When Aman Jain stepped out of the exam centre in May last year, he did not expect that he would land the 32nd rank in the Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE advanced) 2016. He did not even believe that he would get a seat at one of the most prestigious engineering institutes in the country.
Today, Jain has settled comfortably at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and is pursuing his dream course — B Tech in Computer Science. Here’s what the boy, whose scores shot as high as 300 in JEE mains and 258 in JEE advanced, has to say about all that he has experienced:
How did you prepare for the JEE Mains?
I used to go to coaching classes three days a week. They helped me cover the syllabus before we moved on to practicing with mock tests. I also maintained a diary in which I jotted down notes on every chapter that they taught and later, all the mistakes I made and the concepts I needed to remember.
In the remaining four days of the week, I went through everything that I learnt at school and at the coaching centre and did self-study.
What did you do during the last few months before JEE?
By the last three months, I had already covered the mains syllabus through my coaching centre. So I focussed on practice papers.
Before board exams, I did not even touch my text books. I relied on the notes that I made all these months. That is the only thing I trusted until the last few days before JEE mains and even for the advanced paper.
What did you in the last two or three days before the paper?
During that time, I did not even go through my notes. Since I gave so many mock tests, I was confident. Therefore, I spent time with my family, which I did not get to do much while I was preparing. This helped me clear my mind and keep me calm on the day of the exam.
What about JEE did you find difficult?
I’ve always found maths a little tricky compared to the other subjects. Chemistry is easily covered if you memorise organic chemistry and physics is a logical subject. Maths, however, is not easy because they tend to mix and match the concepts and unless you know those concepts by your fingertips, you will get confused and make mistakes.
The difference between doing brilliantly and failing miserably in JEE all depends on those silly mistakes that most aspirants make. I used to spend at least an hour a day practicing maths to avoid this.
How did you manage your time between school, coaching and self-studies?
When I was not at school or at the coaching centre, I had enough time for self-study. Moreover, the NCERT syllabus at school covered most of what we had to study for JEE. This took away any time I could get to watch movies or just relax, but the hard work was worth it because here, at IIT-Bombay, we have ample time to pursue the activities that we wish and take part in as many extra-curricular activities as we please.
How different is life at IIT-B?
This is the first time I am living away from home and it feels a little strange to be independent at such an early age. We have to decide when and how to study. Even though what we’ve been taught so far is loosely based on what we’ve already learnt through school and while preparing for JEE, the concepts are quite advanced.
The college does make sure that we get all the resources that we need and it has some of the best infrastructure. We can use any equipment that we need to work on our assignments and projects.
What advice would you give to JEE aspirants?
Don’t practice too much for a single chapter. I’ve seen some of my friends trying to go through four or five books for the same chapter. Then, they lost interest for the minor chapters. Don’t do that.
You need to give equal time to every chapter regardless of whether it is small or big. Narrowing down the number of questions that you believe will come in the exam will also work out if you know the concepts.
If you find a chapter difficult, you can dedicate more time to practice it. But do not go through too many references as it will confuse you. I only went through one book for each subject and that helped me a lot.