In my previous blog, we discussed the impact of one mark on your JEE performance. This blog is more centred around problem-solving. To state the actual situation, the fact is that once you master the concepts, JEE is not that tough as its reputation over the years has become. However, the race for acing the JEE starts after gaining proficiency over the concepts.

While it is a fact that examiners cannot baffle you with rocket science concepts, the twisted nature of questions can cause troubles. Examiners have, over the years, resorted to infusing multiple concepts in questions to increase the complexity. Many questions are lengthier and require patience in arriving at the right answer. But, quite often, there are many questions that are solvable without the application of concepts by common sense by general reasoning.

**Questions based on Symmetry of Figures**

Checking the symmetry of figures or equations is surely an important method of doing away with the laborious work involved in solving some questions. The below question requires a lot of steps to arrive at the answer. Thus, even if the student is clear with concepts, he/she would need 4-5 minutes to arrive at the answer and rechecking the answer for avoiding risks would surely take longer.

Triangle ABC is represented by complex numbers z_{1}, z_{2}, and z_{3} as shown in the figure. If the altitude through z_{1} meets the circumcircle at z_{0}, then z_{0} =

Now, this question is a question worth 5 minutes and it requires a good amount of concentration to avoid mistakes. Its alternate solution is to interchange the points Z_{2} and Z_{3} and see for the solution that remains unchanged upon doing that. The details of this method can be seen from the webinar on Decoding the Official Mock JEE Advanced 2018 with Mr. Ashish Khare.

**Questions based on finding the alternative approach**

Considering the below question, it is easy to identify that the time required to solve this question is 5 minutes and it would require careful examination of all the alternatives.

Eight players P_{1}, P_{2}, …., P_{8} play a knock-out tournament. It is known that whenever the players P_{i} and P_{j }play, the player P_{i }will win if i<j. Assuming that the players are paired at random in each round, what is the probability that the player P_{4 }reaches the final?

4/21 4/35 21/35 Cannot be determined

To bypass the length of the solution, you need to practice similar previously solved questions and try to develop alternate approaches which are shorter in length and time. About this question, if P4 is to reach the final he/she should be playing against P1 (P1 will remain undefeated as per the question statement). As it is a knockout tournament, P4 will have to play 2 matches and emerge as a winner in a group where other teams are defeated by P4 i.e. P5, P6, P7, and P8. Thus, P4’s group has 3 vacant slots which can be filled by P5, P6, P7, and P8 in ^{4}C_{3 }for a win i.e. favorable outcome.

This solution can also be seen from the webinar on Decoding the Official Mock JEE Advanced 2018 with Mr. Ashish Khare.

**Impact of negative marking**

The negative marking in the exam has been increased from -25% to -50%. Thus, the test takers who tend to commit more errors are likely to pay dearly than before. However, it is important to target the first 8 questions from all these 3 sections as these do not have any negative marking at all. But, the speculations are that these questions can be tougher in nature as these are subjective with a single digit integer answer i.e. 0-9.

Well, as far as other questions are concerned, students should know that these have 15 possible answers and not 4. The questions can have one or multiple correct choices. This makes each question have 15 options (A, B, C, D, AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD, ABC, ABD, BCD, ACD, and ABCD) and thus students need to be highly careful in marking all the correct options. Even marking few of the correct options would lead to -2 marks.

The section 3 in each subject consists of 2 paragraphs/passage each of which has 2 questions. Thus, the section 3 of each subject has 4 questions each having 4 marks and results in loss of 2 marks for a wrong answer.

**Impact of CBT model**

Well, the computer-based exam brings with it certain merits and demerits. First of all, the exam seems to offer everyone an equal standing and if implemented properly, there are least chances of any malpractice. Also, the students would be able to view at a single glance the total number of questions they have solved, unsolved and left for review.

Talking about the negative impacts, the ‘Mark for review’ options are not enough. In a paper-based question paper, students could write mnemonics to mark various aspects of different options. Now, students should be highly judicious about the usage of rough sheets. He/she should note down questions properly and write answers comprehensively on rough if he/she intends to revisit the question later.

Another challenge the multiple column questions that can be implemented easily now. In the erstwhile OMR mode, asking multiple column based questions could not be implemented properly. Since students are not used to it, they will find it complex and these questions require detailed and clean rough work. Even a single mistake in the solution can lead to multiple mistakes in multiple answers and students can lose -6, -12, or even -18 marks. Thus, it is highly recommended to not tamper with these questions unless you are affirmative about the solution and the answer.

Keep on checking myPAT blog and webinars for more updates and help on JEE and other competitive exams.