Everyone wants to be a JEE topper, but nobody is perfect. While preparing for your exams, it’s unlikely that you get the method of preparation right on the very first try. Students tend to come up with an initial plan that details how many hours to devote to each subject, and which problems to practice.
If this is you, be aware that you will likely tweak the numbers until you get a plan that works perfectly for you–but not necessarily others. It’s important to be flexible with your study plans. To be more efficient with your studies, you need to take a step back at regular intervals and assess what you’re doing. You should look into areas where you’re making mistakes and try to come up with solutions to do better. Some areas where many falter are discussed below.
Familiarity With Questions
This mistake is pretty common among aspirants. When you practice, you might refer to a certain book for a certain subject. You start practicing questions of a particular type and might start doing well. This will boost your confidence and make you a bit lazy when it comes to practicing more diverse types of questions.
This hurts your problem-solving skills, something you want to develop before the exams! To be thorough with a concept you should practice as many different types of problems as you can. Try to challenge yourself. Don’t make the grave mistake of being comfortable with a certain type of problem. This makes you solve the question–not by thinking about the different methods you could apply–but rather by relying on your memory of similar questions.
Since it is highly unlikely that the exam will contain questions similar to the ones you’ve solved earlier, practice different kinds of questions. Make a list of different sources for each topic or subject and be sure to solve at least a few questions from each. Remember, quality is more important than quantity.
Some people can solve any problem but they are still not able to crack the JEE. The issue is generally that even though they can solve questions, they can’t do it within a time limit. They tend to take their time with the question, a luxury you can’t afford when you’re attempting exams like the JEE, or any entrance exam.
Since the results and your rank depend heavily on how much you score, it doesn’t matter how developed your problem-solving skills are if you’re unable to solve enough questions in time. While practicing, it’s easy to lose track of time. When you’re new to a concept it’s unfair to expect to solve tough questions within minutes. However, as the exam approaches, you need to start timing yourself and improve your speed. As soon as you’ve covered the basics of a concept, you should start working on your speed.
Focusing on Certain Topics
All of us have something we’re good at. Some of us can solve any question in Mechanics while some can remember the numerous equations in Chemistry. But while it is good to have strengths, we should never neglect our weaknesses.
Many aspirants tend to focus on what they’re good at thinking that they’ll be able to pull through on the basis of a particular topic. This isn’t necessarily true. It might have worked for a handful, but relying on something so dicey for such an important exam isn’t a risk you should take. Especially not if your goal is to become a JEE topper.
So keep in mind that every topic has three types of questions based on difficulty: easy, medium and tough. When you prepare extensively for one topic and neglect the others, you’ll be able to solve all three types of questions for that particular topic–but only the easy ones (if that) for the other topics.
Instead, knowing that you have a knack for something already, try working on other concepts. Try building your capability so that you can solve at least the medium level questions for topics you don’t find that hard and the easy problems for subjects you find extremely difficult. This will give a big push to your marks and help you get a better rank. Now you’re one step closer to being a JEE topper.
Staying in Your Comfort Zone
Some of us are nocturnal beings, and that’s okay! We stay up late at night studying because that’s when we feel we’re most productive. Some of us like to study on our beds with a pillow propped up behind our backs. The problem is that JEE Advanced, or even Main, doesn’t have an option to attempt the paper at night. And the seats you’ll be allotted are a far cry from comfortable. You might be able to solve any problem handed to you at night but it’s of no use if you can’t do the same in the morning.
One of the key factors that makes JEE toppers different is that they tend to tune their body so that they are at their peak performance during the exam time. This is ideal. You can only give your best performance on the exam when your mind is at its performance peak. Staying up late, not eating well, or not being used to the exam atmosphere may lead to you being drowsy and uncomfortable during the actual exam–when it matters most!
These habits will definitely bring down your performance. Instead of focusing on the problem at hand, you’ll probably be too drowsy to think straight. You might stick to your comfortable timings and habits initially when you’re covering topics for the first time, but as the day of the exam approaches, you must try to get yourself in line with the atmosphere and settings of the exam.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
While preparing, it’s often easy to lose track of what you’re doing and continue with the same strategy even though it may be flawed. Lakhs of people study hard for the JEE but only a few manage to crack it. Some put in hours of hard work each day but still fail to see the results.
One of the most important traits that set the toppers apart from the others is that they constantly stay on top of their preparation. Rather than being sticklers to their schedule, they often tweak it to be more efficient. In other words, you need to work smarter rather than harder. Review whatever you’ve done each day and think about what you could have done better by making a few changes.
At least once a week, try to sit down and see where you stand with respect to coverage of syllabus. As they say, in words that IIT aspirants will understand, hard work is a vector where it doesn’t matter what the magnitude is if it’s in the wrong direction.
Hope this was helpful. All the best for your exams!