JEE Main score – Is there any correlation with your performance in upcoming JEE Advanced

There is absolutely no weightage of JEE Main score for admission into IITs and hence there is no impact on your chances if you have scored low as long as you have come in top 2 lakhs people who can take JEE Advanced. So focus on your study, prepare hard, and do well on 21st May, the D-Day for you.

My purpose is to find if there is any correlation between the JEE Main score and JEE Advanced. Does the JEE Main score say anything about your possible JEE Advanced score. This is purely based on my experience in dealing with JEE aspirants.

JEE Main and JEE Advanced – The difference

JEE Main and Advanced have different standard of questions and they test your ability in many different areas. JEE Main is relatively easier as far as standard of questions is concerned. In case of JEE Main, the questions can be relatively easier but time is vital. Judicious use of time can make you chances bright while wasting away your time in silly mistakes, deriving formulae, spending too much on one subject and neglecting others can kill your chances.

Moreover JEE Main tests your skill of problem solving. There is very little scope of creativity. Most of the concepts are duly explained in your textbook (Arihant, Cengage, K C Sinha etc.). However, the syllabus is exhaustive. If you have gone through the syllabus and concepts thoroughly, JEE Main can be less stressful.

However, don’t get deceived by the questions of JEE Main that look easier. Most of the students end up making silly mistakes and losing 1 mark. Actually you are losing 5 marks, 1 for wrong answer, 4 as opportunity loss.

Hence JEE Main tests your problem solving, accuracy, and diligence.

On the other hand, JEE Advanced is relatively more difficult. In all the subjects, physics, chemistry, and mathematics, JEE Advanced is tougher. At the same time, the degree of toughness in mathematics is altogether at a different level. I am sure all of you have experienced this. JEE question makers love to combine different concepts in mathematics and roll all of them into one nice difficult question.

Solving JEE Advanced problems not only require your problem solving skills but also presence of mind and use of creativity. Using diagrams, taking cases, putting values, and little bit of insight helps you work through the problems. When I use the word creativity, this doesn’t mean the “smart” way of solving which requires no effort. Creativity comes out of focused practice of problem solving. Hence you cannot avoid problem solving. Lot of “boing” hours of study and practice are spent behind the “smart” exterior.

Your score in JEE Main and its correlation with JEE Advanced

First, if your score is very high and you fall under 250+ bracket, you are already set to get good score in JEE Advanced unless there is big mess up. You have burned midnight oil, worked hard, and deserved your success in JEE Main. All that you have to do now is to revise the concepts, revise the difficult concepts twice, work out some problems which give you hard times, go through all the past JEE Advanced questions, do 10-20 mock test papers available in the market. Arihant and Cengage keep publishing such books.

When the score in JEE Main is below 200, the correlation between the score of JEE Main and JEE Advanced becomes even less. I have seen students scoring 180+ in JEE Main but failed to get selected in JEE Advanced. At the same time, I know few students who barely passed JEE Main but ended up ranks below 5000 in JEE Advanced scoring 150+.

While many students who work with enormous due diligence can get great score by avoiding such mistakes, they cannot use the same diligence in JEE Advanced, may be because of exhaustion or distraction in JEE Advanced. At the same time, many bright students taking questions too lightly end up making mistakes which lowers their score. They take it as lesson learnt and avoid the same mistake in JEE Advanced.

Finally the point here is to convey to students that if your score is good in JEE Main, maintain the same due diligence and hard work for another 3 weeks. Additionally, students who did average or just passed JEE Main, avoid the same mistake in JEE Advanced.

This is not yet the end. Picture abhi baaki hai.

~ Pankaj Priyadarshi


Approach to problem solving in mathematics

While mathematics falls under science, problem solving is an art. Just like in art, you get better and better as you do more; you get better at problem solving as you solve more and more problems. However, you need a structured way to solve problems to make it more effective and internalize the lessons learnt. Here I will list few steps and how students can apply these steps in problem solving for their board, and JEE main & advanced. This is again a very mathematics oriented approach. If this helps in Physics and chemistry, it is well and good.

