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IIT JEE: What should be Strategy for Partial Droppers?

Here, by partial droppers, I mean to address those aspirants of IIT JEE which have already taken admission in some college. But, still they want the tag of IIT JEE and they are preparing for IIT JEE along with their regular college course.

I’ve already discussed about the strategies to be used by a repeater for IIT JEE. However, the way of preparation for a partial dropper differs a lot from a normal repeater. Partial droppers face a lot of problems which are hard to overcome. The most basic difference is availability of time. A partial dropper needs to spend at least 6-7 hours daily for their college course. I know not every partial dropper spends 6-7 hour on his or her college course. However, on an average this is the ideal time. Therefore, it’s no brainer that they get overall less study time for IIT JEE preparation. This means they have to use their time in the most optimal way. Along with this they have to create every possible spare time as an opportunity to study.

Apart from this every person have the desire to perform well even if the exam is of less important. Hence, there is an itch to perform well in both IIT JEE and their current college course. This creates mental pressure, especially after every semester or mid semester exams. In normal case a partial dropper score somewhat poorer than a regular student in the college course exam. This in some way hit their ego and transforms them to perform well in the next semester exam. This means, it acts as a strong force of diversion from IIT JEE for partial droppers.

Seeing the friends around enjoying the college life sometimes demotivate from giving ample time for IIT JEE preparation. When partial droppers notice that their friends are enjoying the college life and they are not, even if they can. Sometimes, this works in diminishing their zeal to be an IIT’ian, as somewhere in the mind they fear that they could fail to secure an IIT seat. It is easy to enjoy life in present than to plan to enjoy in the future which is unclear. Overall, a partial dropper needs to be mentally very strong to overcome these problems. The success rate of partial droppers is not very high. So, the first lesson to be successful as a partial dropper is to be strong mentally. If you can take heavy pressure, only then think about preparing for IIT JEE along with your 1st year engineering Course. This period will test you how well you can handle pressure.

A very important fact about IIT JEE applicable to any candidate is that only the time devoted by you on self-study make or breaks your chance to be an IIT’ian. I mean to say coaching or tuitions or any course material just enhances your chances of selection in IIT JEE. They don’t play defining role in the selection. A person can be an IIT’ian even without studying in coaching or reading from GMP. But, one has very less chance to be successful in IIT JEE without lots of self-study. I’m saying here very less chance, not no chance as I’d a friend with me at ISI Kolkata, who used to just pay good attention in the classroom, but still without self-study used to get good marks. He had got around 1100 rank in IIT JEE. Some of his friends from his IIT JEE coaching told me that they never saw him studying at hostel while IIT JEE preparation. Just with the classroom lecture and classwork, he was able to crack IIT JEE. What I want to say was there are exceptions, reciting exceptional people. But, on average this is not possible.

As a partial dropper has to use his time optimally, he can’t afford to study in a coaching. He has to rely only on self-study. Try to find other partial droppers in your institute or hostel or around. Make a group and try to clear your doubts with them every week or every 3-4 days. You can’t afford daily group session as many a times group session result in entertainment session. If a lot of jokes are cracked during the group session, chances are it will attract you just like drug attract a drug addict. So, try to make these group session professional. Doubt clearance is very important as it helps to understand the concept and make them strong. If one tries to clear such doubts by looking in different books, one might clear the doubts. In a way when a doubt is cleared in such way one understands the concept in better way than in doubt clearance session. Also, sometime it happens that when we try to clear our doubt by ourselves, we assume few incorrect things to be correct. Lastly, it takes your precious time too, which is in less reserve. The ideal way to deal with a doubt is to try to clear your doubts yourself for few hours by looking in different books. If you could clear your doubts then good, if you don’t then no problem. In any case, you have read a lot about it. Now, in your next group session discuss it with your friend. If you cleared your doubts, then in group session whatever you understood was true or false will be tested, else, if you didn’t clear your doubts, then, it will be cleared. It also helps in clear the same doubt in your friend if they haven’t noticed that they have any such doubt.

