Friday, 24 March 2017

Aiming for IIT Bombay, Computer Science and Engineering

Someone on Quora asked me a question - How should I study if I want to get into IITB CSE?
I really love computer science, especially programming. I am willing to do anything for it. I am not in it for huge packages. I am for knowledge, the quality of education and the environment. Anything inspiring you say which will turn on the flame further, so that it never extinguishes will help...

It is obvious that this guy loves Computer Science and with his domain knowledge, he has realised that IIT Bombay, Computer Science and Engineering is probably the right choice for him. It may or may not be the best choice, but it seems to be what he wants.

We all know that going by the recent trends, you typically need a top 50 or so JEE rank to get into IITB CSE. Even a top 100 would not do. In JEE 2016, the cut-off was AIR 59 (GEN). Considering that 1.5 million (15 lakh) people appear for JEE Main and 0.15 million (1.5 lakh) people appear for JEE, you really need to be in the top 99.95+ percentile, which is definitely not a piece of cake. What exactly is it that makes these 59 people different from the rest of the crowd?

After doing some analysis, I made an attempt to answer the question. Below is my answer. I am sure it will help you all :)

During my ~3.5 years of stay at IIT Bombay so far, I have seen that there are 2 kinds of people in the CSE department:
  • Those who are super smart.
  • Those who are super hard working.

The percentage of those who fall in category one are quite low, but yes, some of my friends here are super smart. When I say super smart, here are some qualities that they possess:
  • They are able to understand abstract things very quickly (for instance, abstract mathematics)
  • They are very fast at picking up new things
  • They are very fast at making decisions
  • They are able to do well in courses without picking up a single book
  • They will score better than you with lesser input
  • They will do something that will totally amaze you - heck, was that even possible?

For the super hard working people, the qualities are quite straightforward to observe - these people attend the lectures and spend considerable time in reading books or other content available. Basically, these are the people who have to put in more hours to get the same output as a typical super smart guy.

Now evaluate yourself.

Are you a super smart guy?

I can bet that cracking IITB CSE would not be a big deal for you. If you are able to understand tough JEE concepts, then you sure will make it to this place. Some tough concepts include:
  • Permutations and combinations
  • Probability
  • Complex numbers
  • Modern Physics
  • Electrochemistry
  • Ionic Equilibrium

Note that this list is by no means exhaustive. The concept of toughness is relative, but these topics are generally the ones where most students struggle.

Are you good at these? Do you breeze through PnC problems? Can you solve the hardest of the problems mentally? If the answer is yes, then congratulations, you fall in the category of people who are super smart. It is very likely that you will make it to IITB CSE with a slight push from your end. Go as you have been going and this place will welcome you :)

If you struggle with these topics; or, in general if you struggle in understanding new stuff or in doing quick mental calculations or things that need intense mental activity, then you definitely are not smart. But the movie does not end here. The best part is that you can always match up with those guys who are super smart.

I count myself in the second category of folks. I have a strong proof here: What are some of the best ways to improve maths beyond JEE level?

This question was asked by me after I cracked JEE with a top 50 rank. I always feared that I am AIR 33 and here at IITB CSE, I would be competing with all of those folks who managed to get better ranks than me.

4 years of B.Tech are close to an end and I managed to secure AP grade in all 4 mathematics courses that I took here at IIT Bombay. An AP grade is given to the top 2% of the students for outstanding performance in the course. This means that I was consistently in the top 10 performers of the course out of ~400 students who took that course. Not just that, in the differential equations course, I managed to score 100/100 - my first ever 100 in maths. Yes, I was not able to score a perfect 100 even in board exams. I in fact was among the top 3 in all 4 courses. Mind you that I was competing with IIT Bombay CSE and Electrical engineering students, who are all top ~150 rankers.

Not just that, I will be graduating with a 9+ CGPA and with multiple job offers from India and US. Every job interview demanded a strong knowledge of data structures and algorithms. I had secured a grade 6 out of 10 in my data structures exam here at IITB. I scored 27/100 marks. The highest was 81/100 - none other than the legendary Sai Sandeep, my friend who scored AIR 1 in JEE 2013. I really see him with a lot of respect. However, I knew that the grade 6 was because I did not work hard in the course due to lack of time and eventually I decided to spend time in "redoing" the data structures course material. I ended up with a return offer from Rubrik (the company where I interned), an offer from another Mountain View based startup and multiple other offers at Indian companies, including Directi. All of the interviews were centered around data structures and algorithms - the same course where I scored 6 out of 10.

