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Double challenge


The board exams are around the corner, followed by the JEE Main. What’s your strategy to optimise your performance in both?

Many students must be anxious how to simultaneously balance the Boards along with their IIT-JEE preparation. JEE requires in-depth knowledge of concepts, whereas in the Board exam, students need to memorise these concepts.

Here are some important tips to help students optimise their performance in both the exams.

Prepare without losing tempo: While the students are preparing for two different examinations, the good thing is that the syllabi and the paper setting authorities are common. Sometimes, students tend to exclusively focus on the Board-type questions and start losing touch with the JEE-type questions. However, one must understand that if one is preparing for JEE, one is automatically preparing for the Boards. The focus should be on understanding the concepts rather than mugging them up. Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics remain the same; if one has a thorough understanding of the subject, one should be comfortable answering questions in both types of examinations. One should continue to take JEE mock tests even during this period. In fact, there are some students who take JEE tests even during the preparatory holidays between two Board exams and do exceedingly well.

Mock tests to clarify doubts: There is a popular saying: “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.” The essence of the statement in the context of exams is that the students should not be scared of trying new problems. The more problems we are exposed to before the actual exam, the more is the likelihood that we would get it right if a similar problem is asked in the actual exam.

Special emphasis : There are certain sub-topics in various subjects which generally get more weightage in the Boards because the questions are subjective-type. There are also some topics which are part of JEE Main but not part of the JEE Advanced exam which some students tend to ignore during their preparation.

For example, in physics, the chapters on semiconductor devices, communications systems and electromagnetic waves are part of JEE Main and the Board exam but are not part of the Advanced exam. Students should carefully study these chapters along with the questions from the sample papers so that they can comfortably handle descriptive questions from these chapters.

A good source to prepare these chapters would be an archive of JEE Main/ AIEEE questions of the previous years for JEE Main along with a good collection of sample papers for the Board exam.

Communicate clearly : While both the Board exams as well as the JEE Main paper are set by CBSE, the approach required for attempting the exams is entirely different. A JEE exam is an objective-type exam where it is not important to go through the steps of calculation; one may do all the calculations in one’s head or just some rough scribbling on the question paper. What matters is that you tick the right option. However, in the Boards, your working out of the intermediate steps is as important as getting the final answer correct. Some extremely bright students tend to lose marks in the Board examinations not because of their lack of knowledge, but only because of poor presentation and skipping the steps.

Our observations from some of the best evaluated answers sheets were:

The answer script was written with double spacing between the lines.

The final answer to all numerical questions was put in a rectangular box (so that evaluator may not have to search for it).

Units were clearly mentioned along with any numerical physical data.

All diagrams were made with a sharp pencil, using a scale and compass (if needed).

Wherever algebraic symbols were used, they were explained.

Wherever there was an error, it was neatly crossed with two lines without any ambiguity.

Examination temperament: For the JEE exam, what really matters is not how much we know, but how much we are able to deliver in those three hours. Many students make the mistake of attempting the questions sequentially and find that there is not enough time left to attempt the questions that they otherwise knew how to do. One must remember that JEE is a low-scoring exam. Scoring even as low as 60 per cent marks will get you an excellent rank. Rather than aiming at solving all questions, the aim should be to attempt all questions that you are confident of doing correctly. The best way to do this is to quickly scan the entire question paper and solve the easy questions first, then go to moderate ones and finally attempt the tough ones.

Stay Cool: It is important not to panic. Worrying and brooding have a negative effect on our ability to study and our test performance. The test should be written without any kind of tension or worry. While attempting the paper, give your best shot and do not worry about the result.

Time management: The time management strategy can differ from one individual to another. However, on an average, the effective attention span of a JEE aspirant is about two hours, so it is a good idea to take a small break after every two hours of continuous study session. Smaller study sessions should be avoided because every break in a study session means about 10 minutes being spent as warm-up time and about 10 minutes as cool-down time.

One must be selective about the problems one solves during the self-study sessions. Do not spend too much time on solving the same types of problems. Identify the problems that you intend to solve at the beginning of your session. Also, make sure that you memorise all the important results so that you don’t waste the examination time in trying to derive these results. For the descriptive-type questions in the Boards, the theory should be memorised as per the standard Sample Papers/ Test Books. Learn to write all necessary steps in the desired sequence.

The writer is
expert, FIITJEE.

Identify the problems that you intend to solve at the beginning of your session

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