Finding a Summer Research Internship

Summer Research internship is not just about quality research projects.When your work takes you to places, one can experience new culture and cuisine. Further, travelling brings newer dimensions in you.

I would like to emphasize on the fact that it is better to have some research experience before applying to some summer research internship abroad. If you haven’t found one, just get associated with a professor. This gives you an edge to sort out the various universities or labs and also save time in writing the e-mails as you don’t have to change the content according to the research interest of the professors which most people do. Further, I believe it is worth your time to go abroad if you are really motivated and passionate. Trust me, if you have some research experience, then you can find an acceptance in a lab.  However, funding is the most important factor when it comes to an undergraduate internship.

If you are a junior undergraduate, there are several scholarship programs like DAAD, Charpak Research Intern, MITACS Global Link, NTU-India Connect, Khorana, etc. One can look for other scholarship programmes at https://www.wemakescholars.com/blog/top-20-foreign-internships-for-indian-students/ .These programs usually demand the applicants to have good academic performance, say above 8.50/10.0. Also, students from premiere institutes are at an advantage in these programmes. Further, in many of these internship programmes, there are two level of selection committees, primary selection in India and then the country of research. A lot of other factors like statement of purpose also play a crucial role. However, the two most important factors are GPA and your department rank. Students in top 10% of their department and from a premiere institute demonstrating strong academic performance, but without a research background often get through. Let’s say the case of Germany, usually labs don’t sponsor the internships, although I know exceptions as well. The entire funding is from DAAD. However, if you are passionate about research and don’t meet the eligibility criteria, should you stop your internship dreams? Hence, I will mention about finding labs and interning abroad without going through the scholarship application process, but with funding.

1.Minimum Wage

The first thing to look out is the countries that have a minimum wage payment. France has a minimum wage of €546.01 (I received this amount although I read it to be around €554 before applying) per month for internships lasting between 2 to 6 months. However, there are some labs that pay for your accommodation as well. Some labs also pay you less than this or some may not pay you at all. So, just ensure beforehand. According to Belgian legislation internships must be paid, when not part of an education curriculum. The minimum wage is €751 net per month (for interns of 21 years and older; this includes possible grants). Look out for educational institutions in Australia and Luxembourg as these countries have the highest per hour rates. Further, there are several Australian Universities in the top 100 rankings in both Shanghai and QS World Rankings. Ireland has a minimum wage rate of €9.55 per hour. Ireland is a major hub of medical technology and one can approach professors in some famous colleges like Trinity College, Dublin.

2. Don’t ignore smaller universities

Bigger labs and universities often have insufficient funds for internships. So, never hesitate about finding professors in other universities. One can find reputed professors in many lower ranked US universities. From my point of view, it’s better to pursue a project under a guide/mentor willing to help you in publication, who frequently addresses your queries and can write a letter of recommendation for you. If you can come up with a research paper from a 3 months internship, this will be a big achievement. Often interns are left to explore topics from scratch and this takes a lot of weeks before you actually begin a work. Sometimes, interns are hired to validate the experimental results. Sometimes, interns are supposed to assist postgraduates. Hence, be selective about the nature of the work that suits you.

Things to look out before selecting an internship.

  1. Professor/Mentor: Your core field of interest and the professor’s interest must have a match. Look out for some his/her latest publiations. One can ask the professor to have a skype chat or interview before finally selecting him. Use Google Citations index to find out about the number of citations and other details about the professor. This actually works.
  2. University Reputation: Never ever shy to apply to the top universities or professors even if you don’t have a stellar profile. You will learn about the research activities which are going in the top notch fields of your interest. Further, this will help you mail professors or sort out universities during MS or Ph.D. application. But remember that your project and the outcome matters more than the reputation when it comes to an internship. So, don’t be merely blinded by the brand although it helps to build good network. All I can say is try. This was a mistake I commited as I had applied to only 18 labs mostly in France and Australia and got acceptance in 2.
  3. Pursue if you see a faint hope: If you get an acceptance, then don’t stop until the administrative process is over. If you are going abroad without a scholarship, be mentally tough to complete the official procedures well in time. All I can say is ‘Don’t stop till you see through!!!’