The above two paragraphs were not to brag about my grades/achievements. It was just to let you know that you need to be hard working and consistent to match up with the smart folks.

If you are not born smart, there is nothing wrong in accepting the fact that you are not smart.

Live with it, accept it and work hard to beat the smart guys. Trust me, it is not at all a big deal.

Coming back to your question of "how to study?", below I have mentioned a few pointers. Note that if you fall into the category of smart guys, do not waste your time reading stuff below.
  • Believe in self study. Understand that coaching teachers are meant to guide you. They are not meant to replace your hard work.
  • Read books. I have seen that most students skim through coaching notes. They hardly bother to read books. I believe that you will be able to unlock the best secrets only when you read. There are tonnes of good JEE books out there. This might help you: Which book should I follow to get a under 50 rank in IIT JEE?
  • Ask doubts. Always get your doubts cleared.
  • Spend at least 10 hours a day in studying. Yes, this is a practical advice. If you believe that you are not among the smart guys, 10 hours is the bare minimum you should spend. I sometimes used to spend up to 15 hours a day when needed.
  • Solve a lot of problems. Since you are reading this, you realize that you are not a smart guy. You will have to practice a lot of problems to develop that "sharp" mindset that the smart guys have.
  • Do not study with friends. Study alone. Your friends might be smart guys. In that case, they will be able to pick up stuff at a much faster rate and you will be left with a bunch of unclear concepts.
  • Do not waste your time. Do not waste your time in unnecessary stuff. TV, friends, Facebook, arguments are all waste of time. Avoid them.

In the end, I would like to say that working hard is the key. At the end of the day, to crack IITB CSE, you will have to solve those "new" problems thrown at you during the 6 hours of JEE. You either have that mindset to pick up new stuff, or you develop it by working hard.

Good luck and all the best for JEE :)


  1. Which book you will prefer more for practising coordinate geometry in less time?
    TMH or sk goyal

  2. Which book was used by you to cover the things which is not in LG wade (topics like reaction of alkanes)

  3. Aman,

    Your are my motivation and my inspiration..I fall in second category and have worked quite hard to achieve success in JEE-2017..
    JEE Main is just 7 days away.. Please wish me so that I can score well..

    You are an inspiration to many..You are awesome..I wish you much more success in life!

    Thank You Aman for this blog!
    This blog is the best!:)

    1. sir my name is asmit som and i study in class 12 presntly i have wasted my 11 but my concepts on class 11 physics is good and i am poor in chemistry and maths i am average now in class 12 how much sincerity and dedication do i need to get alteast iit bombay ...i have brought ml khanna for maths rudiment for chemistry and for phycis i have brought 36 years sample paper and hc verma and irodov i need to buy more book or is it sufficient ... i take coeaching in adamas carrrer west bengall....please advise me sir ...

  4. Will fiitjee rankers study material be a good choice for a correspondence course ? I am a not a fiitjee student and have joined other coaching institute for iit jee preparation.

    1. I am not aware of what is the current best in the market.

  5. Will fiitjee rankers study material be a good choice for a correspondence course ? I am a not a fiitjee student and have joined other coaching institute for iit jee preparation.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Hello Aman,

    I am a class 10 student (about to move in class eleven after a week). I have opted for the PINNACLE course in FIITJEE. They are providing Physical Education as 5th Subject. Many say that CS is better as there is less mugging up and more understanding, also helpful for future. Can you please tell what to opt as 5th subject? I think P Ed will also allow some recreation. What did you opt for?

    P.S. I dream to opt for CSE in IIT-B. I currently​ have no basics of any programming language and don't wish to devote ( waste ) my time on it for the next two years when I think my goal should be only PCM(JEE, KVPY, and Olympiads). My board is CBSE.

    Thank You

    1. Thanks... I will go for the same.. :)

    2. And do you think class 9 and 10 math has any significance for the following two years?

    3. Hey MNC you are taking admission in which branch of FIITJEE?

    4. I have also the same problem and I have joined pinnacle of Varanasi.

  8. I admit I have wasted my whole year of class 11 and now I want to do good in JEE advanced ,so please help me by suggesting how to get within AIR 50 in one year .I am ready to follow any advice

    Thank you ������

    1. These links might help you:

  9. Please suggest me what books to study and how to study?


  10. Hey! I just went through your articles and they are helpful. I am appearing for JEE 2017 and in my last practice test in VMC I scored 225 and our founder say that students in VMC score nearly 20 marks more in Mains than what they scored in practice tests. But I checked and my score is going to be 170 because of my too slow speed. I understand even difficult concepts easily but some of my concepts are weak (especially modern physics)and my speed is too slow. So can you suggest a book to improve modern chemistry and suggest how to increase speed. Also how to study for JEE Advanced 2017 to get an under 1000 rank as I believe that I can and I know that I just need practice ( I only started my preparation in 12th and that too not with full potential, but I am willing ti study if I can get an under 1k rank because I really want to explore Computer science.)

