Can preparations for the journey to one of the most coveted engineering colleges - the Indian Institute of Technology - begin from class IX? Many are of the opinion that it might work to the advantage of those who have made up their minds to sit for the examinations… But others think otherwise.
Distribute the burden
One school of thought says preparing for IIT JEE for four years instead of two is a good option. A student can develop his/her fundamentals of science and mathematics when he is in class IX and X.
"The logic of physics and maths in the IIT-JEE syllabi are essentially based on the class IX and X curriculum. When a student is completely sure that s/he has to appear for IIT-JEE after school, then why not to align his coaching accordingly," says Sandeep Mehta, spokesperson for Vidya Mandir classes, which is set to start the IIT foundation programme for class IX students from this session onwards.
13? Are you joking?
There are of course the parents and some students who believe that the age of 13 is probably too early to train for one of the most competitive exams in the country, that too for admission to a college four years later.
"The coaching curriculum doesn't teach IIT entrance questions separately, the idea is to align the curriculum of CBSE to make it more application- oriented so that the student's understanding gets sharpened and logical, which will help him understand the fundamentals in a better way," says Ajay Kumar Sharma, President & CEO, New Horizons India Ltd.
Even FIITJEE runs a similar programme for class X children. The idea is to develop analytical skills and not specifically to train them for IIT-JEE.
The academy also prepares children for junior Olympiads under the programme, which is known as a four-year classroom programme. "IIT-JEE not only tests the skills of a student but also calls for the right attitude and aptitude.
To develop that attitude, it's imperative to lay the foundations in class IX and X. Of course, one can't start preparing for IIT-JEE that time, but we teach children to think analytically," says C V Kalyan Kumar, director and centre head, Gurgaon Centre, FIITJEE.
A word of caution. Career counsellors beg to differ on the newer concept. It's imperative to give proper attention to the school curriculum and extra-curricular activities both.
"Straddling school and coaching, that too at such a tender age, is not a wise idea.
If a student nurtures a dream to study in IIT and chases it for four long years, then failure can lead to a lot of disappointment. Intensive coaching can also lead to a student ignoring the school curriculum, which is not a healthy sign for his overall development," advises Usha Albuquerque.
Dr Rima Sehgal, a counsellor with Bal Bharti Public School, Ghaziabad, echoes the same sentiments, "When in ninth standard, a child doesn't even know what s/he wants to do in life.
One must mull over one's strengths and weaknesses before deciding upon a career and that can be done after class X. In case a parent is keen to put his child in any coaching class before class X, he must see a counsellor first," says she.
So, ponder over your decision before you take a call!
How to crack IIT-JEE; learn from IIT students
A group of 20 students from across engineering colleges like IIT Roorkee, Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology (NSIT) and Birla Institute of Technology (BITS), Pilani have got together to start tutorial classes, which use the best of technology and their own
lessons and experiences of clearing the IIT entrance exam.Says Mani Bansal, the promoter of the tutorials: "We have taken up the baton of helping class XI and XII students.
Zion has a one-of-its kind concept, where we have recorded lectures in all three subjects - physics, chemistry and mathematics - of the +2 curriculum on DVDs."
But what sets the approach apart from the rest in the market is the unique programme introduced by the students. Each enrolled student would be assigned an IIT student as a mentor, who will literally be a friend, philosopher and guide throughout the student's preparation phase.
Cashing in on the e-learning wave, Zion also has a discussion board on its website where students can post their doubts and get these solved by the team within hours.
Their methodical approach to teaching, aided with the benefits of technology, has even induced various engineering preparation institutes approaching Zion for their study material.
The coaching curriculum doesn't teach IIT entrance questions separately, the idea is to align the curriculum of CBSE to make it more application oriented so that the students; understanding gets sharpened and logical, which will help him understand the fundamentals in a better way.
- Ajay Kumar Sharma, President & CEO, New Horizons India Ltd.