Every year, I deal with students and parents who aspire to crack the coveted JEE. In my experience, we have seen two types of students clear an exam like JEE –
1. The prodigies or super intelligent ones (I wasn’t one of them)

2. The decently intelligent ones that persevere and work hard to level up (I belonged to this level, that’s why I relate more with students in this category)

One cannot deny that a base level of intelligence is necessary to clear JEE. This intelligence can be honed/built during foundation years. If a student hasn’t developed this by the time he/she is in the 11th standard, it becomes difficult for them to cope with the intensity of the preparation. For such students, the approach should be to “Level up” and not necessarily clear JEE. 

I didn’t say anywhere that the student should start preparing for JEE from 8th std. IT IS NOT NEEDED. Intelligence and logical ability can be improved in ways that build interest in science and math and not just cover JEE topics for the sake of it. As for me, I was curious about solving puzzles when I was that age. I enjoyed learning beyond textbooks and solving questions (particularly math), challenging myself. And that gave me the confidence to prepare for competitive exams like NTSE at the 10th level. Clearing the state and national level stages of NTSE gave me a boost of confidence for preparing for JEE.
One can argue with the age-old adage, “those who put in the hard work and persevere win at the end” – however, we must realize that clearing JEE comes with a timeline and limited attempts now. I know of a student in my batch at IIT Bombay who had cleared JEE in the fourth attempt to get into an IIT – while during that time, he would have finished his engineering in some other college! It doesn’t work like that now. Besides, the number of career options that students have now is many times what I had back then. In my experience, a student wanting to improve logical ability while preparing for JEE in 11th/12th std finds it extremely difficult to cope with the pace and vastness of the syllabus.
The key here is for the parents to be aware of where their child stands and choose a coaching class that understands their child instead of pushing every child in a herd. The parents should focus on “Level up” and help build character traits like discipline and consistency in their child. This will ensure building confidence of the student no matter what college they join in the future.

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