Dream To Reality
My journey to get to where I am right now(sitting at home in my pajamas) was a long one, riddled with fun and depressing times. I was first in my 9th grade when I was told by mum that her collegemate’s daughter, had left her seat in NIT-Calicut, to go and learn Science in IISER-Kolkata. I was also interested in being a scientist at the time(before which I wanted to be an Astronaut or a Pilot 🙂 ), so I thought “Yupp. That’s where I wanna study”. Fast forward one year to 2017 and my 10th board exams, where I did quite badly(CGPA of 8.6, I ain’t sandbagging here) scraped through the admission process and ended up getting a seat in the PCMB batch of my school, with the same goal in mind. Well, after the reality check of scoring badly in 10th, I decided to start studying thinking if I just studied for board exams, everything else, even IISER would just fall in place(I know, I was a bit too naive back then), studied hard and long, by hearting previous year board exam questions, learning equations without knowing what they represent, and yeah, completely ignoring entrance preparations all together. Quite obviously I got a good percentage of 96 in my boards and was on cloud nine, thinking I would crack the IISER Aptitude Test like nobody’s business, but boy was I wrong! Out of the sixty questions, thirty flew miles over my head, and the rest was more or less incomprehensible. I ended up getting a meagre 60 marks out of a 180, not getting selected in any of the rounds of counselling, broken and in the whole spiral of worthlessness.
So I had to make a decision, either take a drop and try to grab a seat in the college of my dreams, or stay a sad and depressed idiot and join a random college. My parents supported me every step of the way and along with them I decided that my dreams are not to be thrown down the drain and set off to Brilliant Pala, for a drop year. My experience at Pala was like biting into a ripe gooseberry, bitter at first, but sweet for the better part of it. I was now exposed to the huge amounts of topics that I missed out on while “preparing” for my boards. Initially it was all too much to take in, but my peers were very helpful and so were the teaching staff and the wardens at my hostel to whom I’ll forever be gratefull to. It was here that I understood, Hardwork is a vector quantity. The magnitude and direction both matters. As there was no particular course for IAT as such, I prepared for JEE, with nominal knowledge in Biology from my school days. The hours days were long and hectic and the nights even more so, but in the end the amount of knowledge I gained was worth every second of time invested. I fared well in JEE Mains with a percentile of 98.4 (I know some people think its not that great,but hey, it was my first jab at the exam). Then came the lockdown. The disciplined 16 hours a day of study time with routine breaks dissolved amidst the comfort of my home. The exam got postponed multiple times and the intensity of my prepartions also mellowed down as the days passed by. Then came the second coming of JEE Mains, which gave me the reality check of how much more I had left to study, and gave me that last little push to take me over the line.
Dream Come true
On 18th September 2020, I sat for the IISER Aptitude Test for my second and last time, and unlike last time, it actually felt good. All the hardwork over a whole year had finally paid off. I was on the top of the world after the exam, and ended up with a 105 out of 180, which was enough to get me into IISER-Kolkata in the second allotment.
My Strategies and Books
Now the more serious part, on how to prepare. I will say what I used for preparations, but feel free to mix and match with other reference material as you please.
For Math, I diligently followed Cengage books for JEE Advanced, and also had DLPD material from Resonance. For Physics I followed D.C Pandey and once I was done with my syllabus, a small part of Krotova as well. Organic Chemistry, I used O.P Tandon for theory and M.S Chauhan for problems. Physical Chemistry, R.C Mukherjee and for Inorganic Chemistry I only followed NCERT. For Biology, I had only followed NCERT, and it went okay for me. Apart from this, solving previous year question papers of JEE Mains, JEE Advanced and NEST helped a lot. So if you are planning to join IISER, then buckle down and start working! The exam has been getting difficult every year and the competition is also at the rise. Hope this helps!All the Best!