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  • Writer's pictureHemant Pandey

How to prepare for IIT JEE?

Preparing for competitive exams is an complex process. Remember IIT JEE is an strategy exam and NOT an IQ test. JEE does not test your intelligence or knowledge or application of knowledge. It tests all in one go. The most important thing JEE tests is your mental strength (Not IQ). Will come back to that later.

  1. You must start from the basics : Start with NCERT, a very good but difficult to comprehend basic book. NCERT is the perfect book to make very good scholars but not very good test preparation candidates. You need a lot of patience understanding from NCERT alone.

  2. You cannot wait for the moment to arrive for advanced or JEE preparation to begin.

  • Complete the basics.

  • If you can solve all text book questions easily, move to moderate or Mains level.

  • Repeat the process for advanced level.

3. These are the basic books which we recommend to all of our students.

  • Besides these I would recommend any good study material (If you are not planning to join any coaching institute). I recommend Bansal’s or Narayana or Brilliant’s for maths. For chemistry, try Allen and for physics, FIIT JEE is best.

  • You can get all this study material for cheap from OLX/Quicker/Old students/Book stalls.

  • Do not purchase a lot of books just for shelving. Have a basic book for theory and good study material for practice.

  • All good books/study material are essentially the same. They all copy from each other and 90% content is similar.

4. Leverage interleaved and spaced learning.

Interleaving means mixing of topics and spaced learning means giving space between topics for better understanding. Mind takes time to grasp any new concept. It has a default time period for grasping new things (Varies from person to person but is usually a week).

Hence don’t finish topics completely in one sitting or even in one week. Zeigarnick effect works for better understanding. According to Zeigarnick’s effect, mind never forgets unfinished work and deems them important. That is why it is so difficult to forget unfinished lost love!

5. Take Test (Regularly) : Most important differentiator between success and failure in JEE is frequency of tests. Renowned Super thirty (Anand Kumar) in Patna takes one test per day! On average you must give at least one test per week and one major test per month.

It is well documented that tests improves performance by as much as 75%!

6. Revise : Students feel bored in revision. It is a big differentiator. You have to revise else all hard work is doomed. Use recall method to revise theoretical subjects.

  • Make flash cards.

  • Write answers on one side and questions on another.

  • See questions and then recall.

  • See answers if you cannot recall answers.

For subjects like mathematics, testing is still the best way.

7. Make Notes : Students overwhelmingly underestimate the importance of good structured brief notes. Just before one month of exam, your notes shall serve as peg in your memory system for successful recall.

  • Class notes and note made after class contain all audio visual clues from that class encrypted in them. That is why it is paramount to make notes just after any class (Means make notes of notes after any class)

  • Notes must be elaborative the first time. Every next time (of revision) reduce the notes to one third of original. Since Initially you don’t remember many concepts, descriptive notes are required. Afterwards you know many things and formulas (super learned), hence you need to reduce the bulk of notes. In the end your notes must be only 1/10th of original, precisely not more than 50 pages per subject.

8. Keep the faith. JEE is a test of your mental strength as I mentioned in the beginning.

Few more points

  • Leave the first three questions in paper since they are usually difficult and twisted. Come back to them later.

  • Skipping questions is more important than attempting questions.

  • With 70% marks in JEE, you will land in top 1000. Aim for that only. This increases your chances and gives you more time to solve the right questions rather than wasting time for wrong questions.

  • Whenever you practice, you must have a time watch nearby. Mind is a habit. Practicing to solve 70% of questions within stipulated time is an important skill to be learned and followed.

Read more about selecting coaching's and best way to benefit from coaching in minimal effort here.

Final Points

  • You can succeed without coaching or tutors. You must however join any test series (offline and not online) to get experience of real time test and regular motivation.

  • With coaching or without coaching, having a group of 5–10 students work very well for regular motivation and collaborative hard work.

  • Coaching serve the purpose of discipline, motivation, group learning and peer pressure. For self motivated child,, most coaching are not required. Teachers save your time in learning but still I suggest self learning as best mode of learning (with or without teachers).

Last touch

  • Do not become a study manic. Leave at least one day per week recharge your mind. Abstain from all studies on any one chosen day of week sans revision.

  • Similarly once a month lose free and go for picnic parties etc. Studies are important but not more important than life.

  • Physical work out (Half an hour per day) is very important to keep mind and body in sync. If you miss physical work out (As simple as taking a walk in park), in six months you will develop mind fog. Worried about losing time? Studies have shown that just 45 minutes of workout (May be cardio) per day gives you additional productive three hours.

All CEO’s workout. Are you more busy than them?

  • Eat clean. Healthy body has healthy mind. All toxins in junk food have very bad long term as well as short term effect on memory and cognitive function. You are what you eat. Again don’t take this advice too religiously. You must cheat one a week and grand cheat once a month.

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