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Quick tips for your JEE preparation
Ajay Antony
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March 27, 2007

The countdown to the joint entrance exam on April 8 has almost begun.

We bring you the preparatory run-up to the JEE in the last two weeks, through simple, practicable steps.

Revising the JEE topics

This one poses the maximum challenge to students. With the board exams almost over, how should you go about revising the topics for JEE?

We say jot it down.

Pick a subject -- say physics -- and go through the detailed syllabus. Go through the components from the beginning. And as you do so, in your mind, go through all the concepts and principles associated with each component in full.

Open a note book for this purpose. Whenever a formula or equation comes up, write it down in the note book. Remember, we are suggesting that you write the equations and formulae without referring to them.

There will be several that you will be able to write down without looking into the textbook. While engaging in this exercise, two things can happen.

1. You might just get 'run out' -- despite trying to remember something, you may not be able to do so. This is a case of memory failing you. But you will know clearly that something exists and you are not being able to recall it.

2. You might be 'bowled' by a delivery you had no clue about -- this is akin to not knowing. You will come across sub-areas in that component in the syllabus that you did not know had to be covered.

Hence, this activity will exercise your memory cells and tell you about the areas that you still need to study.

After this, compare your notes with the standard material that covers the complete syllabus for the JEE.

Action step ahead

When we suggest you start a notebook, it is not just to fill up the pages. The quantum of entries we would recommend you make is very little. The objective is to capture the complete syllabus -- as you recall it -- in your own entries.

First, you need to clearly understand whether you have been 'run out' or you have been 'clean bowled.'

If you have been caught short because you could not recall some part of the concept at the right time, then it is fixable. Refer your standard study material and understand where this particular concept comes in.

Otherwise, use the following approaches, depending on your problem area --

If you were 'run out'

For example, while engaging in this exercise with, say, Newton's Laws of Motion, if you have been caught short of not recording the movement of connected bodies over a surface, then the remedial action can start like this -- you refer the same area in your same text book and recall the fundamentals, like this:

1. The bodies are connected with each other with inextensible connectors unless otherwise mentioned. If that is mentioned, the elongation produced in the connectors may have to be taken into consideration.
2. If the connected body system is moving, the entire system will move with the same acceleration.
3. Even if there are larger masses connected in between, the acceleration of the larger mass and the smaller masses will be the same -- the practical application is that of a train that is moving. The ninth compartment of the train might have 150 people while the 12th compartment might contain only 10 people. Still, the train, as a system would move with the same acceleration.

We are not suggesting that you write this down. Instead, you should, through this systemic exercise, try to capture these details in your mind.

Another example could be, say, the concept of coefficient of friction. In what depth have you understood this? The coefficient of friction implies the 'minimum' force 'just required' to move the body, or to break friction.

If you are able to go through such detail, in key words, the revision would be very productive.

If you got 'bowled'

Say, you did not cover the principles related to a compound pulley, the distribution of forces when a compound pulley is deployed, etc, because you did not know that these had to be covered under the same area -- we could define this as getting 'bowled.'

What is the solution for this? It would be too late to start studying the fundamentals now.

The quick fix solution is to go through three to four sample questions and suggested solutions given in the study material.

If you are at home with the suggested methods of solutions, spend a little more time with understanding the 'mechanics' behind the working of the compound pulley and distribution of forces.

Actually, in this example, if your concepts of how the 'net force is distributed' are good, you should not have much difficulty in getting a grip on the situation.

On the other hand, if you find that this entire thing of different pulleys connected in a system is pulling in different directions, leave that area and move on.

But when you leave this area, you are making a conscious decision that you would not attempt questions related to this subsection in the actual JEE. There is always a cost associated with every decision. Be aware of that.

Good Luck!

-- Ajay Antony is vice president, T.I.M.E, an organisation that prepares candidates for courses like the MBA and the MCA and competitive examinations like CAT, the GRE and GMAT.

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