June 26, 2012

A Rough Guide to crack BITSAT in one or two - three months.

      Folks, I am posting this up on my blog just so that everyone can avail the benefit of reading through my experience of taking a shot at BITSAT, the admission test to the integrated first degree programs at the Pilani, Goa and Hyderabad campuses of the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS).



    BITSAT which was recently declared to be India’s most competitive entrance exam. The finer points of the guide will be mostly oriented towards Goan students but the post as a whole will be relevant to all. Firstly, let me brief you up on my preparations for the given exams so that you have a better perspective of how I geared up for the examination. I did not attend any JEE level coaching classes but primarily depended on the AIEEE level tuition center that I used to go to, the internet and my higher secondary school for my source of knowledge. Yes, I did top my higher secondary in the 11th but I did have my share of fun too. I used to read a lot on the sciences, do experiments but never overdosed on problem solving. As the test is based on the 11th and 12th standard NCERT syllabus, I had a jolly time.           As my 12th standard took over and the hectic preparations took kept me occupied for a major part of the day, I’d still not say that I was strictly serious with respect to my studies and I don’t regret it. Right since the 8th standard I wanted to do research in Physics and was mentally prepared to do only that. So, after checking out all the institutes in India, having interacted with many of the Physics faculty at the Goa campus of BITS and finding out that my research interests were on the same lines, I zeroed in on BITS. 
    Now here is the crazy part. Besides my boards, the only exam that I decided to give was BITSAT because I was singly focused and I knew what I wanted (not that I was over-confident). I did not answer the JEE, the AIEEE or even the CET. It was a risk that I took since I completely understood the implications of my actions, if I were to fail. I do NOT recommend you to do the same as you might not meet with the same fate as mine.
     Goa board students please note that you are not supposed to neglect or downplay the board examinations if you are gunning for BITS. Believe me, the board examinations test essential skills required in science and leave the rest to be tested by the competitive exams. Take care not to mess up on your internals. If it wasn’t natural to you, please learn to maintain good relation with your teachers (that should have gone unsaid, but still) and prepare well for the Boards. One has to get an average of 75 marks out of 100 in PCM to be eligible to admission to any BITS campus. I started preparing for my BITSAT seriously right after my boards got over. In fact, I had a little less than 2 months time left for my BITSAT. But still, I crossed the line.
     I ended up getting a comfortable 304 marks on the examination. As of the 2011 cut-offs I can get any of the branches at the Goa campus (obviously Hyderabad too!) and all the MSc courses at the Pilani campus. But obviously, I shall go for the MSc Physics at Goa. Believe me folks, with efforts in the right direction, the task becomes easy. The best advice one can give is to tell you to stick to the prescribed syllabus.

     The exam is held on a computer for a duration of 3 hours. Be sure to select a decent date and time. The time of the day plays a very important role. You don’t want to be answering on a full or a completely empty stomach, do you? Goans, be prepared to face the AC chills while answering, dress accordingly.  
     The exams has 150 questions, divided as mentioned below. With a total duration of 180 minutes, you get 72 seconds per question, which is marginally less than what one would face at other exams. You get +3 for every correct answer and a –1 for every wrong answer. So keep in mind that the questions at BITSAT will be easy, but deceptively simple. They wish to make you panic and let you yourself do the damage while panicking. It is a race against time, to frame it in a better manner. Also remember that the questions are randomly generated and no two people will get the same set of questions. So, it does depend on your luck. But prepare so well that no luck can cause you harm!! That is the essence of the spirit. One needs to be mentally tough and have a good strategy!
     Also, BITSAT has this unique feature of allowing a candidate to answer extra 12 questions to better his score even more. Below is a quote from the BITS website.

“If a candidate answers all the 150 questions (without skipping any question), the candidate will have an option of attempting 12 (twelve) extra questions, if there is still time left. These extra questions will be from Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics only; four questions from each part. Further, once the candidate has opted for extra questions, he cannot go back for correction of any of the earlier answered 150 questions.”
Here is what I went in the time strategy! Adapt it to your strengths and weakness.

Subject Questions Time I thought of giving
English & Logical Reasoning 15+10=25 10 -15 minutes
Chemistry 40 20 - 30 minutes
Physics 40 30 - 40 minutes
Mathematics 45 60 - 90 minutes
 
    Now, I shall go on to the in-depth details regarding the preparation that I did in the given time-frame. You may mould it to your convenience. The more the time you have, the more the chances you have of turning the game in your favor!