  11. I wanted to ask you if you did recreate yourself for 15 minutes or exercise during those two years?

  12. Hello Aman Bhaiya. Can u tell what will be the cutoff of jee mains 2017 paper?

  13. Aman Bhaiya could you please share some books for BITSAT as it has a different pattern.

  14. Hi Aman,
    I am in 10th grade
    Board exam are going on last paper is left
    I am confused in selecting books
    I visited many website and talked to many students .
    Some says cengage
    And other Arihant
    For maths

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Hi Aman I have purchased Morrison And Boyd Organic Chemistry for my perperation, Will it be sufficient or lg wade is better?

  17. I am weak in complex numbers...please help me on how to get some improvement in the chapter...!!!

  18. I am really confused about IIT jee aplitude test will it happen or not?
    when and how to prepare for it?

  19. I am really confused about IIT jee aplitude test will it happen or not?
    when and how to prepare for it?

  20. Just got enrolled in class 11th. Do you think class 9 and 10 mathematics has any significance for the next two years? I never was good at mathematics in class 9 & 10th, if its important for JEE, how to cope up?

  21. Hello Aman,
    Your blog is amazing, full of useful content. Thanks for the blog.
    I wanted to ask that I surely fall in the second category. But how do I believe that I aa rise above all the odds? I can conquer whatever I want. How do I believe that even despite having low grasping power I will be able to get a rank under 50?

  22. Hello Brother,
    I am in 12th. I'm from Tamil Nadu State Board and I got 494/500 in 10th only with Self-Study and no Mugging Up. I am the School Topper, 4th District Topper and 6th State Topper. I was planning on shifting to CBSE in 11th as I was confident and wanted to crack JEE. But as always parents and relatives were scared that I wouldn't Cope up. So I ended in the same State Board School.
    I have wasted my 11th due to my health. My health problem (Brain Fog) could have been overcome within a month if I had taken the effort. But I was too Lazy. Now I am determined to overcome it within May.
    I am aiming for IIT-B or IIT-M CS department and I am aiming for State first in Boards too. So, I need to concentrate on that also. I have 2 yrs DLP of Resonance (which they are still sending) (All my 11th Books are Just lying in my shelf).
    Consider that I start by June. I have some doubts.

    1) Should I concentrate on my Boards this year and complete only the NCERTs of XI & XII this year?
    Should I concentrate on the 11th books of Resonance and my Boards, and then complete my 12th syllabus in the drop year? (Is it too early to be thinking of taking a drop?)
    Should I concentrate both the 11th and 12th books of Resonance and my Boards? (Which is tough)

    2) Are the Resonance DLPs, AITS, Rank Boosters (Maha-Pack-Viraat) enough for my Preparation considering my goal? If not what are thee particularly, most important books I should buy from the list given above? (ex: HC Verma, RD Sharma, IE Irodov)

    Thanks in Advance!

    1. Hey there! I am also facing this problem. I have few health issues (chronic pain disorder) which worsened during my 11th standard, i am preparing for jee 2019, and i know i have wasted a lot of time.
      Could you please tell me how did you manage it all?
      I would be really very grateful to you, if you could share how did you manage it, completing 1th syllabus, in a short duration of time.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. Sir,Im in class 11th and a non-smart guy.Presently aiming at CSE in a good NIT but the problem is I dont get enough time for self-study.Practically speaking i just get 5 hours for self-study.Do you think I might be able to land up in top NITs?

  26. Is DC pandey and hc Verma physics set of books enough for clearing first stage of physics Olympiad nsep

  27. Aman sir, I am in class 9 and I will have completed DC pandey set of physics books, Arihant set of mathematics books for IIT-JEE and NCERT class 11&12 chemistry books by end of 2018 i.e, class 10.Is it enough for getting single digit rank in jee advanced 2021.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Hi aman..
    Does board marks matter if u get into a good iit.. Were their students in ur batch with board percentage 80%

  30. Aman how much did you scored in FIITJEE reshuffling test for batches in class 12 th

    1. I don't know the score but I have read in his Quora post that he was the first ranker in the first batch

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