JEE is one of India’s most well-known major competitive exams. It is conducted for college admissions with an extremely high number of registrations.
According to estimates by industry experts, the number of registrations stands at 9.34 lakhs in 2020. Although the numbers have dropped from 9.41 lakhs in 2019, it is still one of the most fiercely competitive exams of its level in the country.
The difficulty level of seriously attempting an exam like the JEE often causes a lot of stress among students. Students attempt various patterns of study, some of them try to devise shortcuts, while others go through the syllabus in depth. While I have always maintained that there is no single approach that works for all, there are several methods that can be used to make exam preparations and performance better.
The JEE is a competitive exam that is derived from the basic syllabus. The examination does not go beyond the topics of the qualifying standard. Scoring less in qualifying exams does not mean that it is due to lack of concentration, or lack of time spent on preparation. It is more likely that the requirement here is to brush up on basics and learn concepts from scratch. What if you have scored exceptionally in the board exams? This too is no indicator of complete command of the syllabus, as the result can often be biased towards a stereotypical approach of studying. In many cases, students develop the ability to solve certain types of problems, however, they are unable to develop the needed skills or knowledge to grasp multiple topics. This is another factor leading to poor performance. Therefore, I have always suggested that developing your problem-solving skills in a wide range of topics and understanding concepts at the basic level is the first starting point.
Scoring well in the JEE exam – the basics matter most
If you want to score well in the JEE exams, there are no shortcuts. There should be an attempt to concentrate on and understand the school curriculum. Keeping in view the preparation of JEE you must go the extra mile to study each topic in-depth. Once you’re satisfied that you have mastered all topics thoroughly, you will be able to do extremely well in the JEE exam with slight extra efforts. Understanding the basic concepts is as necessary as knowing the formulas and shortcuts, as a lack of basic conceptual understanding will hamper your ability to apply them.
Another flawed approach by some students is trying to solve a lot of problems, as they feel that it will make their concepts clearer. ‘How many problems need to be solved, in order to achieve perfection, is the common question.’ A focus on solving too many problems related to one topic will eventually cause you to run short on time. This approach might cause some topics to remain uncovered and can lead to ‘little gain and a heavy loss’. The correct way to focus is on learning concepts and understanding how to apply them correctly. Hence, the emphasis should be on learning from the problem instead of simply solving it for the sake of practice. Therefore, quality is almost always better than quantity in these cases
Use historical information
Papers of the past years have a huge amount of information and they can have information that is even more than required. Students who have been well guided for JEE (IIT JEE, AIEEE earlier) sometimes use papers of the past 30 years for this kind of analysis. This analysis can let you know about the importance level of topics and also the particular topics which require a deep dive. These insights can help in making study plans for getting maximum output, subject to one’s own limitations.
Formulas for stress-busting
There is one category of students who take on a lot of unnecessary stress, which ends up doing harm to them. Common stress factors are completion of the syllabus, poor performance in a practice test, completion timings, etc. Obsessing over things like these is the most common cause for anxiety. Stress is known to have a negative impact on performance and students who stress too much are unable to concentrate properly. This leads to a vicious cycle of poor performance and even more stress. If you feel that your stress levels are hampering your performance, consult elders and medical professionals and take practical steps to resolve the same.
This was my two cents on how to crack competitive exams like the JEE. I wish all students the best of luck. Prepare well and do not be afraid. It’s just an exam and we cannot let it rule the world for us. Make sure your preparation is honest and you will surely see good results!