In a doubt session, try to discuss conceptual confusion and not the problem you couldn’t solve. Problems should be solved only by you. Remember, for IIT JEE, it is not important to know how a particular type of problems is solved. Problems which will come might be very new. You need to know how to solve even new type of problems. IIT needs students with innovative mind. So, to be innovative you have to know how give direction to your mind on unknown paths. Solving harder problem with your friend will momentarily help you to understand the concept required to solve it. But, there is always a chance that you could not solve similar problem with little twist. Therefore, clear the doubts related to concept and solve problems by you. For IIT JEE, the best way to strengthen your concept understanding is by solving problems. You don’t mug up the concepts; you understand it by applying it. That’s why such students do well after IIT in every field either CAT or UPSC or any other area. Practical learning makes a wise man; rote learning makes a computer or robot.

Time management is the key to unlock the doors of your success in IIT JEE. I will not discuss how much time you should devote to your IIT JEE or when you should read. This will differ from person to person. I will just give you some facts which will help you to manage your time optimally. The most important thing in managing your time is to prepare a feasible time table. I said feasible as don’t make such a plan which is hard to implement. Your college academic session goes in a fixed time format. So, you might not face problems in preparing a time-table around your college lectures. Give sufficient time to cope with your college studies. A very poor performance in college exams might result in a weak spot in interviews if in unfortunate case you could not clear IIT JEE in your second attempt. So, you have to get average marks to pass. Don’t just ignore college. On an average, I assume 5-6 hours will be the time you will get on week days and 9-10 hours on weekend. On week days try to read in bulk time. Means, it’s better to read 5-6 hours continuously for IIT JEE rather than collection of many 1 and 2 hour durations. This will help you to forget about other problems for some time and lend your mind totally to IIT JEE.

As there is shortage of time, you are not in a position to solve many problems. I will suggest in every 2-3 problems, leave a problem unsolved, if you can think how you would approach the problem and solve it after reading it. In every 2-3 problem leave a problem which is less challenging for you.

After you complete a particular chapter, you should prepare a plan to revise it later. The fact is now after solving the chapter you know which problems are no brainer and which are good and challenging. Mark around 1/3rd or less problems of the topic in such a way that when you revise it even after 6-7 months later. You take very less time to recover all the tactics and methods, you improvised while solving it initially. Whenever, we solve problems from a topic, we tend to develop some special tactics for solving the topic. I’m not talking about magical methods. I’m talking about tactics like using a formula in different way or memorizing the value of some special constants that come repeatedly. These help to solve problem faster, but we have a common tendency to forget these things with time.

Lastly, enroll in a good test series in around December. I liked FIITJEE test series very much. But, you can go with any one that can help you to estimate your improvement. A fact I say always that you don’t need to prepare for each test of the test series. Don’t waste time in preparing for any test of a test series, either it is in the beginning or in the end. Tests are to estimate you in real-time. Even if you get less marks in test series try to be more conscious in the tests next time. But, don’t prepare for it. You need the precious time to keep your IIT JEE preparation in continuity. Never let a gap of a day or two between your preparations.

In the last months of your preparation, i.e. in March or April use the medical excuse to get free from attendance for a month or two. You require this leave as it will help you to summarize your preparation in the best possible way. It’s not mandatory to get a leave by such way. But, if you could get it you can use it for the best.

Above all, be brave. Only brave persons could clear IIT JEE while enrolling in some other regular course. Feel confident that you can do it. Try to keep yourself happy even in the toughest time schedule. Keep your mind as relaxed as possible. Best of luck!

There might be some areas which I might have missed. Please mention those in the comments. I will be pleased to help you.

I’m giving links to articles written by me on similar topics:

  1. Kota: Paradise for IIT JEE Aspirants
  2. Role of coaching in IIT JEE selection
  3. Hopes Beyond IIT
  4. IIT JEE: What should be the strategy for repeaters?
  5. How to Prepare for IIT JEE?

