How many hours should you study?

This question is probably the most common question asked by curious JEE aspirants to their teachers, coaches and parents. But, is it a relevant question? When you ask this question, what you essentially want to know is whether you are preparing right or not. Are you doing enough work for getting into IIT? Perhaps you know of a friend who says he studies 12 hours a day. Should you start doing the same?

You can answer the questions above using the following fact: Number of hours spent studying per day is NOT the most important factor that decides whether or not you will qualify for IIT. But then, how will you know whether you are preparing right or not? The best way is to use your own data and feeling. Here are some tips:

The ultimate way to test whether your preparation for a topic is sufficient or not is by solving past years’ JEE questions from that topic. If you can solve them, your preparation level is good. The only catch is that you might achieve this level several months before the final exam, in which case, there is a chance you might lose it by the time it’s exam-time. So be careful. You need to maintain the level until the end of the exam. Have a plan to revise the concepts periodically in whatever way you feel comfortable.

— If you have spent more than 4 hours on a topic (in one or multiple sessions) and have never been able to maintain concentration for a continuous stretch of 15 minutes, ignore that topic for a while. You have given enough time to the topic and you should move on to other portions of the syllabus. It is completely normal to find some topics boring. If later in your preparation, you have time to revisit it, try to find some way to make it interesting. For example, you can look for a good source of content or good source of learning or some interesting study group.

— If you are not able to enjoy your studies or if you feel stressed or lack confidence or you keep finding reasons to avoid studying, you need to find ways to enjoy it. Take help on this matter.

If you use your own data, you may discover that studying at your natural pace works best for you. It may be just an average 5-6 hours a day of quality work, with some variations depending on several factors such as topic, mood, environment, health etc. This might just be all you need to do to get into IIT.

It is very important to know how to correctly measure your present preparation level. Otherwise it is very easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself with others and concluding that you are very underprepared.

Mock tests often do a very good job at breaking your confidence. Often, the questions asked in such tests are not JEE-like. It is a common tendency to ask trick or complex computation based difficult questions in mock tests. Just because these questions are also difficult, doesn’t mean they are a representative of questions asked in the JEE. Scoring very poorly in such tests is no indicator of your performance in JEE. The real indicators are the points mentioned above.

If you are anxious about your preparation and don’t know if what you are doing is enough or not, our Personal Preparation Plan can provide some help. As a registered user of the Personal Preparation Plan, you will get your preparation level monitored at a regular interval by experts. We will tell you whether you are on the right track or not, and if you are off, what you should do to get back on the track.

Monday, February 11th, 2013

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