Find out the effective way to write an e-mail to a professor for a summer research internship in my next post.

 

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Essential Documents for a summer internship in France

MHRD, Government of India has now made it mandatory to pursue at least 3 internships for receiving a degree. An internship not only makes you industry ready or gives you the requisite experience to thrive in your career. I had an opportunity to undergo a research experience at Biomechanics and Bioengineering Lab, CNRS at Compiegne, France at the end of my junior undergraduate.

The French education system, unlike the British or US education system, is a bit complicated. Language may be a barrier when it comes to finding a lab. However, I have already discussed in my previous article to find a host lab for research in France. Getting funds is a major concern when it comes to international research internships. There are several programmes by the governments like SN Bose, Khorana, DAAD or Charpak Research Internship Programs that sponsor your visit to a lab. However, not everyone is lucky to get through this process. But that doesn’t mean it is the end to your destination. The labour in France guarantees you a monthly salary up to 550 Euros if your period of research exceeds 2 months. I am one of those who didn’t get through DAAD or MITACS, but decided to search for labs in countries with such labour laws. Trust me at 546 Euros/month for a period of 86 days of research internship, it covered thoroughly my airfare, VISA and stay. If you are lucky enough to get a cheap furnished housing, then it may cover your expenses on food as well. However, one must start the entire process very early.

  1. Letter of Acceptance: This is very important and it should clearly mention your guides, duration of the internship, the stipend and probably the topic of research.
  2. Convention de Stage: This is the detailed contract which clarifies the minimum number of hours of work, the agreement between the host laboratory, the student and the home institute of the student. This is a must required document for students who are recipients of ‘Charpak Scholarship’ to get the VISA. However, ‘Letter of Acceptance’ is enough to get a VISA if you are not lucky enough with the Charpak Research Internship Program. Moreover, some labs require you to send the documents by post as hard copy, while some labs are fine with sending them scanned copies by e-mail. One must ask them at least 2 months before the start of the internship. The entire process takes at least one month or may be longer. This is also essential to get the badge to access facilities of the lab after you reach in France.
  3. Housing: One can find the accommodation in CROUS. However, it calls for a security. One can apply to Cle asking the state to be a guaranteer. Sometimes, the professors are kind enough to act as a guarantee. As I browsed the accommodation options, I found that the CROUS student residence was priced at 249.00 Euros/month for a single bedroom (chambre) of 9 square metre and attached toilet facilities. However, the kitchen was shared and had no culinary sets. So, I decided to go with the privately shared flats in apartments. The rent was 205.00 Euros and the maximum amount for the services was 62.00 Euros/month. However, it was fully furnished with facilities for washing machine, utensils, coffee machine, induction cooker and microwave. Cooking can save some cents and this widens your budget to explore France and neighbouring countries. One can look for Lokaviz website, or websites of  the host university. They have international student counsellor to help with housing. Proof of accommodation is essential to obtain VISA.
  4. Bank Account: Some labs require to open a French Bank Acccount to transfer the stipend while some labs are comfortable transferring amounts directly to your Indian Bank account through SWIFT code. Look out for collaborations between the banks and universities. I got 25 Euros as starting balance and a monthly deduction of 0.20 Euros on opening a bank account with ‘Societe Generale’. They issued me a ‘Carte Blueue’. It was a VISA JAZZ card, which can act as both credit and debit card and also it has additional functionalities like automatic toll fee payments, although it is not a concern with you.
  5. Mobile Number: It will be my humble request not to take Matrix Sim Cards. It didn’t work for me and had connectivity issues. However, the most important reason is the plans are expensive and you can always find much cheaper plans. I got ‘Orange’ SIM card. However, it was expensive at the sim cost 10.00 Euros/month and the call rates were unlimited local calls at 10.00 Euros/month and 3 GB data plans for 10 Euros/month. However, I realised later that one can get cheaper plans with SFR or Bouygues Telecom or some local telecom companies. As far as my knowledge goes, Bouygues Telecom can cost half as much as Orange and it provides international unlimited calls to some countries, although I am not sure about India.
  6. Clothes: South France is warmer throughout the year, but North France can be cold in May. June and July are hotter months with mercury touching over 25°C on some days. The days are longer than in most parts of India with daylight ranging from 16 to 17 hours during summer. However, the nights are colder with the temperature dropping down to below 10°C. I have travelled in regions around Paris and Lille and the temperature can reach below 5°C during the night in summer. So, if your host lab is in Northern France, do carry one light blanket, one jacket and rest clothes of your choice. Please don’t stuff with too many winter garments like me because most part of the day has sunshine.
  7. Food: Stuff yourself with Indian snacks and food. You will find mostly packaged food here. Having a good culinary skill can be a delightful experience for you. However, France is famous for its cuisines. One can find meals (repas) in the university canteens which range from 2.60 Euros to 3.25 Euros. Do look out for free coupons against your BUTC and CROUS number. One can find these numbers on one’s badge given by the lab.
  8. FOREX Card and International Debit Cards: I would suggest to go with Forex Cards as you don’t have to bother about the continuously varying exchange rates. Further, you can reload them at any time you want. I carried a Forex Card by Thomas Cook and I got really decent exchange rate of 70.8 rupees=1 Euro. This was just 0.70 rupees more than the market value.
  9. Money Transfer to India: Transferwise is probably the best money transfer option to India from your French Bank Account. The exchange rates are very competitive and they provide transfer at the current exchange rates. Further, you can avail transfers without paying any extra cost.
  10. Money Transfer from India: If you have a Forex Card or International Debit Card, then you don’t have to worry much. International Debit Card is an hassle-free option. However, transfer to Forex Card Account may need a person in India to visit the nearest Forex Card issuing agency. I didn’t go with PayPal as it had higher transaction costs. If you are carrying cash and none of the above two cards, do carry extra cash as the transfer from Indian Bank Acccount to Foreign Bank Account may take some time. Transactions using cards are usually faster.

