Thursday, December 15, 2011

Revision strategy for IIT JEE and AIEEE

As the most prestigious IIT-JEE exam comes nearer (especially when only 3 months are left), it brings along a lot of anxiety and nervousness for the students every year. Every year, I get (and getting as usual) a lot of queries on how to effectively utilize this period to extract maximum out of the minimum amount of time left especially by 12th class studying students since they have Board exams also which will definitely eat up a lot of their important time and energy. I thought of writing this article so that maximum students can get maximum benefit out of my learning and experience.

I am going to share some important points which, in general, will apply to most of you. Here we go :

1. First and most important of all. We should have a Revision copy/booklet. Let’s see how and what kind of purpose will it serve and what should be its contents.
(a) Divide the copy in 3 parts (each for subject : PCM).
(b) For each of the chapter, write 2-3 pages (on an average) summary. You should write all the important formulas and important tips/points which you gathered while you were attending your classes, practicing from your institute booklets or revising (earlier) on that topic. I believe you all do make your class notes.
(c) Try to be as short and particular as you can while you are writing or planning to write. Please don’t write the whole story. Be precise. In some cases, you may be writing 4-5 pages of summary (especially in Mathematic topics and in Organic Chemistry) so don’t worry.
(d) The purpose of this copy is to revise quickly and efficiently and in lesser time. Also, you should have confidence on whatever summary you are making. What I mean here is that you should not be running back and forth to your class copies and chapters while you are revising from this copy otherwise you will never be able to rely on this which will defeat the whole objective.
(e) This will also help in other competitive exams since the syllabus overlap between them is generally more than 95%. So, you are in a win-win situation.
(f) You should have a smile on your face whenever you revise any particular topic from your beloved copy.

Don’t worry if you still haven’t made a similar one or you have made with your own thinking. I idea is that it should serve the purpose and if it does, that’s it. In case, you haven’t worked on this yet, I will recommend that you should make one such and you don’t have to spend 2-3 weeks especially and dedicatedly on this at a stretch. Start working on this when you are revising any topic and build this gradually (say over a month or so).

2. Take help from Technology. If possible, record all the important points (which you have just written in your revision copy) in your own sweet voice in your phone/iPod or on any other storage device. I will not recommend speaking out whole tons of formulas. Record just the important concepts. You can listen to them whenever you are traveling for your class or anytime between your breaks. This will keep you engaged and you will soon remember most of them by heart. This couldn’t be done 10 years back but much possible, easy to do and inexpensive today. Don’t worry if you can’t do this. You still have your revision copy.

3. Set your biological clock. I think it is the time when you should start working on yourself on biological terms. I come across a lot of students who don’t deliver their performance in exams as most of them suffer from “Night Study” syndrome. So, please stop studying at nights (You can/may study till 11:00-11:30 PM at maximum). Please start building the habit of waking up early. I will recommend “atleast” 2 three hours sittings from 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon and 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM. The idea is to deliver maximum output during this time duration (as these are the JEE paper timings). Whenever you are studying, you should be doing that on a Table-Chair combination and not on a sofa or your bed. You should be in a tidy position every time you sit for studies. Wear jeans/T-Shirt/Pull Overs while studying.

4. Practice a lot. You need to practice a lot during this crucial period of 3 months. Let’s see what all you can practice.
(a) You have to ensure that you do a test paper (of 3 hours : PCM) practice every day.
(b) What all can be practiced ? This should include : Previous years JEE papers (atleast last 5 years is the minimum you should do), all previous Test series (Mock JEE or any 3 hours test) held at your institutes. You can also make practice test papers on your own (rather take parents help) from the additional problem sets or workshops or other packaged problem sets you must have got from your respective institutes.

The whole idea is that you should have a habit of doing atleast one paper every day. I will advice you not to rush for altogether new questions in form of new books in the market. It is more advisable and recommended to practice the ones which you are getting from your institutes. We may think over the new questions if time and energy permits.

