Monday, 5 December 2016

Tackling Examinations

Hello readers, it's been a long time since we've connected. Here is a great news for you - we have on board Mukesh Pareek, AIR 3 in JEE Advanced 2015. Mukesh scored 325/360 in JEE Main 2015. He is presently studying Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Bombay and is in his second year.

Mukesh would like to share some of his experiences in this article:


Hi, I am Mukesh, a student of Computer Science Engineering at IIT Bombay. I have seen many students complaint about examination stress, that “I am not able to perform during the examination” or “I screw up tests” or “I knew this question but it didn't occur to me in the exam-hall” and other stuff that I am sure we have used time and again to justify our failures.
I myself remember whining about these things during my school days. But thanks to some wonderful advices from my teachers and the efforts I put in I was able to overcome this humungous problem. And I realized with time that all my efforts finally paid off. My best performance used to come out in the Exam-hours. And that's the best, one can wish for.
We must start with realizing the reasons of examination stress. I am going to list the most common ones, the ones I faced during my preparation.

   Silly mistakes! Really?
   Distractions and lack of concentration!
   Result Expectations
   Lack of Speed
   Under-Confidence (sometimes Over-Confidence)

       Silly Mistakes -
The first thing you should understand is that silly mistakes are not really silly; they do have a logic. I remember one of my teacher told me that no one has the cure for silly mistakes, the best we can do is to minimize them. If you are one of those who screw up their score due to these so called silly mistakes, this is high time you start looking up for the logics behind these mistakes.

I used to maintain a note-book for my ‘Silly Mistakes’ and update it after every mock-test I took.  This might look like an unnecessary time waste on the top of your already hectic schedule. But this is an effort giving time to. You can maintain what kind of silly mistakes you make, for example: ‘Calculation mistake’, ‘Missed some information’, ‘Misread the data’ and so on.  Keep the track of the mistakes you make repeatedly.
These small details are always at the back of our mind but this will definitely help you be more careful while solving questions. If 50% of your silly mistakes are due to misreading the details in the question, you better check the details twice before starting to solve the problem and likewise for other categories. As says the quote - “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” Well, this is the best way to know the devil known as Silly Mistakes.

       Distractions -
It’s hard to maintain concentration continuously for 3 hours and more so when you are in an examination where every second matters. The best way is to realize the importance of the examination. Before your mind wanders somewhere else, keep in mind that everything you have done boils down to those exam-hours. Make it clear that the only thing that matters is how you make use of those 3 hours. The perfect way is to live that time in a way you never regret later, do nothing which you later think shouldn’t have been done. You must enjoy the problems to realize distraction free examination. Forget about anything else and concentrate on the paper. I remember I used to take 2 tests at a stretch every day for getting used to sitting for long hours. I started this some 4-5 month before the final JEE and was almost regular. This is the kind of planning you need to do for getting top rank in JEE. You have to start early and be consistent. That’s the only way to get rid of persistent problems.

       Result Expectations -
That’s another big problem good student face during their exams. The pressure to perform well. Sometimes we expect too much from ourselves. And that takes a toll on our performance. It’s good to expect good result from yourself. but that is the last thing you should be worried about during the exam.
I remember during my JEE Advanced, It was the first paper. I attempted maths in the end. I had almost one and a half hour left when I started with it. I had to leave the 5 questions in a row in Math section, either they seemed lengthy or didn’t strike at that moment. Since I was expecting a rank under 100, it was kind of depressing. If I would have done calculations of my marks then, there is a high chance I could have gone under pressure. But I knew that whatever I had expected became immaterial once the exam commenced. It was just that paper and me, and what I did in that paper would determine my score not the rank I expected.
I suggest you forget what your teachers told you about your potential, what your parents expect from you and even what you think you can get. Everything matters till the last point of your preparation. And inside the Exam-hall everybody starts from a 0, and each question you do increases your score, that’s it. I never thought, What’s going to happen now? I won’t get under 100 rank, My marks will be very less and other things like that. And I am happy that I didn’t. I kept on doing questions that clicked and increasing my score, and in the end I had enough time to come back and successfully attempt those questions. Phew, Happy Ending!