I have shared about the transportation in France and effective way to travel in France and neighbouring countries during the weekends.

Coming up with my new posts…

  1. Cell Banks
  2. How close are we to the Iron Man?
  3. AutoHeal like Wolverine: Deciphering the self-healing property technology
  4. Finding an Internship in France
  5. Finding a summer research internship abroad
  6. Finding an accommodation in France for Internship
  7. Coming to Compiegne for an internship
  8. The South v/s North France
  9. Pugeyeut and Renault and no Volkswagen
  10. The Heineken Experience: From a Teetotaler’s perspective
  11. Documents to check before coming for an internship in France
  12. Prosthetics Market in India
  13. Stent Price Cap and It’s Effect on Indian Medtech Economy
  14. The New Generation of Stent Research
  15. Why are there so many Africans in France
  16. The Doorways of Europe
  17. Telemedicine
  18. Artificial Ventilation in Neonatology

 

Career Options after 12th Science PCM except Engineering

Engineering Colleges have been springing up like wild mushrooms in India in the last one decade. The number of colleges has gone up from around 1500 in 2006-7 to over 3500 in 2016-17. So, the statistic is the testimony to the fact that a large number of students join engineering streams after Class XII/Intermediate. I feel that many students join engineering due to the lack of insight into vast multitudes of career opportunities except engineering or medical. Well, I will jot down the various career options after 12th Science PCM except engineering, with synoptic overviews. I would refrain from all technology and applied sciences related branches.

Basically, I would classify the choices into 2 groups:

  1. Streams for which PCM has significance
  2. Open Streams
  3. Streams for which PCM is important

The following career choices demand students with PCM background.

