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How to crack maths in JEE

Focus on areas like calculus, trigonometry, geometry, circles and conic sections Ajay Antony reports

education Updated: Mar 03, 2010 09:25 IST
Ajay Antony

Maths for the sake of maths... and for physics. This is the mantra of students preparing for the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). Several concepts from this subject are used for problem-solving in physics too.

Differential and integral calculus, trigonometry, geometry, circles and conic sections have contributed to more than 65 per cent of the weightage in marks in the last three years’ IIT-JEE. Student must focus on these heavyweight areas.

The required cut-off in maths has averaged less than 10 per cent of the total marks in the past three years. The student will have to attack maths questions with the following aims:
1. Get above the threshold marks required for clearing the cut-off in the subject
2. Maximise the score after ensuring that point 1 (above) is done.

Single-correct-answer questions will provide enough opportunity to get past point 1 (mentioned above). Always first go for the heavyweight questions we mentioned earlier. A step-by-step approach in solving a maths question is given below:

. Identify the specific area from which the question is asked, e.g. application of differentiation.
. As a parallel process, quickly bring to the “top of your mind” the standard formats in that area.
. Now begin with the required answer. Is it a condition that has to be satisfied like the area to be found or is it to fix the maxima and the minima?
. Once you have the operational parameters fixed, get down to specifics, like the given variables.
. Consider the non-conditions as well, i.e. there would be a difference between the conditions “prime number less than 7” and “prime number equal to and less
than seven”. Once the operational parameters are fixed, you should not revisit them, as it is a waste of time. Take enough care in fixing these parameters.
. Apply the required statute to the problem. After reaching the answer, try fixing it back from the answer choices.
Solve single-correct-answer type questions using this six-step process. For multiple-correct-answer questions, map out all the necessary conditions. If the
required answer is a prime number less than or equal to seven, then all the three separate options given below would be correct:
. One of the square roots of 4
. The longest side of the most basic Pythagorean triplet
. The shortest side of a Pythagorean triplet which has a prime number and two consecutive two digit numbers as the two longer sides

Ajay Antony is course director, IIT-JEE training, TIME (Triumphant Institute of Management Education)