Many people have asked me for preparation tips and strategies for JEST and JAM. I will be telling you about my preparation for these exams in the post. But before that, I would like to add a disclaimer that there is no universal exam cracking strategy and exam preparations vary highly from person to person. A particular technique or resource(lectures and books) may be helpful for some while it may not be helpful for others. That said, I’ll be sharing some strategies I employed.
Being an engineer, I had an advantage of JEE preparation i.e. I was good with JEE level concepts. So, if one feels that he/she is not comfortable with JEE level stuff. I will strongly suggest to brush up those things first. Sources are the obvious ones,
1) Concepts of Physics by HC Verma
2) Fundamentals of Physics by David Halliday, Jearl Walker, and Robert Resnick
3) Fundamentals of Physics with Ramamurti Shankar(an amazing lecture series on Youtube). I used this for Relativity and Thermodynamics.
If one feels that they are good with that. They can go and start a bit advanced books like Arthur Beiser, Griffiths, Zemansky for Thermodynamics, etc.
I would suggest you all check out the following posts as I referred to books suggested in these posts,
I mostly used books for the reference to get a better insight into a topic I was struggling with. But some books can be followed as textbooks like Griffiths(both Electrodynamics and Quantum Mechanics), Zemansky for Thermodynamics, etc. The same thing goes for some lectures like Quantum Physics-I, II and III(8-04, 8-05 and 8-06) on MIT-OCW, V Balakrishnan’s Classical Mechanics, etc. which can be followed totally.
Now, don’t be too much confused about which book to use. If you are feeling confused, the best thing to do is to try a book and see it is working for you or not. The ultimate aim is to develop a good understanding of the topic and the ability to tackle problems, which should be fulfilled no matter which source you are using. But, I’ll suggest completing the topic fully from at least one source in order to develop confidence as it will minimize the chances of loopholes in your knowledge. And then maybe try multiple sources if you still feel a lack of understanding. The best way to check is by solving problems. I also used career endeavour material for solving problems which I won’t recommend until you are very short on time.
How to Prepare
I’ll suggest making the syllabus of the exams your first priority. Now two things are there that I’d like to highlight,
- JAM exam, in general, does not require in-depth knowledge when compared to the JEST. Hence, I will recommend covering the whole syllabus as people score very high in JAM these days and one can’t risk leaving questions in the exam cluelessly.
- JEST on the other side requires in-depth knowledge, so, one should see the syllabus and should prioritize the topics which are asked more in the exam and are common to JAM Syllabus(in case you are targeting both exams).
Keeping in mind the above points, one should plan accordingly. I found topic-wise lectures/analysis videos on the New Era Physics youtube channel very helpful while planning preparation.
I generally used to study more than one topic in a day in order to prevent boredom. Now don’t judge me for feeling bored while studying physics. But, it’s a natural thing during any exam preparation because studying physics for a competitive exam and studying physics for research, in general, are two different things. Everyone should try to find their ways to cope with the boredom and find creative ways to keep themselves motivated.
Try to make your own notes rather than relying on someone else’s scanned stuff as it won’t help.
I tried to complete the whole JAM syllabus but obviously, I wasn’t able to do so because of the regular college workload. After almost completing the syllabus, I started to attempt previous papers of both JAM and JEST around January. I used to solve the paper in 3-hour slots and then evaluate the score. Before that, I had never seen the previous year questions in order to keep my evaluation as real as possible. I think it is a bit risky to not solve previous questions until the last two months. So, I won’t strongly recommend that. But still, previous papers are a must and prioritize them over any test series. After that, you can go for any mock tests or test series.
As every person is different, so is their process of absorbing ideas and finding meaning out of them. Hence, I’d suggest trying to understand and analyze your learning process. It is a part of self- awareness and it’ll help you resolve issues like whether to solve more questions or do more theory or do both equally.
Another important thing is ‘Visualisation‘. Try to visualize concepts and problems while studying. It will make physics more natural and relatable for you.
Motivation(I know it’s a cliché)
Getting a rank in an exam is a highly luck dependent thing. Many factors besides the knowledge and hard work play a role in the process like the location of the exam center, invigilators in the exam, a coughing person sitting beside you, recent fight with your girlfriend/ex-girlfriend, etc. All I am trying to say that there is always a possibility that thing doesn’t turn out in your favor. If one makes the rank his sole purpose then there is a high possibility that he/she may end up in a self-destructive zone in case he/she fails(I have seen many such examples).
So, there must be a bigger motivation that must drive you no matter what rank you get. Hence, I would say that you should always ask yourself why you want to do physics before starting and if you find something shallow like “rank”, it’s the right time to reconsider and introspect.
There is a saying ”Think for the Best and Prepare for the Worst“. Always try to imagine the worst-case scenario beforehand with a positive mindset so that it can’t surprise you in case you get unlucky. Try to plan things and think of a lot of backups. This will really help you to reduce a lot of unnecessary stress and will ultimately help in your endeavor of pursuing physics.
Ultimately, what matters is the idea of this community of curious, passionate and rational people brainstorming and using their grey matter to tackle problems may be to solve the crisis in the world, maybe because it is what they love to do, maybe because it gives meaning to their life, maybe because it’s a good sport or just because they don’t know anything else better.
Special thanks to:
Dussy the Legend(Dushyanth Edadasula AKA creator of the community) and all the ‘Physics After Engineering’ community people, forgive me I don’t remember all of them but few are Ganesh Lakkaraju(a selfless guy who is enrolled in Ph.D., still gives his precious time to the group and also arranged a scientific calculator for me just a night before JEST Exam when I forgot to take mine), Neel Kolhe(not even an engineer), Raj Upadhyaya, Kishlay, Harshul Gupta, Rajdeep Dwivedi, and all other seniors and juniors.
Mr. Rishabh Kaushik has secured an All India Rank 1 in both JAM & JEST in the year 2020! He achieved this feat despite being in his final year of engineering. This is a spirit booster for PAE(Physics After Engineering) community, we all are very thankful to him for this. He is currently looking forward to joining a Master’s programme in one of the elite Institutes in the Country.