  1. Pure Sciences Streams
  2. B.Sc: Bachelor of Science is a 3-year program with honours in one of the subjects, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Geology, Economics, Physical Science or Forensic Science. There are several state run universities and colleges which intake students based on the marks secured in the class 12 board exams. Some reputed universities like Banaras Hindu University conduct their own entrance exams and the admission is solely based on ranks. Some colleges also offer Bachelor of Arts (Economics Honours).
  3. Integrated B.Sc.+M.Sc. or B.S.+M.S.: NISER and the 7 IISERs are reputed national research institutes. NEST is a compulsory test for admission into 5 years integrated M.Sc. Course of NISER. It is a very competitive exam and admits only 100 students every year. However, the selection procedure for IISERs is through 3 channels: Central/State board exam, JEE Advanced ranks and KVPY. All admitted students to IISERs and NISER receive a monthly stipend and also some additional grants for academics and research
  4. B.Sc.+B.Ed: This degree program is most suitable for students who want to pursue a career in teaching. While this option is available in many state run colleges and universities, regional B.Ed.s are recognised institutes in India which admit students based on the cumulative score from an entrance exam (60%) as well as board (40%).
  5. B.S.(Research): Unlike B.Sc., this is 4 years undergraduate program and is offered by IISc Bangalore.
  6. B.Stat/B.Math: Indian Statistical Institute is a reputed institute in India which admit students based on performance in the entrance test. This is a fair chance for students who are really exceptional in Mathematics, but not in Physics or Chemistry. I have seen students failing to get admits to IIT despite scoring way above the cut-off score as they failed to secure the minimum cut-off in subjects like Chemistry.
  7. 2. Business Management: One can pursue Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Business Communication (BBC), Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com.) and Bachelor of Marketing and Communication degrees for a career in business management. B.Com (Hons) is a sought after undergraduate programme in many Delhi University colleges. Having Mathematics at 10+2 level is definitely an advantage. After graduation, one can pursue a career as a Charted Accountant or join an industry. One can also go for a higher degree like MBA or M.Com. or Certified Public Accounting (CPA).
  8. 3. Bachelor in Fashion Technology: NIFT and NID offer B.F.Tech. B.F.Tech is only meant for students with PCM background. After graduation, students can pursue a career in a reputed garment or apparel industry in various fields like supply chain management, operations etc.
  9. 4. Architecture:Arch./B.Plan. are 5-year programmes. Admission to NITs is based on the Paper-II of JEE (Mains). However, NATA is a national level entrance exam conducted for admission into undergraduate level programme in Architecture in other institutes barring NITs.
  10. 5. Defence: One can get into the Defence after qualifying the NDA exam. For Air Force and Naval Wings, Physics and Mathematics as core subjects in the 10+2 level are an essential requirement.
  11. Commercial Pilot: Commercial Pilot is a high paying job. The candidate must have cleared 10+2 Science stream schooling with Physics and Mathematics as the main subjects to get an admission into the aviation training institutes.
  12. Merchant Navy: B.Sc. in Nautical Science and B.Sc. in Marine Catering are some of the degrees required to join merchant navy. The admission to these courses is based on rank in IMU CET. The eligibility criterion demands students with Physics and Mathematics as core subjects in their Class XII or equivalent.
  13. Open Streams

The following career options don’t actually need PCM background as they are open to students of all streams with certain eligibility criteria.

  1. Legal Services: CLAT is an All India Level exam for admission into the coveted law schools of India. One can pursue LLB or BBA+LLB or B.Sc. +LLB (Integrated Law).
  2. Hotel Management: With the sprawling and ever growing tourism and hotel industry, this is not a bad option. There are several Institutes of Hotel Management (IHMs) which offer B.Sc. in Hospitality and Hotel Administration, Diploma in Food and Beverage Service etc. Admission to these institutes is based on rank in NCHMCT JEE, a common entrance exam. The only requirement would be the English language as a core subject of study in Senior Secondary or equivalent.
  3. Bachelor of Design: NIFT, NID and several other institutes offer B.Des. undergraduate programmes with options in textile designing, jewellery designing, graphic design and visual communication etc.
  4. Performing Arts: One can get into Bachelor in Performing Arts (Music/Dance/Instrument) degree programs offered by colleges operating in affiliation with some universities if one has Diploma or prior experience with performing arts.
  5. 5. Journalism and Mass Communication: Bachelor in Journalism and Mass Media and other related degrees give an insight into the public relations, advertising strategies and account planning of various organisations.
  6. Aviation Industry: One can pursue a career as a stewardess or cabin crew after certain certificate training courses like Air Hostess Management, Aviation Management/Hospitality, Aviation Customer Service etc.
  7. Animation and Multimedia: Animation and Multimedia are the new vogue in the town. Visual Effects (VFX), Game Design, Sound Engineering and other post-production industries have been growing constantly in the last one decade. This is quite fascinating and one can also do freelancing.
  8. Film and Media: Film and Media offer broad range of options like Radio Jockey, Event Manager, acting, modelling etc. One can join an acting school or modelling agency or schools like National Institute of Event Management for a career of interest.

