The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) is the most important test for aspiring engineers and architects across the country. Successful JEE candidates can get into an Indian Institute of Technology, National Institute of Technology and other institutes including Centrally-funded technical institutions.
Conducted in two stages — JEE (Main) and JEE (Advanced), the test is taken by over 14 lakh students in over 1,500 centres in India and abroad every year.
About 1.5 lakh top candidates, based on their performance in the JEE (Main) (Paper 1) (including all categories) are eligible to appear in JEE (Advanced).
The subjects and difficulty levels
Clearing JEE (Main) is not a difficult task. “A systematic approach when preparing for it will help students crack it. The cut-off for JEE (Main) is generally around 60% for NITs and IIITs,” says Ramesh Batlish, Noida centre head, FIITJEE. According to Anand Kumar, founder, Super 30, Patna, “The tough chapters include probability, permutation and combination and integral calculus in maths; rotational dynamics and geometrical optics in physics; solid state and inorganic chemistry in chemistry; 3D images in engineering drawing; and logical reasoning in aptitude. Revision of Class 11 and 12 syllabus and practising the last 10 years’ question papers of the previous paper’s helps a lot. For logical reasoning, solving GRE questions is a good idea.”
Partha Halder, centre head, FIITJEE Punjabi Bagh, says, “The JEE (Main) pattern is set and predefined, the marking system is fixed i.e. plus four for every correct answer and minus one for an incorrect answer. The number of questions is fixed at 90 and the total marks is fixed at 360. Students should prepare themselves accordingly. The questions are based on a fixed pattern. Students needs to focus a lot on the fundamentals and specifically NCERT books including every subject and topic.”
Tips for JEE (Main)
Try conventional methods first, say experts. If they don’t work out, try to understand the problem again and find clues that can lead you to the solution. “Go through the concepts related to the problem once again and see how they can be applied to the problem at hand. Try to relate the problem to real-life situations. It will help you analyse it better. Refer to the solution, only when you have exhausted your limits. Doing 100 quality and concept-based questions is more important than doing 1000 questions, which have not been selected carefully. Devise your own shortcuts and ways to tackle particular kind of problems,” says Batlish.
Nihal Poosa, a student of IIT Bombay, has interesting advice to share. “The focus should be on solving problems faster. I set aside 10 minutes for filling the answers on the OMR sheet and another 10 minutes for attempting the questions I found difficult initially. I suggest that candidates should give the first preference to mathematics, followed by physics and then chemistry while solving the paper. The lengthy questions can be left aside for the end. I devoted one hour each to mathematics and physics and about 40 minutes to chemistry. Go for the exam with a relaxed mind. I did not study for three days before the exam. A week before that, I solved two mock papers a day. My focus was to revise the key points,” says Poosa. The crucial topics, according to Poosa, are calculus and vector algebra in mathematics and mechanics in physics.
“Avoid writing lengthy solutions for problems — particularly while doing your preparations. Do not worry if the first two hours of the paper prove to be average for you. Make sure that you do well in the third hour. Your target should be to solve one-third of the paper to be able to make it to the top 1.5 candidates,” Kumar adds.
For Sai Chetan Chinthakindi, who bagged all-India rank 14 in the JEE (Main) 2014, mastering the basics is the key. “You should also go about cracking the chemistry section first. Mathematics and physics require a lot of practice which you can get by solving previous years’ questions papers. I made it a point to revise the basic fundamentals regularly. You must make it a point to cross-check the calculations. My aim was to get a score of 340 but anything above 320 is considered good. I recommend that students should refer to these books besides the NCERT... Fundamentals of Physics by HC Verma and New Pattern for IIT-JEE mathematics by Arihant publishers,” says Chinthakindi.
Preparing for JEE (Advanced)
The JEE (Main) preparation will also help you prepare for the JEE (Advanced). Students must remember that the Class 12 boards, the JEE (Main) and JEE (Advanced) are three different examinations with different ranking systems and rules. The JEE (Advanced), needs skills of comprehension, reasoning and analytical ability to solve problems. It has a bouquet of various types of problems and there are two papers of three hours each. During the examination, it is important to divide the time of three hours wisely for physics, mathematics and chemistry.
You must start the paper with your favourite subject and devote 45 minutes to each, with an objective of attempting every question. This will give you 30 minutes of buffer time. Do not spend too much time on answering just one question, suggest experts.
Highlighting the important types of questions, Aakash Chaudhry, director, Aakash Educational Services Pvt. Ltd, says: “We can list the different sections which have come up in the papers in the last few years that will help us in sketching a broad outline for this year’s paper. These include straight objective-type MCQs (single answer correct), multiple answer correct type MCQs, assertion, reason-based questions, linked-comprehension based MCQs, integer answer type questions with one digit numeric answer, matrix match type questions with two columns listing different entries that are required to be matched with each other. It is also important to understand the importance of different sections and the order to attempt these sections.”
Haldar says that unlike JEE (Main), there is a surprise element every year in the JEE (Advanced). The number of questions, difficulty level, marking system is dynamic. Students are expected to handle unprecedented situations. The JEE (Advanced) syllabus is not elaborate as that of JEE (Main) but it has a high difficulty level.