Hope you all would be doing up well, enjoying the break after your recently concluded Class X boards, some would be on the brink of their first important national level exam, NTSE, to be held tomorrow while others would be planning out what to do in the coming two years.
Among all, the major question among students intending to take up Science courses, particularly Mathematics would be "How to start preparing for JEE". A lot of people have this question in mind that which books to choose, which subject to emphasize more upon, which test series to appear for and the list is endless. So I have tried to address the basic steps which every student at this stage must follow for a headstart to their JEE Preparation. Hope it makes an interesting read. So here we go,
- Build the required Mindset and the right Attitude
Now why this, not anything related to books or so first, because unless you develop a will, a strong desire to succeed in one of the toughest entrance exams of the country, no matter how much you study or how many problems do you solve, all without a proper mindset will go in vain. So what needs to be done? Simple. First of all ask why do you want to clear JEE? Would you be able to face the competition which registered ~13 lakh students fighting for ~10k seats in some institutes around the country? Would you be able to sacrifice or rather limit your free-flying life of hanging out with friends, attending every function and wasting time on social media? If the answer to these questions is in a positive sense, i.e. you find a reason for preparing for JEE, then congratulations my dear friend, Welcome to one of the two most beautiful years of your life. Set a firm goal (Could be anything like Branch X at IIT Y based on your choices and interest) and you are good to start with.
(My intent has in no way been to demean the desire of the student to prepare for JEE. But the points mentioned are must in order to succeed in JEE. There's no need that you fulfill these points at the time you read them but you must have a strong will to adopt these qualities in the coming time as they form an indispensable part to succeed in any competition of life, not just JEE)
- Selecting the right resources
Having ensured the first point fits well, now comes the most important part of planning out what to do next. You can't just go around randomly just with a strong will to succeed but no hard-work. A proper set of resources(read Books and Teaching support) is must in order to master the tricks and trances of this business. There is already a grand collection of books on the blog, but I would mention the books I used apart from those mentioned here during my JEE Preparation.
- CENGAGE Series (I used it in place of the mentioned ARIHANT Series as this is more JEE oriented with the proper blend of mind-storming objective and subjective problems)
- ARIHANT Differential and Integral Calculus (Must do in any case for cracking all Calculus problems of JEE Advanced. It is the book with one of the best collection of calculus problems)
- Resonance Study Material (To boost my confidence as questions were of JEE Advanced Level)
- FIITJEE RSM (To bring down myself to ground when I became overconfident ;p)
Note: There's no need to get all these stuff right now. Any book (Arihant or Cengage in case you have no coaching material) of Trigonometry, Coordinate Geometry and Algebra would do in class 11 and the rest would be used in class 12. If you have any coaching material, do it first completely and then do some additional practice from the mentioned books.
- CENGAGE SERIES (Mindblowing collection of problems of all varieties and difficulties)
- Resonance Study Material (A great resource for elementary and good subjective problems)
- FIITJEE RSM (Excellent subjective problems)
- Physical Chemistry: Resonance Material (Very good Theory + Problems) + RSM (Theory)
- Inorganic Chemistry: NCERT (Read God Book) + Resonance Material + Vogel's Qualitative salt analysis
- Organic Chemistry: CENGAGE, L.G. Wade, Resonance (Problems)
Please note I found a lot of mistakes in problems of FIITJEE RSM along with numerous repetitions of questions. Also, the questions were not up to the mark so refrained from solving them but indeed the theory was too good for a person self-studying.
- Planning the right working plan and study schedule
Now, this is something which differs for every person. Someone may prefer to study at night while someone else may feel dozed off early. Someone has a die-hard love for Physics while someone struggles at it. But at the end of the day, everything boils down to the fact that how much proficient you are in each subject for you cannot crack IIT just by studying the subject you like. You need to put enough efforts for each subject, devote proper time to each and make sure to leave no stone unturned.
So how to do this?
Well, there is a general algorithm to master any topic. Read ample theory from any standard resource (read your coaching material or any mentioned book), solve a handful of basic level problems to ensure the formulae well fit in your brain and then push your limits as you solve higher order problems including the subjective ones. Although they generally don't feature these days as such but are must for a complete understanding of the subject.
So that's the working plan. One needs to balance time effectively between all these steps for all the three subjects properly. The study schedule as I mentioned earlier may vary from person to person but must ensure, I repeat "Giving the right time to study each subject is a must", if during the course of preparation you feel like lagging at one, don't wait. Immediately start devoting more time to it, figure out the reasons for your lagging, is it due to lack of proper concepts? Or due to insufficient practice? and fix the bug as soon as possible. Don't keep backlogs. Remember, there are hardly a handful of people who successfully manage to clear them well in time and you should be never taking a chance to experiment this at this phase of your life.
- Test Series
Now comes the big gun. How do you know that you are good going on a topic? Well, solving problems of the book quickly and easily won't do any good. You need to develop a rock solid examination temperament. Well, the term sounds intimidating, so let me put it in a simple way. It means "Attempting test papers of varying difficulties with sheer confidence and calmness". But how do you develop this trait? Of course, keeping your head cool during the exam is not taught in any book. Also, you won't risk going to the final exam unexposed to the possible exam many times well in advance.
This is what a Test Series does. Although some of the readers would be knowing what it is and what are its benefits, it is a collection, or rather a "series of tests" that are conducted throughout the academic session (mainly from July to March) by almost all coaching institutes in the country. What does this give you? Some 12-15 tests (depending on the coaching and the class of your study) conducted generally once or twice a month, giving you various paper patterns of different difficulties to be solved in fixed time limits.
How does it help you? Afterall, you are able to solve questions from books very well. So why waste time and money on this thing? If you think like this, you are probably not exposed to the competition you are about to face in the coming times. Apart from developing the right temperament what good a test series does to you is give a fair estimate of your national level standing.
So which one to choose amongst the numerous ones available in the market? If you want to know my pick, I did Resonance AITS along with the famous FIITJEE AITS. While the former gave me a good practice of actual exam level papers, the latter helped me in coming out of my comfort zone by exposing me to some really good and challenging problems.
- Finally, have faith in yourself
Having discussed a lot of technical aspects demands some non-technical ones too. The journey which you are going to start would be filled with lots of surprises, failures, successes, setbacks and most importantly new learnings each day. Important is not to get disheartened by failures or over-confident by successes but to maintain a balance between success and failures and not to stop till you achieve your target. Beleive that you can do it. If you prepare honestly and sincerely there's nothing stopping you from entering into the IIT of your choice.
Throughout the post, I have tried to present the pattern and practices I followed and in no way meant to hurt anyone's ideologies at any point.
All the Best!