Draw a diagram whenever possible

Chinese saw it long back when they said, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Is it the reason why mathematics Olympiad is dominated by Chinese students?

This becomes extremely important in coordinate geometry. I have seen reluctance from students from drawing the picture. They find it difficult to draw diagrams. This shouldn’t be so. Take for example, drawing 3 normal lines on a parabola. Students dread this because the normal lines do not look like normal at all. But have you seen the real drawing in your book. Just check. The point from where 3 normal lines are drawn on the parabola is little farther from the vertex. Moreover, out of 3 normal lines, only one is in the same side of the point while 2 are on the other side. If you look carefully and keep these things in mind, drawing is not at all a problem. In fact it will make things quite easy for you. Similar pattern you can find in all the difficult drawings especially in conic section of coordinate geometry.

The same thing can be done in 3D even though drawing 3D is difficult. Draw only the relevant things that are asked. For example, if you have to draw a line on a plane, simply draw two perpendiculars line and assume that you are looking at it from the side view so that the plane looks like a line. This will help you draw.

Identify the purpose of the problem

The purpose of question is to find or prove something. It may be find the value of an expression, value of variable, prove or disprove a hypothesis. While this sounds quite obvious, it doesn’t look so when you see interpretation of problem by many students. It is not that the language is difficult but the span of concentration is low in today’s times where instant gratification is the most desired thing in the world. Read the question carefully and clearly note down what the question is asking.

Note down any information given about the quantities, both known and unknown

Information about any variable helps you set the boundary of your problem solving. If it says that the variable whose value is to be found is positive. You can remove all negative real numbers including 0 out of your options.

Note down the information and inferences that you can draw

Sometimes you have to draw the information by looking at the equations and problems. For example, if an equation of odd degree is given, you can be very sure that all its roots are not imaginary. If there is an equation of even degree with leading positive coefficient and negative last term, you can be sure that there are at least 2 real roots, one positive and one negative.

Give a name to all variables and constants in the problem

Once you have written down the unknown and known quantities, give those names (x, y etc.) which can be readily used in framing the equations and working through formulae.

Then use all related knowledge till you find sufficient equations for unknowns

Finally solve. Use all your knowledge to solve the question. Your goal is to solve the problem and get the right answer. While solving, keep your mind open for any new insight that you can get into the problem. Remember that solving mathematical problems is also a skill that you build by using formulae, processes, methods, and finally insight or intuition. Most of the students confuse this insight with tips and tricks. This insight or intuition comes from solving lot of problems of different types. Keep solving and discovering.

~ Pankaj Priyadarshi

How to approach functional equations problems

A function is the relation between 2 variables. These are important because in most of the situation in life, you find variables. Some are dependent, some are independent. And the relation between them is known as function. For example, y = 5x + 7 is a function. This is an example of explicit function where y is on one side and an expression involving x is on the other side. This is of the form y = f(x).

On the other hand, you have implicit function where the relation between x and y are shown in an indirect way. Some of the implicit functions can be changed to explicit by rearranging the variables while some cannot be changed. For example, x + xy + 2y = 0 is an example of implicit function. If we write the same function in the form of y = -x / (2+x), this becomes explicit. However, functions such as xy = sin y + x2 – y2 cannot be changed into explicit form.

In all these functions, variables are the building blocks.

There are other functions which use functions instead of variables. These are called functional equations. You have come across such functional equations in your 11th/12th while preparing for JEE. These equations are expressed in terms of functions. Some of the most common ones are Cauchy’s functional equations, Jensen’s, and a lot of variants derived out of these. These are the most usual ones you will encounter:

f(x + y) = f(x) + f(y); f(x + y) = f(x).f(y); f(xy) = f(x) + f(y); f(xy) = f(x).f(y). There are more complicated ones a=such as f(x).f(1/x) = f(x) + f(1/x), f((x+y)/2) = (f(x) + f(y))/2 and many more.

You are usually asked to find the function f(x) or the value of the function for a given value of x such as f(2). Here are some of the ways you can approach the problems.

