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Right Order of Solving a JEE Test Paper

The JEE journey isn’t done until you put the last nail in the coffin. In this journey, one of the most thought-provoking problems is how to attempt the JEE paper in the right order to score maximum marks.

D-Day: The Culmination of Your Hard Work

This is a question that haunts students. While your syllabus may be finished, the most essential part is yet to come. I’m talking about the actual test day in the month of April for JEE Main, and May for the JEE Advanced. This day is D-Day. It is the culmination of all your hard work, sincerity, intelligence, and mastery of the material.

The paper of the JEE Main requires knowledge, fundamentals, and critical aptitude–whereas the JEE Advanced is a mystery. Cracking it takes courage, perseverance, and passion. Attempting the JEE paper–when compared to other papers–is quite a difficult task. The JEE requires an analytical, theoretical, and formula-based approach–whereas the rest are just theoretical.

Because the JEE paper is so challenging, your anxiety is likely to be at an all time high when you go to bed the day before your exam. Unfortunately, there’s a pretty good chance that it won’t be much better when you wake up the day of the exam.

Students tend to either feel high or low– but more tend to feel low, even if they’ve been thorough and prepared well. The “low” that students feel is typically due to fear of not doing well, so let’s talk about a systematic approach to solving the JEE paper that will hopefully help alleviate your anxiety.

Step One: Wake Up Properly

The right order starts with the right moves the morning of the exam. After waking up, the first move you make will reflect your performance. How? Well, if you wake up with a casual attitude and sluggishly start your day — by checking your phone or doing other mundane tasks — then that sluggishness may very well persist throughout the rest of the day.

Conversely, if you wake up with a “bang,” and get fresh and active as soon as possible, that spring in your step is likely to live throughout the exam. You may not realize it, but how you come into the exam will matter! And being as bright, energetic, and positive as possible will very likely score you more marks!

Next Move

Your level of confidence reflects your time management, approach, and output. When you enter the exam room, you will receive the JEE paper, sealed up.

Then they’ll give you a black pen. Don’t wait until the start of the paper to see if the pen works! Try it out immediately. If it works flawlessly then keep it, otherwise get it replaced.

jee paper, stay focused - magoosh

Image by MR Gao

After going through the paper you should already have an idea of what you can expect. If you know that it is going to be less than 40% then chances of doing well may or may not be possible. But if 50 – 60% is attempt-able then you are in a good position to achieve your goal.

Of course this assumes that you don’t get mentally locked-up during the JEE paper due to tension, not being able to solve a problem, or getting hung up on any other number of distractions.

So FOCUS, and keep going no matter what you might come up against.

You’re Now Taking the Exam: What To Start With?

Now in the scorching heat, you are trying your level best to solve but are stuck and confused about where to begin.

Should it be the Section of Physics (mechanics / fluid dynamics / electromagnetics)? Or should you begin with Chemistry (organic / inorganic / physical), or Maths (conics / algebra)? The chances of knowing all of these topics equally well may not be high for everyone–but knowing each one of the subtopics 50-70% might do the job. I go into more detail about which order to approach the questions in below.

Attempting the Paper for Maximising Output

The first and foremost thing while attempting the JEE Main question paper is to go through the entire paper quickly (skim it) and assess the overall difficulty level of the questions. Choose the most easy questions from the paper and attempt them first.

Basically you can go through the complete JEE paper in three cycles:

  • Easy Questions First
  • Moderate Questions Second
  • Tough Questions Last
jee paper, three cycles - magoosh

Original Image by Arcady

In the first cycle attempt easy questions, in the second cycle attempt moderate questions, and in the last cycle go for the tough ones. For easy questions do not spend more than one minute, and for moderate ones do not spend more than three to four minutes each. If it takes more than the allotted time it is better to skip it.

Just Keep Moving!

At some point during the exam, you might find yourself stuck because you don’t know which question to try and which not to try. This is especially true in the tough section. If you find that you are having a hard time choosing which questions are solvable, just be sure to limit the time you spend on this decision! Don’t waste your time if the question seems unsolvable after initial attempts.

It’s vital to understand that marking 70-80 questions doesn’t guarantee you a great score. Doing it incorrectly might make actually cut your score in half. You must be very decisive.

While preparing for the JEE, you might have found one subject a bit tougher than the others. It is better to try to do the questions in areas that you are better at, and that interest you more.

Don’t Forget About Chemistry

And keep in mind that in the JEE paper, Chemistry offers the highest opportunity for you to maximize your score, even if it’s your weakest subject. Why?

There are few numericals in this subject and a lot of questions are directly theory-based. Most of the questions are ones you either know very well, or have no idea at all. So you won’t waste time thinking about how to solve the question. So be sure to pick up as many marks as you can here.

Go With Your Strongest Subjects

Then, try to solve questions from your strongest topics. This will not only get you marks, but it will build your confidence up for further difficult questions, save time, and maximize your number of attempts.

Suppose you are strong at Calculus (Mathematics), you should attempt questions from it first. Similarly, for each subject you likely have favorite topics and you should attempt those first. Also, keep in mind that you must be quick! You will need to spend a significant amount of time solving some question, and that is fine as long as you don’t get stuck and keep it moving.

