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JEE Main, IISER Admission Test Compared: Paper Pattern, Syllabus, Preparation Strategy

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By Ramraj Saini
5 Mar'22  7 min read
JEE Main, IISER Admission Test Compared: Paper Pattern, Syllabus, Preparation Strategy
Synopsis

The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE Main) and the IISER Admission Test (IAT) have many similarities. They are of similar difficulty level, have the same duration and are for science (IAT) and engineering (JEE Main) students. However, there are critical differences that also demand careful strategising – Class 11 and Class 12 Biology is compulsory for IAT; the papers are of similar duration but JEE Main has more questions and also more candidates; their syllabi overlap but the weightage assigned to different portions of the Chemistry, Physics and Maths syllabi may vary. Careers360 has analysed the exams to make the preparation process efficient.

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JEE Main, IISER Admission Test Compared: Paper Pattern, Syllabus, Preparation Strategy
Synopsis

The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE Main) and the IISER Admission Test (IAT) have many similarities. They are of similar difficulty level, have the same duration and are for science (IAT) and engineering (JEE Main) students. However, there are critical differences that also demand careful strategising – Class 11 and Class 12 Biology is compulsory for IAT; the papers are of similar duration but JEE Main has more questions and also more candidates; their syllabi overlap but the weightage assigned to different portions of the Chemistry, Physics and Maths syllabi may vary. Careers360 has analysed the exams to make the preparation process efficient.

Read more

The Joint Entrance Examination Main (JEE Main) and Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) admission test (IAT) are both prestigious national-level entrance exams for undergraduate science and technology programmes. The JEE Main is the gateway for admission in various premier public engineering colleges including the National Institutes of Technology (NITs); it also serves as a preliminary round for admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). The IAT is for admission into IISERs which were established to promote research and development in the Sciences and offer integrated BS-MS programmes at most institutes. This article will describe the differences and the similarities between the two and offer handy, subject-wise preparation strategies.

JEE Main

JEE Main is conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA). The IIT-JEE, as it is often called, consists of two stages: JEE Main and JEE Advanced. For admission in the IITs, JEE Main is the first stage and JEE Advanced, the final. For admission in Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Government-funded technical institutions (GFTIs) and many other private colleges or institutes, students have to qualify JEE Main.

IISER Aptitude Test (IAT)

The IISERs are premium science research institutes in India. There are seven of them – IISER Bhopal, IISER Pune, IISER Kolkata, IISER Thiruvananthapuram, IISER Tirupati, IISER Berhampur and IISER Mohali. They offer programmes like Bachelor of Science (BS), Integrated Bachelor of Science - Master of Science (BS-MS), research (PhD) and postdoctoral programmes.

JEE Main, IISER Aptitude Test: Exam Patterns

In JEE Main, there are a total of 90 questions out of which 75 questions are mandatory to attempt. There are three sections in the paper:

  • Physics

  • Chemistry

  • Mathematics

Recently, the pattern for JEE Main was modified and numerical questions introduced. JEE Main contains two sections for every subject. Section 1 contains 20 multiple choice questions (MCQs) and all the MCQs are compulsory. Section 2 contains 10 numerical questions of which only five have to be attempted.

Unlike other institutions there are three admission routes into an IISER:

  1. science students who qualify the KVPY exam through college. To get admission, you must write the KVPY exam in Class 11 or 12. Admission is on the basis of the KVPY rank with each IISER setting its own cut-off rank.

  2. Joint Entrance Examination (JEE Advanced) of Indian Institutes of Technology.

  3. State and Central Boards Channel (SCB): To get admission through the SCB channel, you should write the IISER Aptitude Test (IAT).

The IISER Aptitude Test (IAT) is a three-hour examination covering 60 questions. There are four sections in the paper:

  • Physics

  • Chemistry

  • Mathematics

  • Biology

A student appearing for the examination has to answer questions in all the sections. There are 15 questions in each section.

JEE Main, IISER Aptitude Test: Differences And Similarities

Both exams, JEE Main and IAT, are now computer-based. The IISER Aptitude Test is organized only once in a year whereas JEE Main was held twice in 2019 and 2020 and four times in 2021. For candidates who write it more than onces, the best score of the four is considered for the final NTA JEE Main result and rank list.

The number of students appearing in the JEE Main examination is much higher than the IAT.