Observation of functional equation

Your syllabus is limited even though it looks like never ending. What is never ending is creativity of JEE question makers which is what makes JEE challenging either by time or by level of difficulty. The function will come from the usual category; these are polynomial with mostly highest degree term with a constant, logarithmic function, exponential, rational, or trigonometric. Looking at the function will give you some insight into the type of function f(x) might be. Some of the questions are dead giveaways and you don’t have to make lot of effort. Some may require more work. For example, sum in the left hand side and product on the right hand side may be a sign of exponential function. You may have to find the multiplication factor and the constant though to get the right answer. These can be found by the additional information given in the question.

Use differentiation by first principle

This “low priority” concept is very useful in functional equation. Using differentiation by first principle gives you the required equation with the term f(x + h). f(x + h) can be used to involve the functional equation given in the question. Using differentiation by first principle shows the relation between the function and its derivative. Once this relation is discovered, you can use integration to find the function.

Use of partial differentiation

The final way is to use partial differentiation. In partial differentiation, either x or y is taken as constant and the whole functional equation is differentiated with respect to the other variable. This means if x is taken as constant, differentiate with respect to y or vice versa. Once this is done, replace one of the variables with a constant. The value of constant depends on the question. If the question doesn’t specifically mentions it, some experiment with 0, 1, -1 etc. should give you enough hint. Once this is done, you get an equation involving function and its derivative. Now use integration to get the right function.

Functional equations can be as difficult and as easy. The scope of variation is humongous and so are the ways of finding the solutions. Many functional equations may still require more work but for your level, these should be enough. You may have to combine these concepts with “theory of equations” concepts in difficult cases though.

~ Pankaj Priyadarshi

Can one crack JEE (Advanced) by starting serious study in 12th

So you just saw your 11th class test and got depressed and went to Facebook & WhatsApp to release your tension and hey they are all discussing the class tests there too and 90%+ marks in almost all the subjects. You even saw your close friend getting 99% mathematics. Now this kills. 99%… did the examiner make some mistake? The social media looks like full of anti-social elements securing high marks and bringing social disharmony. Remember the movie “3 Idiots”. If your friend fails, you feel sad. If he tops the class, you feel sadder. Human nature…

But let’s get serious. Despite all your temporary defeatist thoughts, you cherish a desire to get back to study and be serious this time. There is just one year left and you have to take Board, JEE Main, Advanced, NEET, BITSAT, and may be SAT if you want to study abroad.

So here is the question most of the students, who spent more time in youthful venture than on the table studying for their career, ask. Did they already miss the bus or can they still jump in the race to crack some of the toughest entrance tests in India. Let me answer this with my experience.

The answer will largely depend on two factors:

  1. Your comfort with the 11th syllabus
  2. Your willingness to focus in class 12th

First, a little about the syllabus In JEE Advanced, almost 60% of the questions come from class 12th. Hence the proportion of 12th is higher. However, questions from chapters of 11th such as permutations and combinations, complex numbers, theory of equations or quadratic equation, probability, and coordinate geometry almost always appear in the test. These are favorite topics of question paper makers from 11th syllabus. Hence ignoring 11th is not an option at all if you want to succeed in JEE Advanced.

Now let’s answer your question:

Your comfort level with 11th syllabus

As mentioned above, look at the complete syllabus of 11th. Select the topics which you haven’t done well. Topics mentioned above are pretty vast in scope. If you have left all difficult topics then you have to work extremely hard and long hours to understand them. Moreover, there is no one to help you as your school will teach you class 12th. You may ask your coaches to revise these topics. But remember that you have to put lot of efforts. This becomes even more important since you have to also study class 12th syllabus.

Your willingness to focus

Since a full year is wasted, you have to ensure that you will spend twice the amount of time than your friends. The syllabus of 12th itself is very comprehensive. Calculus takes major part of 12th syllabus. Topics such as application of derivatives, indefinite and definite integration, differential equation and its applications are huge chapters. Moreover, 3D and Vectors are other areas where students face problems. 3D requires visualizing the shapes and curves in 3 dimensions which is difficult to draw on paper.