 

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Management Education is only for the Rich

 

Last year, I sat for the CAT exam for the first time. On the very day, I reached at the exam center a bit early than the reporting time. Other aspirants were coming to take the CAT. Waiting at the gate I was observing almost all the candidates arriving to take the test for that slot. I found a very different scenario than that I used to see at the exam center during IIT JEE. Most of the girls were coming on a car with parents or siblings. Few girls were coming on a two wheeler and, very few by auto. Boys were basically coming mainly on bikes with friends. There was huge number of vehicles compared with just around hundred candidates. But, at the IIT JEE center very few people used to come on car, few with bike and mostly by auto. The trend was very easy to understand that management courses attract upper middle class more than lower middle class or poor.

Management education is getting expensive day by day. Some IIMs have increased their fees to more than 12 lakhs. Nearly, all the top 30 institutes have a fees range of 7 lakhs – 15 lakhs. This is creating a huge pressure on the aspirants. Those whose family income is not even 3-4 lakhs, how can they think to study in these institutes on their own. There are institutes who are offering management course at even less than 2 lakhs. However, most of them have poor placement scene. Who would prefer to start their career at less than Rs. 20,000 if they can get starting salary more than Rs. 50,000?

The only hope for the lower middle class or poor student is bank loan. But, there are a lot of requirements for the banks for giving a loan. Other than for the case of meritorious students seeking loan for prestigious institutes, banks ask for an account in their bank, active for at least past six months. Plus, one needs to submit an insurance policy of the candidate. One most important process is to submit the annual simple interest incurred on the amount withdrawn for loan till you get the job or six months after passing the course, whichever comes earlier. These are few requirements for applying for a bank loan. But, still it may happen that processing a bank loan took a long time.

Just suppose a person takes a loan for taking admission to a B-school with yearly expenditure of around Rs. 300,000. So, yearly interest to be paid to the bank will be around Rs. 36,000 – 40,000 for the first year. During second year this will be just around double at around Rs. 75,000. This amount is to be generally paid by the parent. Which in no way is a small amount for many middle class families? These amounts do not include the basic expense for a student, like mobile, conveyance, clothing, etc. Just imagine the burden on a student’s family.

Management institute seeks intelligent candidates having good communication skill in English and who is smart. The best institutes focuses on those candidates who is well-balanced with all these features. Even one of these is a bit less. Your chance is little to get an admission letter. As English is not first language for most of the lower middle class or poor student, neither the surrounding in which they live gives stress on learning English, the students from these class are generally weak in English. One needs a good encouraging surrounding to develop the English to the level required by B-schools. A good option for this is to join a good coaching to get students seeking to clear management entrance. But, this needs money. Most of the institutes have fees around Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 40,000 plus other expenses.

At every step, non-rich students face problem in getting management education. Even if someone is extra talented, there are big obstacles for them also. But, for the rich most of the steps are easier with the money. Therefore, in my opinion “management education is only for the rich”.

 

Should FDI be Allowed in Higher Education

 

The ‘India Vision 2020′ envisages the transformation of India into a knowledge superpower. To achieve this vision, the higher education sector has to play a key role. At present India is producing highest number of doctors and engineers every year. But, if one considers the quality and quantity of higher education in India. It is worse. In US and UK, percentage of enrolment in higher education is 82.4 and 60.1 respectively. In India, despite recent increment due to private players, current enrolment is merely 12 %. Even South East Asian countries have higher enrolment rate like 31% in Philippines, 27% in Malaysia, 19% in Thailand and 13% in China. According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), public spending on higher education in India is merely US $400 per students. If we consider public spending of US on higher education, it is $9629. It may be argued that the spending of India could not be compared with that of US. However, even other developing nations like Brazil, China or Russia have much higher public expenditure per student, in excess of $1000.

India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world, after China and the United States. The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission (India), which enforces its standards, advises the government, and helps coordinate between the centre and the state. As of 2009, India has 20 central universities, 215 state universities, 100 deemed universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 13 institutes which are of national importance. Most of these institutions are public funded. Some of these institutions have been globally acclaimed. However, India has failed to produce world class universities like Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge or MIT.

