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Changes in IITJEE - Reasons & Impact

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Reasons

IITJEE used to bring in emotions of adventure, challenge, competition, sport and
excitement at one point in time. While the preparation called for an in depth study of the
subjects, which took time, there was never any doubt that only hard work was never
going to pay dividends. The students used to focus on their Class XI - XII and practice
problem solving skills which helped in solving IITJEE problems.
The toughness and the novelty of the IITJEE allowed only the best to get thru. The
IITJEE was known for throwing up problems, which had never been seen before. It was
seen as a system, which would continue to succeed due to its ability to ask questions in a
completely different light.
However, the increased premium on the IITJEE saw students getting crazy after the
’Indian Institute of Technology’. This craze is justified, as, fortunately or otherwise, IITs
are arguably the best education centers in the country. Students from all backgrounds
started looking at IITs as the ultimate solution for solving the problem of security and
career. Coaching institutions mushroomed and a search for breaking the IITJEE success
formula started. With people ready to put in 3-4 years of their life, (like the pursuit of
IAS) coaching institutes in Kota managed to create a system, which undermined the
whole purpose of IITJEE.
Coaching community in Kota found out that there is a limit to the type of problem
solving methods, which can be applied with, in the given syllabus. So they started a
method, which just focused on learning the various methods and identifying the problem
on which to apply these methods. This method undermined the conceptual understanding
of the subjects (PCM), which was earlier seen as a precursor to being able to attempt such
problems, to such an extent that students stopped going to schools completely.
The schools in Kota, in their greed for money worked in connivance with the coaching
institutes and students got attendance without attending the classes. During the day,
students just focused on learning various methods of problem solving.
Now there was no need to be smart or to have an aptitude and interest in Science. One
could crack IITJEE by simply being extremely hardworking.
As a result, the performance of students who got thru IITJEE from Kota turned out to be
very bad during the study at IITs. There was a distinct pattern of students showing
incapability in living up to the high standards of scientific temperament required for
excellence on a global scale.
The teaching community at IITs had been shouting for a long time to do something about
the "Kota Syndrome". The government and JAB (JEE advisory board) have taken exactly
the steps required to deal with it.
The competition has not got any less tough. If at all, it has got tougher. The exotic nature
of the IITJEE used to keep a lot of bright students away from the test. Now, with its
alignment to Class XI- XII and an objective type pattern, more students are likely to take
plunge and make it tougher.
Impact on Methodology of Study
The earlier pattern expected the student to learn to solve long, descriptive problem types.
Students spent most of their time in preparing for the same. Now only objective type
problems shall be asked. While the students will still have to develop problem-solving
skills, they wont have to focus on learning various techniques needed to solve difficult
problems. A good understanding of PCM coupled with an analytical mind having
scientific temper will suffice.

NEW SKILLS

1. Speed
2.  Scientific Knowledge
3. Science Reasoning
4.  Comprehension
5.  Problem solving
The new dimensions on which a student shall be measured are comprehension and
reasoning with speed gaining importance. In order to test the comprehension, there will
be a write on which the questions shall be based.
As a student, you will be asked to show is that you know how science works. You will be
asked to interpret charts, understand the design of experiments, and resolve disputes
between competing theories. In short, you must be able to comprehend science as it might
be presented in a magazine or newspaper to an educated, but non-specialist, audience.
Science is all about the observation, description and explanation of natural phenomena.
Although scientists often disagree with regard to theories and explanations, their disputes
can always be settled by observed data.

IMPORTANT FEATURES OF SCIENCE

QUANTIFICATION: Scientists put numbers on things. They count and measure
objects and events. Because they present their findings as numbers, one of the
most important scientific skills is the ability to think quantitatively. The math is
usually not too difficult; you just have to be comfortable with extracting and
interpreting information from tables and graphs.
EXPLAINING CAUSAL PROCESSES: Real scientists want to know how
physical systems work- like what happens when a hydrogen atom splits, or how a
tree can grow 50 feet tall when it takes in nothing but air and water.
The goal of most science is to explain the chain of causation that brings about
certain events. Three main types of questions are expected in this category: data
representation, conflicting viewpoints and experiment summaries.
 