How much hours of study is required

Double of what you would do otherwise. Realistically, studying on your own at least 4-6 hours a day should be good enough. Add to this your school and coaching hours which is about 8-10 hrs. This is a ballpark estimate. You have to decide for yourself depending upon your level of knowledge and size of your ambition.

Finally, remember that this one year of effort can make your life much easier. You will have lot more time to do what you want to do now apart from study. IIT campuses are fun places with little bit of before-exam study hours unless of course you want to change the world with your engineering skills.

~ Pankaj Priyadarshi

How to analyse your mock tests for JEE Advanced

Now is the time to practice mock tests for the upcoming JEE Advanced. Take at least 2 full tests (of 2 papers each) in a week. Since you have about 5 weeks, you should be able to complete 5 sets, i.e. 10 mock test papers of 3 hours duration. You should take the tests in a very similar environment and practice all that will actually happen in your test centre. Here are some important things to consider when you take mock tests.

  1. Follow the timeline strictly. Don’t give excuse that I was doing something in between the test for 30 minutes so I will take extra 30 minutes at the end of 3 hrs to compensate for it. Never do it. You are not given this option in actual test. Adhere to timeline.
  2. If you forget a formula, don’t rush to open your book and check. This is again an option not given in the actual test. Try to remember if you are keen to solve the problem or derive it though I will not suggest deriving it unless it is easier to derive. Derivation in actual test kills enormous amount of time.
  3. Do not dilly dally with things on your table such as playing with pen, checking your smart phone, attending calls etc? Switch off your gadgets and cut off from the world for 3 hrs. It is not going to change in 3 hrs, I assure you.
  4. Do not leave a test in between. Do not get frustrated by a few questions and skip the test thinking that I will take the next test. Work through the test for 3 hrs and then close.
  5. Use the OMR sheets. There are plenty available in the market. Darken the right answer and don’t change if you have done it by mistake. Get it right the first time.


How to analyse your test

Once you have taken the test, you have to analyse your performance. Here is what you should do to make your analysis more effective and hence more helpful. Divide the questions into 3 categories; “Right”, “Wrong”, and ‘Not attempted”.

For right questions, you don’t need to worry. They are right because you know how to solve such questions and have command over the topics related to them.

Analysis of “Wrong” questions

For wrong questions, note down why they are wrong. Since you attempted to those questions, there must be reason why you couldn’t solve it. The reasons could be one of the following:

  1. You made silly mistake. By the way, these silly mistakes are not silly. They cost you a fortune and make or break your chances to IIT. Avoid silly mistakes like plague. Most of the students do not take these silly mistakes seriously but that is what makes the difference. Once again, “avoid silly mistakes”. Write this on a paper, paste it in your study room and follow it. Remember that one silly mistake costs you 5 marks. This means you lost 4 marks which you could have scored by avoiding the silly mistake and you lost 1 mark for wrong answer.
  2. You did not know how to proceed after a certain point. Where you got stuck? Fine out precisely what you did not know. For example, while solving probability, did you confuse between conditional probability and Bayes’ theorem? Did you misunderstand point of inflection in calculus? Asking these questions will point precisely where your weak area lies. Note down these areas and focus on them. Look at these points in the same day. Do not postpone.

Analysis of “not attempted” questions

For “not attempted” question, you should ask yourself why you did not attempt the question. The reasons will be limited. You may not have known the concept behind the problem. You may know how to proceed but couldn’t recall a formula that was supposed to be used. Note down these points and work to improve.

~ Pankaj Priyadarshi

How to use the 40 days between JEE Main and Advanced, 2017

JEE Main is over now. Even the cribbing about the lengthy mathematics questions and spending excessive time on it without any concomitant fruitful result should be over by now. If you have guessed your marks in JEE Main fairly well and if it is greater than 100, it’s time to focus on the mother of all competition, i.e. the JEE Advanced. If your guess is below 100, you still have to do it because you never know what can be the cut-off and you may get lucky. If you have faced the problem of lengthy and time consuming mathematical problems, most probably all the aspirants faced the same. So don’t lose heart. You got 40 days and these must be used for revision, going through formulae, going through the past JEE Advanced questions once again, working through challenging & tricky concepts, and fixing the small gaps that you have in important chapters. I will mainly talk about mathematics. How can you IIT aspirants use these 40 days for most effective revision.