The state of higher education is very bad in India. The education system in India is often criticised for being Rote Learning, rather than problem solving. The status of teaching in most of the public run colleges in India is ill. If we see the situation of colleges in metros and cities, it may come under average level. But, the situation of colleges in small cities is very bad. The main aim for the students here is to get certificate. Corruption and negligence could be easily found in the examination conducted by these colleges. Some private universities have started operations in India. But, most of them are not giving the quality, they are for money making. In the recent years, many of the new private institutions have opened in India. But, most of them are for engineering and B-schools. The scenario is this that India is producing almost 750,000 engineers and 100,000 MBA graduates every year. But, if we see the skill in this army of graduates only 20-30% of them are doing the particular course due to interest or skill. Rest of them are there just because it is going to give them good jobs.

India in the process of becoming a developed nation needs to be technologically independent. Right now, India is dependent on other nations for technology. We are not spending a lot on Research and Development. In fact, if we see the track record in many sectors we are dependent on technology imports. Like India is the largest importer in the world for defence equipment. For the current 3G mobile technology, India is looking towards China and US for imports of machinery. India needs to spend a lot on research work. But, the atmosphere here is not research oriented. Even, in IITs, many professors find it hard to get funds sanctioned for researches.

Every year nearly 0.4 million Indians go abroad for higher studies spending approximately $ 12bn. This leads to not only loss of foreign exchange, but also ‘Brain Drain’, as most of these rarely comes back to India after completing their courses. The primary reason for a large number of students seeking professional education abroad is lack of capacity in Indian Institution. There is no doubt that the situation in public universities in India is not so good. Also, with increasing enrollment in higher education, it is not possible for the government to provide higher education on its own. But, the private institutions are themselves sick. Many don’t have experience and many are trying to just gain money without quality. Foreign investment in this field will not only check brain drain, it will also help to balance the demand supply ratio. It will develop competitiveness among private universities to deliver better quality. It will also generate employment and result in inflow of money instead of outflow. Further, the infrastructure will improve. There will be better scope for research as foreign university have different methodology to run and generate revenues. They are more research based universities. Plus India may move towards practical study based learning rather than rote learning. Other than that, India could develop itself as a provider of higher education for developing nations.

At present India is allowing 100% FDI in higher education through automatic sector. But, still no university have established a campus here, due to a large no. of guidelines and regulation. Also, many rules are unclear. Indian government is trying to pass a bill, The Foreign Educational Institutions Bill, in the parliament to directly allow 100% FDI in higher education. Right now 106 institutions are running programmes in India with collaboration with foreign universities. But, only 2 out of 106 are approved by AICTE. Indian government does not allow foreign universities to award any separate degree. It could only provide dual degree with collaboration with local institutions. Currently, many degrees given by these foreign universities are not even recognized in their own countries. Most of the universities which have tie ups with local institutions are small private universities in their own countries. If The Foreign Educational Institutional Bill will be passed, it will not only allow foreign universities to set-up campuses and award degrees in India, but simultaneous facilitate Indian government regulation of their operations.

The purpose of the bill is to regulate entry, operation and quality of education by the foreign universities. The bill will allow them to earn the status of Deemed University, which in turn will make them come under the domain of University grant commission (UGC). The foreign university then have to invest at least 51% of the total expenditure for such establishments. There will be large amount of money allocated only for the development of higher education. Plus scientific research will not be in the stage of shortage of money.

Features of the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill:

  • No foreign institution can provide degree to Indian student unless such institution is confirmed as Foreign Educational Provider by Indian Government
  • At least twenty years of establishment in its own country
  • Have to maintain a fund of at least 500 million rupees
  • Quality of education, curriculum, method of imparting and the faculty employed will be in accordance to guidelines of UGC
  • At max 70% of the income raised from the fund can be utilized in the development of institution in India and rest should be added to the fund. No part could be used in any other purpose other than growth and development of the institution established by it in India
  • Institution has to publish prospectus writing clearly about fee structure, refund norms and amount, number of seats, condition of eligibility with min and max age, detail of faculty, process of admission, min pay payable to each category of teachers and staff, infrastructure and other facilities, syllabus, rules and regulations, etc. at least sixty day prior to date of commencement of admission
  • In case of violation of any guidelines a penalty of min 10 million and max 50 million rupees along with tuition fees should be refunded to the student
  • Any foreign institution not confirmed by Indian government as Foreign Education Provider which is awarding any certificate to Indian students should submit a report regarding course to the commission

