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

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