How I Cracked IIT JEE-Nitin Bansal

Nitin BansalNitin graduated in Computer Science from IIT-Delhi in the year 1993. Calm and composed, Nitin strongly believes that remaining calm and unruffled during those crucial hours on the D-Day can help you win half the battle.

Let’s hear it straight from him-

My growing up years were spent in various parts of the country as a result of my father’s job that required the family to be transferred to different places in India. However, wherever I went, I was enrolled in schools affiliated with CBSE. I was like all the other children in class eleventh and twelfth. I made unrealistic plans of studying for 6 hours at a stretch everyday and chalked out unworkable timetables only to fall way behind schedule! The one thing that I did not lag behind in was regular revisions. I did not realize the importance then but when I look back now, I think what really helped me stay calm during the last three months before the IITJEE entrance test was the fact that I had a strong knowledge base possible only because of everyday revision.

I had Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology as subjects in class XII but I was keener on taking up engineering in graduation. I loved Maths and never really had problems with the subject. It was Chemistry that gave me the nightmares. I hated referring to books that had very lengthy and complicated definitions and theories. I stuck to making short notes and reading up precise summaries of the concepts before going for more ‘technical’ sounding definitions. This helped me get a simplified introduction of the concept before I tried to swim in the ocean of technical and tedious readings on the concept. I managed to float successfully on the copious short notes that I made when I read through the texts for the very first time.

Since I was a night person, I felt that studying at night when everything was quiet and peaceful helped me concentrate much better on my studies than at any other time of the day. My parents of course, wanted me to get up at dawn and begin working on my books but I whenever I tried that I fell asleep almost every time! I believe that everyone has one quarter in the day where his concentration levels, his grasping abilities are at their sharpest. Mine surfaced at night; others might experience something like this during other quarters of the day. The key is to locate that particular time period in the day when you are most active and make it a point to tackle concepts that trouble you the most during that period.

Once the basic is done, all that you need to do is to practice in a disciplined fashion and keep revising previous concepts even if it is for an hour.

I was a good student at school and stuck to the NCERT textbooks for my basic school boards preparation. I practiced application based problems from the correspondence notes that I managed to borrow from my seniors. The coaching culture was not so prevalent back then, but Brilliant Tutorials were very popular in our times for IIT preparation. They used to send regular test papers and revision notes via post for subscribers and we found it quite helpful. I personally liked another set of preparatory material that belonged to a small, unknown publishing house called University Publications in Roorkee. The notes were quite succinct and all-inclusive.
With my basics all in order, the last two months of my preparation were relatively smooth. Whenever I entered the panic zone I practiced questions from previous ten years’ IIT JEE entrance exam papers. Practicing those in a time-bound manner helped me immensely on the day of the exam.

Like I said before, it is imperative that you remain cool on the day of the exam. A stress free mind helps one remember things better and analyze questions in an orderly fashion. If you have learnt how to manage your time well while attempting the multiple choice questions and have disciplined your writing speed well while attempting the subjective section, then all you need to do in the exam is to identify the easier questions and then go on to first collect all the marks they offer, before tackling the more complicated ones.

Before signing off, I just want to say that there is no alternative to regular studying. Manage your time well and you will surely reap the rewards.

All The Best!

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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in IIT JEE


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Launching the new ‘How I Cracked IITJEE’ blog series

As an IIT aspirant, you must have been under tremendous pressure to crack the entrance exam and enter one of the most coveted engineering institutions in the world.

Your parents look at you with eyes brimming with hope, your relatives and seniors take it upon themselves to ‘guide’ you through the process.

Sometimes taking advice from everywhere can indeed work to your disadvantage. Each person has to customize his learning process according to his strengths and weaknesses rather than taking into account everything that is being shot at him from others.

To help you fine tune your preparation according to your needs, we are starting a new blog series wherein we interview IIT alumni, bringing to you an insider’s view on how to prepare, manage your time, keep stress at bay and more.

We hope you will find these insights helpful.

All the best,
Team Meritnation


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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in IIT JEE


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Excel in class XII boards to realize your IIT dream

The latest update on the IITs vs the Education Ministry impasse is that there is now a consensus between the two. The education ministry proposed a selection criterion wherein your class XII Board exam results can either make or break your dreams of making into the prestigious IITs. Yes, you now have to be among the top 20% of the rankers in your respective boards to be able to make it to the premier institute.

