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JEE Preparation: Tips for the Memorization-Based Portion of the Syllabus

In the cut-throat competition of the JEE, you can’t afford to lose even one mark. So, during your JEE preparation you must go through a painful process of mugging up formulae, facts, and probably the most uninteresting subject–inorganic chemistry. Memorization can be quite tedious and painful at the start, so you need to work smart. Once you know the tricks to remember, your life becomes easier.

This blog is meant to guide you through some problems usually faced by students and simplify the process of memorization during JEE preparation. Let’s get started.

JEE Preparation Important Tip: Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination is your biggest enemy. Beware of procrastination. Don’t delay your JEE preparation. Today is always the best date to start! Now is always the best time to start.

So, what do you start with?

All chapters contain some concepts and formulae which don’t have any proof, or it is impossible to understand them at the JEE level. So, the best way to deal with them is to simply accept them as the supreme truth.

Yes, as a general rule this is a bad habit to inculcate–so try to understand concepts as deeply as possible. But at the same time don’t waste too much time trying to understand a concept which is beyond the JEE scope. Many things have been derived experimentally. As such, they may not have an explanation at your level. You will definitely learn about many such concepts in your undergraduate studies.

Now, you might be in a dilemma about what to understand and what to mug up. Well, put your mind at ease. We are here to guide you.

In the JEE syllabus only two things need to be memorized:

  1. Theoretical portion
  2. Formulae

JEE Preparation: How to Handle the Theoretical Portion

We have listed all the topics that contain some memorization-based portions.

Chemistry

Many students consider chemistry boring, so many cram just before an examination. The thing that differentiates toppers from others is that they study chemistry well and hence, chemistry turns out to be a deciding factor.

Chemistry is divided into three parts:

  1. Inorganic chemistry
  2. Organic chemistry
  3. Physical chemistry

Inorganic Chemistry

This is viewed as the most boring branch of chemistry–and the most uninteresting part in the whole JEE preparation curriculum. This is because it has a lot of portions which need to be memorized. Here is the list of chapters which must be memorized.

  1. Periodic table
  2. Metallurgy
  3. s-block elements
  4. p-block elements
  5. d-block elements
  6. f-block elements (JEE Main only)
  7. Environmental chemistry (JEE Main only)

The key to mastering inorganic chemistry is smart memorization. Try to understand the reactions rather than blindly memorizing them. Blind memorization puts a tremendous amount of strain on your brain. You need to memorize some facts, but for the reactions try to figure out the concepts hidden within them. All the reactions in inorganic chemistry can be broadly classified as:

  1. Acid-Base Reactions
  2. Disproportionation reactions
  3. Precipitation reactions
  4. Complexation reactions
  5. Thermal decomposition reactions
  6. Redox reactions

List all the reactions you come across in this format and try to notice similarities between reactions under the same group. Comparing reactions will help you to learn faster. Make your own notes and revise them regularly. This process creates a nearly photographic memory. You may refer to Concise Inorganic Chemistry, by JD Lee. It contains a lot of theory, so read wisely.

Organic Chemistry

Mugging up the reactions won’t help you score marks. The proper way to learn organic chemistry is by starting with general organic chemistry (GOC), and then proceeding to the reactions. Strengthen your basic concepts by focusing more on topics like:

  1. Inductive and mesomeric effect
  2. Acidic and Basic strength
  3. Nucleophilic and electrophilic strength

Go through the mechanism of all the reactions, especially those mentioned in the NCERT textbooks. There is always a chance for indirect questions on the mechanism of the reactions. Understanding mechanisms will not only help you remember the reactions–but also help you crack some tricky, unseen questions.

Be sure to revise all the “named reactions” like Friedel-Craft’s reaction, Kolbe’s reaction, Cannizaro, Reimer Tiemann reaction, and many more. They all form the backbone of organic chemistry and must be thoroughly covered.

Only a few topics like biomolecules, polymers, and chemistry in everyday life (JEE Main only) need to be memorized by heart. Two to three direct questions are asked from these topics. LG Wade (Pearsons Education) is the best book for understanding theory. MS Chouhan is recommended for improving your problem-solving skills.

Physical Chemistry

As the name suggests, this is a mixture of physics and chemistry. You will be delighted to know that this branch involves the least mugging out of the three. Physical chemistry involves formulae and concepts. So, regular practice is the only path to success.

Chapters like surface chemistry and coordination compounds contain some theoretical parts which need to be memorized. Making notes and quick revision before the exams should suffice.

How to Handle Formulae

Well, all the topics contain formulae, whether it is theoretical topics in chemistry or practical topics in physics. The fastest way to remember formulae is to make a formula book for each subject, or make sticky notes. Both are an excellent means of last-minute revision.

One look at the formula isn’t enough. In the long run, everyone loses hold of the topics covered, so you need to practice regularly. Practice as much as possible by taking timed mock tests as well. This will not only help you remember all the formulae, but will also give you a feel for the topic. This causes your learning curve to increase exponentially.

Physics

We already mentioned how to handle formulae, so nothing much is left to say about Physics. The thing that differentiates physics from the other two subjects is that if you merely study physics, then it isn’t going to work. You need to feel it, enjoy it, and more than that–apply it.

There are a few chapters which are included only in the JEE Main, that need to be mugged up:

  1. Semiconductors
  2. Communication

Maths

In the JEE, maths is considered to be the tough nut to crack. There are

jee preparation, tough nut to crack - magoosh

Image by sevenke

quite a lot of formulae. And you won’t be able to derive them during the examination. You are expected to remember all the standard methods, formulae, and techniques. Understand them at home and then learn them by heart.

The best way to remember these formulae is to understand their derivations. Once you understand the derivation, even if you forget the formula during the exam, you should quickly be able to derive it. Generally speaking, understanding a derivation is easier than memorizing the formula. However, there is always a trade-off, in the sense that during the exam you won’t be able to derive all the formulae because time is limited.

A healthy mix of 80/20 always helps. By this I mean that you memorize 80% of the formulae that are most commonly used, and understand the derivation of 20% of the formulae that aren’t that common in the exams.

As a simple example, you may want to remember the formula for the distance of a point from a straight line–it occurs quite frequently. However, rarely are questions asked from the reflection of a point about a line. Therefore, you don’t really have to memorize that formula by-heart (which is quite complex and difficult to remember).

In this blog, we discussed various tips for handling the part of the JEE syllabus that requires memorization. Although understanding concepts is the most important thing, we should try to memorize things that are encountered frequently. This will save you a lot of time in the exam. You don’t even need to cram up everything; many things will be memorized on their own if you encounter them often. I hope that this blog proves to be helpful to you and helps streamline your JEE preparation.

All the best!

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