Once a wise hermit said “You can take a horse to the water, but you can’t make him drink.”
I attempted JEE (Advanced) twice and cleared the exam both times. Now, let me tell you, JEE aspirants, clearing the cut-off doesn’t earn you a seat in an IIT and even if it does, it may not be the one you have dreamt of.
What went wrong the first time? Do I have to blame the coaching institute?
Yes, I would blame my coaching institute to a certain extent. I took coaching from 3 different institutes during my first attempt (JEE 2013). The coaching institute I joined in class 11 split into two fragments. Although it was a shock for quite a few of us, later on, I found that it’s a common norm in coaching centers of many smaller cities like Udaipur, Kota and Bhubaneswar.
It will be hilarious to tell you that ‘Vidwan’ coaching center (where I took coaching in my class 11) split to ‘Amogh Classes’ and then to XYZ (I can’t recall the name), then to ‘Tesla Classes’ and I don’t know what’s the current name of that coaching center.
In my second effort (JEE 2014), I took coaching in just one institute, FIITJEE South Delhi. Read further to know how my choice of coaching center changed my career trajectory.
How To Choose A Coaching Center For IIT?
1. Success Ratio
The success ratio of coaching institutes matters a lot. For nationalized coaching centers like FIITJEE, Akash or Resonance, check the success ratio of the local center and not just the overall ratio.
Very often the primary centers account for most of the successful students while the local centers are not up to the mark. For example, the primary center of FIITJEE in South Delhi has much higher success rate compared to that in Bhubaneswar.
Warning: Be scrupulous about advertisements of coaching centers. The ugly fight between Nitin Jain and FIITJEE and Akash Institute is yet to be resolved.
2. Learning Style
Choose a coaching center that caters to your learning style. In my second attempt, I selected a coaching center that caters to my learning methodology. I didn’t go to Kota because of the huge batch strength.
I needed more time to clear doubts. I was a slow learner (compared to others in the batch). I realized that I can learn faster if I have an idea about the topic to be taught prior to the class. Unlike my previous coaching institute which provided me with Daily Practice Problems (DPPs) after the class, FIITJEE had a standardized curriculum and the course handouts were provided prior to the lectures. Thus, my class performance improved a lot.
Coaching centers Kota like Vibrant Academy accommodate over 100 students in a lecture. Therefore, the scope of personalized learning will be missed in these institutes. However, in FIITJEE, the batch sizes are not more than 50.
Further, FIITJEE offers great doubt clearing sessions where newly recruited teachers are available round the corner. Sometimes, it’s a great way to learn about new tricks for solving problems.
NOTE: I am not promoting FIITJEE here. You can join any coaching class that has consistent performance with smaller batch sizes.
Affordability is a great issue when it comes to going for coaching in big cities. Many of my friends pursued local coaching in Balasore because they couldn’t afford the expenses required for coaching in Delhi or Kota.
So, what should one do in this case?
Life is not about the best opportunity, it’s about finding the optimal choice and making the most of it.
- You have to figure out an optimal way of preparation. You can join the Distance Learning Programs (DLPs) of some nationalized coaching centers. In Delhi and Patna, you can find the xerox copies of the study materials of almost every popular coaching center.
- In the last 2 years, 4G internet has penetrated into villages as well. You can take leverage of that.
- Try to clear scholarship exams of some reputed coaching institutes. They give a fair amount of fee waiver. I was fortunate enough to receive a 75% tuition fee waiver at FIITJEE.
JEE is about endurance and your sanity even in the toughest situation. Hence, I mentioned in the first line about the thirsty horse analogy. I have seen toppers of my batch falter on the Judgement Day and couldn’t even get a rank. I have seen students struggling to solve some basic Kinematics problems, fly with success because of their strategy to attempt questions.
Not everyone has the luxury to make the best choice, but everyone can certainly make the optimal choice.
Good luck with an optimal choice of coaching center!
Edit: There are intelligent people who can clear JEE without coaching. I know a few guys. But I am yet to meet someone in the top 1000 who hasn’t taken coaching.