CBSE on April 27 announced the Joint Entrance Exams (JEE) Mains 2017 result in which about 2.2 lakh candidates qualified for JEE Advanced 2017. Yet, close to 10 lakh students have not made it this year. Most of them must have kept a back-up plan — entrance exams of state and private engineering colleges or admission in regular science courses. But there are many who do not mind dropping a year to get a seat in Indian Institute of Technology or National Institute of Technology.

But is it a good idea to miss a year or two? Besides IITs, there are other reputed colleges like BITs, VIT that have good infrastructure and active placement cell. Students of these colleges get good exposure and jobs.

Balance it out

A lot of students feel overburdened due to board examination and entrance exam preparation. Not everyone can balance it out. Remember the board toppers are not always the JEE toppers but since their concepts are clear, therefore many crack the entrance exams in first attempt.

However, most of them do not follow a strategy and get sandwiched between coaching institute and school. Ramesh Batlish from FIITJEE said, “If a student is aiming IIT and is willing to dedicate a year, then they must take a second chance as it is for such students IITs have given this provision. In such cases, systematical preparation is important.”

Kushagra Sinha, an IIT-Guwahati pass-out, also dropped a year for JEE preparation. “My score was just two marks less from the cut-off for JEE Advanced. So, I did not take admission anywhere else to avoid distraction and prepared for JEE Main,” says Sinha who believes JEE preparation is tougher and requires full dedication.

“Those from CBSE board can crack JEE Main in one go but JEE Advanced is notch higher. Unlike board exams where answers need long elaboration, joint entrance exams are objective types. Speed and accuracy play a crucial role here,” explains he.

To save a year, many students get enrolled in private engineering colleges. Batlish said, “This is generally not advisable as the student performance drops in both due to lack of focus and adequate time and commitment required. If one is clear that he/she has to clear JEE in the second attempt, it is advisable to drop and prepare for JEE only.”

Venkat Ramana from TIME Hyderabad believes that only those candidate should repeat who have strong hold over physics, chemistry and maths. “A lot of students fascinate about studying in the IIT. If they are sure on improving their performance, there is no harm in repeating a year. However, if a student is interested in pursuing engineering, then they should not drop a year,” said he.

While many take admission in regular courses like BSc or B Tech is other colleges, do they really get time to pursue JEE preparation? Sandeep Sharma, a student explained, “I dropped a year and took admission in a Delhi University’s college as a back-up. But travelling to college, exams, coaching and other activities kept me engaged. Attendance is also important and therefore I couldn’t clear the entrance exam in second attempt. But some of my classmates prioritised JEE and therefore cleared it.”

How to prepare?

Some students trust self-study over coaching. These students should keep solving previous year’s papers and follow a proper strategy. In the first attempt, candidates must have identified their weak areas like speed etc. Keeping that in focus, students should religiously work on that.

How to decide whether you should drop a year or not?

Let us dig deep into different case studies and determine what can be the right answer in each case:

Case 1: Cracked JEE Advanced with low rank

Many students who crack JEE Advanced in their first attempt do not realize the risks they are taking by letting go of the seats they are offered. Typically, students think that by dropping a year they will be able to study harder for the next one year, get a better branch or a better ranking IIT.
To be able to take an informed decision, you should be aware of the consequences of your decision.
Risks you take by opting for a Second Attempt

  • You may get bored, depressed or frustrated over the next year.
  • There is a chance that it may turn out to be just a bad day for you – sickness, accident or just plain bad luck can ruin your day and your chance to get even your present rank.
  • You will be under a lot of stress next year as it will be your last chance to crack the IIT JEE (Advanced) exams.

What you can achieve in your Second Attempt?

Desired IIT:  Computer Science Engineering and Electronics & Communication Engineering are the two most in-demand engineering branches at any engineering college. In fact, if you get admission in these branches in any IIT or even some of the top NITs, you stand a chance to do better than student of Mechanical, Chemical, Metallurgy or Mining branches at better ranked IITs – placement and package wise.
It is a good idea to go for the best branch you can get in terms of your study and career goals than to get stuck on a particular college. Just make sure that college is good enough to have adequate resources for you.

  • Desired Engineering Branch or Stream: Being IITians ourselves, this is one tip that we can give you. You do not have to lose a precious year to get an engineering branch of your choice. At all the IITs, if you perform well in the first year, you can change your department in the second year!

Don’t worry about the pay packages yet. The fact is that the best pay packages are offered by Tech and IT companies which largely absorb Computer Science students. Next in the line are Finance, Consulting and Investment companies that take in students of all branches who have excellent analytical skills and number crunching abilities.
So, irrespective of the branch you choose, you will always have a chance to try out for finance and investment jobs.
Please Note: Architecture is the only department where you can change your branch in the second year. So, keep that in mind when you opt for a seat in B. Arch course.

Case 2: Cracked JEE Main with good rank but failed to crack JEE Advanced

After JEE Main, you stand a good chance to get admission in some of the top NITs and other good engineering colleges. You may also try to crack BITSAT and join BITS Pilani which enjoys good enough reputation.
Securing a seat in other engineering colleges is safer. It saves you a year and lays out a certain career path for you instead of an uncertain future.  Surveys indicate that students of many NITs have performed better than several IITians!
Not getting a branch you want? Like IITs, most of the engineering colleges allow you to change your department after first year – based on your academic performance. So, instead of sitting at home and preparing for JEE Main again, you can join the college and work hard in the first year to get good marks and change your department in the second year.
In short, ponder on your options well before you choose to let go of the seat you are offered. Attempt JEE for the second time, only if it is an absolute must.

Case 3: Failed to crack JEE Main in the first attempt

JEE aspirants who fail to make it to any college first time should assess themselves. Know the reasons behind your failure.
A Quiz for You

  • Was your JEE Main score close to the JEE Main cutoff?
  • Are you really interested in pursuing engineering?
  • Was it just a stroke of bad luck that you didn’t make it to the JEE Main rank lists?
  • Did you make silly mistakes that you can learn to avoid over next year?
  • Are you mentally prepared to focus on JEE preparation?

If most of the questions have ‘yes’ as the answer, you should definitely give yourself another chance to crack JEE.


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