First of all you should categorize the topics of JEE Advanced based in your competence. Look at the list of topics in JEE Advanced. Against each topic, mark your competence; excellent, average, poor.

Topics of your highest expertise

For the topics where you have excellent competence, revise them completely once again. Look through all the concepts, work through tricky areas, and solve few questions from each topic. Since you have competence in the topic, this should not take much time. These are the ones that would get you through JEE Advanced.

Topics of your average expertise

For topics where your performance seems to be average, list the sub-topics (topics under the topic) which give hard time. Usually, there are few sub-topics which create problems and shake your confidence in the whole chapter. For example, distribution could be a sub-topic under permutations and combinations which you may not be comfortable with. Similarly, functional equations could be a sub-topic under “relations and functions” which is giving you sleepless nights. Work on those topics. Go through at least 20-30 solved examples of each topic, look at the approach of the problem solving. Look at different approaches applied to different conditions.

For example, many functional equations can be solved using partial differentiation and substituting a constant value for one of the two variables, x and y. While partial differentiation may scare you, it is not very difficult to master. Few of the problems can be solved using the differentiation by first principle.

Similarly, you may have problem in geometric interpretation of complex numbers. Look at the types of questions asked in this area. The questions are not asking you to solve Coordinate geometry using complex numbers. What you need to do is to understand the equations representing ellipse, circle, angle bisectors etc. and learn the use of these equations in solving questions which mainly ask for maximum/minimum values, locus etc.

Remember that gaining competence on your average topics requires you to focus on the sub-topics which make you average. A focused effort of 5-6 hours on a sub-topic can make huge difference to your understanding. These are the areas which will make you attempt more questions.

Topics with little or no expertise

Your response to these topics depends on how much time you have. Spending too much time on your poor topics can eat into the precious time you have before JEE Advanced. I would suggest, if you are going to spend too much time on your poor topic, you can very well ignore it because JEE Advanced is not something you can sail through by last minute preparation. I assume that you do not have more than 10% of “important” syllabus under poor topic category.

Finally solve as many test papers and analyse

Try solving as many test papers as possible in the same JEE Advanced pattern. Try to take at least 2 full tests, i.e. 4 papers (each test has 2 papers of 3 Hrs duration each) in a week. Create the test environment at home and do the problems. Fix the time 3 Hrs and stop when the time is over. Check your answer and evaluate. Now the analysis part comes. In the next article, I will discuss how to analyse your performance in mock tests. The analysis is the most crucial part of your mock test exercises.

Pankaj Priyadarshi

How to prepare for English and Logical Reasoning for BITSAT


Weren’t Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics enough difficult for BITSAT, then why did they had to add English and logical reasoning to it. Frankly speaking, it was not required but who wants frank opinion now a days.

So now that this is there in the BITSAT test paper, let’s see how you can prepare for it so that you do not lose out because of this silly language which gets too much importance in our country. To be fair, English language does have its own advantage in science and engineering but making it a criteria for admission in one of the top engineering colleges is taking things little far.

The first and foremost thing is not to be scared by it. Do not think that you are at a disadvantage compared to city cool dudes. The grammar part is equally good or bad. Even if there is slight advantage, you can overcome it in no time.

Second, do not spend much time on it. You can start preparing for English and logical reasoning just 3-4 months before the actual BITSAT test. 4 months is more than sufficient to prepare for English and Logical Reasoning part of BITSAT. Spend about an hour or two depending on your current level of English.

The best way to prepare is to solve previous year questions and improve your vocabulary. Most of the words used in the test will be known to you in a vague way but you should know the exact meaning of the word. For this, spend some time in reading the newspaper daily. Read the editorial everyday with underlining words whose meaning you are not clear with. Then look at the meaning in a dictionary. Connect the meaning in the given context or sentence. This whole exercise will take less than 30 minutes.

