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The IIT Dream: Ways to Make it True

The students who dream or make into IITs can be categorized into two – Some planning at a very early stage and some starting at a much later stage after their first Board/Public exam. The difference may not be pronounced but the early starters have a slight edge over the latter.

IIT JEE Exam

The competition for the elite IITs is considered to be one of the toughest exams in the world. In comparative terms, it is considered tougher than getting into the top “Ivy League” institutions. With the exams becoming a two-stage process instead of one – JEE Main and JEE Advanced, the number of takers  have only increased with better awareness. And larger number of students are willing to be get into these elite IITs.

The alumni success had been well documented and an entry to the IITs is considered to be “THE BEGINNING” of growth and prosperity in one’s professional life.

The craze/urge has been to such an extent that some student start their march towards the objective of getting into IITs as early as 6th standard for an exam to be taken after 12th standard. However, there does not seem to be any data available suggesting that a longer preparation guarantees an entry into the elite. Rather, the real preparation starts once the student is in the last two or three years of schooling i.e. somewhere in 10th or 11th standard.

With so much hype, hoopla and halo created around IITs, there are schools which have sprung up across country cashing on this notion. The students are being made to work so hard that some seem to miss the so called “schooling fun” and are going to schools with the sole objective of their entire Life depending on one/two exams.  As the saying goes, “there is more joy in pursuit than in attainment” but with students starting so early and the “pursuit” being “considerably long”, there does not seem to be much “joy” for the students. The entire purpose of going to school has taken a different dimension with so much pressure on the system and the performance parameters, that the main objective of schooling has taken a back seat.

Marks and performance in the entrance exams have become the attributes for Success.

“The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life—by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past—and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort.” — AYN RAND

Who will make it and how much preparation is required?

The main question that comes to our mind is what it takes to get into the elite institute – IITs and how much one should work.

The 16 IITs have approximately 10,000 seats and admission to it is based on two exams- as mentioned – JEE Main and JEE Advanced.

The 10,000 (or 9,784) students who make to the institute are the one who have been focused, regular and had been “coached/guided”. The exams test students on their understanding and application of concepts through problems, reasoning & assertion based questions. It tests students on their aptitude, analytical, logical and reasoning skills.

Most of the students would start the “real” preparation for an exam a few months or weeks before the exam. However, the preparation for IIT JEE would need to be started much earlier than the other “School based” exam as it is a competitive exam and one is judged relatively. It is not how good you are but how much better are you from the other test takers. The students would not only have to solve the problems but also would need to do it within a time frame. The preparation would also require one to be thorough with all topics and will not have the liberty of skipping a topic unlike “school based exam” in which one can have the choice of skipping when options are given.

The advantage in preparing for the IIT JEE exam would help one to understand the concept better and improve their academic score as well.

Since the exam syllabus is   NCERT of 11th and 12th Standard, one can prepare for the exam starting from the beginning of the 11th or at the end of 10th Standard. The biggest advantage one would have while preparing for the exam is an improvement in their problem solving skills as well the decision making abilities which would stand them in good stead in their professional life as well. As the problems tests a student’s understanding and thinking skills, solving problems would enhance these attributes as well.

Advantages of a training program:

The advantage of a coaching or training program is the structure and discipline that the program builds in. It sets milestones and objectives for the two-year period which had been done by experts and would set the path for one to follow instead of re-inventing/discovering one on their own.

The other advantage is the peer group learning which adds value to one’s preparation and also enhances and broadens one’s perspective of approach to a problem. Since it is a competitive exam, knowing how the other students fare will always push one to perform better. However for a few toppers, they may have to compete with themselves.

With the syllabus for IIT JEE covering both the years of 11th and 12th Standard, one can start preparing for the entrance exam from the beginning of the 11th Standard. However, some of the training institute would cover both the years’ topic in the first year with medium level of difficult problems and would devote the second year in revision and attempting higher/ difficult levels of problems. Hence, it is imperative that students spend a minimum of two years in getting trained. With the syllabus encompassing both years of 11th and 12th and  with myriad  problems to be solved, one year may be not be enough for  “complete” preparation. With test takers increasing, the competition only seems to increase; a single error may make or break an entry into the elite institutes.

The students who make into IITs are the one who have the ability to solve the problems within the given time period and can identify questions which can be attempted correctly so as to clear the cut-off comfortably. The students need not attempt/solve all the problem/question given to get into the elite. Last year there were around 27,152 students who cleared the cut-off for JEE advanced which varied from 42.22% to 17.50 % depending on the category. An interesting data by the Joint implementation committee reveals that the percentage of students getting qualified for JEE advanced and clearing it was more from the self-study mode than the Coaching class mode.

However, the data cannot be taken on the face value as there were no mechanism to check the accuracy of the data.

However it shows that self-effort with proper guidance will make one to get through the entrance exam.

R.Gotham one of our student in Madipakkam had joined us (T.I.M.E Chennai) for the two year program. He was from a CBSE school and had not joined any program in his school years till 10th. He worked only on the material being provided but was diligent enough to work on the questions that were in the book. He may not have solved all the problems but had attempted most of the problems that were given as assignment. With no extra effort or push from the academic fraternity, he was able to make it to IIT Madras in his first attempt for Mechanical. When he joined us after his 10th, he did not seem to have any extraordinary talent. By sheer effort and dedication, he was able to get through the IITJEE exam.

In nutshell, what it requires one to get through the IIT JEE Exam is regular consistent effort and the right guidance apart from perseverance and an attitude and belief that one is good enough to make into IITs. So students who are willing to make effort for two years and are focused on the task, with right guidance can aspire to reap the “DREAM” of getting into the Elite IITs.

Article Courtesy: Mr. Radhakrishnan K, Head of School Marketing, T.I.M.E.Chennai (www.time4education.com)

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