JEE Main Preparation Strategy - Experts Guidance

By Aditya Priyant|Updated : April 16th, 2017

IIT, the Indian Institute of Technology, are the best technological and engineering institute of India and are, therefore, considered as the dream of almost every Indian household. Every parent wants his/her kid to have that extra edge, the head starts, in the real world. That’s what IITs are known to provide. With a brand name like that, the doors of just about anything opens more easily for you than an average engineer (even if it doesn’t have an ‘engine’ inside).

So how do we crack the all-star undergraduate program of IIT?

Well, there is no sure shot formula. As an insider, the general perception is some people are “IIT material’, most are not. But how do you know beforehand, whether you are or not? I personally believe that ‘IIT material’ is not something you are born into, but something you become while training and educating and preparing yourself for it. It is not just to get into IIT, but for life.

Let us say, that you came around a little late and now that you are in class 12, you want to start preparing for JEE. Well, nothing is impossible. The first thing you should realize is that you have NO time. Not only, you have to stay ahead in school to make it to the minimum eligibility requirement of 75%, but you have to make up for class XI as well.

How easy this is going to be, depends on just 1 question: How strong is your basic foundation?

If you have been studying well (even if IIT wasn’t your target), chances are you are not far behind the people who started a year ahead of you. That makes things easy. Depending on what your answer is to that question, your difficulty level will change.

So you need to work out a schedule according to your difficulty level. Let’s take the worst case scenario: you suffered partial amnesia and you don’t know anything from your time in class XI. In this case, firstly join a 1-year course at an institute. Then, according to their course plan, make your own. The point that you have to keep in mind is that your school and institute may (will) not be in sync so you might have to study totally different concepts at the same time. But then, if you choose to do it, you are up for it. Follow the process listed below. Your mantra is NO PENDING DOUBTS, constant revision, and practice.

Like I said, it’s not impossible and there are countless examples of people which proves that it has been done before. Normally, you won’t be in the worst case scenario, so you are good.

Let’s talk about the process.

School or Boards with JEE Preparation

  1. School education is very important, even though it has other subjects (English and a 5th subject). Not only do the marks you get in your board exams decide whether you fulfill the JEE Main Eligibility Criteria for IIT (75% or top 20 percentile for JEE Main), but they are also considered in most job interviews. One of the most overlooked factors are, you get your first detailed intro of various topics in school (your coaching institute will be moving too fast to cover everything) and therefore you get a clearer idea about each of them.
  2. The second area of focus is the specialized training in PCM. Now, for that, there are 3 modes and you would do well to take up all of them.

These are the three modes: offline, online and self-study.

Let's define and analyze them.

Importance of Self Study with and without Coaching

Offline and Self study: Offline includes your training program at an institute/coaching/school that you may have joined (for that we generally look for past results, current teachers and their achievements, location and finances etc). And everything has a self-study component as well, be it at school or your institute.

In the institute, your course is pre-defined and ready for you to follow. But there are a few points that you need to keep in mind.

  1. The earlier you join, the more time you’ll get. All coaching institutes have batches starting from April onwards, they also have batches starting later. They’ll finish the course in both the cases but you would do well to start as early as possible just so that you have more time.
  2. Try not to miss any class and if you do, try to make up for it before the next class itself. Everything is related to everything in an IIT entrance course. The questions are not chapter-wise. You always have questions that relate one topic to another and so you need to master all these topics in the prescribed sequence.
  3. Go for any and all exams/mock tests that you can attempt (even if you believe that you are not prepared for it). The idea is to make yourself comfortable in an exam setting and to remove the element of surprise from it. Also, you’ll feel pretty good about yourself if you are able to attempt a few questions that you thought you weren’t prepared for.
  4. Do not skip any doubts that you might have during the course of your studies. ALL DOUBTS are important and need to be cleared. So even if you feel really foolish about something, better clear it. In case you are a reserved type, you could still go for the self-study part first. But in the end, if there is a doubt in your mind get it cleared by any means necessary.
  5. While studying a new concept, try not to note down everything that the teacher is saying. Every institute has a pretty exhaustive course material so you don’t need to note it down. Instead what you need to do is listen, very carefully and with intense attention and keep your mind free to QUESTION whatever new information you are getting. The more you do that, the clearer the concept will become. It’s a habit that most people don’t have but you would do well to inculcate it.
  6. And finally, self-study is a very important part of your training. You cannot just rely on your classes. So let us talk about that next

Preparation Strategy for All the topics of JEE

After school or after your coaching, once you are back home, there are more than a couple of ‘simple’ things that you need to do every day on a weekly and monthly basis.

