Table of Contents
- Conceptual understanding and problem solving.
- Solving standard textbooks written by Griffiths, Goldstein, F. Reif, Y. K. Lim etc.
- Regular homework that contains textbook problems and MCQs.
- Practice tests containing our own designed MCQs.
- Interview sessions to boost confidence and to make students solve problems independently.
During graduation, many students focus solely on passing/scoring in exams and obtaining certificates rather than truly understanding and learning the subjects. Students face semester exam by guessing the questions and memorizing the answers. But the same will not work for competitive exams like CSIR-NET, GATE, JEST, TIFR IIT-JAM etc. If the learning process is incomplete, it is very difficult to qualify these exams.
Annual/semester examinations which we have gone throughout our student career developed convergent thinking, while competitive exams like CSIR/GATE and JEST needs divergent thinking. One should be able to solve any question on ay topic instantly and independently for these exams.
Most of the aspirants start preparation for NET/GATE by solving old question papers or some study materials. For those who already learnt enough Physics, solving MCQs will be sufficient for these exams. But, solving MCQs itself is not an actual learning process. As Sir. Ken Robinson quotes, “Learning happens in the minds and souls, not in the databases of multiple-choice tests”.
In our method of preparation, we concentrate on both the Learning Process and orientation towards MCQ exams.
Learning Physics contains two major parts. First is to understand the concepts and mathematical structure of the theory. Second one is to apply them. So, most of the authors included a lot of creative problems in their books along with the theory. While applying the concepts during problems, we will get to know the gaps in our understanding. Hence, solving more and more problems becomes a major part of Learning Physics.
In our course, we follow standard textbooks which contains a handful of problems. After book problems, we solve MCQs on the respective topics.
Process of Learning Physics contains following major parts:
- Reading multiple books
- Asking questions and clarifying doubts
- Teaching concepts to others
- Solving more and more problems
- Discussion in group
In our course, we are trying to implement most of these.
Reading Multiple Books :
Because of time restrictions, students may not be able to read multiple books. We suggest students follow one or two standard textbooks, but, we refer to multiple books ourselves and present the concepts in front of them. So that students will get to know multiple approaches. For the students who finishes homework quickly, we suggest more books to study.
Asking questions and clarifying doubts:
If you are studying Physics, and if you are not getting any doubts, then something is wrong. You should find the differences between knowing the name of something and knowing something. When you study Physics, doubts should naturally arise in your mind. You should not pretend to have a complete understanding when you study for the first time. You should be like a child, should raise the questions at each and every step and hunt for the answers.
So, during the course, we felt that answering student’s doubts is more important than anything else, because if it is not answered, it may suppress their natural attitude of asking the questions.
Some students ask the doubts just for the sake of asking doubts. You should not search for what doubts to ask, it should naturally arise in your mind. Your job is not to remember the stuff in Physics, it is to understand the concepts and apply them. It is more or less to understand in the way that we are comfortable with. It is to keep studying until we feel satisfied.
So, asking doubts and getting clarification is major part of Learning Physics. We spend a lot of time in answering student’s question.
Teaching concepts to others :
Teaching the concepts to others is very helpful to find the gaps in our own understanding. We should get to know what we don’t know. Then, in the next step, you can go back and study to fill the gaps in understanding. We are trying to implement this exercise by forming a group of all students and letting them interact with each other. Students should try to provide the answers to the doubts asked by others. They should try to convince others. We will always supervise this activity. Thereby, we are trying to implement the third part.
Solving more and more problems :
As mentioned above, solving problems plays a major role in learning Physics. Students should develop a mindset of solving problems without looking into solutions. In this digital age, it is very easy for the students to find solutions to any book problems or MCQs. So, student’s attitude towards solving problems is very important.
Discussion in group :
One of my teacher said that ‘Learning is a Team Adventure’. Physics is such a subject which can’t be learnt by sitting in the corner and being isolated. We should be in a team/group so that one can help other. When we are in a group, we will have a confidence of learning any difficult subjects. So, I am always pushing students to be active in group discussion and help each other.
For the students who study fully online, we suggest them to form a group at their respective places. This is a strong suggestion made by our previous online students who cracked exams and now in premier institute.
Homework and reading assignments :
This is very important part of our course. It doesn’t count how many videos students watched or how many classes attended, but if they are not doing homework parallelly, learning will be incomplete. We give textbook problems, reading assignments and previous MCQs as homework. We have designed thousands of MCQs using standard textbooks which will also be given as assignments or weekend tests. We solve all difficult problems and MCQs in the class. We also briefly do homework correctios. We take strict actions on those who are irregular students by removing them from the course temporarily.
Orientation of knowledge and skills towards exams :
Conceptual knowledge and problem-solving skills acquired from textbooks should be oriented towards solving MCQs, MSQs, and numerical questions. Choosing the simplest approach to solve a new problem requires very good practice. Applying all conceptual knowledge and experience to eliminate options plays a key role in exams. Doing mathematical steps neatly, solving numerical questions in a disciplined way is very important.
In our course, we help the students to achieve these by taking interview sessions, weekend tests and full length tests.
Interview sessions :
Regular interview session are not for PhD interviews. These have special purpose in preparing for the exam. PhD interview preparations will be done after completion of the course.
Confidence is a key factor for any competitive exam. To boost confidence, we constantly take student’s interview in which students should solve problems in front of us. We do this for online as well as classroom students. During this session, student’s can’t pretend to have understanding and can’t escape. We observe carefully and send comment on their performance. This process helps the students to self evaluate themselves and improve day by day. We found this method very useful.
We found that in previous online batches, those who were active and submitted all homework from the beginning to the end and those who worked consistently, succeeded by cracking one or more exams as well as PhD interviews.
Weekend tests and full length tests :
Although students may feel confident in their understanding and problem-solving abilities while attending classes and completing homework, they may struggle during exams. Practice tests are a valuable tool to evaluate a student’s comprehension, speed, and independent problem-solving skills. They also help the students in developing time management skills.
Our weekend tests include a combination of newly designed multiple-choice questions and some previous exam questions. These tests help students gauge their understanding and ability to apply what they have learned during the week. By identifying their weaknesses, students can focus on areas that need improvement. We encourage students to analyse their mistakes after the test, which helps them avoid similar errors in future exams.
After each subjects like Quantum Mechanics, Electrodynamics, we provide test on full subject. We also encourage parallel revision of previous topics by providing mixed subject practice tests.
Solving problems topic-wise or subject-wise is very different from solving a test containing all the subjects. We provide enough full-length tests at the end of our course and ensure that students are able to deliver the whole syllabus efficiently.