The academics, educationists and politicians are sharply divided on whether this will be a good move for India or not. As till now the experience with the foreign universities is not so good. Foreign investors in higher education have so far brought just commercial products, and may be in the future too, will bring copyrighted courses and workshops modules in order to make money. There courses will be less in accordance with the need of the Indian students or requirements of Indian science and research. Also, questions are raised about the Intellectual Property Rights, who will own the IPR? How the benefits of any research will be shared? Also, India should choose the area in which investments be invited. We should invite investments in the field where we have something to learn, where we need to build ourselves not necessarily where we are leaders ourselves. For instance, India is already doing top class research on stem cells and could collaborate with other top class institutions, but not necessarily invite FDI in this field.

Right now India discriminates its students on the basis of caste. A student’s scholarship mainly depends on his/her caste. Foreign institutions will find it hard to get inferior quality on the basis of caste. A scholarship program for economically backward students could be facilitated, but caste will be problematic for them.

The main concerns with the Bill are as follows:

  • The bill envisages regulation of fees to tackle commercialization of education which will definitely deter entry of quality foreign universities, reared in an environment where commercial success and good service quality go hand in hand.
  • It provides for government monitoring on admissions criteria which again might deter entry by high quality foreign universities which believe in using their own set of criteria.

A clear cut government regulatory policy which balances the need for freedom of foreign education providers with national interest is necessary. In other words, the accent should be on optimal regulation and the avoidance of over or under regulation. Also, Indian universities either public or private should be improved in order to compete on the same level with foreign giants.

If we see the approach of Indian government at present is to gain good quality education environment by suppressing profit motives. But, actually the correct approach should be attainment of high quality with, in accordance, profit motives. If India wants to attract world class universities in India it should have to give some liberty to foreign universities too. It should not look like exploitation of foreign university just for the sake of our profit. We should use profit as a channel to raise the quality of education.

We could take example of Singapore in the matter of framing the policy for foreign investment in scientific research. Singapore allows only world-class institutions to enter, and that only when they bring their own money. For instance the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a leading technical institution in the US, has collaboration with the National University of Singapore. From Australia, a country with which it other-wise has close contacts on several fronts, it is only the University of New South Wales, considered a premier institution, which was permitted to establish a campus solely on the basis of its own investments. As a result of its policies on foreign investment in education, Singapore has successfully achieved two goals, one to make itself an educational destination for neighbors in Asia who can now go to world-class institutions in Singapore rather than go to Australia or the US; and two, to bring in top-quality programs and skills to upgrade their own research.

If we look at the problem India is facing in development of higher education, one may say that FDI are being allowed just because we don’t have enough money to spend on this area. But, the problems are others too which FDI will focus. FDI in higher education will solve the problem of enrollment rate as we are in a situation of less supply high demand. Indian money and talent going abroad will come in check. India will become educational hub for at least neighboring countries. Infrastructure will improve. Some new methods and technology will be used in teaching. Also, it might happen that India may develop one of its own world class universities. Lastly, India needs to fill the technological lag as fast as it can to compete with China.

There are a lot of fears regarding the future of FDI investment in higher education. But, all in all on larger scale, it is going to benefit India. With better guidelines and rules, we can overcome the minute problems we assume may arise. But, in no way FDI in higher education should be discouraged. Foreign Direct investments should be allowed in India.

JEE: Should I Take A Drop?

Should I take a drop this year? Should I take admission and prepare for JEE or Should I drop and don’t take admissions? This blog is full of questions like this. As every lock has its own key, every person is different from another. Answer to these questions varies from person to person and case to case. Few times in comments, I have explained it very nicely discussing each and every aspect from which the decision should be taken. Keep this in mind that no one will take decisions on your behalf. You are old enough to take your career based decisions. Don’t depend on any one for your decision. These are done by those who need it to blame on someone in case of failure.

I’m going to discuss few aspects and challenges which would help you take this decision in a better way. I would surely love to see your comments. Do share your views here.

Why to take a drop?