Chemistry : Be thorough with your NCERT chemistry textbooks, be as perfect as you can with them. Research on the tiny details in inorganic chemistry as the questions obviously try to pick you on your knowledge of that part of the text that is less frequented.. The questions asked in Physical chemistry are of the textbook level and so are the questions asked under the organics section. Do the extra content given in the BITSAT syllabus. Stuff like dyes, petrochemicals might help you in scoring high. Especially stereochemistry and configurations (I had 3-4 of the questions on these topics). Questions on biomolecules, CEL, Polymers are asked frequently. You might hate inorganic chemistry like I did, but you can’t avoid the fact that it is real scoring once you put in regular efforts. Play cool at organics, I repeat. The questions are not difficult.  Others don’t and they loose out. Use that to your benefit. No pain, no gain. Chemistry if done well can change your fortunes. It always used to be a scorer for me.

Mathematics : Nothing can beat practice and we all know that. Try to attempt the easy questions on the test first. It is a very scoring strategy. Start revising XIth math content as soon as possible. Trigonometry, Cartesian geometry formulae can be easily forgotten. Hence, I beg of you to revise them from time to time. Knowing the general equations of anything and everything helps. Don't stick to formal solving. Use your brains and experience to squeeze the answer out of the question. Numerical substitution, trial and error methods work best in mathematics. Know the answers to common questions at the tip of your fingers. But always know how to obtain them too, for questions on BITSAT appear to be easy but are actually deceptive. Deceptively simple. When it comes to integration, try stuff like differentiating the options to get to the question as a back-up. As I didn’t have much practice, this was my weakest section overall. But such techniques saved my life.

Physics : Get your basics perfect. Yes, perfect. Also, your formulae. There is not much I can say besides that when it comes to Physics because almost any sort of question can be asked in this section.  Do go through NCERT texts once in your lifetime. I know that Goans tend to never ever touch them. But going by my experiences, these books are gems. And obviously, practice. I remember answering almost all of the questions in Physics on the test. Not many numerical questions, because of the time-frame hence you have to work out on the tricky conceptual questions. Use dimensional analysis and your common-sense to the maximum and also know where to stop using it.
English & Logical reasoning : Stuff that people tend to neglect the most and hence, suffer the most. One can’t pick up these skills in a day or two, sorry. So a lifetime of dedication might come in handy here. Higher secondary level English, please be good at it. There are some difficult vocabulary questions thrown in which you can’t deal with unless you are a voracious reader. Do regular practice on logical reasoning a few days before the test. Referring to the Arihant/MTG books on BITSAT should give you a clear idea on these topics.

      While test taking, DON'T Guess too much. ANSWER WHAT YOU KNOW. Leave what you do not know royally. Be confident and go for what you know. NEGATIVES KILL (remember deceptively simple?). Remember that. Don't even think of extra 12 questions, I say.  If there was one thing that saved my life at the end of the, it was this small tip.       Preferred order of answering to maximize marks : E&L>>C>>P>>M      Also, remember that this might not guarantee you success. Nothing besides efforts and sharpening brains can. Hope you know your plus points, limitations and goals. Dream, but only with firm feet. Don't take risks like I did. It might not always work. Start now. I'm not kidding. BITSAT isn't difficult if you know what to do.     Those Arihant/MTG BITSAT books are not so awesome, tend to confuse you on syllabus and level of questions asked. But try it if you want to, I used Arihant. It did help me when it came to Physics and inorganic chemistry. But was way out of line with its Organic Chemistry level just like MTG was with Math. Pearson's Guide to the AIEEE is cool. Again, concentrate only on what is in BITSAT syllabus (but as you'll be taking other exams,you'll have to stuff outside BITSAT anyways). Try tests from minglebox once done with preparations. The level is as good as that of the actual test. Also, download the official sample test from the site to be even more comfortable with the way of answering. What you do, will decide where you end up. Then no use repenting. Once your 12th standard is done and you make it to a good place, all the pain of efforts vanishes! Remember that there is no substitute for hard-work. It all depends on what efforts you put in as knowledge never goes waste! :)      Aha. I'd love to take questions over email or in the comments section. Do share for the benefit of all! I shall try to update it as soon as I remember any important detail. Do visit the BITS360 forum to get your queries sorted out!
Yours,
TheBiggerBang

