Utkarsh Kumar is my friend at IIT Bombay. He secured an AIR 5 in JEE Advanced 2013. Long back he wrote a blog on JEE preparation. With his permission, we are glad to share his experience with you here!
Here is a link to his blog in case you are interested: Utkarsh's blog
Here goes the article by Utkarsh
Warm greetings to everyone out there...
Even though I had been thinking for quite a long time about starting my own blog, it wasn't until today that I finally had the motivation to actually write one, the motivation being the countless JEE aspirants with their queries. The credit of course goes to you as well, Aman Goel, for providing that much needed final spark that is the reason I am penning down my thoughts here...
Well, the first problem... Where do I start? Well, let me start with introducing myself... I am currently a B.Tech first year student under the Computer Science dept at IIT Bombay. I hail from a small and tranquil town in the state of Jharkhand, Hazaribag is the name. And I cracked an AIR 5 in JEE Advanced 2k13. I love reading novels, mostly fiction, solving puzzles, meeting people and touring and traveling.
One of the major reasons for writing this blog is that it enables one to interact with people all around the globe quite easily. For now, my posts will be aimed at the JEE aspirants, helping them out with their preparation queries, particularly reaching out to a large number of them simultaneously... Later, well even I don't know about that as of now. Anyway, let's leave that for later.
Lets get started...
So when did I realize that JEE was my ambition? I don't have a precise answer to that. Somewhere along class 9th, I guess. Actively participating in the national level olympiads and tests, I realized that this was my field. This was where I belonged! That, I realize now, proved to be a real boon for my studies in class 11th and 12th. My ranks in those tests varied from top 10 to 1000, generally staying around the 200 mark. Such olympiads give you a much-needed exposure to the kinds of questions you would be dealing with for your preparation for what is considered the toughest exam in the country. Also they build a good academic base through your school years, and are pivotal in your JEE preparation.
How early should you start preparations for JEE? I have often heard people saying that you should start your preparations for JEE from class 9th itself or even as early as class 6th-7th if you want a good rank... I personally feel it is not late to start your preparations in class 11th, as long as you have a good academic base and a genuine interest in Physics, Chemistry and Maths (or at least in two out of three! :P). The reason being that class 11th is when an average student is mature enough to handle these concepts and ideas and appropriately apply them when he/she is presented with related problems.
Note that I am not discouraging early preparation, it definitely helps if you have a pre-built background in these areas; all I mean is it doesn't make a key difference. I personally feel you should be actively participating in any and every Olympiads and similar tests you can take, because they help develop an exam temperament and provide a much-needed exposure to the type of questions you would be fighting with (or playing with, maybe?) for your JEE preparations later.
My first 'official' step towards my dream? I had the initial plans of joining Brilliant Tutorials in Ranchi itself and was indeed enrolled there for a couple of months until the JEE results for that year came, it was the last week of May. Shattered by the unsatisfactory result at Ranchi, I decided to go to the JEE hub of the country, yes I am talking about Kota! Life at Kota? I would be covering that in a later post. But remember to not let the months just after your class 10th boards go waste. A fun-filled week should be more than sufficient to refresh your mind. Get up and running if you are really serious about cracking JEE. Have a proper plan for your higher studies for the coming two years, do not make this decision in a hurry, you might regret it later.
Why I joined Bansal Classes and not some other institute? I think it was a decision made by fate itself that I joined the oldest premier coaching institute in the city. To the best of my knowledge back then, all the coaching seats had their seats full (remember I went to Kota as late as June!) but on talking at the reception at Bansal, they agreed to give me a chance depending upon my performance in a test there. Well, I ended up getting over 85 questions correct out of 90 back then, and I was overjoyed to finally be accepted there! And honestly, I didn't consider any other coaching institution thereafter.
The teachers there? Absolutely in a class of their own! And this is true for most of the top faculty in Kota. The way they teach, you would get teleported into an altogether different world. I now look back and realise how helpful and caring they were... I wasn't the most interactive student of the class then, but I strongly urge you guys to totally open up and be at ease with your teachers and mentors. Do pester them ceaselessly with your doubts (remember, if you ask it once, you might be considered a fool for once but if you do not, you would remain a fool for a lifetime!) and religiously follow whatever advice and suggestions they give you.
The study material? I myself hardly referred to any theory part apart from my class notes, and I urge you guys to do the same too! That is because the notes you make yourself leave a longer-lasting imprint on your mind than if you do not. And refer to them as your Bible, instead of referring to multiple books as it often ends causing needless confusion and wasting your valuable time.
Books to refer to/solve in *blah blah* subject/topics? I myself strictly (almost?) followed the study material of my coaching and my own notes, but since this answer might not satisfy quite a few of you, here is a list of books which, I personally feel, would help you in your preparation :
Physics: 'Concepts of Physics' by HC Verma is one of the most helpful books out there to help you understand the basic concepts and apply them in simple situations. 'Fundamentals of Physics' by Resnick, Halliday and Walker is another great book to help you with your theory part, though its exercises may not be as exhaustive. For practice of problem-solving and advance learning, you might wanna try your hands on 'Problems in General Physics' by IE Irodov.
Chemistry: Here I strongly stress on the use of your own study notes for the inorganic and organic disciplines and not referring to multiple books, because often you would find contradictory statements in different books and would end up confused (just a personal opinion, though). However do go through NCERT thoroughly, it helps build your fundamentals which is essential for both your board preparations as well as JEE. However you might wanna try this one, 'Modern Approach to Chemical Calculations' by RC Mukherjee.
Maths: For integration part, 'A Problem Book in Mathematical Analysis' by GN Berman is very helpful to get familiar with all the techniques and also if you want a complete revision of the topic (I think I would put up another post for this topic soon!). For conic sections, I would recommend going through 'Coordinate Geometry' by SL Loney, the book would prove to be a blessing for your preparations.
For those who are not enrolled in a coaching, I would suggest you to definitely enroll in the correspondence course. You might also want to try Arihant Publication and TMH books, if you need more help/have extra time.
How many hours a day...? Honestly, I find this question rather irrelevant because it is not the quantity of your study that matters, rather it is the quality that decides where you stand in the race. Still, I think 7-8 hours a day consistently (almost!) for 2 years should be more than sufficient for anyone and everyone! Just make sure you do not over-do it, because there comes a saturation point beyond which anything you study is all in vain. Make sure you study in a routine and organized manner punctually. Do take out time, preferably in the evening for your recreational activities and hobbies, go take a walk outside if nothing else.
Before a major test? Go through your notes once especially in the topics you are not the most confident about, I personally felt it helps to have a good look at your notes the day before the papers. And have a good 7-8 hour sleep, you need to feel totally fresh and energetic while taking your tests. I would be putting up another post on taking a test, do's and don'ts soon.
The key reasons for my success? I guess a major credit goes to the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed studying Physics, Maths and even Chemistry (maybe not as much as the other two, though!). Each time I was presented with a problem, I got into my 'hack-and-slash' mode, jumping onto the question, not resting until I had devoured it bit by bit. It was this hunger that fueled me, and got me where I am today. My friends, let your instincts take over and let the desire to succeed burn through your veins, it is only then that you would succeed, in whatever discipline you maybe.
Any general fundae? Practice well when you have the time for it so that you can feel totally sure of yourself and your performance in the paper. Keep yourself cool and calm while taking the paper to avoid silly mistakes which make you feel sorry later. I will soon be putting up another post on these areas.
These are some of the most common questions that are raised, do let me know what else you guys might want answered... Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions behind. :)
See you in the next post soon! Good luck...