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Life is the sum of all the decisions we take. It is overwhelming to realise how even the little choices that we make can shape who we are. I am not a great philosopher to give you a saintly advice on life. But the journey I had been on, my journey to the IIT’s is something, I want to share with you guys. We shall begin with a quote which I have come across when I was too young to comprehend the meaning. “Life is a series of problems and it is the process of taking time to solve those problems which give life meaning and discipline is the single most important tool for every problem.” I hail from a family you may call middle class in terms of financial capability , but I am blessed to have a family rich in terms of support and affection  . I live in a small town in Uttarakhand, Haldwani. I cracked JEE in 2016 with JEE advanced rank of 5070 . After the euphoria ,sets in realisation to perform better .Generally, when we hear about JEE, coaching is the first thing that hits our mind because constructive and proper coaching is mandatory. But we always associate good coaching to places like Kota, I think that’s a problem. Take my case, I did my schooling and coaching form my home town and got through the exam and there have been people from my area with ranks as good as 398 and 640. What I feel for myself is that preparing from my own place worked better for me than Kota .Being close to my family helped me to focus .And the love, support, food and luxury of  my home helped me to sustain throughout my preparation for JEE. Instead of venturing out, if you look around your locality properly there is a high probability you may come across competent teachers. My class had strength of 50 students which is low compared to Kota. While I was preparing for JEE there had been a number of factors that turned into hurdles. I spent 7 hours in school and then 3.5 hours of coaching for which I had to travel for about 1.5 hour and half of my time was consumed. When I used to get back home at night I used to be too exhausted. During initial phase of my preparation, my days passed without any self study, but soon i got used to my hectic schedule. Then there was the problem of interaction. I never interacted with teachers, never asked questions not that I was hesitant but I was keen on solving everything by myself. Only later I realised it to be an inefficient approach after JEE. This was the reason few problems remained unsolved, had I asked those doubts I would have put less effort and could have instead focus on more problems. There was a phase when I lost focus, playing games on the last bench consumed my time. It was December 2015 a few months before boards and JEE  I was  wasting my time when it was so important to put all my efforts and that was the reason I suffered in my boards scoring 86% . I was sure I would have scored above 93%, if i would have dedicated more time and effort.  This made my JEE mains rank drop down to 17,056 when a classmate with equal ma score and 96.2% got a rank in 2000’s. The reason behind my degradation was I too much relied on my intelligence and let me tell you, in class 11th on the first day of coaching I was nervous about being in a class where everyone seems to be so dedicated that it scared me. After realising my loopholes, i decided to put more effort and dedication. So I must tell you that however good you might be doing in your tests, never forget it is smart plan with hard work, optimistic attitude and persistent effort that plays the magic to realise your IIT dream.
Books that I followed-
1.     NCERT Chemistry for 11th and 12th (Inorganic is must)
2.     Concepts of Physical Chemistry by Dr. P. Bahadur

3.     Modern Approach to Chemical Calculations by R. C. Mukherjee
4.     Advanced Problems in Organic Chemistry by M S Chouhan
5.     Concepts of Organic Chemistry by HimanshuPandey, Dr. O. P. Tandon  and Dr. A. K. Vimrani
1.     Understanding physics for JEE mains and Advanced by DC Pandey 2.     Concepts of physics (Vol I and II) by Professor H.C. Verma
3.     Problems in general physics by I.E. Irodov (Mechanics and Electrodynamics)
1.     Skills in Mathematics Algebra for JEE Main & Advanced by S.K Goyal 2.     Plane Trigonometry by S.L Loney
3.     Differential Calculus by Amit M. Agarwal
4.     Integral Calculus by Amit M. Agarwal
5.     Problem in Mathematics by V. Govorov (for some good quality problems not strictly followed)   Apart from these coaching classes study material was helpful. I think any reputed coaching institute’s material would suffice.

Some points I would like to add:
1.     Do not solve similar problems again and again and by this i do not mean revision but skip problems you think you have got a hang of it
2.     Do not keep on counting the hours it shows you are not motivated enough. Know why you want to get though and you will leave this habit soon.
3.     The exam pattern changes every year so you must solve different kind of problems with different marking scheme which most coaching institute’s study material will get covered.
4.     Giving regular test is must and do give time to analyse the test result for yourself you will realise its benefits in making you understand how to solve a paper because at the end of the day it not just about knowledge but examination skills.

5.     Keep on giving short reviews to the topic covered in the past like solving a problem from chapter you studied a month back and when you are in 12th do not lose touch with your 11th course completely and try to get the 12th class course covered by December.
6.     The last few months a most important so focus only on studies, leave you social life for few months.
7.     Don’t get too satisfied by your JEE main score or disheartened by it. I have met people with 260+ mains score with poor advanced results and with 130-140 score in mains and advanced rank in 1400’s.
8.     The period between JEE mains and Advanced is meant only for studies, so restrain from enjoying life for this time. After you crack JEE you will come to realise it’s your persistent effort, hard work, dedication and smart planning that helped you to reach your dream.

Divyanshu Gaira
Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee

May 19, 2020