Edit 1: I don't have much of a clue about which book to use for Maths because back in my time, I messed up in the same. If you have less time on hand, you probably should practice and pick up pace rather than run around trying to do something new. Also, it has been two years since I gave my exam. I do not posses the best of knowledge when it comes to books to be used. Edit 2 : I'm seriously happy that I am here. This is one of THE best places in India for pursuing theoretical physics. It's magical. Wishing you all the best! Let me know if this post helped you ace your BITSAT! Here is another article that I wrote on MSc. (Hons.) & duals.Edit 3 : I graduated :-)

(Special thanks to Kaushal Sahakari, Shambhavi Narvekar and Mihir Umarye for the valuable guidance that they provided me with!)

38 comments:

Dr Varsha Kuvelkar Kamat said...

Congrats to you Raj and all the very best for a bright future God bless you !

thebiggerbang said...

Thank you for your wishes! :)

rohan said...

how is the pearson guide to bitsat book??

Raj Sinai Kunkolienkar said...

Frankly, no clue. You'd be better off asking people on the BITS360 forums! :)

rohan said...

one more thing..i just wanted to ask how shuld i study ncert for physics nd chem i mean only theory or only back questions or both??

Raj Sinai Kunkolienkar said...

In my opinion, doing both will always make you better prepared. Although questions will not be subjective, concepts learnt will always be of use.

rohan said...

hey bro if i study properly from aieee books nd do arihant or mtg book in the end then can i expect a good score in bitsat 2013??

jee 2013 said...

You make a great point. Got some great information here. I think that if more people thought about it that way, theyd have a better time understanding the issue. Your view is definitely something Id like to see more of. Thanks for this blog. Its fantastic and so is what youve got to say.

jee 2013

rohit said...

is it possible to cover the entire ncert text books in two months? I am from tamil nadu and we do not use ncert books for our twelfth boards. Thanks in advance!

rohit said...

is it possible to cover the entire ncert syllabus in two months? i am from tamil nadu and our board exams are not based on the ncert syllabus so i will have only two months to prepare. what should i do?

Varun said...

thank you for such an awesome article. It really inspired me. Yesterday i was going through the syllabus in the brochure and had a few doubts.

In heat and thermodynamics, it says 'conduction, convection, radiation'; does that mean only what is from that topic in the NCERT?

Or will it include all the Wein's law, Stefan's Law, emissivity etc found in HC Verma under same heading?

Basically, do we take the syllabus with a pinch of salt and study all sub topics in other books or take it to the dot and do only what's there in NCERT's subtopics?

And also there are some topics like bernoulli's distribution in probability which is there in NCERT but is not there in the syllabus. So my question is that do we 'seriously' need to go through NCERT or just stick to the syllabus?

p.s:
1. Above mentioned are only few of several such topics.
2. I am giving BITSAT for second time so obviously didn't give board this year.
3. And I know I have to study such topics for JEE-Mains but I am asking from BITSAT point of view.

Raj Sinai Kunkolienkar said...

Thanks for the praise. I wrote it to help people out :)

You should definitely take whatever they mention with a pinch of salt, for your own good. The portion and level roughly matched that of AIEEE (I've never given it, but people say so.). The scope of math is more than what NCERT contains, trust me. So do it.

I'm saying go through NCERT once. It'll strengthen your base. Then build up on the syllabus so as to have a really strong preparation.,

Hope that helped!

vikas said...

Very Impressive article. It boosted my confidence. Thank you.. I have just given my 12th exams. And now i am engaged in this hectic preparation for BITSAT. Now I understood that basics must be strong to crack bitsat

saurabh said...

Nice article.Just one question,which other books except NCERT did you use for concept building?
Although i have objective RD sharma for maths and I find most of the questions being outside BITSAT syllabus and of higher level than the questions generally asked in exam.Please suggest.

Ekta said...

thank you for this article. i have a few doubts. after reading varun's comment below i understood that ncert for maths is just not enough ; everyone says that inorganic chemistry of ncert is just enough for iit-jee etc so i suppose that must be the same with bitsat. but what about physics and organic chemistry? i have not attended any coaching for competitive exams and thus i do not know about mechanisms for organic chemistry (except for 5-6 given in the book itself). but i have crammed what is the product when X reacts with Y and have done the questions thoroughly given at the back and have solved examples within chapters for organic ncert. would it be ok if i treat physics in same manner?