Just think. You may excel in Maths and Chemistry, or Maths and Physics, or Physics and Chemistry. So even in the worst situation you can manage to mark 20 – 25 questions correctly with 100% accuracy in your two favorite subjects. If this is true, then 90% of the work is done and no one can stop you from getting into your dream college.

jee paper, dream college - magoosh

Image by Ink Drop

Rough Sheet

One of the most essential things we always neglect is the rough sheet. Often we ignore the role of rough work in paper solving. It should be clear and legible. Also, mark the question corresponding to the solution. This is very important for revision.

Use little space for rough work. Also, keep vacant spaces in your paper for back up because you don’t get an extra sheet for rough work in the offline exam. In the JEE Main options are very close. So if you tend to make a small error in your calculation then you might reach the wrong option and can lose 5 marks! So, revision work is very important and it helps you to save approximately 20 – 30 marks.

Time Management

The next important thing is something that almost each and every aspirant lacks–especially during the JEE paper. Yes, you guessed it right–time management.

In mock exams we have less pressure. Most of us hold in our minds that it’s just a mock paper and the results are not going to matter. And with that feeling of less pressure, students tend to perform better because their minds aren’t locked up. This can make a big difference when you’re giving the actual exam! When you are under pressure, like during the actual exam, your body functions can change rapidly. You must find a way to control the chaos!

Time management is very important! In fact, I’d say it’s a critical component to doing well in the JEE Main. In the online exam, there is a clock on the server–so just keep looking to make sure you remain on schedule.

However, in the offline examination, you must keep your eyes on the clock so that you do not miss any question. Also, track the time three to four times during the test. After each set of time, check the total time spent. Remember, in the JEE Main high attempt rate and accuracy both matter.

The Ultimate Step: The JEE Advanced

The students who make the cutoffs of the JEE Main try to get their hands on seats in the IITs, GFTIs, etc. Think about it. You’ve revised the whole syllabus and have all the required information at your fingertips. So now it is time to focus on the fundamentals of high order thinking questions so as to maximise your scorecard as much as possible in the JEE Advanced.

Sleep

These are the steps which you must follow to attain your best performance. Have proper sleep one night before the exam. This is very important to concentrate properly on all the six hours of the paper with a two-hour break in between.

Read Instructions Carefully

Read the instructions very carefully. You will have enough time to read all the instructions. Here you are given extra time to read, so don’t make assumptions and do read each and every instruction with undivided attention.

You may miss some well-detailed instructions so not attempt the paper in one round. Do the paper in two to three rounds. Make sure to mark the questions you left, or which need a review in each round.

Stay Focused and Don’t Obsess Over Results During the Test

Around 55% of the questions have a difficulty rating of easy to moderate, so it is important to first score in those questions. Forget that you are attempting the original JEE paper, and don’t think of any potential consequences of doing poorly. NOT DURING THE EXAM! This will only cause you to do worse, so keep your mind on the paper in front of you.

Keep Rough Work Neat and Organised

Multiple choice multiple correct questions are considered to be one of the toughest types of questions because they are made up of mixed chapters and sections. It is actually four questions in one! So that’s why it’s level of difficulty increases. Mark the values and important data given in the question while reading. It helps in many ways to overcome the boredom of repeating questions again and again and eventually help while you are solving the problem.

Manage your rough work properly. Since the JEE Advanced has mixed concept questions, it is lengthy. But you should not solve half of the questions one place and the other half at some other place. Never do that especially when you’re taking tests. So write your rough work properly and systematically as you go so it can be referred to later, when you revise the question.

Keep Your Stress in Check

The two-hour break is given to release the pressure and stress of attempting Paper One. As we’ve already discussed, the JEE Advanced questions are significantly harder than the JEE Main questions, but there are fewer of them! If you got stuck on a question or two and didn’t get the answer you might be pretty disturbed even once the break begins.

Whether or not you carry that stress through your break, and into the afternoon exam, will determine how well you do overall. This is often the distinction between students who excel, and those who only do OK. This can be the distinction between students, so I’ll divide our theoretical students into Group A and Group B in order to discuss this further.

    Group A: This group belongs to those who generally solve the questions with efficiency and not carelessly. Don’t get distracted by the fact that the Paper One is done and went really well. Go to a place where you can find rest, peace, and calmness. Eat healthy food such as chapatis, eggs, green veggies, and drinks like watered curd / yogurt, juice, cold coffee etc. Stay calm and just relax for half an hour. Maybe listen to some calming music.

    Group B: In this group, you can find people who generally solve the questions with efficiency but carelessly make some mistakes which causes negative marking. Now the most important thing for you guys is not to ask anybody about the paper. Why? You might get depressed realizing that you made a silly mistake on a particular question. This may hamper your performance in the Paper Two.

Do take a power nap, because Paper One is lengthy. People do become exhausted after submitting Paper One. Try and gain some confidence by solving easy sets of questions in Paper Two. Enjoy this wonderful ride of JEE and leave some things in almighty God’s hands. All the best!

Crack the JEE! Start here..

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