Pay special attention to phrases most commonly used. You should also know the uses of “who & whom”, “in and into”, “which versus that” etc. Understand the singular and plural uses especially of the nouns which have “s” in the end. There are many quirks in English language which can drive you crazy in the beginning, especially students who did not give much attention to the grammar part of the language. All these may sound difficult in the beginning but once you do few sentences and use them, they will be easy to handle.

As far as logical reasoning is concerned, it is mathematics in the most primitive form. Finding the pattern in pictures, spotting the missing number, Venn diagram and pictorial representation of sets, relationship questions etc. are common. The only way to gain expertise is by doing them. These are like puzzles which you used to solve when you were children. The standard is similar but the time is short which makes it difficult.

Finally, buy a good book on BITSAT. Arihant’s or Disha’s books are good enough. As far as preparing for PCM is concerned, you have anyway prepared for JEE mains and advanced and that is more than sufficient for BITSAT.

Pankaj Priyadarshi

JEE Main – Online versus Offline

Since JEE has started both online and offline version of the test, students have been facing the big question. Which should they choose? This is not an easy decision. The doubt lingers whether one gets selected for IITs and top schools or not. If the student clears, the common doubt is whether he or she should have scored a better rank in the other version. If one is not selected then there is more doubt on whether the other version would have been a better decision. Let’s look at both the systems and discuss pros and cons.

OFFLINE TEST: Advantages

Familiarity: All of us are familiar with this test pattern. You are given a question paper, you go through it, select what is easier and start solving them first and then try the moderately difficult ones and then at the end, the hardest one. We are fed on this diet since our childhood.

Look and feel: Despite the widespread use of laptop, computers, tablets, and pads, we still feel more comfortable with paper. Paper doesn’t strain your eyes. It is easier, connects with your mind faster, and conveys the meaning without any nuisance such as glare of screen, time ticker, and myriad other images and icons.

Comprehensive view of the paper: You get to see all the questions at once which gives you a way to plan your time accordingly. You can select the easiest ones to start with and gain confidence and composure. The psychological part is also very important in any competitive examination.

Play with pictures on the paper: If you are given a diagram to work with in a question, you can simply put additional information in the same diagram. In case of online tests, you have to redraw the diagram and then put the additional information. Hence offline tests save time.

ONLINE TEST: Disadvantages

The only disadvantage I see is availability of papers for rough work. You have to do all your calculations in the question paper itself with whatever space JEE organizers relented to leave for you. The other one is filling the circles for your answer. This is time consuming and worse is that you can’t even change your answer if you wrongly fill another circle.

Now let’s look at online test in details.

ONLINE TEST: Advantages

More time for preparation: 1 week is the time lag between offline and online test. There is absolutely no reason to give this extra week. Only JEE organizers can tell you the reason for this. But the reality is that online test takers get one extra week.

Learn from the mistakes of your offline peers: This may sound unimportant or even trivial but it does help to know what to avoid in the actual test. For example, in JEE Mains 2017, mathematics was lengthy. Students who started with mathematics and did not keep track of time, lost on marks. The lesson learnt was that you restrict your time for each subject.

Availability of rough papers: This is where online test scores big time over offline. Plenty of rough papers are available for calculations and diagram. You don’t have to struggle between the texts to do your calculation as in the case of offline test.

Option to change answer: If you want to change your answer, just go to the question on the screen and select other answer. This is huge advantage over offline

ONLINE TEST: Disadvantages

Unfamiliarity is a big disadvantage. We tend to use screens for entertainment purpose mostly, like for light reading, chatting, looking for information etc. But looking at a question on the screen and solving it on the paper is not very user friendly. You have to move your head up and down and oscillate between question and your calculations.

Though there are pros and cons of both the systems, students should choose what suits their habit or comfort. However, when in doubt, go for paper test.

~ Pankaj Priyadarshi