JAM Success Story | Kshitij Sharma | rank-197
We got in touch with Kshitij Sharma, a first-year 2yr MSC math student in IIT Kharagpur, for providing us answers to frequently asked questions for students, who want to clear JAM mathematics the next years. Here are some excerpts -
Year of JAM Math: 2020
Q. Tell us something about you, your background, childhood?
So basically I belong to Pilani Rajasthan popularly known for BITS, in starting of school during 6–7th class I was very weak in mathematics, always scoring passing marks. With the change of school in class 8th, I came in touch with a teacher who lives nearby my house he uses to teach tuition classes to maths and IP students, so I also went to him, with the months passing, my view towards maths started changing, little with time I started developing interest in the subject in which I used to fail. With this, I opted for PCM in class 11, and after 12th I Opted to go to Delhi University with BSc(H) Maths in Ram Lal Anand College, South Campus. Here I developed an interest in writing and wrote 3–4 short stories and 100’s of quotes and poems. Here the teachers were friendly and give the best guidance they can and through them, I got to know about JAM and in my 4th semester of BSc is started preparing for it.
Q. Tell us where you did your B.Sc. and how was the college?
I went to Ram Lal Anand College of Delhi University located near the South campus, The College didn’t have that much big campus and Maths was the new course there, so there were no senior in my department. Although the teacher turns out to be very cooperative and friendly, they always worked as a helping hand and helped me throughout my BSc. The college overall was good.
Q. What rank did you score in JAM? And what was your motivation/purpose to crack JAM?
The rank that I scored was 197. When I enrolled in BSc I had no idea that after BSc we can go to IIT also, so while I was in the third semester I came to know about this through my teachers, and I searched about the exam, course, and Different things related. The purpose with which I started was to outlook more at the things I have learned in a better way, and there wasn’t a better idea and approach than going for Masters's in IIT. It’s more about interest and will. One more reason was that IITs are one of the best institutes which provide the best professors along with better outreach than others, so if someone is keenly interested in Masters, should go for it.
Q. From when you started serious study for JAM?
So in starting I wasn’t much devoted, because handling the BSc course and JAM course altogether was tough, as BSc required the theoretical procedure proofs and implementation more, while JAM required much use and application of the theorems and statements. So in starting it went less serious, but then during the Break between sem 4 and sem 5 of 2 months, I completely devoted my time to JAM, and soon it turned to a habitual task after the college reopens I started focusing doing more problems, and seriousness started with September when the date of form filling and exam arrived. Because of that, there was a mark of 9th February 2020 On the calendar. I made sure to give reasonable time to study both College and JAM, though sometimes I missed one of them, and during college exam, I had to leave JAM completely, but when the last 1.5 month left, there wasn’t a single day to make excuse to let it go. And that last 1.5 months is much important than the whole year.
Q. What was your study strategy/plan to crack JAM?
The strategy was to strengthen the subject at which I am good, like if you observe the JAM pattern, it’s mostly comprised of Real Analysis having a weightage of 30–35 every year, so if someone does the sequence and series part well then can grab something from this easily. Now moving to the applied part we have Integral Calculus, ODE, Vector Calculus, with each having weightage of 10–12. Then comes group theory which has a weightage of 10–13 marks, and linear algebra having a weightage of 13–15 marks, with all these there is a topic function of several variables which alone is if 8–10 marks every year and that’s the easiest topic of all. So with these observations and mark distribution, I focused on the part in which I am good and devoted time to get better at them. While for the parts which trouble me I started with some basic books to get started with them at a basic level, and side by side I started solving previous year sheets and some practice problems. In the last month, I took 22–24 tests to manage the time for the exam.
Q. How much time a day you devoted to studying? And how you balanced time for semester and JAM?
On regular days it was less possible to give 5–6 hrs a day because sometimes the college classes went till 3 or 4, and I used to live 2hrs away from my college area, so I had to travel a lot while changing to auto and buses, so average I use to devote 2 -3hrs a day to JAM because on the other side I have also to maintain the college grades, while on weekend I joined a coaching for JAM, which use to take a 2.5 hrs class on Saturday and 6hrs class on Sunday along with test on Sundays, so my whole weekend went with JAM, during the breaks I almost devoted my whole day to JAM studies. While in December and January I kept my college work aside and used to give 10–11 hrs a day for the JAM because the last 1.5–2months is the most crucial phase. And you must have to do a lot at that time.
Q. What helped you the most to crack JAM? (eg. college, tuition, coaching, or something else)
Coaching along with a group of 4–5 people who were serious about the JAM, we always meet new people when we join a place so did I, but if you make a group of 4–5 people who are keenly devoted to the work and interested, then definitely it gonna impact, it would make you do things. Because they all have gonna different thinking for a question, and listening to each argument you would listen to a new concept and that would let you know more, explore more. So it’s better to make a group of 4–5 people who keenly devoted to JAM.
Q. What according to you should be the most important in the preparation of JAM?
The most important thing is one should know which thing he or she is good at. And working on that to make them better. Along with this solving previous year question papers and taking a test series (complete one ), in January. Keep checking yourself by having some regular tests, that's why the coaching institutes take the test every Sunday to let you know where you are mistaken so that you don’t repeat the same during the final. And don’t go for hi-fi and many books.
Q. What would be your advice to the juniors who will appear in JAM next year?
Go through the previous year's papers of JAM, keep checking yourself by taking tests, and note down the mistake you are commonly doing, take the full-length test also in the month of January to keep time management. Keep collecting counterexamples they will definitely help. Don’t get down if, in a few tests you do badly, you will learn something from them. All the best.