TrueBitsian said...

arre ~! ! BITSAT lite !! if u have at least tried preparing for JEE or AIEEE then you'll have no probs !!
and yeah, do use a lot of common sense as it never hurts !!!

SiChan said...

Your article has been very helpful. Everyone seems to be emphasising about studying NCERT syllabus strictly. Unfortunately, I am ISC student and am facing a lot of problem in terms of syllabus conflict. Is there any way you can guide me through it? I have been scoring well in my school exams but entrance exams are not my cup of tea. I have less than a month to prepare and that is undoubtedly insufficient.

Tushar Goofy Vatsa said...

dude i have 1 month left for my bitsat - i have no clue about ncert - org chem is it sufficient for me to do only ncert or some other book is required , pls reply fast

Raj Sinai Kunkolienkar said...

Go a little beyond NCERT in inorganic. Follow the syllabus. Do the stuff that is not there in NCERT (Petro,dyes, etc). Mechanisms needn't be known beyond the scope of NCERT. And Physics, the more diverse questions you solve, the better you get! Formulas won't get you very far in Physics.

Hope this helped you!

Raj Sinai Kunkolienkar said...

You are in quite a spot right now. I'd suggest you to attack inorganic chemistry. And follow it up with whatever can be done in another 10 days time. Don't try to learn anything new in the last few days. Build up on what you know!

Raj Sinai Kunkolienkar said...

NCERT organic chem is sufficient. However, pay extra attention to stereochemisty.

gobleto'fire said...

thanks a lot for he advice :)

Mohit Sharma said...

Hi and thanx for this blog. i wanted to know the level of bitsat with that of viteee and srmee but it appears that u have not given both of them. can u pls tell me what is the difference in difficulty level between these three exams if u've heard anything like that from your batchmates/seniors, coz i m in a real fix right now. pls reply asap :/

Raj Sinai Kunkolienkar said...

My pleasure! :)

Raj Sinai Kunkolienkar said...

From what I hear, it is of the level of AIEEE. Now, the JEE - mains. Well, it's more sort of a trail against time as compared to other exams.

Dheeraj Reddy said...

Thank you for the blog.it really helped me...
Hey i would like to know wheather the real bitsat exam is same as the solved papers in arihant bitsat book.
I mean are they of the same difficulty level..

Aditya Shirodkar said...

Raj we love you :*

Raj Sinai Kunkolienkar said...

Haha :D He means to say that the speculations that occur about the cut-offs are nerve wrecking!

anupriya said...

is it enough if i do ncert completely without referring anything else.

Divakar Bhat said...

i would like to know if just getting above the cutoff will earn u a seat in bits. also i hav done previous year papers and i score in all dose above 300. will i qualify for bits. i am just anxious.. becoz dats my only chance...

Praveen said...

hey answer my question fast........ u said that one has to get average of 75 mark in PCM???????? but in bits website it is clearly mentioned that one need more than 80% in board exam to get in to bits?????????? Can u throw some light on this please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Raj Sinai Kunkolienkar said...

Refer to the website again. 80% was the old criteria. It's down to 75% now.

Rohan said...

hey raj i have 5 months in ma hand to study for bitsat and i only want to go in bits what shall i do means should i only do the ncert books up to the mark or should i refer eny other books i have bought a book for this it has all the portion in it according to bitsat which is neccesary is ncert and that book enough!!! pls do reply and tell me what else should i do..pls thanks!!

Rohan said...

Raj pls reply...

Divyansh said...

Hey Raj! Did you take any coaching? I am fluttering out here as I dont take any coaching, I can work hard to make a future out of me but then could please help me, Can I just focus on boards as of now and once I am done with them, attack the Bitsat syllabus?

Manjunath said...

how is the level of BITSAT exam is it as tough as IIT

disha said...

hey,actually before this i did not know anything about this exam but now as i have heard about it from people i want to give this exam....can u please suggest some good book so that i can cover the entire maths syllabus within a month?

disha said...

can u please suggest something for maths so that i can at-least attempt 40/45 questions??
please reply fast....

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