In 2021, over 10.48 lakh students registered for the four sessions of JEE Main and about 9.39 lakh candidates finally appeared. 45,000 seats are directly filled through JEE Main or via JEE Advanced, including 16,053 seats in IITs and 31,652 seats in NITs, GFTIs, IIITs and rest.

Also Read,

In 2020, almost 2 lakh students applied for IAT, competing for at least 1,734 seats in BS-MS dual degree and 115 seats in BS degree programmes.

The level of IISER Aptitude Test (IAT) is on a par with JEE Main. The only major difference is that for one, you have to attempt questions from all four subjects and for JEE Main, only three. However, all science stream students can write the IAT irrespective of whether they studied Biology and Mathematics.

The marking scheme differs slightly. In JEE Main, for every correct answer, candidates are awarded four marks and for every wrong answer, one mark is deducted. In IISER Aptitude Test (IAT), for every correct answer, candidates are awarded three marks and for every wrong one, one mark is deducted.

A student can write JEE Main for three consecutive years starting from their first attempt right during or immediately after Class 12. For IAT, candidates are allowed two attempts in two consecutive years upon completing Class 12.

In case of IISER, the scorecard and ranks are not disclosed to the candidates. A window is provided to view the evaluated responses on the website and the seat allotments are started directly after. In case of JEE Main, scorecards are provided to candidates displaying the percentiles in each section along with the overall percentile.

IISER Vs JEE Main: Subject-Wise Preparation Strategy

Questions in IISER Aptitude Test and JEE Main are of similar difficulty level. Both require deep knowledge and understanding of concepts.

A student preparing for JEE Main can also appear for IISER Aptitude Test. The major difference is the presence of the compulsory Biology section in the IAT..

A subject-wise comparison of questions is given below.

PHYSICS

Syllabus Compared

The Physics syllabus and difficulty level are the same for IISER Aptitude Test and JEE Main, except the experimental lab skills part. Experimental lab skills are not a part of the IAT.

Weightage Compared

The previous IAT papers are not public, but on the basis of students' reviews, Current Electricity, Modern Physics, Thermodynamics and Mechanics carry a huge chunk of marks. For Physics, it is a good idea to refer to a good reference book, to practice numericals, and to have a firm grasp on the topics and concepts.

CHEMISTRY

Syllabus Compared

The syllabus for both exams includes all the topics and chapters in Class 11 and Class 12 Chemistry NCERT textbooks. Even in this case, the experimental lab skills are not tested on in the IAT. The difficulty levels are similar too.

Weightage Compared

On the basis of students’ reviews, the exceptional trends in Inorganic Chemistry must be learnt for IAT. The reaction mechanisms should be understood in depth as several problems are based on them. For JEE Main, a candidate must have a strong grip over the concepts of Organic Chemistry.

MATHEMATICS

Syllabus Compared

Similarly, there is much overlap between the Mathematics syllabi. A chapter on Linear Programming is not asked in JEE Main but appears in AIT. Other chapters from the Classes 11, 12 syllabus, including Matrices, Determinants, Integration, and Derivatives, appear in both the examinations.

Weightage Compared

In case of IAT, student reviews state that candidates should focus on Trigonometric Equations, Properties of Triangle, Complex Numbers, Calculus and Probability as these chapters hold high weightage.

BIOLOGY

Syllabus Compared

Biology is not part of JEE Main at all but a compulsory section in the IISER Aptitude Test.

Weightage Compared

Judging by students’ responses, Genetics, Evolution, Ecology and Cell Division should be studied with greater care as these units constitute a large part of AIT’s Biology section.

Is IISER Aptitude Test Easier Than JEE Main?

The difficulty levels of both exams are similar as are the syllabi.

The only differences are in the question paper patterns and the presence of the Biology section in IAT. It is a good idea to practise solving questions from various reference books, previous years’ question papers and mock tests.

How You Should Prepare

The JEE Main contains more questions than the IAT and they have to be solved within the same period of time. So, JEE Main is also a speed test. This is how you can approach the exams:

  1. Make a study time-table and follow it strictly

  2. First, study the concepts thoroughly from the NCERT textbooks and then, to gain depth and clarity of understanding concepts, use good reference books.

  3. Create your own study material or notes.

  4. Do regular self-study.

  5. Make use of flowcharts and diagrams

  6. Attempt previous years’ question papers and mock tests.

  7. Prepare a strategy to attempt the question paper so that you can maximize your score.

  8. Manage your time smartly.
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