       Lack of Speed -
That’s one hell of a problem and that too with no easy solution. The best you can do is plan your strategy well and do a lot of practice. You should take up enough number of tests to experiment all the possible sequences of attempting the paper and choose the one that suits you best. After having taken so many tests I realized Physics was my strength, boosted my confidence and didn't take much time, so, that was my first section to start with. Chemistry was not my strongest point, but I could do that in very less time, so it came second. And maths required a little more time and effort so it used to be the last.
Everyone can have his or her strategy but that should be well tested before going for the final examination. Also remember that it’s better to have a strategy but don't panic if things don't go as planned. I generally spent some 45min-1hr on physics, 30 min on chemistry and the rest for Maths and revision. But our JEE Main had quite good level of physics and it took me almost 75-80 mins just for the physics section.
Many students got stressed out and screwed up the exam, but guess what!? Maths was lot easier and I was done with both Chemistry and Maths within an hour left with plenty of time to go through the paper again. These are the conditions which test your exam-temperament. Keep your cool and never let your brain take up extra stress. You will end up in a win-win situation!

       Under or Over-Confidence -
Another thorn in the way to success. The balance in confidence is extremely important. A little lack of it or a bit over the required can ruin your hard-work. Your motto should be - “Expect the least and work for the best.” The perfect rule of thumb. Keeping your expectations low will ensure you are never over-confident. Those who are filled with confidence over the brim are surely going to over-estimate their potential and their expectations shoot up high.
Whereas working for the best ensures you give your 100% and that is enough to gain the required confidence. You might not score well in some mock-tests. You might be weak in some topics, but then since you are working your level best, there is nothing to be worried about. Better efforts should lead to more confidence rather than better score.
I can guarantee, keeping this in mind will fetch you the best rank you deserve. And since your 100% efforts will lead you to the score you deserve, nothing should lower your confidence. This makes exams more easier and fun to deal with!

Feel free to add up to this list and find similar solutions for all your problems. Exams won't be this much stress once you are done dealing with these devils!

I would be happy to help you with your doubts in the comments section :)

41 comments:

  1. How many months before jee mains and advanced should I start doing problems more with revision?

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    1. The early you start the better it is. I was done with the course by October-November and devoted the remaining time for practice and revision. Even though you end up a bit late, you can still cover up but you should have atleast 2 months for pure practice and revision before mains.

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    2. Are those 2 months are enough for jee advanced ? Or some more time is needed?

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  2. I will be writing JEE 2017. I have realised that I can perform as per my expectations only under the pressure to perform well. All my mistakes feel like they are gone(emphasis on "feel", not "gone") when I am under pressure. And now that I know this, I am facing trouble in delusioning my mental state to realise this pressure in my mock tests because the more I try to pressurize myself, I know it unconsciously that all that tension is not real, thus my somewhat low marks in the mock exams. What do you have to say to a student like me?

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    1. Please ask sensible questions. This question is highly vague. Mukesh and for that matter any IITian is a student, not a Psychologist. Put yourself in our place and imagine a junior from 6th standard asking this question to you. Do you have an answer? If no, then don't ask us. If yes, then you have answered your own question!

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    2. Well, I am sorry for any inconvenience.

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  3. I thought of making my own paper by picking up questions from random books (I have a whole lot of books) and trying to solve it within given time limit... As I am in 11... I give tests once in a month or so.. What suggestion can u give on making paper..?

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    1. It's a good practice to do that. Just ensure that you analyse the test well after solving. Set some tough papers with more questions from parts you find difficult. This should not just be random, the main purpose of practice tests is to realise the strengths and weaknesses. And then practise accordingly.

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  4. I thought of making my own paper by picking up questions from random books (I have a whole lot of books) and trying to solve it within given time limit... As I am in 11... I give tests once in a month or so.. What suggestion can u give on making paper..?

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  5. Replies
    1. Refer the pinned post. The books suggested by Aman are quite sufficient, and even I followed more or less the same set of books. Here is the link for the books section - http://amangoeliitb.blogspot.in/2015/06/updated-books-section.html

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    2. Hey i am in grade 11 right now and even after hard work i am not able to score good marks in mock tests, i almost know all the solutions but i am atill unable to score, what to do

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  6. Can you provide us catalyser test papers?

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  7. At least how many rounds of revision is needed to get decent rank?

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  8. Can you tell some tips for efficient revison?

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  9. Due to pressure in exam hall, I tend to forget important formulas, what should I do?

