When it comes to getting into a top IIT/NIT knowledge, hard work, practice is important but not everything. at the end of the day what matters is what your score is not those papers Mains or Advanced. as they will determine what rank you and ultimately what is your branch/IIT. If you know all the topics very well and solve questions at home but can’t perform in the test. what good is it? In this post, I will share how you should approach tests while you are at coaching giving mock tests as well as in the actual exams.

## Treat Everything as a Test

Let me paint a picture, you come to your hostel/PG after classes. start on your daily homework be it DPP (daily practice problems ) or problems from the sheet. attempt a few problems, solve some miss some. open your class note look at formulae’s theory. attempt again, solve some more. then just look at the solution for the remaining problems. and think for a second, Oh! I didn’t apply that method/formula. and forget about it the next second. Now think,

- What did you achieve from these last few hours ?
- What new did you learn from doing your homework?
- How much your marks in JEE exams, solving this problem will increase ?

Most students don’t have answers to any of these questions. because they are treating this homework like school. they just have to do it before tomorrow. Missing the big picture.

Solution? Treat Everything as a Test. let’s say you get 10 problems to solve, set a clock for 30 mins. and treat these 10 questions as an actual paper. try to solve as many as you can under 30 min just like you would in a test. don’t look at class notes or formula cheat sheets. evaluate your score after the test. try to score at least 70% on each set of problems. look at which problems you couldn’t solve and determine why you can’t solve them. Not the reason down in a separate notebook. Mark the questions in place these marked problems will work as your practice set for revision. If you do this religiously every day. you will exactly know, what type of problem you struggle with, examples of these problems, reasons why you struggle with them. And at least start improving on these.

You won’t believe how many struggling students don’t have answers to *“where are they facing difficulty ?”. *they will just answer with some generic shit like “maths”. but* “arre bhai maths me kya?*“

## Not All subjects are Equal!

In the exams, you will have 3 hours to solve 60 or 90 problems divided equally amongst Physics, Chemistry, Maths. Each Subject has the same weight in determining your rank. one point gained in a math problem is the same as one point gained in chemistry. but the effort you have to put in and out of exams to gain that one point in math and chemistry is night and day. In chemistry, it can be as easy as knowing the color of some compound is pink if you don’t know the color just skip the question. but in maths, you need to know basic things about that topic. what method/approach you should take so you will reach a solution in under 2-3 mins. because if you don’t reach a solution in under 3 mins you just wasted the opportunity to solve another problem.

One of my teachers used to say *“you secure your position in IIT through Chemistry and Physics, and get a good rank through Maths”*

Because of these big discrepancies between the subject, you should treat them differently. here is a general structure I used to follow in exams. In 3 hour paper, Always start with Chemistry in try to finish it in 30 mins ( even if you have to leave some problems that you think might take time ) In chemistry too. start with Inorganic, finish it in 5 mins. move to Organic, finish it in 10 mins, then go to Physical and give it the remaining 15 mins. After finishing Chemistry move to Physics. give it 45 mins In physics too, you can order according to your strengths, finally, maths give it 1 hour and 15 mins. you should take your time here don’t make any silly/calculation mistakes. use free space in the chemistry rough workspace to keep everything clean and visible.

You should give any question only 30 sec to read and come one with a plan to solve the problem. if you can’t devise the plan in 30 sec. just skip the problem. evaluate if you can execute the plan and reach a solution in under next 2 mins. If you can’t skip the problem. If you would notice, I have left 30 mins to attempt such dangling problems. starting with the problem for which you have a plan but just need time. these might seem a lot of work initially but after few practice tests in your coaching, this will become like a habit.

## Conclusion

Even you don’t follow the method I used to follow while attempting the test to the dot. you should at least have a plan. don’t give your practice exams blindly. as they are just approximations of the real thing. how well you perform in the practice exams directly impacts how well you perform in actual exams. Hope this helps you in achieving your IIT dream.