I have tried my best to list important choices. There are several diploma and certificate programs which one can pursue. Nevertheless, in India, it is quite common that students pursuing one-degree end up with something really radical. However, I believe having a plan is sometimes good. If you plan to get into civil services or banking, then joining a course which requires less effort so that you get ample time to prepare for these exams may be a wise decision. There are reservations in many government institutes for students who are exceptional in sports. So, they can pursue their education and passion simultaneously. The only thing I can insist is to follow your passion. As Steve Jobs said, “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” There is high chance that you end up with a satisfying career.

Keep reading and do voice your opinions and queries through comments.

How to Choose The Best Coaching for You

Every student who is keen to prepare for IIT- JEE must have come across this dilemma. I was in a fix after my class X in selecting a coaching centre. I believe that there can’t be anything as ‘Best’ that accommodates students with various learning potentials and coming from various backgrounds. Allen, FIITJEE, Resonance, Narayana, PACE etc. are some of the well-reputed and top performing coaching centres. There are students, I know, who have cleared JEE (Advanced) without coaching. However, their number is really less. I secured a rank of AIR 10257 in my first attempt and AIR 2571 in my second attempt. During my first attempt, I had to change my coaching twice as the coaching institute fragmented into two. It had a negative impact on my preparations. I took one year drop at FIITJEE South Delhi and there was a marked difference in the quality of teaching.

However, you need to figure out certain characteristics of the various coaching centres before joining one. Some of the general traits to look out for are:

  1. Success ratio: This is the ratio of the number of students getting into IIT to the total number of students in the batch. Don’t just get swayed away by the number of students qualified and students securing top ranks. Students with All India Rank beyond 7000 hardly get a seat or sometimes aren’t even eligible for counselling. A coaching centre having a success rate of 5-10% with more than 100 students is definitely a good coaching centre for IIT-JEE. Qualifying JEE (Advanced) and getting into IIT are two different concepts. Very often, the coaching centres pay the top rankers to place their names in various advertisements.
  2. National Repute: It is always wise to join a reputed national level coaching centre. This is because these coaching centres conduct All India Test series where you get to gauge your potential time and again. One of the most common problems with coaching centres is that the teachers leave the coaching institutes in the mid-session. Local coaching centres often have tough times when such situations occur. This doesn’t happen in the reputed national level coaching centres. However, this should not be the only criterion. Had it been so, coaching centres like Vibrant Academy, Vidwan Classes, Career Point, CATJEE and numerous other institutes which are limited to certain regions would not have a purple patch in JEE coaching.
  3. Doubt Clearing Classes: You must ensure that the coaching centre provides an opportunity to get your doubts cleared even at the personal level. This is a crucial factor. While I was a part of a local coaching centre in Bhubaneswar, I had a hard time clearing my doubts. In my drop year, it wasn’t that tough. There was a Teachers’ House where teachers were available for most parts of the day. Sometimes, they were willing to spare as long as 2 hours on clearing personal doubts. Well, now the availability of various online platforms like HashLearn has changed the equation, but still, this is an important aspect to look out for while selecting a coaching centre.
  4. Teacher-Student Ratio: There are certain coaching institutes in Kota where the class strength exceeds 100. However, there are institutes which maintain a strength of 40 or 50 per class at maximum. The teacher- student ratio of a batch/class is really crucial because it gives an opportunity to interact with the teacher. Understanding the concepts taught in the class leaves you with more time to solve problems at home/hostel.
  5. Study Material: Coaching centres of national repute have well-designed study materials full of thought-showering problems. ‘Vidyamandir Classes (VMC)’ has one of the most well-designed study materials, covering questions of various types. The ‘Mathematics DPPs (Daily Practice Problems)’ of Bansal Classes have a great reputation. The FIITJEE Grand Master Package carries a lot of challenging questions and some questions are tougher than the JEE (Advanced) level. Solving these questions give you an edge over others. Resonance and Allen study materials are also up to the mark. Many local coaching centres use these materials for reference and often they don’t put much effort into making one.
  6. Affordability: This is perhaps the biggest issue which comes into play while selecting coaching centres. JEE (Advanced) coaching is expensive and can be economically exhaustive for parents. Coaching institutes having national reputation conduct admission tests and they offer a fee waiver to students based on their performance. You should look out for these tests. Further, if budget is a real constraint, one can take admission in a local coaching, buy study materials of various coaching centres and clear doubts through online platforms like HashLearn.

