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‘Take breaks, talk to friends to avoid mental breakdown’: Jalandhar boy who aced JEE Main session I 

Abhinav Singh, who got 99.3 percentile, talks about the time when he was unable to concentrate for a few months

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Abhinav Singh, a student of Apeejay Mahavir Marg, has cleared JEE Main session I with a percentile of 99.3. He is now preparing to score even better in JEE Main session II. His ultimate goal, however, is to clear JEE Advanced and get into IIT.

“I would prefer IIT Bombay or Chennai,” says the Jalandhar student. “My father also did his engineering at IIT Kanpur. So, engineering was always my goal. Besides, mathematics is my favourite subject. In fact, I secured the maximum marks in the subject in JEE session I. I am not very good at memorising so Biology was definitely not for me.”

Abhinav maintains what helps you sail through the two years of rigorous preparation for the national-level exam is consistency. That said, the journey is not easy. In his case too, there came a phase where he could not study for four-five months. “I know of those who were also on medication because they were unable to handle so much pressure,” he adds.

‘Do not lose yourself in the process’

What helped Abhinav bounce back was a conscious effort to “take it easy”. “I took one step back and took it easy. After a while, things were back to normal.” Overburdening yourself won’t get you anywhere is what he has learned from personal experience. “There are a lot of ups and downs; you may not perform well in tests, and so on. I think it is very important to take breaks. Go out with your friends, may be once a week or once a fortnight. If you do not do this, you will end up overburdening yourself and have a breakdown. It is very important to talk to people, keep in touch with friends and not lose yourself in the preparation process. Take up some hobbies if that helps. For instance, I used to play football or listen to music,” he asserts.

What is the best way to prepare?

While preparing for JEE, the Apeejay student set short-term goals for himself. “It was never about how many hours I am going to study. I studied module-wise—like setting a goal for myself to complete a set number of questions or chapters at a time, whether it takes four hours or 10 hours.”

The best way to prepare, according to Abhinav, is to stick to a schedule and revise the topics as many times as possible. “First of all, if you do not like physics and mathematics, then engineering is not what you should opt for. There is a huge jump between what you study in class 10 versus class 11-12. The syllabus is not that much. However, sticking to the same schedule for two years consistently can take a toll on students. Consistency is most important.”

The CBSE class 12 board exam, on the other hand, was not something Abhinav was worried about. “My goal was different. And to fulfill it, I focused on JEE preparations more. Moreover, the syllabus for CBSE is like a subset of the JEE syllabus so it got taken care of on its own.”

‘Choose YouTube tutorials carefully’

Of late, several EdTech companies have also come up with YouTube tutorials for competitive exams. Are they helpful? “They are but you have to choose the content carefully,” Abhinav cautions. “Having watched some of them myself, I feel some were good while others were not. I don’t think it is advisable to rely on these videos entirely. If something goes wrong, you will not be able to hold anyone accountable. If you are enrolled in a coaching centre or receive guidance from a mentor, they at least have some accountability. At these coaching centres, there are a lot of people involved who work hard to customise JEE-centred modules. You get the best of peers and an atmosphere that keeps you motivated.”

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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