The new selection criterion that comprises a common entrance test to be conducted at two levels – Main and Advanced – has received a positive response from the IIT chiefs. You now have to appear for only one exam to determine your future in the field of engineering. The Main exam, to be held at least a month before the Advanced level will be open to all. You have to be among the top 1.5 lakh rankers to be eligible to sit for the Advanced exam. The final IIT merit list will be determined on the basis of the marks you get in the Advanced exam plus your class XII board exam marks. Therefore, you have to do very well at school to realize your IIT dream.
This decision will greatly diminish the deep-rooted dependency that students have on private coaching institutes, who charted out their own syllabus. This parallel tutoring put immense pressure on the already overworked student leading to a situation where the aspirant faced an early burn out. In 2006, the entrance exam pattern was aligned with the syllabus of class XI and XII aiming at lessening the burden. However, the flawed selection system allowed the al coaching industry to capitalize on the existing loop holes. The IITs felt that the coaching institute ‘manufactured’ entrants were gradually lowering the high standards of the premier engineering colleges. The need to filter out the best young minds became imminent.

We at Meritnation along with nationwide educationists, parents and students heave a collective sigh of relief and welcome the fact that the new selection criterion is aimed at an all-round and holistic learning experience needed to do well in the field of engineering and technology, of which the IIT entrance exam is just a stepping stone. This move will help bring together a batch of students who are genuinely interested in making a mark for themselves and contributing something new to the field of engineering and technology.

Since your class XII syllabus deals with most of the basic concepts needed to do well in the exam, we feel that a sound grasp over the concepts in class XI & XII will definitely keep you in good stead.

While the verdict is still not out on whether the Advanced Test will be a subjective test or an objective (MCQ) one, my guess is that it will be a mix of both, as the IITs who though are in favor of a “grilling” subjective test to be able to ‘pick the best out’, the sheer logistical nightmare of evaluating the responses of 1.5 lakh aspirants, might just make it very difficult.

We believe that if the test becomes even partially subjective, you will have to prepare accordingly. This means that only those who have a strong understanding of the concepts will be able to do well in the exam.

Details of the JEE-Advanced will be discussed in a Joint Admission Board meeting to be held in August. Keep watching this space for all the latest news on IITJEE.

Best wishes,
Praveen Tyagi

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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in IIT JEE


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CBSE assigns weightage to Value Education in Board Exams

This academic year onwards, the Central Board of Secondary Education will be assigning 5% of the marks for value education in each of the core subjects in Class Xth and XIIth Board Exams. The questions will be for five marks in a 100-marks paper and for 3-4 marks in a paper of 70-90 marks.

Eg- A potential question in Economics is: a father in his will gives 40% each to his son and daughter and 20% to his servant who has been with him for long. Why has he done it and what is the value addition? 8 marks

The answer to this would be based upon Gender equality and charity.

Besides class Xth and class XIIth, schools have also been asked to select such relevant questions to be asked during the final exams for classes IXth and XIth.

The education system in India has been for long under the wrong light for neglecting  the skill and value development of students and making them tunnel-visioned towards  academics. CBSE in recent times has been taking many positive steps to address this concern. School heads have also welcomed the move, saying that the holistic development of a child holds greater importance over only academic development in the long run.


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Posted by on July 3, 2012 in Education


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CBSE to provide evaluated Answer Sheets for class Xth and XIIth Board examinations

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is providing photocopies of Evaluated Answer Book(s) to students who have appeared for their Board Examinations in 2012. However, standard Xth students will get their evaluated answer sheets only after information regarding marks has been blocked out, keeping in line with the Board’s grading policy where actual marks are not disclosed.

Here are some important pointers for candidates who wish to receive the copies of their answer sheets:

  • The request for obtaining photocopy of the evaluated answer-book(s) can be made online at from 23rd June (10 a.m.) to 30thJune, 2012 (5 p.m.) for class X and 27th June (10 a.m.) to 4th July, 2012 (5 p.m.) for class XII.
  • A fee of Rs. 500/- per subject in the form of Demand Draft has to be given for this.
  • If a candidate finds any error in the totaled marks/grade(s) or finds that any answer has not been evaluated in the photo copy of the answer book, then he/she should communicate in writing to the Regional Office not later than a period of 10 days from the date of receipt of the copy of the evaluated Answer-book.

