Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

Toppers’ Tips: From hating Chemistry to cracking JEE Main, Advanced; Tanishka Kabra shares her story

How Tanishka Kabra went from not liking Chemistry to understanding and appreciating how creative it can be

JEE Topper Tanishka KabraTanishka Kabra on what worked for her while she was preparing for JEE (Graphics by Abhishek Mitra)
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Toppers’ Tips: From hating Chemistry to cracking JEE Main, Advanced; Tanishka Kabra shares her story
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All India Rank 16 Tanishka Kabra was the JEE Advanced 2022 topper in the girls category. Kabra wanted to pursue Computer Science Engineering and since she scored well, she got a seat in the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Tanishka represented India in the International Olympiad for Chemistry and had also cleared the Indian Olympiad Qualifiers in Mathematics, Astronomy and Physics. She spoke to and gave us insights into how she prepared and cracked the JEE Main and JEE Advanced.

My biggest motivation

I always had an interest in mathematics and science but what motivated me the most during the last final two months of preparation was when I cracked the chemistry olympiad. It made my parents so proud that I wish I could relive the moment again.

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I enjoyed studying C language in class 10, python in classes 11 and 12 and also did an online course – CS50 from Harvard University. Therefore, I was sure about pursuing computer science engineering.

How I prepared for the exam

I mostly relied on my coaching study material for JEE preparation and felt that the testing pattern was sufficient for my revision scheme as well. Giving mock tests gave me enough motivation to revise specific topics. During the final months, I did an analysis of all of my tests and marked areas or topics that required improvement and revised only those parts instead of going through the entire syllabus.

From electrons to numericals– My relationship with PCM

I got exposure to olympiads through mathematics in classes 9 and 10. In class 11, the interest remained but my scores dipped. In class 11, I felt that I was becoming weak at maths. Like most students, I disliked chemistry in class 11 because I didn’t understand it at all.

However, while preparing for olympiads made me a lot more comfortable. It gave me new insight and I understood how creative it can be.

My revision strategy


We completed the syllabus in December and January. Apart from that, revision, courses and test series were going on simultaneously. I feel test series are the best way to revise things because it helps you figure out your weak areas. You can filter out whatever you are comfortable with because it is very difficult to revise the whole syllabus.

My analysis of mock tests would help me figure out mistakes. If they were small or silly errors, I would ensure that I rectify them. If I felt under confident about a particular, I would make a note, especially during the last few months of preparation.

I didn’t follow any hard and fast rule that I have to study a certain number of hours. I tried doing that once but I ended up just watching the clock and my net output was zero. I never counted my hours again. For me what worked was– how much I have studied, how much is left, do I want to study something more? If I have an upcoming test, I do not keep a tab on the number of hours.

Books I referred


Apart from the prescribed study material, I referred to the books suggested by my teachers. I didn’t practice from the whole book, instead took some chapters from one book and some from the other.

For Physics, I referred to HC Verma and Irodov. Sometimes our teachers would get questions from Pathfinder, sometimes they would give assignments from Sameer Bansal for mathematics. I referred to Narendra Awasthi for physical chemistry, MS Chauhan and Peter Sykes for organic chemistry and VK Jaiswal and sometimes JD Lee for inorganic chemistry

Advice to students

Learn what works for you best. Do not follow what everyone else says blindly. Try things out judiciously and understand what would be the best practice for you.

First published on: 24-01-2023 at 11:22 IST
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