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/