I’d like to start off by classifying exams into groups rather than viewing them individually, I’d strongly recommend readers to do the same, otherwise might lead to confusion-given the huge number of exams one can give. The point of separating by exam syllabus is that you can prepare yourself for all the exams under a group that has the same syllabus.
The Physics entrance exams can be divided into two categories broadly based on the education level of the students they’re designed for, BSc level and MSc level. Do read the blog post [How to do MSc Physics after B.Tech/B.E?] below to find out all the exams we can give.
Here I’ll be classifying and analyse them to see which of them suits whom.
BSc Level Exams
- Physics GRE
- MSc Entrance tests for universities like HCU, LNMIIT, JNU, Pune University, IIT Mandi, DU, and many others mentioned in the blog post above
MSc Level Exams
These exams are Screening tests for MSc grads to enter a Ph.D. or job.
- JEST (it also is for BSc grads, will dig into the deets in the next section)
- CMI Ph.D. entrance test
- A few other tests mentioned in the blog post above
Before I start the comparisons I’d like you to know that I’m very much in favor of studying for BSc level exams with a major focus on JAM. Though I’ve tried to be as objective as I can, it’s very likely (and obvious when I look back at the article now 😅) that my biases have crept in. So, do bear that in mind while reading.
Things to consider
- No.of Institutes accepting the Exam
Through JEST and other MSc level exams you’ll be mostly entering IPhd programs or Ph.D. programs. Hence, you’ll be provided with a stipend. For IPhd programs it’ll be Rs 16,000 per month for the first year, then it’ll be enhanced to Rs 31,000 per month as a normal Ph.D. student. If you are economically struggling or if you need money for any reason then it’ll be a great option. HRI and LNMIIT are the only institutes that offer stipend during MSc although it’s not a Ph.D. or IPhd program. So, if you go through JEST you’ll be mostly getting a stipend.
Through JAM you’ll be getting mostly into MSc programs, however, there are a few IPhd programs through JAM in IISERs where again you’ll be paid the same amount of stipend.
BSc level exams Vs MSc level ones
- Difficulty: BSc level exams are obviously easier than MSc exams as the syllabus to be covered is much lesser.
- No.of seats: This year, through JAM, General candidates with a rank around 600 also got into the new IITs (They are not comparable to old ones but still they are fine to do our first Physics degree) the other universities offering MSc also have good amount seats as compared to JEST. Less than 400 people qualify JEST (even lesser for CSIR-NET) and there is no guarantee of a seat even if one qualifies as they have to crack interviews which again are competitive. You check here in this list that most people who made it to physics after engineering from our community have made it through BSc level exams.
- Going abroad: If you wish to go abroad at some point(which I highly recommend) then you need to wait until Post doc if you get into IPhd or a Ph.D. program. But if you’re in an MSc program and build a good research profile with Internships (additionally publishing a paper will be extremely helpful) you can go abroad for Ph.D. right after MSc.
- Dilemma in choosing a research field: If you join an MSc course, during your two years of learning different subjects in physics, you’ll get an idea about which one to choose to pursue your Ph.D. in, but in an I-PhD, after the initial course work for 2 years, you’ll have to do your Ph.D. in that institute only(there are a few with exit options though), and that institute may or may not have people working on the topic of your interest. Since engineers won’t be quite knowledgable about the various sub-streams and research fields, it’d be better if we decide on the go while studying. Even with people who already have an inclination towards a specific field, It sometimes happens that the initial field of interest changes during the course when they’re exposed to more number of streams. It is to be noted that though some institutes let you quit an integrated Ph.D. in the middle and leave with a master’s degree, it’s usually not followed for some reason.
- Interviews: All the I-Phd and Ph.D. programs will require you to crack the Interview while MSc entrance exams don’t.
In praise of JAM
- JAM – from the pool of BSc level exams
- JEST – from that of MSc level exams
All in all, no matter which exam you choose, you need to top the exams and outdo the candidates who majored in Physics stream in a Physics exam! That means, working one’s bottom off is a necessity independent of their choice of the exam. So, all the best in that and if you need any help or motivation we’ve got a whole community to help you and cheer for you, CHEERS 🍻!!
Physics after Engineering.
You can find the FAQs and important conversations that happened earlier in the groups in this SubRedditr/Physicsaftrengineerin/
Mail me on [email protected] for further queries.