Every year, hoards of students begin the journey to acquire admission into one of the fifteen coveted Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campuses. A few years back, it was decided that a single Joint Entrance Test (JEE) would replace the then existing IITJEE and AIEEE examinations.

At the time these were two of the most established engineering examinations for gaining entry into undergraduate engineering courses. Candidates will now have to appear for a Main and Advanced test. The Main is for all engineering institutes funded by the government and doubles up as the eligibility test for Advanced as well. The top scorers of Main may take Advanced for a chance to get into IIT. However, it is not all about the tests; it is equally important to have top marks in Class XII exams.

Exam format

Physics, chemistry and mathematics are the subjects that are tested in the JEE. Both Main and Advanced exams have two papers – Paper 1 for BE and BTech aspirants, and Paper 2 for BArch and BPlanning candidates – but students may write both if they wish to.

Each paper must be answered in three hours. Negative marking is in effect for every wrong answer. Questions are in multiple-choice format and an answer sheet is provided for the student to mark their choice.

IIT admissions
Image Credits: Indian Express

Exam preparation

Most students dedicate anywhere from one to two years to study for the exams. Some prefer studying on their own, while others opt to attend coaching centres. “The first step is to be confident approaching preparation itself,” advises S. Srinath, an IIT Chennai alumnus of 2009. “Many people approach preparation with a fearful mindset, and that in itself is a hindrance.”

  • Equal importance should be given to all subjects. Set a daily schedule and stick to it, take practice tests and revise regularly.
  • If you are studying independently, use resources which work for your personal style of learning. Do not swing back and forth between various textbooks and study material.
  • “Approach the process of learning the material conceptually. Do not just read a question without understanding the foundation of the material being asked,” says Srinath. There are plenty of books and resources out there. It is vital to sift through them all and keep up to date with material.
  • Make handwritten notes as you study for a quick revision at a later time.
  • Be familiar with the latest syllabus as minor changes may have taken effect from the previous years.

Practise, practise,

Vivek Gupta, IIT Bombay alumnus and co-founder of Plancess EduSolutions, stresses the importance of taking practice exams. “Giving tests after your preparation is the most important parameter that decides your success at JEE,” he says.

  • Attempt a difficult question at least five times before looking at the solution key.
  • Build a strong foundation of the basic concepts.
  • Go through question banks and previous years’ questions diligently.
  • Have your queries cleared as they come up instead of leaving them for a later time.
  • Stress is normal, but it is important to remain confident in your preparation and continue to work diligently towards your goal.

The coaching dilemma

For those opting to attend a coaching centre or institution, look for one suited to your style of learning. When selecting a coaching academy, it is important to keep in mind questions such as:

  • What is the track record of the centre?
  • Who are the faculty members and what are their qualifications?
  • What is the fee structure like? Is there any refund system?
  • How are the classrooms and seating arrangements?
  • Do they provide quality study material and resources?
  • How are the students’ performances assessed?

Just before the JEE

“In the last few days leading up to the day of the exam, it is important to not cram anything in and focus mainly on revising. Do not start any new topics now,” advises Raghu Srinivasan, a chemical engineering major from IIT Chennai. Look through notes and past years’ question papers to familiarise yourself with the recent content of exams.

Writing the exam

Image Credits: India Tv

Make sure to get enough rest the night before and to have a light, healthy breakfast on the morning of the exam. The night before put together all the things you will need to take to the exam: your JEE Main admit card, ID, writing utensils, a calculator, etc.

Arrive at the testing centre at least 30 minutes prior to the exam. Find a quiet area to relax your mind and stay focused on doing your best. As soon as the exam begins, make sure you read each question carefully. Solve questions you are absolutely sure of first. Next approach the questions which are worth more marks.

Remember there is no partial marking. Manage your time efficiently! Allot time limits to more difficult questions and do not spend more time than you have set. Do not spend too much time on any one question. Move on and come back to it later. Leave yourself time to quickly check your paper and correct mistakes at the end.

Check that all personal details are filled in correctly and then tie/staple the answer sheets and submit your papers.

Securing your place

It is absolutely essential to have top-notch marks in Class XII examinations, as these hold almost 50 percentile weightage in determining who is admitted. After the entrance test, a merit list based on the test results is published. Following that, it is a very straightforward and simple five-step process:
(1) Register at the JEE Advanced website: http://jeeadv.iitd.ac.in/
(2) Pay counselling fees
(3) Submit photocopies of these documents to zonal IITs:
• Filled application form
• Medical examination report
• Photocopy of mark sheet and certificate of passing the qualifying examination
• Foreign nationals are required to send a passport photocopy

(4) Fill in preferred IIT choice
• Done on the basis of your All India Rank
• Course choices filled online are final and cannot be changed later

(5) Counselling and allotment
• Register at the JEE Advanced Counselling Online Portal
• Once registered, you will know what course you have been allotted, if any
• If a course has been allotted, pay a registration fee within the given time period to confirm acceptance, or risk losing the seat
• Provisional admission is given at the end of the registration
• Two rounds of counselling take place. The first is the provisional selection. If vacancies for a choice higher up on your preference list is available at the start of the second round, there is a chance you will be given your second choice

India Today’s Top 10 IIT Coaching Centres

1. Vibrant Academy
2. Resonance
3. Bansal Classes
4. FIITJEE, Delhi
5. Narayana
6. Allen Career Institute
7. Vidya Mandir Classes
8. Aakash Institute
9. IITians PACE
10. Super 30

In conclusion

Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” This is applicable to anyone seeking a place in IIT. While the whole process of getting in is quite a tedious journey, for those who persevere it is definitely a fruitful one. Start with a positive goal in mind and relentlessly pursue the steps to reach your goal, and soon enough, you may be setting foot into an IIT campus. Good luck!


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