JEE Advanced differs from the JEE Main and other Engineering entrance exams both in terms of approach and technicalities. In JEE Main, the questions are based on broader concepts whereas in JEE Advanced, there are intricate sub-concepts that constitute a given problem. Every element of those sub-concepts is important to arrive at the solution. Essentially, every problem in JEE Advanced requires a stepwise solution to several constituent problems. Moreover, the same question can be asked in different ways. And in JEE Advanced, many a times, to solve a problem, the candidate must rely on the process of elimination – i.e.to arrive at the right answer, one must eliminate the wrong options.
There are single or multiple-choice questions, passage-based questions, integer-type, matrix-matching questions etc. To cover the exhaustive content and for in-depth testing of the concepts, there are 2 papers for each subject in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics (PCM) group.
Owing to the range of content to be mastered, even the top scorers cannot always cover 100% of the topics in 2 years. I feel, one may achieve a certain degree of comfort in 80% of it, at most. To secure a rank, at least 60% of the concepts should be studied in-depth. To get a rank within 2000, at least 35-40% of these topics must be mastered with accuracy.
JEE Main serves as the qualifying exam for JEE Advanced. Out of 10 lakh applicants appearing for JEE Main, around 2 lakh children qualify to write the JEE Advanced. Naturally, the competition gets much stiffer in JEE Advanced, because children who qualify to take it have already mastered the basics and are now being tested for much more nuanced understanding of the concepts. As a result of the exhaustive testing, creme de la creme reach the top colleges and when these children with comparable calibre come together, they inspire each other and share the space to innovate.
Owing to the stiff competition, every single mark matter in JEE Advanced. Moreover, the presence of negative marking makes accuracy a key factor for determining success. It goes without saying that time management skills and accuracy should be mastered.
The practice of self-assessment and analysis must be learnt by children. Apart from the weekly and monthly tests, they should pick up random problems and questions from each topic and self-assess how fast and accurately can they solve them to evaluate where they stand. According to their evaluation, they should approach the teacher and bridge the learning gaps.
The habit of practising concepts by writing notes every day is another key skill. The quality of time spent studying is highly significant. Taking timely breaks and studying helps today’s children. It is always quality over quantity! In 34 years of my teaching career, I have found that the toppers have a comparable degree of determination, dedication, patience and concentration.