Who says there is some rocket science to it?
IITs – the most prestigious Indian institutes; sometimes compared to the Harvards and MITs of the world. Their entrance exam considered one of the hardest entrance exams at undergrad level in the world. But is it really that hard to get into them. No doubt, number of students applying is much more than the available seats but how many of them are serious applicants. And, ultimately it is simple Math, Physics and Chemistry with some little tweaks thrown here and there.
There is no substitute for better understanding of concepts. Entrance exams like JEE test you on your understanding rather than how well you have mugged up and it is important for you to not just be a book worm. In everything you learn – art, sports or education – after an initial guidance you need to apply your own brain to create new things to succeed but in studies students tend to forget this very basic rule of creativity. They tend to neglect that academics is also an art and to succeed they need to first build upon their fundamentals. In case the foundation is not strong, the building is bound to fall. And this is the reason behind most criticism of coaching classes – a coaching can help you to streamline your studies but ultimately it is a student himself who needs to understand that spoon-feeding is not the thing for which he is in the coaching. Getting completely dependent on the coaching class and not applying your brains may jeopardize the chances of getting through such exams. Innovation is the key to success and being a zombie may bring you success once or twice but finally, you are bound to fail.
Practice is important for good performance. Everyone knows that practice is the best way to become perfect. What might be a little more helpful is the understanding of “how” to practice. What constitutes “smart practice”? This is the kind of practice that separates the achievers from non-achievers. You need to first understand better and practice what you have learnt in a proper way. Just practicing won’t help but learning from what you are practicing will help. Some students try to solve hundreds of questions without really giving thought about what really is happening – if they don’t know some solution they will simply copy the solution rather than trying to understand why is it being done like that. While there are some who will do limited number of selected questions but make sure they understand each underlying principle of the questions. Even if they do not know an answer they won’t copy an answer but try to redo the question trying to replicate the answer until they get it right on their own. The second approach could be more time consuming when you consider the ratio of question done per hour of study but the ratio of knowledge gained to number of questions in this second approach will be much higher and is much more valuable.
You need to be highly motivated before you can invest large amount of time in the preparation and be concentrated for the same. Peer pressure could have probably made you take up the path which you took but if you are not motivated enough no matter how much time you put in, there will always be something lacking in you. It is important for parents to understand this and help their child grow rather than pushing them unnecessarily for something for which their child has no interest. Motivation or passion is something which comes from inside and without that it is hard for someone to put his heart into something. It can be cultivated by telling a student about the pros and cons, but it definitely cannot be forced upon someone.
Master coaching doesn’t necessarily mean we are advertising a coaching class here – it could be a book you refer to, a correspondence course you study from, a teacher whom you look up to or maybe even a test series. The point to note here is that everyone needs feedback and guidance from someone or something that can help him to plan his progress accordingly. A teacher with his vast experience can help you in deciding what course of action you should take. A book can help you understand what you could have done differently. Systematic and expert advice will make the task of a student easier helping him follow his dreams in a much efficient manner.
On the closing notes – entrance exams or JEE for that matter is no rocket science and following these basic principles can help you achieve a lot. Truth is that any great skill or any exam in the life can be cracked by virtually anyone who is willing to sincerely and passionately make the necessary commitment to its development. It is all in your brain and heart and you just need to rediscover yourself to succeed. After all the others who get selected are also human beings.