IIT-JEE is one of the toughest examinations in not just India, but also the entire world. The education industry of our country is flourishing because of this exam. Hundreds of coaching centers make crores every year banking on the difficulty and popularity of this examination. Millions of students prepare for it but only a few thousand qualify and only a handful of the qualified actually get seats.
It is a bitter disappointment if a student has been working day and night for two years and still cannot secure a seat in his dream college. And more often than not, the problem doesn’t lie in the hard work or intelligence of the student. It is not just a stroke of good luck that you need to get into an IIT. There are some common mistakes that many IIT aspirants make, because of which they fail to get the seat they deserve. These mistakes seem small and insignificant, and initially, you may not even realize it. But small things pile up to make one big mountain of mistakes, which affects you in the long run.
So if you are an IIT aspirant, then here are a few mistakes you need to avoid making to get into your dream IIT:
1. Underestimating the course
This is probably the worst mistake you can make as an IIT aspirant. When you come to 11th grade after 10th grade, you do not expect the sudden transition. 11th grade is often thought of to be the “chill-out” year because there are no boards to study for, and all that. But the truth is far from reality. You enter into the year and you are shocked at how suddenly the curriculum and the course load changes. Having only 5 subjects to study should be easy, right? Wrong. The course doesn’t just become way bigger than you’re used to, but also a lot harder. So it’s important to not think of 11th grade as a year you can have fun in.
If you’re serious about getting into IIT, you need to be prepared for the sudden transition. Don’t ever underestimate the syllabus of IIT-JEE. If you do that and slack off in 11th grade, you’ll never be able to catch up with your peers.
2. Not starting to work hard early enough
This point is just a variation of the above. Like I said in the beginning, IIT-JEE is one of the toughest exams in the entire world. So it’s no surprise that one has to work for years to reach up to that level. You absolutely NEED to start preparing at least two years before you sit for the exam. Many students join coachings and tuitions four years prior to the exam. One doesn’t really need to do that, but you need at least two years of focused hard work to have a chance at getting into an IIT. So when you enter 11th grade, don’t slack off because you think you have 2 years ahead of you. Those two years are not enough for most people, so make the most of the time you have.
3. Joining multiple coaching centers
Students often try to put their fingers in multiple pots. They join two or three coaching centers and tuitions at the same time. Parents encourage this because they think the more resources the better. This is NOT true. The only thing this will do is demotivate and frustrate you. Every teacher is different and has a different teaching method. If you are studying the same thing from two different teachers, their teaching styles will definitely conflict and eventually confuse you. That’s why it is important that you stick to only one coaching institute, and focus on understanding their teaching methods. You can, however, solve worksheets and mock question papers set by alternative coaching centers. After all, practice makes a man perfect!
4. Lying to themselves
You should have a clear picture in your head about your current strengths and weaknesses. The fact that you have been a topper all your life doesn’t matter when you are preparing for JEE. This examination is an entirely different game. You cannot afford to overestimate yourself. The worst thing one can do as an IIT aspirant is dismissing their weaknesses and thinking, “Oh I’ll manage it, after all, I have always been a topper”. Do NOT overestimate yourself.
If you have weaknesses, admit to them and work on them, instead of being ashamed of them. One cannot get anywhere by being ashamed of his shortcomings. If you want to achieve something, stop being a narcissist. Do not lie to yourself. Be honest with yourself, because that is the only way you will achieve success in life.
5. Ignoring conceptual doubts
The JEE paper mainly comprises of numerical based questions and mostly multiple choice questions. These numericals are tough, and the MCQ paper has a negative marking scheme. Scary, right? The only way to ensure maximum success is to have a strong grasp of the concepts. Every numerical is based on a concept. If you can gain a full understanding of the concept, you can easily solve the most difficult numericals related to it.
So if you have any conceptual doubts, do not ignore them. These doubts are the reason why one isn’t able to crack a tricky question. Every IITian you will talk to will emphasize the importance of conceptual clarity. So if you have any conceptual doubts, get them clarified as soon as you can. Make sure you have a good understanding of the topic. To put it simply, you should be able to teach the topic to someone just like your teacher taught you.
