Saturday, February 20, 2016

PLAN Of Study for IIT-Entrance (PART-1)

What a fresh 11th class science student must know?
 AUTHOR- J.P.Sinha.Teacher of physics and maths for IIT-JEE (JEE-Advanced)
It is March again. Like every year in India, a new set of students are about to pass out from the junior school, and they will soon be entering into the 11th class now. This article is aimed at those students (under the Indian system of education) who are going to opt for the science stream in their 11th class and are also planning to prepare for IIT Entrance or Medical Entrance. 

For science students, the time spent during the 11th and 12th classes, is the most important phase of their academic life. Because the knowledge and skills that they gain in the 11th and 12th classes, that completely decide their academic future after these classes. All the Engineering and Medical Entrance exams are based on the combined syllabus of 11th and 12th class. Those aiming for a career in pure science also, can not take the studies of 11th and 12th class lightly.
The four core subjects of science (Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology) actually make their first organized beginning in the 11th class. Till 10th class, these subjects are taught like a course in general-knowledge (except to some extent, Maths).
The conceptual foundations of all the science subjects are actually made in the minds of students during their 11th and 12th class studies only. And therefore the structure of any college level course in Engineering, Medicine or Pure Science is totally based on the foundation of knowledge created in the 11th and 12th class syllabus. So if you do not thoroughly study (and develop deep understanding of) the 11th and 12th class syllabus in science and maths, then you will face problem in any course of science or engineering that you may join in college.

Till 10th class, all the science subjects are mainly taught as a collection of facts that a student needs to learn (without asking for any logic behind those facts). That is why I said above that science syllabus till 10th class is like a course in general knowledge.
But now from 11th class onwards, the nature of each science subject will undergo a drastic change. Now there will be a great emphasis on understanding the concepts and logic, and in seeing the logical interconnections and interdependence between various facts. For example, we know liquids exert buoyancy , but liquids exerts buoyancy only when placed in gravity – inside a space ship where there is no gravity any liquid can not show buoyancy. Thus we see, buoyancy is not an isolated property of a liquid, it depends upon gravity. What connects the buoyancy with gravity? If you ask this question, then you will have to explore the relationship between the compression of a liquid and the pressure that the liquid exerts due to that. This will lead you to the world of molecules - How intermolecular forces between liquid molecules depend upon their separation?... and so on.
So now, only learning isolated facts will not help at all. You need to understand the concepts of science more. You will now be expected to make continuous serious efforts to understand the logic behind the scientific facts. And now you need to ask “WHY?” and “HOW?” very often while learning science.
 In 11th class science syllabus, in the beginning of any subject (say, physics), first it will be discussed that what is the scope of Physics, and why do we study Physics. Then the initial chapters will try to build the basic foundation of knowledge in Physics. Then as we progress to later chapters, we will be introduced with wider and wider spectrum of concepts belonging to various branches of Physics. And during the whole course, the aim will be to enable a student to see that how the concepts and ideas of various branches in Physics are logically interconnected and interdependent, and similarly how Physics is also connected with the other science subjects.
Many students do not realize that from 11th class, they now need to take a logical approach of study in science and maths. They continue to keep studying science like the way they did till 10th class. Consequently science syllabus becomes a burden for them. The huge number of facts present in any science book, are impossible to learn without understanding the concepts behind those facts.
Plus, if after following this faulty way of study in science in the 11th and 12th class, you manage to take admission in an engineering course in college ( some private engineering college !, because you can not get admission in an IIT with the faulty study method) then managing your studies in college will become a daily torture for you.

 ....this article will continue in PART-2

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