Friday, May 29, 2015

As results of different Engineering Entrance Exams are declared, students and parents start getting anxious and try to grapple with the usual dilemmas about which are the better colleges, scope of branches of Engineering and what are the likely prospects of getting admission in different colleges. This article tries to address the frequently asked questions and typical dilemmas that students face during this crucial phase.
Firstly, Engineering must be taken up for undergraduate studies by any student who has above average logical & mathematical intelligence and has either genuine passion for a particular field of Engineering or is perhaps confused about his career prospects. Over a period of few years (typically 4th year of Engg.), the student shall discover his or her career path which may or may not be related to the Engineering field of his undergraduate studies. However, Engineering education fosters logical thinking, analytical skills and a practical sense which proves invaluable for many other careers like Corporate Management, Civil Services, Entrepreneurship etc. Therefore, Engineering for undergraduate studies in India must be pursued with this broad mind-set.
Secondly, it must be appreciated that there are only 2 fundamental branches of Engineering viz. MECHANICAL Engg and ELECTRICAL Engg. All other branches of Engineering are derivatives of these 2 fundamental branches of Engineering. The branches of Civil Engg, Production Engg., Chemical Engg, Metallurgical Engg, Industrial Engg are all sub-branches of Mechanical Engineering. Likewise, Power Engineering, Electronics Engg, Telecommunications Engg, Computers Engg. are all sub-branches of Electrical Engineering.
It must be noted that Computers Science is a mathematical field and is taught rigorously only in the IITs & BITS PILANI and not in other colleges in India. All other Engg. colleges teach a mix of Computers Engineering (hardware) and Information Technology (software programs, packages, internet, apps etc.) under the guise of Computers Department. So be clear that Computer Science, Computers Engineering and Information Technology are 3 different departments but are presented by different colleges with interchangeable nomenclatures.
There are some branches of Engineering which have come up by combining two or more departments. For example, Mechatronics Engineering is combination of Design aspect of Mechanical Engineering and Microelectronics aspect of Electronics Engineering. Again, Aerospace Engg. is formed by combining Fluids & Design aspect of Mechanical Engg., Materials aspect of Metallurgical Engg. and Microelectronics aspect of Electronics Engg.
Again, Petroleum Engg. is a sub-branch of Chemical Engg. And Environmental Engg. is formed by combining aspects of Civil and Chemical Engg.
Thirdly, the choice of branch of Engineering must be as broad-based as possible. It is better to choose a specialization for post-graduate studies rather than committing oneself to a narrow field at an undergraduate level. This is also due to the fact that most students truly do not know what exactly lies in the different Engineering branches and express their interest based on vague ideas which may often be flawed.
Fourthly, knowledge about computer programming is needed for all branches of Engineering and Science today and hence shall have to be learnt by every Engg. student. This is due to the fact that in every field there are computational tools of analysis (simulation) which are widely used currently. Hence, knowledge of IT is indispensable for every Engineer today. No wonder, many students after Engineering diversify into software field as they find it lucrative and/or more interesting.
Fifthly, every branch of Engineering has scope in terms of job opportunities, further studies opportunities and research if the student has genuine passion for the field. It is unreasonable to suggest that the hot branch is E&TC and some other branch is a poor branch. Every field has its charm and beauty and there is no hierarchy of fields as such. So a student should choose a branch based on passion and not simply the perceived scope as such. This is also suggested as perceived scope keeps changing every year as per global economic market conditions and hence cannot be relied upon to prevail after 4 years.
Sixthly, students suffer from a dilemma of whether to give college more preference or branch of Engineering. The resolution of the dilemma lies in the medium-term aspirations of the student i.e. what the student intends to do after graduation. If the thrust is towards a Job, MBA, UPSC, then college must be given preference over branch of Engg. However, if further studies in India or abroad or Research / Academia is the thrust, then branch must be chosen over the college.
Seventhly, students have a question if Maharashtra colleges of Engineering are as good as non-IIT National-level colleges like NITs, IIITs, DA-IICT, VIT-Vellore, MANIPAL, SRM etc. The interesting fact is that though in terms of curriculum and quality of education, Maharashtra colleges of Engineering are considerably inferior to national level colleges, the A-grade Engineering colleges of Maharashtra (about 40 in number) have excellent future scope in terms of job, further studies options and even overall brand equity. However, what a student gains by going into a National college is the vibrant campus life there wherein students from across India come together unlike State colleges. This exposure is much desired and recommended in today’s globalised world wherein EQ counts equal or more than IQ (or professional quotient (PQ) or degree as some call it).
Eighthly, admissions to Maharashtra Engineering colleges happen through 3 types of quotas viz. 65% State quota, 15% All India quota and 20% Management quota. The admissions to 65% of the seats in unaided colleges is on the basis of the 50-50 Rule wherein 50% weightage is given to XII Boards PCM Percentile (not marks) and 50% weightage is given to JEE MAINS Percentile (not marks). It must be noted that a score of about 75% in XII PCM corresponds to about 90 Percentile points. And a score of 100+ in JEE MAINS out of 360 marks corresponds to about 90 Percentile points. Also note that a score of 50 marks in JEE MAINS would correspond to 45 Percentile points. So JEE  MAINS is the deciding factor for admissions and not XII Boards so much.
However, admissions via the 15% All India quota is on the basis of JEE MAINS marks only. Please note that autonomous colleges do not have Management quota and usually take most of their admissions on the basis of 50-50 Rule only.
Ninethly, marks scored in XII Boards PCM are important for admissions to Maharashtra colleges. And Aggregate marks (5 subjects) scored in XII Boards PCM have relevance for NIT / IIIT admissions.
Tenthly, from 2015 onwards admission to 88 National-level colleges which includes the 17 IITs, 30 NITs, 4 IIITs etc. shall be via a joint counseling mechanism from June end onwards. It shall be co-ordinated by a joint team from IITs and NITs as per Court and HRD directives.
Similarly, admissions to Maharashtra colleges shall be through a CAP mechanism instituted by DTE, Maharashtra. It normally happens in 2 phases viz. First phase is for admissions into the 12+ Autonomous colleges of Maharashtra and then the second phase is for 350+ Private Colleges of Maharashtra. There are multiple rounds in each phase and the rules change every year. Students and parents must read the rules properly from the official websites of the Govt.
The admissions of private National level colleges like BITS, VIT-Vellore, Manipal and SRM shall all happen separately online by a separate process altogether. Students must read their individual websites to understand their admission rules and procedures.
The above points must be kept in mind by students, parents and other stake-holders during this crucial phase of Engineering admissions.
-          Durgesh C. Mangeshkar