6. Depending only on theory
Like I said above, the paper is mostly numerical-based. The paper does have theory questions, but you cannot solely depend on the theoretical part of the JEE curriculum. Rankings are not just marks-based, but also weightage-based. Generally, Math questions have the highest weightage, followed by Physics, and then Chemistry. So if you and your peer get the same marks but he scored more than you in math, then he will have a better rank.
The same goes for theory and numerical questions. Theory questions generally have smaller weightage than numerical questions. In fact, in most cases, the marks allotted to theory questions are way less than that allocated to numericals. So do not depend on theory to help you get through the exam. Face those scary numericals and practice them hard.
7. Ignoring their weaknesses
I am emphasizing this point in every point above because this is the worst mistake made by students who cannot crack the JEE. You should never ignore your weakest topics or your subjects. You cannot ever predict that which topic will have the maximum questions from it in the paper. So if you are weak in one topic, work on it enough so that you are at least 5% above average in it.
The JEE exam paper doesn’t just have a minimum general score requirement, but also have a minimum subject score requirement. Every subject section of the paper has a minimum score you need to achieve to clear the exam. So if you score above the minimum score in the entire paper, but fail to clear the subject score in even one subject, you will fail. So, make sure that your grasp in every topic of every subject is not below 70%. If it is, don’t think that your strengths can save you and slack off. Work on improving yourself, and work HARD.
8. Not maintaining a healthy balance
Preparing for the JEE can be mentally exhausting and draining. It is great that you are putting in so much effort, but too much of it can make you anxious and affect your performance. Hence, it is important to maintain a healthy balance in your lifestyle.
Set aside a good amount of time for studies, but make sure you spend some time with your friends and family too. They will provide you the emotional upliftment you need, and help you wind down and relax after a long day of hard work. Indulging in your favorite hobbies, engaging in physical activities, eating good wholesome food, spending time with your loved ones; all these are great ways to de-stress. They replenish your optimism levels and fill you with renewed energy to face the daunting JEE syllabus, and may even improve your performance.
9. Going into panic mode
Let’s face it, panicking is unhealthy. Panicking gets you nowhere, and makes you more careless. There is no use of panicking, it’s only a waste of time and energy. If you cannot solve a question, take deep breaths and try to recall what you’ve studied in the past. The solution is hidden somewhere in your mind. All you have to do is calm your brain down and help it find the solution. If you aren’t able to finish a chapter because it’s too long, take deep breaths and focus on going one step at a time. Do not think about how long the chapter is or how long it will take you to finish it. Focus on one topic at a time, and you won’t even realize when you got done with it.
Panicking only decreases your thinking skills and your efficiency. You make silly mistakes, and you forget simple things that you wouldn’t normally. So take deep breaths, and shoo away your Panic Monster.
10. Letting mock test results affect them
Mock tests are a great way to prepare yourself for the actual exam. You get an idea of how many questions you can solve in a give time crunch, and you also get a rough idea of the difficulty level. However, mock tests are not the actual JEE paper. Generally, they are a mix of past JEE questions and questions taught in your coachings. How well you can perform in a mock test is completely irrelevant to the actual JEE paper. So if you are not getting a good score in a mock test, do not let it make you sad. If you are getting a good score in your mock test, do not let it get to your head.
Mock tests are just for practice so that you know what to expect in the exam. They do not determine how good or bad your performance will be in the JEE paper. So do not make them the standard of your intelligence, treat them like essential practice, which they technically are.
Cracking the IIT-JEE is tough, but not impossible. And God has blessed everyone with a brain. It is up to YOU to recognize your strengths and your weaknesses and put your brain to work accordingly. Nothing in this world is impossible. If you have the will to achieve what you want, you will get it if you work for it. Work on improving yourself, learn from your mistakes, and you will surely become that overachiever everyone envies.