SCIENTIFIC REASONING TYPE QUESTIONS

1. LOOKUP  QUESTIONS: Lookup questions are the easiest question type that
you’ll see on the Science Reasoning test. They simply require you to "look up"
information given in a table or graph. If you can read the table or graph, you can
answer the question correctly. To ace a Lookup question, you just look at the table
or graph in question and locate the answer! It’s that simple.
2. SPOTTING TRENDS QUESTIONS: These questions ask you to determine the
value of a new piece of data not given in a table or chart. To answer a Spotting
Trends question correctly, you must use your logic skills to deduce the value of a
new piece of data, based on the other data that you’ve been given.
3. INFERENCE QUESTIONS: These questions ask you to draw conclusions and
make predictions based on the information given in a passage. They’re a bit more
difficult than Lookup or Spotting Trends questions, because they require higher
reasoning skills. To score well on an Inference question, you must again use your
logical skills of deduction. This time you use logic to deduce a conclusion or
prediction based on information given in a passage.
4. SCIENTIFIC METHOD QUESTIONS: These questions ask you to identify the
purpose and procedures of an experiment or to come up with ways to test a given
scientific hypothesis. They might also ask you to devise entirely new experiments.
Scientific Method questions can be pretty difficult. To answer them correctly, you
must draw on your knowledge of scientific procedures and your understanding of
how research is conducted.
5. COMPARE/CONTRAST QUESTIONS: These may ask you to determine
similarities or differences between the viewpoints given in the passage. They may
also require you to identify particular features of one or both viewpoints. To score
well on Compare/Contrast questions, you must use your understanding of
scientific arguments to differentiate between two or three given views.
PACING STRATEGY
1. Always read the easiest passages first, and answer the easiest questions first, too.
2. The easiest passages take less time to read and contain concepts that are easier to
understand.
3. You’re more likely to finish these passages quickly, with greater confidence about
answering the questions.
4. The easier questions can also be answered simply, without much effort on your
part.
RULES FOR CHOOSING EASIER PASSAGES
1. Data analysis passages are easier than compare/contrast passages. You’ll only
have one compare/contrast passage on the test. Save it for last.
2. Passages with one table or figure are easier than passages with two or more tables
or figures. Passages with one table are usually easier to read and contain easier
questions, since you only have to look up information in one place.
RULES FOR CHOOSING EASIER QUESTIONS
1. Always answer lookup and spotting trends questions first, and then inference and
scientific method questions. Save compare/contrast questions for last.
2. If a question gives you trouble, move on. One of your prime strategies as a
successful test taker is moving on from questions that bog you down. If a question
seems too hard, or if it takes more than a minute to answer, guess at it and move
to the next question.
Impact on Coaching Classes
 
LEVEL OF TOUGHNESS TO REMAIN THE SAME
The debate is on whether the competition became easier or tougher. It is an issue, which
is subject to a particular student’s approach. For some it became simple. For others, it
became tough. Overall toughness of the competition is unlikely to change, as it is not a
function of the difficulty level of the examination but of the selection percentage.
The number of students aspiring for IITJEE will not reduce in IITJEE 2006. In IITJEE
2007, when students will only be allowed 2 attempts, the reduction in number of students
who could have appeared is likely to be offset by the new aspirants. In other words, those
students who did not use appear in IITJEE thinking that it requires a special kind of
preparation will also appear with a strong foundation of Class XI- XII. The selection
percentage will stay around 2%, making it one of the toughest entrance criteria in the
world.
PREMIUM FROM FACULTY TO DISAPPEAR
With such competition, the demand for coaching will stay. However, the nature of
coaching will undergo a huge transformation. The IITJEE coaching faculty members
enjoyed a special privilege of being considered specialists in training students on
descriptive problem solving skills. These skills are now redundant. The premium from
the specialist faculty will disappear.
The coaching will become similar to PMT or CAT coaching with focus on methodology
rather than the teacher. A lot of IITians had entered the field of IITJEE coaching. Their
skills may not be relevant anymore. A lot of them may decide to go back to conventional
sectors like IT. The salaries of faculty members are likely to drop.
PRICES MAY COME DOWN
The prices of the coaching classes may come down. As the cost of the faculty comes
down, the margins may get passed on to the students with reduced course fees. Now the
students will have to focus on identifying institutes, which work systematically to help a
student perform in school as well as IITJEE.

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