Worried for IITs Preparations? It’s just about when you begin!

IITs are the dream destination for each and every aspiring engineer. The name of the institution itself is taken with pride by the inmates and with respect by the outsiders. Students preparing for the IITs study left, right and centre to make it to the top institutions of the country. Though every B. tech aspirant does his best to prepare for the IITs, but the approach on “how to prepare for IIT” varies hugely from student to student. Some students prefer to go for crash-courses just a couple of months before the Joint entrance Examinations. They are such students who focus their attention completely on the CBSE syllabus during their classes 11th and 12th, thus preparing for the board examinations. They strategize to study uninterrupted for the board examinations and take up the competition as and when it comes. Some students get all geared up for the IITs entrance as soon as they put their first foot forward into the 11th class. They prepare ardently for whole 2 years for the IIT entrance exam syllabus and usually join coaching institutes for the same. These students value JEE above the Board examinations. There is another category which can be counted as steadily coming up ahead wherein students of class 9th and 10th also join classes to prepare for the IITs. Coaching institutes call it as an early bird programme. And yet there is a fourth category programme called as a foundation course on how to study for IIT which is meant for really young students of class 6th, 7th and 8th.

Though many parents detest the idea of the Foundation courses, but several others support the same. These courses are meant to sharpen the analytical skills of the students from an early age so that they develop a critical thinking, thus acquiring an edge over their competitors from the beginning itself. It also gives a directions to the students in terms of career planning and they take up studies seriously from the beginning. It is a big debate as to whether such young students should be sent to coaching classes, as many of them would go just under parental pressure, as they would not know their interest areas. But many parents believe that the earlier, the better. Even coaching institutes lay emphasis on the fact that it can never be too early to train the children. There is no subjects in school where analytical skills can be brushed, thus these courses are extremely beneficial. But according to us a mid-way should be adopted for the better. Students should not start IIT preparation as early as class 6th, but they must not wait till the start of class 11th as well. A proper time to start preparing is class 9th. Let us discuss the implications of beginning at the right age-

  • Pressure is less: As students enter class 9th, they are seldom pressurised in school or at home. The pressure point starts from class 10th, the board year. It is even thought that children must be allowed to have fun in the 9th standard as anyways life is going to get serious after that. So it is an apt time to start studying for the competitions. Though students would not be able to grasp the class 11th and 12th syllabus, but an approach can be built in that way. 9th class students have a good understanding and can understand the basics/fundamentals of what to expect in the JEE course material. It will also get them prepared for class 11th. It is important because there is a drastic change in the course structure and syllabus of class 11th, and cannot be compared to the lower classes.
  • Seriousness: Class 9th students lack seriousness as they would not understand the importance of competitive exams. Thus they are not made to learn to understand as well. But making the students get ready at an age when everyone else is still playing is just moulding your clay into shape when it is rather wet still. There is never a correct age for exam preparations and parents have to understand this point more than students. They can have fun now and struggle for the rest of lives later, or they can do hard work now and take it easy as the pressure would gradually increase on the others. So, thus other students decide on what streams to choose after 10th, you/your children are half prepared!
  • Time: Class 9th students have a lot of free time as compared to their senior secondary counterparts. Even if you remove a ply time of a couple of hours daily, there can be useful time which can be devote to study for the competitive exams after the study hours or the homework. If still it is not feasible, then a set time table can be made and a few hours each weekend can be taken out and dedicated solely for the purpose of studying for the IITs.

Things to be remembered as student get ready early to take up the competitive exams’ syllabus:
The idea should be of the student’s own liking. All the students are different. By 9th standard, many of the students might have evolved a certain career liking, but on the other hand many would be still unsure. In latter cases, students must discuss with teachers and parents first in case they are uncertain about what to pursue in future, rather than rushing into submission to enrol into such courses just because of the fear of the huge competition. Also, it must not be done just to satisfy their parents’ wishes. The idea has be understood by them and genuinely liked by them, else it is just not going to work. The students who would have been used to playing 5 hours a day would have to devote same amount of time to studying per day and the play time may get reduced in leaps. A student must be made aware of the changes his or her life would see after taking such a step and also the positives of the career which in long term they might achieve.

  1. Students must never put their school studies at sake. Where class 11t students would know the pressure of board exams, class9th students would not. Thus as they enter into 10th, they would be able to strike a balance between the class 10th board syllabus and the competitive exam course in hand. And as the board exams get near, the engineering preparations must take a back step. Sometimes the students may feel that they do not wish to go to school as the school syllabus is far behind what they have been studying at the coaching institutes, but here they should be made aware of the fact that the base to board exams and all the competitive exams comes from the study of school books, whereas coaching institutes mostly depend on other complex reference books.
  2. Get enrolled into some reputed coaching classes. The syllabus for IIT is far ahead from the understanding of the class 9th students and they cannot just purchase study material and start preparing. That will just leave them aghast. Thus they should be admitted to reputed classes where their requisite skills can be developed and polished slowly and on the other hand they would be given time and flexibility to manage their school course as well.
  3. Students must get time to be at leisure. Students of class 9th can’t be asked to leave play and study forever because they are still naïve and need relaxation. The capacity to curb more at studies comes with practice and thus it should be left to time alone. The students will understand the importance and criticality of the course they have in hand over time, and will be able to make the much needed adjustments themselves. But they should never be forced to stop playing altogether.

Thus where on one hand it is necessary to make the students aware of the competition they would have to face ahead as early as possible, on the other hand it is also important to understand that the pressure of extra coaching should never be made to take a toll on a student’s psyche. Take it slow and go ahead with a go-getter attitude. You will indeed get what you have dreamt of!

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