Before securing the first rank in the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) and the fifth in the IIT-JEE in his very first attempt in 2010, Vipul Singh was an aspiring engineer just like millions of students across India. Today, he’s sharing the IIT-Bombay classrooms with some of the best brains in the country. Ask him about his success mantra and pat comes the reply: “Don’t sacrifice honesty to achieve success. Your values and the ability to persevere are your best weapons to beat failure.”
Identify your potential
While sitting for multiple entrance tests, Singh was aware of the cut-throat competition, the sense of pressure and the need for rigorous preparation. “Every student has his own capabilities and requirements and it’s important to identify these. There are students who force themselves to study a subject and end up resorting to unfair means to pass. This only leads to humiliation and doesn’t get you anywhere,” he says.
If you want to prepare for any competitive exam, you must start early. “I realised that I was good at solving mathematical problems in Class 6. I started studying the JEE syllabus topics in Class 10, but had concentrated on science and maths and strengthened my basics much earlier. I had joined a JEE-directed correspondence course for the first time in Class 9,” says the 20-year-old student of BTech in computer science and engineering.
Change the mindset
With several competitive exams and expectations of parents weighing heavily on the minds of youngsters, there has been an increase in the number of cases where students have been found cheating to pass the tests. The most recent case was reported last week when the All India Institute of Medical Sciences post graduate entrance test racket was busted.
Obviously, it’s the lure of the lucre and social status that drives many people to such extremes. Tej Bahadur Singh, professor of clinical psychology at Delhi’s Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences says money can’t buy everything but many of the moneyed set think they can buy what they want, even if it means a place in a professional course.
“This is the age of competition. Opportunities are scarce. People are aspirants,” says Singh, noting that there has been an “erosion of values” in society. “The aim of education should be the overall development of an individual, with values at its core, inculcating positive values, (promoting) good quality of life. But now, presentation, marketability and impressing others are more important. Many parents impose their aspirations on their kids who are not able to fulfil what they expect of them. Consequently, many kids commit suicide,” Singh adds.
It’s just another test
Kushagra Pathak, who got all-India rank 19 in the AIIMS PMT last year, says: “Medicine is a noble profession and using unfair means to secure a seat means you are putting several lives at stake. There’s no reason strong enough to justify such acts.”
Experts say the key to cracking any competitive test is to study regularly and treat the entrance as another test. This will relieve you of the additional pressure that a competitive exam generally carries with it. Each entrance test is meant to check the capability of a student to handle that course.
Exams are a breeze if...
* You are thorough with your NCERT textbooks
* You have practised solving as many mock tests as you are able to in real time to build up tempo
* You use visuals/graphics to boost retention power
* You touch difficult topics after revising easy ones
* You keep time for leisure
* You treat a competitive exam as any other test. This will relieve you of unnecessary pressure
* You devote sufficient time for self-study and in clearing your doubts