams. I hope you will definitely find something worthy in this article of mine and will be glad if this can benefit any of my dear juniors.

Writing an article on such a topic, the one dilemma I face is where to start from. So, let me begin from the beginning itself. Born on 29th November, 1991, I was declared by doctors as a child who could possibly be mentally retarded in the future (seems weird, ain’t it?? read on…). I believe it has only been the strength of mind and the determination of my parents and one of my teachers that has brought me up to this level, sort of reversing the doctors’ prophecy. I still remember when I was in primary school, I was quite shy, but then I started participating in a lot of competitions, often emerging on top. Those things gave me a lot of confidence and I slowly started rising up and opening myself to this world. People believe that these high ranks are meant for ‘born-geniuses’. But that is far from the truth. In my case at least, I was born an anti-genius. So, it’s mostly about practice, starting early, using your time to the utmost. Edison rightly said “Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.”

It was only in class VI that I got my first go at a national level science competition (the NSO) and obtained an AIR 13. Then, in class VII, I finished East Zone runner-up in the India’s Child Genius quiz conducted by Siddhartha Basu, missing an opportunity to meet Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam by just 0.2 seconds in the buzzer round. I have never looked back since then, always learning from my mistakes and practicing endlessly in order to attain that ever-elusive state of perfection.

Now, having built up a sort of prologue let me come to the major issue: JEE. These three letters seem to weigh so heavily on the minds of so many youngsters. Here, I will be basically discussing how to plan out your preparations so that this exam looks a bit easier. Having interacted with lots of students from all over India through live seminars, e-mail, social networking sites, etc. and most importantly, having been through that crucial stage myself, I am well aware of the questions that JEE aspirants have in mind. So, I will be going through the rest of this article in a sort of your question – my reply format.

First and foremost, the first question that always turns up is “What is the mantra of success?” I would say it's utilizing even that tiny moment for self-study which you are giving to pondering over this question. According to me, it is time-management along with some self-belief. Every single moment that you are wasting in some not-so-important activity, thousands of other competitors are striving hard to get ahead of you. So, you simply cannot afford to waste time. A bit of relaxation here and there after some continuous study is a must, but you should be able to contain that “I have had enough” feeling.

People also ask me when exactly did I start my JEE preparations. Now, I am not very clear about the question itself. I started studying the JEE syllabus topics in the middle of class X, but I had started concentrating on science-maths and strengthening my basics from class VI itself. I had joined a JEE-directed correspondence course for the first time in class IX while I had my first major confidence booster at the India’s Child Genius in class VII. So, its been quite a long journey with a beginning which I myself am unable to figure out. This therefore turns out to be a question which I neither understand nor have a definite answer for.

Then, why did I join FIITJEE and not any other institute. Every student has his own capabilities and requirements. I knew that given sufficient time for self-study, I could understand concepts well on my own but I needed some good teachers for doubt clearance. That’s where FIITJEE came into the picture and they filled the void extremely well, better than I had ever imagined. Enrolled into the PINNACLE program, I used to get the entire evenings free as all classes would be over by 2:30 pm in the school campus itself. So, I had lots of time with me and I would sit down, think, solve, practice, get my doubts cleared the next day, etc.

This last point I just mentioned: Doubt Clearance is one thing I have seen missing in most aspirants’ priority lists. As a student, you ought to have faith in your teachers and approach them with your doubts. I have seen colleagues who never even asked their school teachers any doubts. You need to try them out first, if they are unable to satisfy your query, only then should you go to external tuitions. They are the teachers because they know things better than you do. Many students feel that a good teacher is the one who explains things well and solves questions on the board. I would say a good teacher is one who clears your doubts well. That’s because you can do the understanding and solving part yourself too but those inevitable doubts here and there require a strong tutor.

Coming to my next point: Time Management, students keep fretting about this simple concept. I have seen students in my city who spend evenings performing stunts on bikes, eating out with friends (mostly girlfriends), watching movies, etc. and then let out a cry on the JEE day, “Why do these guys set such unsolvable papers?” As you can very well see, they haven’t been true to themselves and hence can’t expect to get into IITs, NITs, etc. in place of those who have burnt the midnight oil. I myself have given everything to it during those 2 years and am definitely reaping rich rewards. It’s better to utilize pre-JEE time and then enjoy life in IITs (I must tell you it’s a beautiful place to be in) rather than wasting it and regretting later.

I will give you an example. All of us get this 1.5 to 2 month gap after the class X exams. Instead of visiting places and enjoying yourself, you can give a week or so to refreshing yourself and then get back to studies in order to get a good head-start. This will enable you to understand concepts better when they are taught in class. Then, you can also utilize those small intervals during change of classes to solve some questions. People around you will laugh at you, try to derail you from that right track but you need to ignore them. In the end, it doesn’t even matter. I tried so hard, I got so far. They tried to derail me but inflicted losses upon themselves only.
It’s not that I gave up everything for my preparations. I used to solve sudoku everyday, read the newspaper, played (although rarely), did a bit of social networking in the last few months but I wasn’t obsessed with these things. I knew my goal and its importance in my life. You just need to prioritize your time-table.

