JEE mains decoded

Cracking this engineering entrance exam is not unlike approaching an ODI cricket game.

Depending on whether the students have opted for the written mode or the online mode of the examination, hundreds of thousands of students will march towards their designated exam classrooms or exam terminals on April 4, 10 and 11 to appear for the JEE Mains examination.
This is the largest engineering entrance examination in the country, the gateway for admissions into the undergraduate programmes at Indian Institutes of Technology, NITs, IIITs, other centrally-funded institutions, participating institutions in several states and some deemed universities. Ever since the CBSE started this format in the early 2000s — then being known as the AIEEE — the examination has grown from strength to strength in terms of student participation and acceptance from institutions for granting admissions.


Objective type questions in physics, chemistry and mathematics is the format of this three-hour long examination. These three subjects have equal weightage for the examination and therefore students should avoid banking on their “perceived favourite subject” for scoring high marks.
Wide outlook
Keep in mind that this examination is truly a nationally competitive examination. What this means is that even though the students may be targeting a particular institute or group of institutes in their preferred geographical locations, the competition for getting into those very institutions will emerge from locations across India. You may have already taken preparatory steps for cracking this examination from the point of subject preparation and topic coverage within the subject etc, but the differentiator is really going to boil down to just two parameters: the number of questions you are able to attempt within the window of three hours and the number of correct answers you are able to manage within those you attempt. This second parameter is called the hit-ratio. As the cricket World Cup is on, we could analyse this from a cricket lens. While a player definitely needs to be technically sound to play cricket, the real payoff in the shorter version of the game is how well he/team utilises scarce resources such as wickets and number of overs remaining.
A team could technically play out the fifty overs without losing a wicket and post a modest score only to be brutally beaten by the team batting second with its aggressive batting display. At the end of the match the winner is decided by the number of runs scored within the stipulated overs. For translating this learning to academics, and, more specifically, cracking the JEE examination, you need to understand that the test performance depends on several factors.
Spot it
Your ability to spot relatively easy to do questions from all three subjects is crucial. Remember, there will be easy questions even from an area that you have considered as difficult.
Cutting free fast enough from questions that are absorbing your time and another skill. It takes wisdom and courage to skip a question and spend the time thus-freed on other more doable questions.
A general strategy is to come back to some questions you may have spent time on initially, but could not solve at first go. This stems from the logic that since you have invested a precious resource — time — on a question and marked it as doable, it makes sense to revisit this later as this would qualify as a “low-hanging fruit” and needs to be plucked.
To put the above into action, you will need special orientation during the days leading to the examination. Do sign up for a good test-based examination series that will expose you to different levels of the questions and give you enough exam practice.
The writer is the Course Director, IIT-JEE Training Programmes, T.I.M.E.

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