So, the biggest exam of your life is just (just in case definition) few days away! Don’t panic and don’t pretend that it will go away – it won’t ! If you’re planned and focussed, you won’t find JEE Mains to be the nightmare you fear. It’s been long since you started preparing, so now it’s time (race against time phrase meaning) to give attention to the nitty gritties.
Don’t forget that a smart set of paper-setters have their methods, even under the strict format of objective questions, to distinguish between a ‘thinking and analytical’ student and a ‘memory oriented accepting’ student.
JEE Mains is not a ‘last minute preparation exam’. Do not expect miracles. JEE Mains is not a memory based exam. Last-minute ‘cramming’ will not be useful.
It does not matter ‘how much’ you have studied – what matters is ‘how well’ and what you have studied. In simple words, rather than trying to complete 100 per cent of the syllabus by doing a bit of each topic, it will be more fruitful if you focus on only 60-65 per cent of the syllabus and do it thoroughly.
The pattern of the IIT-JEE has undergone a radical change this year. The exact pattern is still unclear. Don’t let this bother you. Remember , the uncertainty does not affect only you – it affects everybody.
Even though the pattern has changed, the basic philosophy hasn’t – the JEE Mains will still be a test of your fundamentals, and their application.
Here are a few tips which will help you plan your studies
1. Find a nice place to study. It must be quiet, well lit and without distractions. Keep background noises to the minimum.
2. Prepare a study plan timetable, and it can make all the difference over the next four weeks. Constantly monitor your progress. Here’s how you can make a to-the-point time table.
3. a) Make a list of the topics and divide them into three different categories – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. The Good – topics that you think you are good at – these are your strengths, which you need to consolidate. The Bad – topics that you are not so comfortable with, but with additional effort can be mastered – these are weaknesses that you need to work on. The Ugly – topics which are ‘greek or latin’ – these are your blind spots which you are going to ignore for the exam.
b) Calculate the time you can put in per day. (Don’t go overboard by doing it 18 hours a day – you need your sleep).
c) Divide your time across the various topics, focusing on The Good and The Bad. Aim for a balance. Use the syllabuses for each subject as a starting point. Look at what you need to know and try to identify any gaps in your knowledge. (A good way of doing this is to look at the results of past papers or tests you have worked through).
d) Prepare a schedule for the topics that you are going to cover each day, so that you have a daily target. You may find it helpful to change from one subject to another at ‘break’time. It helps to build in some variety.
e) Aim to have your revision completed by a week before your exams. This gives you: flexibility in case of illness more time to spend for difficulties time to practice mock tests.
4. Trust yourself. Once you know a topic thoroughly, move on. Don’t get panicky if you come across questions that you cannot solve and keep going back to the topics that you have already finished.
5. How to study: There is no ‘right way’ to revise, as long as your method enables you to gain a solid grasp of key facts and consolidate your knowledge. Study with a friend and test each other’s knowledge, but revise rather than chat!
a) Practice – This is the most important part. Unless you allocate sufficient time to practicing problems, all your effort will go waste. IIT-JEE is now an objective exam, and unless you have sufficient practice, you will not be able to achieve a proper balance between speed and accuracy. While revising a subject, practice in an environment that you would be giving your exam in. This would be an actual simulation of the examination itself.
b) Choose your study material sensibly. Do not fall into the trap of collecting lots of different books. Remember – you have limited time. Save it and get recommendations from your teachers.
6. Relaxation is also important. You must achieve a balance between this and work to make your revision really effective. Allow yourself some fun-time each day to relax. Eat sensibly – your brain cells need energy to function well. Make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated. Dehydration makes you tired and reduces concentration. Maintain a regular sleep pattern, seven hours of sleep is mandatory for the body to function well. It is not important whether you study late or get up early, as long as you get into the habit of being alert at the same time as that of the exam. Try and stop working an hour before bedtime. You will find it helpful to do some muscular relaxation, which is particularly effective in relieving stress.
7. Don’t panic. Think about what you can achieve, not what you can’t. Positive thinking is important! Keep the exam in context – even if you do badly, there will be other options.
8. Above all – Do what you can. Don’t think that there’s no point. You can still make a difference. Use your last minute panic constructively. You probably know more than you realise. If you are anxious, don’t bottle it up. Please have a word with your parents, friends or teachers.
9. Time out: To prevent mental fatigue, take (take with a grain of salt idiom synonym) a short break as soon as you notice your mind is losing concentration. Stick to activities that do not break your study continuum. Avoid television and loud music.