Check this link on the official CBSE website for more information on this:

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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Student Zone


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Online Accountancy Test Pack for CBSE XII!

Meritnation launches the much awaited Accountancy Test Pack for CBSE class XII. Now you can brush up your Accountancy theory and get ample practice with the numerical questions in the subject.

Salient features of Meritnation’s Accountancy Test pack

  • Chapter wise Tests
  • Concise Revision Notes
  • Model Test Papers
  • Solved Board Papers
  • Detailed NCERT solution

This test pack designed as per the new syllabus prescribed by CBSE, will help you-

  • Gain confidence to solve numerical questions with abundant practice opportunities
  • Revise key concepts in each chapter using chapter-wise Practice Tests
  • Understand difficult chapters such as Goodwill of a Partnership Firm, Adjustment of a Partner’s Capital, Dissolution, Shares, Debentures and Ratio Analysis
  • Revise concepts with the help of printable Revision Notes
  • Prepare for final exams using full-course Model Tests
  • Refer to model NCERT Solutions to clear your understanding in all concepts
  • Get an idea about the probable board questions

Meritnation’s Accountancy Test pack is geared to help you solve all questions efficiently & accurately. So get cracking and score well!

Best of Luck!

Team Meritnation

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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


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The impact of changed format for IIT JEE examinations

The decision by HRD minister Mr Kapil Sibal to have a common entrance examination for all engineering colleges from 2013 has evoked a mixed bag of reactions. However, despite the lot of criticism that it has received, we strongly welcome this move.

Under the new scheme, all aspirants will have now have to appear for two exams – JEE main and JEE advanced – to be held on the same day. For admission to IITs, a student will be first shortlisted on the basis of the cumulative score in Class XII exams and the main test – each getting a 50% weightage. It has been proposed that the final merit list for admission to IITs will be basis only the student’s performance in the JEE advanced test.

For centrally funded institutions which include NITs and IIITs, it will be 40% for Class XII board, 30% for the main test and another 30% for the advanced test:

Why the need for a common engineering entrance exam?

In the earlier scheme of things a student’s performance in class XII exams was not given any weightage in the engineering entrance exams. Thus, a student although wanting to also do well in Board exams, was often unable to do so given the inability to cope with the differing demands of the two exams.

The interesting thing to note here is that, while students still had to first ‘master’ their class XII concepts in order to hope to crack IIT JEE and other competitive exams, performance in class XII exams was never openly acknowledged as being important. A student who gave everything to preparing for these entrances but was still unable to clear it, most likely had the entire career messed up because of sub-optimal performance in the class XII exams.

How do these changes impact the lives of engineering aspirants?

With the new pattern, however everything changes. With class XII marks finding a place in the selection process, an engineering aspirant’s performance in the class XII school exams has suddenly become legitimate. Such an integrated approach to education prepares the right foundation for lifelong learning in the student and makes the student look at education in a holistic manner and not merely as an ‘entrance exam’ that needs to be ‘cracked’.

From our interaction with thousands of engineering aspirants in the country over several years, we could not have been more confident that this is indeed a great bold move by the government.

Some of the advantages of the common engineering entrance are highlighted below-

  • It will reduce the pressure of multiple exams on students
  • It will help restore the importance of class XII boards
  • It will reduce the strangle-hold of coaching institutes for securing admissions into IITS
  • It will help reduce the added burden on aspirants in terms of time, fees and stress as students prepared for multiple exams
  • The IITs will now have a larger base to choose from

The move to have a common test has been lauded by the entire teaching community, including principals. Students and parents too have welcomed this move as it greatly reduces their mental and financial burden, contrary to a small voice of dissent that believes that the burden on a student has actually increased. We believe that such an integrated approach of concept-building through school exams coupled with problem solving skills necessary in entrance exams, will only benefit students in the long run.

Yet another concern has been that the exam will now become easier and the IITs will no longer remain the institutions of excellence. Our take is that the exam has always been tough and only the best got through. By simply enabling more students to take the exam with less pressure should not make it any less so. May the truly deserving students win the coveted seat!

Pavan Chauhan
Managing Director-

Note: This is the first in the series of IIT JEE blogs. Do keep a watch on this space for more news on IIT JEE from our IIT expert-Pravin Tyagi!

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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in IIT JEE


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