An IITian Tells You if NCERT is Enough For JEE (Mains)

Suraj, from IIT (BHU) tells you if NCERT is enough for JEE Mains.

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JEE (Mains) is based on the concepts given in NCERT textbooks. The answer to the above question is, however, equivocal. It relies on the relative aspirations of the students.
I have the experience of solving the AIEEE Papers from 2008-2012 and I have appeared in JEE (Mains) 2013 and 2014. From my experience, I can say that” If you are thorough with NCERT, then you can score easily around 200/360. But it is definitely not enough to score above 250.” A genuine doubt which may arise is that if one can score above 200 with simply covering the NCERT, why is then only less than 15,000 students out of 14 lakh students appearing in the exam achieve that feat.

I have two plausible explanations to this. First, NCERT text books are full of jargons and it requires a lot of depth to assimilate them. There are certain concepts in NCERT which are not explicitly specified. Students have to derive meanings on their own. To elucidate my point I would like to quote an example. NCERT Chemistry textbook merely states the Markownikoff Rule and Saytzeff Rule without giving an insight into the reaction intermediate formed, that governs the formation of the final product. A student who simply follows the NCERT will end up mugging up the lines, without actually understanding the mechanisms. Second, NCERT textbooks lack enough practice questions. Being thorough with the concepts demands rigorous practice and regular brush-up of your concepts. Students who are not exposed to any practice materials like question banks but NCERT are used to a straight-forward way of answering subjective questions. But Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) are asked in JEE (Mains), which are often confounding. Definitely, NCERT is not enough.

However, if you analyse the questions asked in previous years, you will find at least one direct organic reaction is asked from the NCERT. Even the questions of p-block and other inorganic reactions asked in the exam are never beyond NCERT and are usually straight-forward. Physical chemistry, however, demands problem-solving aptitude which requires you to go beyond NCERT. There are some topics like Statistics, Mathematical Reasoning in Mathematics, from which at least one question is asked every year and these are directly based on NCERT. Even the questions from 3D Geometry, vectors, complex numbers and coordinate geometry are based on NCERT exercise questions. Physics, however, requires a different approach. One has to solve problems from books like H.C. Verma, in addition to the NCERT questions to gain a good command over the subject. Nevertheless, the questions asked in electromagnetism, fluid mechanics and even modern physics are often directly taken from NCERT. ‘Semi-conductor devices’, ‘Electromagnetic Waves’ and ‘Communication’ are the topics which are factual. But the facts and figures, if ever asked, are never beyond NCERT.

One of the best ways to excel in any exam is to solve the previous years’ papers. This will give an insight into the types of questions being asked in the exam. Once you start solving these questions, a feeling will sink into you that many questions are NCERT based. Develop an ability to question mere statements of NCERT. I hope my article proves helpful for the students and instil a belief that they can clear JEE (Mains) with a good rank by having a thorough understanding of the concepts of NCERT.

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