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  10. Hello Aman, in one of your posts you have mentioned that you carried a bubble gum with you in the examination hall of jee advanced, but it is not allowed to eat or drink anything??

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    1. Bhai post itni dyan se phad raha itna dyan books pe laga or usme question kar.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Sorry if it was rude to you but I just asked of curiosity.

      It's imp to save time during exam by not going to the washroom, that's what Aman told he used to chew chewing gum so he doesn't feel thirsty.

      Well thats a problem with me also so I wanted to try it as well, but suddenly I realised that there's nothing allowed to eat or drink inside , so asked Aman about it.

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    4. Mr. Bhanu, please mind your language.
      Lakshya, your question is perfectly valid and no need to apologize. Chewing gum etc is certainly fine. In the worst case, they can ask you to spit it.

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    5. Thank you Aman.
      Would definitely try it.

      And Thanks to all the authors for such a helpful blog.

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  11. Carry a water bottle and bubble gum according to instructions at test centre change it plans

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  12. hey mukesh thanks for the tips... now i am a dropper, last year i couldn't done well in jee main because of over-confident and lack of practice, but this year i am working on those problems, but an issue have arrived that its almost December and i haven't completed my syllabus i am a bit worried, but i am also giving some weakly test. Can you suggest some thing so i will cope up with my stress.

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  14. Hello,please tell if one can manage to get a "2 digit rank" in iitjee in a time span of "14 months".Is this much time enough? If yes,then,please give some tips.I'm ready to devote myself fully into the preparation...
    I'll be highly thankful.

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  15. Hello Sir, I am a JEE 2018 aspirant
    I have wasted last 5 months of my JEE preparation due to loss of someone close and went into depression and I have asthama and it got worse last week, adding fuel to the fire I was in the lowest batch of my coaching classes but managed to jump to a better batch. With only 14 months left for JEE, how can I get a better rank? I can solve NCERT Question with little or no problem and it would take me at max. 8-9 more days to master NCERT (this includes board preparation like learning theorems and exact statements etc.) I have problem at JEE Advanced level problems and some JEE main level problems. Please help

    Thank you

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  16. i will be appearing for jee advanced 2017. can you tell me where can i get jee advanced mock tests(no coaching)

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    Replies
    1. and also please tell me how many tests should i take every week

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  17. In your first reading from base level books, did you make notes or just underline the important things ?

    2. What types of doubt you used to ask from your teacher ?
    In my case, I feel like I a waste lots of time in thinking about trivial doubt and finally not asking them from teacher.

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  18. Hi Aman bhaiya Plz forgive me for asking the same question repeatedly but I keep on thinking about the same doubt so plz do answer my question whenever you're leisure so here's my question Q. when should a person solve ie irodov suppose if I want to solve kinematics in it1) after completing chapter 2)after completing 11th 3)after completing whole mechanics which is best one.i will appreciate if even Mukesh bhaiya can answer this question

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    1. In my opinion and practise, once your chapter is over in your classes, or you have understood the theory of that chapter, you are fit to try Irodov. Assuming you are comfortable with 11th class "physics limited calculus"(Which is just a bunch of rules and a day of practise. Questions will mostly involve application only); Irodov is well divided into sections according to each chapter except "Fluids". The way we learn "Fluids" is actually two different chapters viz. Ideal fluids and Real fluids, so make sure you don't miss that section(Reference: Hydrodynamics & Liquids/Capillary effects)

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  19. Well written Mukesh, can you also guide me or give some tips for last phase of JEE prep.

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  20. Hi sir.
    I am actually confused when should I start writing mock tests?
    Also how much time should I spend analysing it?
    I am an nit aspirant and am sure that if I avoid my new kinds of silly mistakes I can easily get thru.
    So how to stop or reduce making such mistakes?

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  22. Hello Aman Bhaiya. Should use the Classical Text Series like 'Hall And Knight' for Mathematics? Asking because it is not specifically for JEE and has tough problems inside.

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  23. Thanku sir for such good piece of advice....wanted to ask a qus...i vil be appearing for my exam in 2018 n want to know how shall i make my Maths section more stronger becuz i score really less in my maths section?

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  24. Sir, I am facing miserable time with physics. In my AITS(Reso and FIITJEE) I consistetly get lowest scores in physics and physics only. I am not able to approach a problem wothout seeing the solution after which it seems quite easy. Please help me out at the earliest.

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