  1. You need to follow a cycle for every topic, that is going through it before it is to be covered in your next class, then go through it in great detail, this time with your teacher and finally revise it again as soon as you are back at your study table.
  2. The first step is to make you aware of what the concept is, you might not understand most of it or any of it but you’ll get a basic idea of what you are going to learn in the next class. It’s like watching the trailer of a movie beforehand to get an idea whether it is a comedy or an action thriller, again, just so that there are no surprises.
  3. The third step is to finally confirm that you have understood the concept taken up in class. And to allocate it to your permanent memory. Of course you might have more than a few questions; in that case, get it cleared in your next class or doubt session.
  4. Also, there is a component of research over here, which includes online and offline. We’ll cover online in the next section. The offline just means reading a bit more about the topic in books to get some perspective.
  5. Practice: That’s the final part. Once you have understood a particular topic, what remains is to solve as many questions of as many varieties as possible. There is no set type of question that you need to focus on. You have to solve any question that you can lay your hands on. Progressively, the questions should become more and more complex and should cover a broader range of topics. After that, you must take up practice papers and try solving a set of questions in a fixed time frame. Because not only accuracy but speed is also very important over here.
  6. Revision: You entrance exam will be after your boards in April. It’s a long time and you are learning new things daily. So it’s important to revise old things as well from time to time. For JEE Main Physics and Maths, you should practice questions of chapters every month or so to keep in touch with the concept. In Chemistry, you should refresh all the facts that you are supposed to remember. It would be very helpful if, after the practice, you make short notes on every chapter. The notes are very concise and very personal. They depend completely on the writer. You are the sole judge of what you think you want to note down so that the next time you see those notes, you can recall EVERYTHING you studied in the chapter. Of course, it doesn’t mean you write down everything. You already have a book for that. These are very strategic points that you need, to recall the entire map of the topic in your mind. That helps a lot in the revision.

Online Preparation for JEE Main & Advanced

Online preparation: Internet is a treasure-trove of information and news. You need to keep in touch with the latest happenings in your topics, latest news about various institutes you are targeting and to keep in touch with your fellow competitors for a give and take of ideas and clarification of concepts and sharing other resources. Also, it is the best place to get your doubts sorted out with not just textual explanations but videos and animations as well. They expand your resources by infinite times. You can access any and all study materials, an infinite set of questions for practice, join an online test series etc, all of this without having to travel to the location and wait for your turn. Over here, you set the pace according to your comfort level.

Now, this is what you should absolutely do with your online resource:

  1. Watch videos and animations of a particular concept to get a clear idea of what going on, what is reacting with what, how is that reaction taking place, how is something moving, what are the forces involved. Basically everything. If you can associate the information with an image in your head, you more likely to remember it (not to mention, it is easier to understand).
  2. Connect with like-minded people to have a healthy discussion on various controversial and ambiguous topics. Also, to clear your doubts and help clear theirs.
  3. There are several blogs and forums that you can follow, just to get an idea about what other competitors are doing. The reason here is to make sure you are not missing out on anything. Once a week is quite sufficient (of course it depends on your own schedule)
  4. You need to reach the latest science articles to know what is the current stage at which a particular field is in (general articles in science magazines and NOT research papers). As discussed earlier, this will just give you perspective. Nothing remains static in science and there are new developments every day which increase our understanding of a particular topic.
  5. Finally, join an online test series. The purpose here is to have a set of questions NOT chosen by you but available to you at your schedule. Offline test series mean that you need to modify your schedule according to them, in online, however, you can choose to take the test at any time during the day/week (depending on the test).

This a basic layout of how you need to prepare. This is, most likely, the most extensive preparation you are going to do for the rest of your life. And with such a tough competition (in which less than 1% of the population truly makes it), you need to do much and more.

How to cover Class XI topics

Your schedule should have space for Class XI topics. For that follow a slightly different process. Example: pick a section, let’s say, Mechanics, a quick run through of various formulas and theory and then start solving questions. You won’t be able to solve all the questions. That’s alright. Identify the gaps, then go back to the theory and only cover that part in detail. This way, you are able to effectively utilize the very small amount of time in covering only the areas where you are weak. Keep solving section wise questions here, to stay at the top of your strong area.

Lastly, if you do everything alright, you should be able to finish off your JEE Main syllabus by End of November. We’ll talk more about what to do next later. We have already started a quiz series for Class XII topics. We have an online test series covering partial syllabus suited for this strategy already live on the test series app. Attempt these to figure out where you stand.

Watch this video to get a better idea of the preparation strategy

Post your individual queries in the comment section.

Check out the detailed Syllabus for Chemistry and Maths.

JEE Main Chemistry Syllabus

JEE Main Maths Syllabus


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