Quick Glimpse of the Academic Structure of IITs

We keep discussing how to prepare for IIT and IIT preparation tips. Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are undoubtedly the top engineering colleges in India, especially the older IITs that have been ranked among the best educational institutions of the world by the likes of QS World University Rankings and THE Rankings.

Cracking JEE is only a beginning

For many students, clearing IIT JEE is a dream in itself. A seat in IITs may seem like a ticket to great future. But be warned. This is not the end but the beginning of a new stage of your life, where you need to work hard and make sensible choices.

IIT colleges in India offer infinite opportunities to students in way of technical fests, cultural fests and events, managerial positions, entrepreneurship hubs, research work, sports events and hobby clubs. Freedom to choose and pursue your interests allows you to develop holistically. However, as they say – ‘With great liberty, comes great responsibility.’

The IIT curriculum is quite rigorous and demanding. Make sure that you do not over-indulge yourself and compromise your studies.

We suggest you to write down what you really want to do and achieve in life, prioritize it and work accordingly. Time management is a lesson for a lifetime, and this is the time to master it.

Academic structure of the IITs

An academic year at the IIT is divided into two four-month semesters – from August to December, and from February to June.One semester covers around five to six courses, certain number of credits assigned to each course. Each IIT follows its own method of calculate course credits but broadly, they are based on the number of hours a student spends on a course per week.

Courses at the IIT may include theory or practical or both.

Weightage to various semester components

There are several assignments, quizzes, mid-semester exams, end-semester exams and lab exams conducted throughout the semester to measure student’s understanding of a course. Professors have the liberty to decide the weightage they want to assign to each of these components for final grading.

For example, in final grading of a course, the instructor may decide to give 10% weightage to marks in assignments, 10% to quiz scores, 10% to lab-exams, 30% to mid-sem marks, and 40% to end-sem marks. Your final grade that will get reflected in your result will depend on this weightage.

So, go through your professor’s instructions carefully to know where you have to stress more to achieve a desirable result.

Courses on offer


B.Tech courses have duration of four years:

  • In the first year, you will cover basic science courses (like Calculus, Algebra, Mechanics, Electronics, Electrodynamics, Engineering Drawing, Physics Lab, Chemistry Lab, C Language etc.); Physical Exercise classes; and Humanities and Social Science courses (like Economics, Psychology, Sociology etc) to lay the right foundation.
  • In the second year, things get a bit more intensive where you study departmental courses, science and engineering electives, manufacturing lab course, and some of Humanities courses.
  • From the third year onwards, ball is mostly in your court. Besides the departmental courses and a few Humanities courses, you can pick and choose from a lot of departmental or non-departmental open electives according to your interest and career goals.

Grading pattern

Like school these days, IITs also follow the grading system .The major grades are:

  • A – representing 10 points or full marks,
  • B – representing 8 points,
  • C – representing 6 points,
  • D – representing 4 points,
  • E – representing 2 points, and
  • F – representing 0 points.

In some IITs, there are sub-divisions like:

  • A – (A negative) – representing 9 points,
  • B – (B negative) – representing 7 points, and
  • C – (C negative) – representing 5 points.

The grades are decided on the basis of discretion of the course instructor.

These grades might be absolute or relative:

  • Absolute grades are like absolute percentage marks. It depends on the fixed marks barrier for different grades.

So, if you score having 90 out of 100, you will be assigned an ‘A’ or ‘A –’grade.

  • Relative grades are like percentile of marks. Most probably, you are already familiar with the percentile system. You have to be in Top 20 percentile of your board exams to be eligible to appear for JEE Advanced exam. Hence, these grades are dependent on your performance vis-à-vis performance of other students registered for the course.

So, if there are 20 students in a class and highest marks are 50 out of 100, then the student who has scored 50 will get ‘A’ grade while the student scoring lowest marks may get an ‘F’ grade.

Semester Potential Index (SPI) of a student is calculated by multiplying grade of various courses with credits assigned to them and then, adding them up. It is the key indicator of the performance of a student in a semester.

Now that you know what awaits you at the IITs, study well for JEE Advanced 2014 exam.

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