5. Plan your studies. This is also very crucial (Execution is more important than Planning and we, as Indians, generally, lack in execution even though we are good planners.). Please plan your studies by making very short term goals for next 2-3 days only. Don’t plan for next 2 weeks or 2 months. Very rarely, they will get executed as planned. Make targets for what all you want to cover in next 2-3 days and try to follow and achieve them with your best efforts.

6. Refresh yourself. Please don’t close yourself behind the doors and keep on inhaling your own CO2. Try to go for a morning walk everyday (These days due to icy winters, go around the time when it is some shiny out there and in upcoming months, start early) as well as an evening walk. Choose a park near your home and give yourself some time out of this tension freaked atmosphere around you. Spend around 30 minutes and you should feel a flow of positive energy. Don’t consider it as wastage of your “precious” time. Don’t be so calculative (:-)). From February onwards, I would recommend that whenever you are studying in your room and there is a window, keep it open and let some cool and fresh breeze come in.

7. Prepare for Inorganic chemistry early. Now it is the right time to start preparing for Inorganic Chemistry from NCERT (both XIth and XIIth class books) and may be from early (or may be 2nd week of) February, you can start working on it from your Institutes Inorganic Chemistry modules. You should put 1-1.5 hours every day. While you are going through this, you should underline the important points on the book itself in parallel so that you don’t have to spend extra time on this and make sure that when you will again revise (You have to do that also) sometime in February AND March, you only revise the underlined only. [The reason to refer NCERT is because I believe that you should be able to do more than 80% of the Inorganic questions in Entrance exams purely using NCERT and it will also help to prepare for your Board Exams also.]

I hear from a lot of students that they feel Inorganic Chemistry is boring but I feel that if from a particular topic, question(s) is(are) coming every year, then it is important and interesting (to some extent though). So, please make your heart understand (simply listen to your mind) that it is very important to score in this branch of Chemistry and it is as important as Mathematics and Physics. You can see on your own on how many questions on s, p, d, f – block elements, Extractive Metallurgy, Surface Chemistry, Solid State, Biomolecules and Coordination Complexes have been asked in last 4-5 years of JEE. You can have a look at my analysis of JEE ranks versus marks to see how much difference Inorganic Chemistry can make. If that number still doesn’t fascinate you, I will say sorry and can’t help you further on this.

8. Be Cheerful. I think we all should try to be and remain as cheerful as we can. If, at this early stage in life, we behave like a frustrated person, we will eventually (very soon) become one such (as this will become our nature) and this is definitely going to hamper our performance in every field of our life, be it studies, job or relationship. Its ok to some extent if you are getting much less marks than your peers. I am not saying you to become a “chill pill” type person. I am suggesting/advising you to stay relaxed. I am more than confident for all those who are preparing hard for IIT-JEE that they will definitely become good engineers from good colleges (which may or may not be the IITs). Staying frustrated and anxious is only going to degrade your performance further. It is not going to buy you anything good. So, always smile.

9. Take a Pledge ( ). Take a Pledge that you will not waste your time on Cricket World Cup 2011. Please don’t let yourself ruin your careers. These cricket world cups will keep on coming in the future but this chance of doing something for yourself will not come back. Believe me that this period is very very important for your careers and you should not at all be engaged in any activities related to a mere wastage of your time. Let others bump up their TRPs rather than you becoming the victim. Assume that all the cricket matches are fixed. It is as easy to get rid of this fever of cricket.

At the end of the day, all that matters is your confident positive attitude which is going to help you crack all the exams. Please don’t waste these important 3 months of your life. You need to prove yourself buddy. You can still study for a 1000 hours in this time period and I have seen a lot of students doing exceptionally good and bad in entrance exams all attributed to their efforts in this crucial time period.

BTW, do you still remember the titration curve between a Strong Acid and a Strong Base and how the pH changes near equivalence point in this graph ? In real life, you can relate this graph to be as Performance versus time OR Tension versus time depending on your “karma” (:-)). Don’t worry if you didn’t understand this.

I would like to wish everyone of you a great luck for these next 2-3 months.


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