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Long term preparation for IITs

Updated on November 1, 2016

What is the right time to start for IITJEE or JEE ADVANCED?


In one of my articles “IITJEE 2013: Follow these 10 tips to get selected with a good rank” I have talked about how one can prepare for IITJEE in a short time. Best books, role of coaching centres and strategies have already been discussed. But this article is for those who aspire for IITs a bit earlier in life. More specifically, we shall be discussing about developing such habits at a very young age as would lead to selection in the said premier institutes.

The right time to start for preparing is as early as possible. It is for students as well as for parents to see to the fact that developing a thoughtful, analytical and scientific approach early in life is as significant as boosting up the efforts as the examination nears. The essence of a long term preparation lies in how a perspective candidate’s way of application of the acquired knowledge is shaped up. It is more about incorporating the analytical and logical style of thinking in a student’s psyche than mere absorption of whatever reading material comes his/her way.

There are foundation courses that will tag you as ‘late comer’ if you go for enrolling when you are in class IX. These classes start such courses at a base level of class VI or VII. Majority of coaching classes for IITs are of two year duration.

But to my mind class VIII-IX is a good entry level. Second best option may be regarded as class XI. At class VIII-IX level students have maturity level sufficient to slightly have a feel of what it means to get selected for IITs. Moreover it may be regarded as a start-up level of concept building in Mathematics and basic sciences.


You should be different from a short- term-prep candidate


You have to be different from short term preparers. Always think about this. Suppose an intense short- term- prep candidate works so hard over six months that that he can solve problems as fast as you or even faster than you. What happens then? Syllabus is limited and she/he has worked harder than you in less time. How will you be different from her/him given you are a long term aspirant of the exam? Will all your hard work carried out over a long span be wasted, since the final outcome is a comparative score, namely, percentile?

Never. You will always be placed better. You deserve to be better placed. There is always a percentage of questions which are far off from the usual ones. These are the most innovative questions and so the most difficult ones. Since you will have better fundamentals and concepts and you will have allowed time to move those concepts up your brain, you will be able to solve them. For a short-term-prep selection is the criterion, for you it is rank.

Always try to maintain that gap. When they will be busy climbing the ladder towards the end you will be comfortably working on the finer aspects and tweaking yourself for the toughest questions.

Essentially it is ‘time’ factor which makes the difference and you are supposed to carry it out clinically to the end.


Development of an analytical mentality, try to become a fast thinker


An analytical mind set up is needed for the sort of tests being discussed here. Foundation courses are not the only sources to develop these skills. it depends on parents to a great extent. Conscious parents inculcate the reading habit in a child’s life style. And parents with fore sight incorporate analytical, logical and stream line thinking skill in their children. Activities like analyzing graphs and charts, solving difficult mathematical and geometrical puzzles, crosswords, sudokus, questions involving logic and permutations and combinations etc. are all sources of developing application methods and skills.

Foundation courses of today are applying specialized techniques like skills from Vedic mathematics, comprehension skills, attention and careful listening habit, analytical writing, developing fine distinguishing ability between similar looking things etc. If a foundation course is careful so as not to overload a student’s mind its services can be availed in order to uplift a student's thinking quotient.


Appear different types of tests


IITJEE, as the history goes, is all about the application of acquired knowledge to crack most cryptic of the problems. It has been of common experience that in JEE students always come across lots of new questions and very few questions are repeated. Hence you must develop a habit of logical thinking and finding newer ways to crack questions. The idea can be fostered by frequently appearing in as many competitive examinations as you can. From an early age you should be on a hunt to appear most competitive talent search exams and IQ tests. Moreover always try to improve your ranking in such tests. Appearing numerous exams without any motive may affect your psyche adversely.


Take breaks


A long term preparation may be subject to monotony. We sometimes get tired and sick of running after the same thing for a long time. In order to keep the fire burning you have to take intermediate breaks. Take short breaks of 2-3 days and disconnect entirely from your routine. Enjoy the breaks by playing outdoor games, watching movies or gossiping in the company of friends and family members. You may choose to go for a picnic or on a tour to a hill station or sea- shore. The crux is that your mind, your eyes and body as a whole should be relaxed and revamped. When you come back to the preparation mode you find yourself energized and charged. The quality and intensity of your effort enhances.


Keep an eye on the change


Though there are changes in patterns very often the recent announcements in the would-be IITJEE, that is, JEE MAIN and JEE ADVANCED are a paradigm shift. As we have already learnt from the article ‘New formula for IITJEE and its implications 10+2 final exam has assumed great importance. So one has to modify one’s working style so that +2 exam is not neglected. Also, the two other subjects, namely, English and the 5th subject will count towards the 40% criterion as issued in the official notification. The substance is that a long term planner has to keep vigil on such changes as well as those occurring in the question papers. She/he should be able to cope up with any kind of abrupt change that comes her/his way. The courses dealing in long term guidance incorporate such elements as surprise tests, sudden formulae tests and conventional subjective tests in order to instill the quality of bearing the brunt of shock-changes. You must develop such immunity over time.


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