Therefore, a student should select the coaching centre based on his ability to learn and where he feels comfortable. Some students are intimidated to ask questions in a class with large strength.  So, it will be tough for them to sustain in such coaching centres. Some students staying in hostels become homesick. So, a lot of additional factors should be taken into account while selecting a coaching institute.

I hope you find this article useful. Keep reading and do voice your opinions and queries through comments. This article was featured on https://www.hashlearn.com/blog/how-to-choose-the-best-iit-jee-coaching-institute-for-you/

IIT JEE Dropper Success Story

Getting into an IIT is a dream for many intermediate students in India. There are just two opportunities to appear for JEE (Advanced). It is natural for people to fail. No wonder I didn’t fare well in my first attempt. Now, I am a junior undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering at IIT (BHU). Here is my story for those who are still in a dilemma whether to take one year drop to get into an IIT.

“Don’t let someone else’s opinion dampen your own inner spirit. You are not a mere AVERAGE guy.” My journey from AIR 10257 in JEE (Advanced)-2013 to AIR 2571 in JEE (Advanced)-2014 taught me this.

It may sound absurd that I was not aware of IITs until the end of class X. Giving a plausible explanation to this; I am from a small town Balasore, Odisha and back in 2010-11, less than 100 students from Odisha used to get into IITs.  No wonder, there was neither coaching centres for JEE in my town nor was I aware of any digital platforms like HashLearn dedicated to exam preparations. Hence, I joined schooling and coaching at Bhubaneswar. The competition was tough, but what was worse was the hostel life and peer pressure. I performed really well in both coaching and school exams securing a rank among the top 10 students almost regularly for the first 5-6 months. I was on track.

I would describe the circumstance under which I failed to get into an IIT in my first attempt. I was swayed away from my target by the newly garnered fascination to city glamour leading to engendering a lot of dilatory habits. My friend circle was immature and I was often bullied verbally. I would not shy away to mention about my infatuation and desperate efforts in befriending a girl, leading to a lot of time wastage. Apart from that, the coaching was not of national repute like FIITJEE or Resonance, which conduct All India test series that helps you gauge the depth of your preparation from time to time. Once there was a situation in which 5 Physics teachers came to teach ‘Electrostatics’. One of the worst demotivating factors was when the head of my coaching institute called me an ‘AVERAGE student’ when my father asked me about my performance. All this happened altogether in a short span and I began losing my confidence. I became a regular back-bencher. My rank in coaching slipped down to below 40 and from 90.8% in class XI finals, my percentage in half-yearly of class XII slipped down to 77.8%. I also faced difficulty in getting my last minute doubts cleared.