Returning to academics, if you prepare well for JEE, you are almost done with your board exam PCM syllabus as well. And as I said earlier, if you choose your tuitions wisely, you will also be able to find ample time for English and the 5th subject. Many students go to particular tuitions just because their friends have joined it or because they have heard lots of people praising that teacher. This isn’t the right way to do so. You need to understand your own requirements and choose accordingly. There might be a teacher who is very good at mechanics but doesn’t teach electromagnetism well. You don’t need to continue going to him just because you feel a sense of loyalty and gratitude towards him. It’s your life, your career, you have to decide keeping in mind your own good. Then try to give more time to practicing questions of different varieties and from different books. I wouldn’t recommend reading the same concept again and again from different sources/teachers as it would simply be a waste of your precious time. Instead grasp that concept from 1 or 2 books and then move on to practice.

Now I feel I should address the question on how to study in general? It’s better to finish topics one by one. Doing 3 or 4 topics all at one time will make it quite difficult for you to handle everything. Two topics from different subjects is quite okay because if you feel bored after studying one of them for 5-6 hrs., you can switch to the other one and then return. Try to prepare compendiums for each topic as it will be helpful in the later stages of preparation. If you notice some trick in some book, note it down and revise it later so that you get an idea of where it works and how to apply it. Such tricks and option elimination prove very useful in saving time for the tougher questions.  

Coming to books, here’s a list of books that I covered during my JEE preparations:

In addition, I completed all NCERT books, packages of FIITJEE as well as BRILLIANT and solved FIITJEE's GrandMasterPackage and RankersTestPaperFile. The latter two are very good for practice and revision in the last few months.

In class IX and X, I used to read books by Dinesh Publications (PCMB), H C Verma (physics), R D Sharma (maths) and correspondence courses from Brilliant Tutorials and BMA. I found these books by BMA to be very good and interesting. In addition, I had covered the first few chapters of physics plus differential calculus plus bonding and hybridization (thanks to Nitu Sinha Mam) in class Xth itself. Organic chemistry was one topic that I felt a bit tough to handle, but I feel I was fortunate enough to have another great chemistry teacher (Arun Sharma Sir) in XIth who advised me to gain a headstart by reading Paula Bruice and it really turned out to be a fantastic interest-arousing book.

Next comes the issue of how to prepare for all other exams that occur round the clock in these 2 years. I personally feel that NSO, IMO, NSTSE, etc., although considered easy by many, are very good exams to get an estimate of where you stand and of your strengths and weaknesses. Any national level exam, tough or easy, is competitive and as easy for you as for someone sitting in any other part of India. Then come the physics, chemistry, maths and astronomy olympiads. The maths olympiad requires a bit of extra preparation on topics like number theory, combinatorics, etc. The other three olympiads can be cracked if you have been thorough with the JEE syllabus. If you clear the first two levels, then you go to the camp at HBCSE, Mumbai where you need some experimental skills too. It’s here that your presence (both mental and physical) in school labs plays an important role. Then you have KVPY in class XI which has no pre-defined syllabus. The paper basically tests your mental ability and clarity of concept. You need to have knowledge of topics that will be covered in class XIth and a bit of the formulae and laws from the early days of class XIIth. The interview is meant to test your confidence and clarity of aim in life.

I would be writing an incomplete article if I didn’t talk about what to do during the last few months before JEE. So, I suggest you should complete all your syllabus at least by mid-December and then begin with revision of your class-notes and of the chapter-wise summaries you must have created in the two years. Then, move on to practicing question-papers of 6 hours duration. Solving questions from individual chapters is quite different from solving them when they are all thrown together at you. It might happen that you are able to solve mechanics alone very well but in exam time, the pressure created by being unable to solve optics may take you down in mechanics too. So, you need to have good practice of sitting own for 6 hours and handling that pressure. Utilize the board exams preparatory leave very well. I had given 15 days to JEE preparation and the rest to my Board exams. Then, I had an 11-day gap before my maths board exam. So, I didn’t study CBSE level maths in February and also devoted 5 days out of 11 to JEE. You need to find time and plan very well. The 14 day gap between last board exam and JEE should go into revision and practice only. Do not try to read/learn something new in that period, it will just add to the pressure.

Another extremely important question that arises is: How to cope with the pressure? I would say: Just keep practicing, sit down for lots of national level tests, when you see that you are able to solve questions and getting some good ranks, you will gain confidence and it’s this much required self-confidence that will help you sail through the JEE day. If you are unable to get those ranks, look at the mistakes you committed, discuss them with your teacher, try to correct them in the next paper, get your fundamentals cleared, and dedicate more time to that topic where you are prone to mistakes. It might take some time for that change to show up, but it will certainly happen over a period of time. You know, thousands of people (and almost everyone in Kota) wish to achieve a top 100 JEE rank but only those few who have stuck to their basics, who have been regular, who have practiced a lot and hence built up their speed and accuracy who achieve it. There’s always this competition. You can’t afford to give up or lose time.

