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How I cracked JEST – Deepmala Wadhwani (AIR-3)

Deepmala Wadhwani

Deepmala Wadhwani

Deepmala has secured an All India 3rd Rank in JEST 2020 (I-PhD)! However, she chose not to pursue research. She works as a JEE teacher in Pune. She has done her Bachelor's in chemical engineering from IIT Roorkee.


       Hello friends! In this post, I have shared my preparation strategy for JEST, how I went about each subject of the JEST syllabus, and some important tips at the end of the post.

My story

                I did B.Tech. in Chemical engineering and took a teaching job in my hometown. I have been teaching Physics to 11th and 12th class students for almost 4years. I believe this is one of the factors that got me top rank in JEST. 
In October 2019 I read on Quora that how engineers can become physicists, and thought of giving it a chance. I joined the Physics After Engineering( PAE) community and started exploring exams that I could take. By that time, the deadline of JAM form filling had already passed and I was left with TIFR GS-2020 and JEST. Due to some reason, I couldn’t appear for the TIFR entrance exam, but I made sure not to slip JEST off my hands.
JEST was scheduled to be on 16th February 2020. I hadn’t had much time, so I decided to be selective and prepared the topics that are frequently asked in JEST. 

Books/ video lectures I followed:

Quantum Mechanics: This subject was new to me. Even after re-reading chapters from Griffith’s Introduction to QM, I didn’t get confidence until I solved its problems. I also used Y K Lim-Problems in QM (Source: Study material drive of PAE community or you can find in LibGen).
Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of Griffith were easy to understand (except for few topics) but chapter 4 was elusive, I followed Prof.Ajoy Ghatak’s NPTEL videos for this chapter.

 Electromagnetism & OpticsI found Electrodynamics and Classical Mechanics easy and I was able to solve 60% of problems based on these topics without even reading a standard textbook. That was a big relief. I read Griffith’s Introduction to Electrodynamics and solved problems in between using the solution manual.
Classical Mechanics: Studied Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations from YouTube. Also watched Prof.HC Verma’s lectures on Special Theory of Relativity.
ElectronicsWatched Behzad Razavi videos suggested by a member of the PAE community. His lectures are very well explained.
Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics:  Mostly watched videos on the Partition function and its application by DrLalit Kumar. In his YouTube channel, you won’t find a detailed study of the subject but you’ll get a quick overview of the topic and get an idea about the problems that are being asked in various competitive exams. I found his lectures beneficial.
Mathematical PhysicsI picked this subject in the end and didn’t give it much time. Do not commit that mistake. Maths is the essence of Physics. You cannot solve QM, Electrodynamics or Statistical Physics problems unless you are good at Maths. Though I have read Vector Calculus and Matrices while studying Electromagnetism and Quantum mechanics but still this subject needed judicious time.
Other than Matrices and Vectors, I read Complex analysis, Laplace transforms and Linear differential equations from handwritten notes shared in Telegram/Whatsapp groups of PAE community, and watched YouTube videos for the topics that I couldn’t understand from notes.
[ For a more extensive list read the following post by Chintan Patel(AIR 6) Books, lectures, and notes for JEST preparation ]

Points worth noting:


  1. Read the syllabus thoroughly, figure out your weak areas, and solve as many problems as you can on those topics.
  2. Solve previous years’ JEST papers. I recommend solving them subject-wise. You can find JEST solutions on the Fyziks website.
  3. Prepare notes while reading and try to explain the topic you read to someone or yourself. You will learn better. This is called the Feynman Technique and is very helpful.
  4. If you are strong in 11th and 12th Physics then you can crack this exam by just preparing a few BSc/ MSc level topics. 60% of marks would get you a good rank.

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

All the best!

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