In May 2014, I decided to drop a year for preparations. I joined FIITJEE (South Delhi) and stayed in a single seated room. Earlier I used to stay in a room of four. Now, there was hardly a class when I didn’t sit in the first row. The teaching was spot on and a lot of importance was given on solving the last 35 years paper. Even the silliest of the doubts were entertained, unlike the previous coaching. I made just a handful of friends at Delhi. I was soon one of the top performers in the droppers’ batch. I appeared JEE (Advanced) sleep deprived although I shouldn’t cite this as an excuse for an average rank in the JEE (Advanced). But to be honest, there is a hell lot of pressure day before the exam despite your best preparation, especially in the second attempt. I never felt that in my first attempt. I had dropped despite my father’s denial because of the expenses to be incurred. The thought of the consequences of not clearing JEE in the second attempt did take a toll on the performance. But anyways, I am an IITian now. My success in the second attempt just taught me to feel confident about myself and I realised that there is always a way to get back on track if you try.

I believe, “It’s better to be a dropper than being a quitter.”

Thanks for reading. Keeping reading and do voice your opinions and queries through comments. This article was featured on https://www.hashlearn.com/blog/success-story-of-an-iit-jee-dropper/

Is NCERT Enough for JEE (Mains)?

This is a common question which peeps keep on asking for generations now. Well, here goes my opinion on  this.

JEE (Mains) is based on the concepts given in NCERT textbooks. The answer to the above question is, however, equivocal. It relies on the relative aspirations of the students.

I have the experience of solving the AIEEE Papers from 2008-2012 and I have appeared in JEE (Mains) 2013 and 2014. From my experience, I can say that” If you are thorough with NCERT, then you can score easily around 200/360. But it is definitely not enough to score above 250.” A genuine doubt which may arise is that if one can score above 200 with simply covering the NCERT, why is then only less than 15,000 students out of 14 lakh students appearing in the exam achieve that feat.

I have two plausible explanations to this. First, NCERT text books are full of jargons and it requires a lot of depth to assimilate them. There are certain concepts in NCERT which are not explicitly specified. Students have to derive meanings on their own. To elucidate my point I would like to quote an example. NCERT Chemistry textbook merely states the Markownikoff Rule and Saytzeff Rule without giving an insight into the reaction intermediate formed, that governs the formation of the final product. A student who simply follows the NCERT will end up mugging up the lines, without actually understanding the mechanisms. Second, NCERT textbooks lack enough practice questions. Being thorough with the concepts demands rigorous practice and regular brush-up of your concepts. Students who are not exposed to any practice materials like question banks but NCERT are used to a straightforward way of answering subjective questions.   But Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) are asked in JEE (Mains), which are often confounding. Definitely, NCERT is not enough.

However, if you analyse the questions asked in previous years, you will find at least one direct organic reaction is asked from the NCERT. Even the questions of p-block and other inorganic reactions asked in the exam are never beyond NCERT and are usually straightforward. Physical chemistry, however, demands problem-solving aptitude which requires you to go beyond NCERT. There are some topics like Statistics, Mathematical Reasoning in Mathematics, from which at least one question is asked every year and these are directly based on NCERT. Even the questions from 3D Geometry, vectors, complex numbers and coordinate geometry are based on NCERT exercise questions. Physics, however, requires a different approach. One has to solve problems from books like H.C. Verma, in addition to the NCERT questions to gain a good command over the subject. Nevertheless, the questions asked in electromagnetism, fluid mechanics and even modern physics are often directly taken from NCERT. ‘Semi-conductor devices’, ‘Electromagnetic Waves’ and ‘Communication’ are the topics which are factual. But the facts and figures, if ever asked, are never beyond NCERT.

One of the best ways to excel in any exam is to solve the previous years’ papers. This will give an insight into the types of questions being asked in the exam. Once you start solving these questions, a feeling will sink into you that many questions are NCERT based. Develop an ability to question mere statements of NCERT. I hope my article proves helpful for the students and instill a belief that they can clear JEE (Mains) with a good rank by having a thorough understanding of the concepts of NCERT.

I hope my article was helpful to you. Comments and queries are definitely welcome. This article has been featured at  https://www.hashlearn.com/blog/is-ncert-enough-for-jee-mains/