I hope I have already said a lot now, so its time for me to take leave and allow you to ponder deeply over what you have read above and to see if you can gain something out of it. Thanks reader for having been so patient to have gone through my article. And finally, keeping in mind my own advice, I would suggest you not to read this article over and over again as that would be a waste of precious JEE-preparation time. Thanks again,

 Vipul Singh
(AIR 5, IIT-JEE 2010; AIR 1, AIEEE 2010; Silver medallist at IPhO 2010; KVPY scholar and CBSE topper of Chhattisgarh state)

If you like this, you might also like our guide to get a top 50 rank in JEE
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  1. i also start preparation in middle 10th class..

  2. I was just wondering whether aerospace is not such a lucrative branch at IITB. Whereas I have much interest in the above and almost 0 interest in CSE.
    Your opinion?

    1. In the 2014 batch, a guy got his branch changed from CSE to Aerospace engineering.
      Aerospace is a nice branch. I am myself quite interested in it.

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  3. Hello sir. i know you don't know me me .but i need some advice. I guess advice from your side can help me in my present situation. I am in 12th right now and studying 11th Phy and Chem. along with 12th PCM which makes it 5 coaching in a week . Here is my schedule where my coaching time including time wasted in travelling is also added up which is as follows :

    TTS : 04:45 pm to 9:30 pm coaching classes for 12th maths and 12th physics.

    Monday to Thursday 07:45 am to 11:00 am Chemistry Class 11th

    TTS 6:15–11:00 am Chemistry 12th,

    MWF In evening 06:45–9:30 Physics 11th.

    Sunday4 hrs. between the time slot 6 am to 5 pm for either any assignment clearing doubt class, physics extra class or some tests.

    Ok, so that was the time i spend in coaching every week and you know physics coaching i joined is the best in the city we have but the problem is that our teacher teaches very slowly , comes late to the class and due to that there has been a history that in last 6 years Heat and Thermo, Waves ,Rotational,Fluid Dynamics hasn’t been completed by him properly, my friends who used to go for physics to him for class 11th say that he completed these 4 chapters in a span of 2 and half week that too in last days before our exams of class 11th began…and for class 12th( he teaches in 2–3 weeks with rate of 3 classes of one and half hour per week) optics and modern physics in last 2–3 weeks. And that’s the story of best teacher in Raipur, Chhattisgarh and there are lots of teachers worse than him as well. So i am seriously stuck in this awkward position where i am giving time to coaching classes sincerely but there is this constant thing bothering me what about the chapters from Mechanics Pt. 2 ( Fluid,Waves,Heat,Modern Physics,Optics etc.) and same story is for chemistry too. only i have my maths teacher who is really disciplined and a true teacher with syllabus completion sincerely on time and i don’t know what should i do. I want to atleast clear mains with score of 200+ i don’t want to take a drop.Please Help me what should i do , i don’t know really. and my parents don’t have much idea about IIT JEE but they are there for me and have been supportive always i don’t want their money earnt from hard work and all efforts they have put in till now to go in vain. I am from middle class family and i have my younger brother too he is in class 9th right now and studying in resonance on scholarship but with advancing years his fee and expenditure will also increase on academics and taking a drop would really be a big financial problem too. What should i do please help me. Sorry if i have typed too much, i haven’t told someone about it and i really believe you can suggest something at least.

    Hoping to hear from you. Thank You.
    Also please guide me whether i should stop coaching classes and study at home ? Btw I have a dummy school.

    1. It would be great if i could get help regarding this matter. I am really confused what to do and what not to do.

  4. Hello Sir,
    I am in class 10th right now and I have taken admission in FIITJEE integrated 2 yr program. Please advise me for a best study timetable for IIT-JEE and boards.
    Thanks Sir

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  6. Aman bhai, I m very confused. I m doing hc verma, dc pandey, and a bit of Nootan physics, sk goyal maths, dpp maths, comprehensive chemistry, ncert chemistry, Rd sharma maths, and last year questions of all three subjects. Is it enough. I'm preparing on my own. No coaching. I still feel that I m doing less. I am bad at time management. I want to score 270 in mains 2017 very badly. I want iiit h CSE. Please help me. Am I doing right or I should do more

  7. hey aman bhaiya what about torrents at iitb r u able to download it via vpn or torr browser n what is its speed

  8. Really inspiring to read the article ! My concern is that is it always necessary to join any specific coaching institute to clear your scores in flying colors ? Not pointing to your experience , but I felt classes like FIITJEE charge a bomb from the students . we always felt them to be marked as the rich boys' choice. I got enrolled for my course in IIT-D and was happy with the way things went in my life. I am from Indore and we believed we gave great competition to classes in Kota with Gupta tutorials and others giving good results like Bansals. But in the last 5 years I have seen the previous names going down and institutes like CAtalyser giving fantastic results for JEE. I beleive if you have the vision and great faculties supporting you, you may not require to pay handsome.