Aspirants think about taking the engineering entrance exams once again only in one scenario. When they feel that they performed less and they can get much better rank if given one more chance. Many a times the reason for poor performance is imbalanced life after 10th.  Till 10th students are required to read from specific books with specific curriculum in a specific time frame. Even though life till 10th is stereo-type and boring. Its much easy and without tension. After 10th suddenly number of subjects increase. New unknown subjects are waiting for you. If one is just aiming for 12th, life again becomes stereo-type 6 months after taking admission in 11th. But, aspiration for better career needs to tougher aims. One can’t just think about scoring good marks in 12th. But, you  also need good marks in engineering entrance tests. The syllabus and pattern of which are not very much similar to 12th. Without a good mentor, students often gets confused. Till the time their confusion gets cleared. They are just few months away from 12th board.

Earlier, (at least till my time) 12th board was just to get a pass marks. Concentration and focus used to be on engineering entrance test from day 1. Not much confusion about how to keep balance. I had one more advantage. Attendance was not an issue in the school for me.

But, in order to increase the importance of 12th board. HRD ministry has taken some new measures which made the life of engineering aspirants hell. Now, marks in 12th board is as much important as one’s performance in JEE. Students are not just confused in making balance between 12th board preparation and JEE. They are even confused with the pattern and relation of 12th, JEE Main and JEE Advanced performance.

Analysis of Benefit

What I am going to discuss now has already explained by me in reply to a comment earlier.

Lets say, we give grading to all the engineering colleges from 1 to 10. 1 being the best and 10 the worst. Then, we can keep old IITs on rank 1. New one on 3 or 4. NITs on 2 and, likewise colleges with no or very little placements on 9 or 10.

Now, after appearing for JEE, one may definitely tell whether their performance was up to their caliber. Now, lets say this year you are getting 5th grade college. If you feel your performance next year would improve by 20 %. Then, you may expect to get 4th grade college next year. If improvement would be 30-40 %. expect 3rd grade college next. Likewise, you may do your calculation.

Is the benefit worth a drop?

Now, this is surely a Million Dollar question. Is the benefit you are calculating by the above analysis is worth a drop?

In order to understand this you need to first analyze the loss and gain by the drop. Importance of one year drop is a lot. You have to be prepared for a question about this in placement interviews. You have to be mentally tough to read the same books, same concepts and same problems once again. No doubt it is going to reduce your bank balance by an year’s salary. But, that won’t hurt you much. The most important thing is that you loose your whole one year. A total wastage. You stop your career growth for one year.

Now, in your decision for the drop, my thinking is not to go for drop if you are hopeful of just improving your performance next year by less than 30 %. Let me explain this by examples. Suppose this year you are hopeful to get a decent branch in a decent NIT. But, your aim is any similar branch in an old IIT( not, a rank less than 600-700 in JEE Advanced). At the time of admission in engineering college or even placements, these brand names matters a lot. But, after 4-5 years out of college, at the time of increment or job shift, these brand names don’t play any role. It will depend on your performance, knowledge and attitude. The amount of energy that you waste in preparing once again for JEE Advanced could be utilized at NIT itself to gain more knowledge. The placement from NIT might not be little lesser in package than IIT. But, if you add one year wastage for JEE Advanced preparation and growth you could have gained if you would have continued in NIT. After 9 years, decision to go to NIT would be said as a much better and wiser decision.

However, a rank less than 500 in IIT is not comparable in such scenario. As placement and growth chance would be more. But, to get such performance after a drop, you need improvement by more than 30 % compared to current.

Similarly, if you are getting a 5th grade college this year and you are hopeful to get at least 3rd grade college next year. You may go for a drop.

It is true that many top executives in India are alumini of IITs and IIMs. But, that does not mean all top executives are from only IITs and IIMs. Your foundation is important. But, that is not the only place to spend all your energy. For success in your life. You need to continuously give your best effort.

Sometimes, in few cases due to some unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances, performance deteriorates a lot than the ideal. In such case, taking a drop is very common and understandable. But, in normal case you need to assess your gain and loss with your chance of improvement. Discuss your situation with your family members, seniors and teachers. Get their suggestions and viewpoints about your probable losses and gains after a drop. The more you will discuss the more your understanding will develop and you would be ready with the decision.

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