Tuesday, December 23, 2014

IIT preparation : Most Common Mistakes

I have very commonly seen that students, in their over enthusiasm to prepare for the Entrance Exams, do not properly study the core subjects ( Physics, Maths and Chemistry).
The environment is such that students think, that  if they learn all the formulae ( without knowing how those formulae came into being in the first place !) and if they learn how to apply them to solve questions and sums then their education is complete, and with that kind of studies they think they will clear the IIT entrance too. This is one of the most dangerous thinking that is being promoted by many IIT-JEE coaching institutes in India these days. Many school teachers also encourage this type of study culture these days because either they themselves have no thorough understanding of the basic concepts or they do not want to work hard. For example, most school teachers in Delhi,  I have seen,  promote the use of guide- like-private-publication-books in place of text books like NCERT or original Resnik&Halliday Physics text book. Most students never even open their NCERT physics text book.
The consequence of this kind of study culture can be very easily observed. Just talk to an average  12th class science student in Delhi today. Ask him what things he has studied. He will tell you the name of the topics that are prescribed in the syllabus – differentiation, integration, thermodynamics, electricity…etc You will be surprised to find that though most students know how  to differentiate and integrate but very few can identify a real life situation where he can apply these mathematical ideas – most students can’t even explain that how differentiation can actually calculate the ” instantaneous velocity of a non-uniformly moving objects” or “the slope of the graph of a function”. Most students do not understand that “ what makes Temperature a physical quantity?” or “what is the real importance of the theory of Carnot Engine?” or “what is heat?” or “If light is either wave or particle then what is ray-optics?”…. the list of obvious things that we would expect science students to know but which most students do not know is almost endless.
 That is why we see a student who scores 90% in the board exam does not get selected in any entrance exam though he appeared for all of them. Because he has no or very little understanding of the core subjects. The students do not realize that if with that kind of approach of study in 11th and 12th class, even if they get admission in an engineering college, then how will they learn engineering without properly understanding the science that works behind the engineering. That is why we see that we seldom develop world class technologies in India although we have a huge numbers of engineers and engineering colleges in India. We are just churning out engineers who can do the routine jobs in industries. The legacy of the British educational policy (of the colonial era ) that aimed at educating Indians so that they can become  good clerks is unfortunately still working in India.
Let us take the example of computer engineering. In India most students equate computer engineering with Software Programming , whereas software is only a part of computer engineering. Computer engineering involves the Electronics of the entire computer hardware assembly also – the Processor, and how the processor will use the software, the OS and the available RAM to achieve the task of computing,  the Memory Management, the Motherboard, the Networking Technology… and so on. So if a student does not understand the science of Electronics, Mathematics and Logic then making any real progress in the Computer engineering will be an impossible task for him. After doing his B.Tech in computer engineering he will simply be a computer programmer specializing in just one computer language like Java. Whereas  for acquiring this ability there was no need to do  B.Tech   computer engineering – a short term programming course from a place like NIIT was  sufficient.

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