More than 14 lakh engineering aspirants appear for the JEE Main exam to compete for just about 10,000 IIT seats and 15,000 NIT seats every year. Only those who qualify the exam are eligible to sit for the JEE Advanced or the IIT JEE exam. A growing number of coaching institutes cater to these students and help them with their JEE preparation. Kota (in Rajasthan) is famous for its coaching classes that offer a wide variety of engineering and medical preparation programs. Then, there are online coaching service providers that cater to students in India as well as NRI students looking forward to doing B.Tech from a good engineering college in India.
Naturally, every student wants to study in an institute that can help him claim a seat in the top IITs. While all the institutes make tall claims in their ads, the parameters for one’s ideal institute can vary widely. Some people focus on the affordability of the programs offered by the coaching provider, some might want to attend classes closer to home, and then, there are those who can go to the remotest corner of the world for the top quality education and well-qualified faculty members.
Here are a few questions that can help you judge whether you are studying in the best institute for IIT JEE or not:
Do your teachers know what they are doing?
You have joined a coaching institute for a reason. In most Indian schools, teachers think student engagement means assigning them to make projects and organizing quizzes and debates. If your coaching institute does not offer you a better academic support, better teachers, and a more challenging and engaging coursework, you are certainly wasting your time and money there.
Is the Study Pressure too much for you?
You might have heard how many of the medical and engineering aspirants in Kota and across India commit suicide because they are not able to handle the pressure well. If you think you are burning out too quickly, do not take delight in cracking hard problems, or spiralling into depression, it is time to seek counselling. Most good institutes allow personal interaction with teachers from time to time. If your institute does not offer you such support systems, you might consider looking for a better option.
Generally speaking, six hours of study along with school studies should be sufficient for you. If you are dropping a year and exclusively preparing for IIT JEE, 8-10 hours sFhould be good enough for you.
Is the Class/Batch Size >50?
There are coaching institutes that have batch sizes of over 100. I once heard that the most popular coaching institute in Kanpur has a batch size of over 500 students! How can a teacher possibly pay individual attention to students in such a scenario?
Ideally, there should not be more than 40-50 students in a class. Eye contact with the teacher and time to ask questions from the teacher and to get your doubts cleared – are some of the things that make a lot of difference in how much you learn in class.
Does your coaching class discriminate among its students?
Many coaching institutes have a system of segregating students on the basis of their performance. Some do it right in the beginning (on the basis of their Class 12 marks) while others do it somewhere in the middle of the semester (based on how students perform in class).
Weak students are placed in a batch which gets the least attention from teachers and the study material provided to them is kept simple. Good students get access to better resources, more challenging questions, and more attention from teachers. Then, there are star students who are the favourites of teachers and they get the best facilities and support.
If your coaching has such a system, try to get shifted to the batch of star students. Request directly or try to perform better in class – to get the best value for the money you are paying to the institute.
How much have you developed as a student?
The ultimate purpose of joining a coaching institute is to improve your academic performance. Have you learned new ways of solving problems? Have you been told how to take good notes in class and prepare formula sheets for revision? Are you able to solve previous years’ question papers with greater ease?
If you are moving up in class and your rank in All India Test Series for IIT JEE (that some pan-India coaching providers conduct for engineering aspirants) is improving, you are at the right place.
On the other hand, coaching institutes that focus more on clearing exams using ‘tricks’ rather than clearing up your concepts are not good.
Is it keeping up with the times?
Many online, as well as offline coaching providers, conduct regular PTMs (Parent-Teacher Meetings) as well as Doubt Removal Classes (where students get one-to-one time with the teachers where they can ask them any doubts that they may have regarding the subject or the exam in general). As technology is advancing, best coaching institutes for IIT JEE are using advanced and sophisticated pedagogical methods to keep students engaged.
Besides live classes (online) or classroom lectures (in traditional coaching environments), students get access to online forums where they can interact with other teachers and students anytime they want. Many online coaching providers also allow students access to recorded video lectures which they can view in case they miss a lecture or were not able to grasp it well the first time. The data analysis techniques are used to offer detailed student progress reports to parents – where teachers point out the topics in which students are strong and in which they are weak on the basis of class performance.
If you think your coaching institute is not working for you, first try to access whether you are dedicated to the cause of cracking JEE or not. If you are giving your 100% and still not seeing the difference in your academic performance, it is time to find a better option for yourself.
About Aditya Singhal, he is the co-founder of AskIITians an online coaching platform for IIT JEE, Medical and School Entrance exams. It is his passion and vision to help the engineering and medical aspirants that he along with his co-founder started with this venture. He had worked with Kurt Salmon Associates, a reputed American Management Consultancy.