1. JEE: What you need to succeed
Hard work is indispensable for JEE. If you are intelligent that’s good but intelligence alone is not good enough. Sometimes people who are very intelligent overestimate themselves and in turn prepare casually for the exam which might land them with a lower rank in JEE than their expectation. However, only hard work is also not the key. One needs a good balance of intelligence and hard work.
The second important requirement is guidance. If hard work is a bow and intelligence is an arrow then guidance gives you the direction of target. Unless you have the right guidance, you will not be able to hit the JEE-target with the arrow!
Lastly, one of the most important ingredient is motivation. Nobody can force you (or should force you) to study for IIT-JEE. While preparing for JEE you need to stay motivated. Many people start with high spirits but loose the enthusiasm as the preparation gets tougher. You have to discipline yourself and not loose the drive! Most (almost all) of the top rankers prepare single heartedly for JEE atleast for two years (last two years of high school). Like Arjun, you must only see the eye of bird, JEE, and nothing else.
2. Coaching institutes: Correspondence and Classroom
Is joining a correspondence course helpful?
Yes, correspondence courses are certainly very helpful for JEE. But, if you enroll in a correspondence course you must follow through and take the exams sincerely.
How many correspondence courses should I join ?
If you join only one and follow through sincerely it is better than joining ten and completing none.
Which one should I enroll in?
There are many (more than 30-40) correspondence courses these days. For selecting one which would work for you, consult your seniors and peers. This will give you an overall picture of the courses that are available and you can choose the one that suits you best.
According to me, classroom coaching is a must. It gives you an opportunity to meet other students preparing for JEE. It is better if the institute conducts regular exams in various subjects as there will always be some pressure on you for studying. It always helps to have short term goals while preparing for a big exam. Frequent tests will help to keep you on the right track.
Which classroom coaching to join?
- See the previous years results (ofcourse for JEE) of that institute.
- Talk to seniors who are studying or have studied previously in the institute.
- The institute should be conducting regular and frequent exams for your evaluation.
Some good books that I had used are listed below:
Normally, instead of doing 7-8 books at a time you should stick to 2-3 books only. For example, in Physics first you can start with H.C. Verma, then for IIT level problems you should do Irodov. For Maths, TMH is a very good book for IIT level questions but before picking up TMH you should have studied the topics from some other book (M.L. Khanna is a good book for all topics in general). In Chemistry, O.P. Agarwal is a good all round book (very good for Inorganic). For Organic, I must say, Morrison and Boyd is a must. I found P. Bahadur quite helpful For Physical chemistry (numerical etc).
4. Tips for increasing your Productivity while Studying
First of all try to get a separate room for studying. This room should be such that you can study there for 1-2 hours without any disturbance. Put a study-table in a corner of room where lots of natural light comes in. Natural light refreshes us and helps in resetting our built in clock. Paste a notice board in the room preferably in front of your table. Use this notice board for any important reminders, deadlines etc. No need to make it fancy. Those of you who can’t get a separate room try to get something similar. You can use a table lamp if you like.
Always have a study plan in mind before you sit down to study. How much course work will you cover in this sitting? When will you take a break? How many hours will you study? etc. Answer these questions before you sit down to study. Remember it’s easy to achieve your goal when you have a clear picture of your goal and the path in your mind. Make a general study plan for 1-2 months. Write it on the notice board. Try to complete the work according to your study plan. Set up deadlines for particular tasks like completing a chapter, doing next set of your correspondence course etc. Write them on a piece of paper and pin it up on your notice board. Respect your deadlines! Try to complete your work before the deadline. Whenever you complete a task remove it from the notice board. That will give a sense of satisfaction!
Take breaks while you study. Don’t study continuously for 3-4 hours. Studying continuously lowers your concentration and productivity. So after 2-3 hours of continuous study you will be taking one hour for 15 minute work! Instead study for 1-2 hours (depending upon difficulty of work) and then take a five-minute break. In this break try to relax. Don’t go and watch T.V. during the break (or don’t do some other similar activity) because if your favorite show in on T.V. chances are that your 5-minute break will extend to 2 hours. Instead do some light breathing exercises, stretching etc. during the break. The easiest breathing exercise is - Close your eyes, take 10-15 deep, slow and rhythmic breaths.
If at any time you find yourself stuck at a question for more than 20-30 minutes and you are getting no new ideas for solving that problem then leave it instead of spending another hour on that problem. Write the problem on a piece of paper and pin it up on the notice board. Think about that problem when you are free like sitting in your school bus, free periods in your school/college etc. Explore all the ways you can think of to solve the problem (e.g. in mechanics change of frame of reference, rotation of F.O.R., some special trick, energy method etc) before asking for help. Ask for help only when you have thought about the solution to the problem for 3-4 days.