Saturday, May 23, 2015


The JEE ADVANCED Exam will be conducted on May-24 and is the exam for admission into the prestigious 17 IITs. A Rank within the Top 6000 in Common Merit List is required for an OPEN category student to secure admission into some branch in the IITs. The IITs offer 4-years B.Tech., 5-years Dual Degree M.Tech., 5-years M.Sc. programs besides B.Arch. & B.Des. programs. About 5000 seats are available for OPEN category and about 5000 seats are available for Reserved category students in the 17 IITs. The results shall be declared on June-18. Here are a few last-minute tips for the JEE ADVANCED aspirant :

1.         Be Grounded in Fundamentals and seek comfort in them – it helps to neutralize the stress due to competition and the general pressure of the JEE.

2.         Revise the formulae and important results across the syllabi. Also go through all the important Reactions and information charts in Organic & Inorganic Chemistry especially from NCERT books in the next 2 days.

3.         A day before JEE, simply relax, be with yourself and do gentle revision and spend time with family. Sleep early on May-23 so that you are well rested and energised to face the JEE ADVANCED exam on May-24.

4.         After giving several Mock Tests in the past few weeks, you should have arrived at an adaptive Attempt Strategy to face the JEE ADVANCED exam. Remember, it is important not to miss out any easy questions in the Test and it is equally important not to get stuck for too much time on some tricky questions. The decision to attempt or not to attempt a particular question is an important factor which eventually decides your JEE ADVANCED Rank. Be aware of the same.      

5.         Better early than never.

Reach your test center at least 30 minutes before the start of the test for check-in procedures. If you’re late, you may not be admitted. Bring your ID card along with the Admit Card.

6.         Spend the time between Paper-1 and Paper-2 (12-2pm) wisely. Do not eat a heavy lunch and take rest in a nearby hotel or a friend’s house as the summer heat is scorching and can sap you of your energies if you stay out in the sun. Do not discuss about Paper-1 with anyone during the break either.

7.         Time Management is crucial during the examination. The ideal time distribution in a 3-hour paper is 40 minutes for Chemistry, 60 minutes for Physics & 75 minutes for Mathematics. The remaining 5 minutes is meant for a go-over to check whether you have filled up the details properly, not done any block-shifts etc.

8.         Do not waste time on questions in the paper which appear tough and challenge your ego but actually waste your time. Instead, hunt out the easy questions and gain marks.

9.         Be prepared for surprises

You should be mentally ready for some surprises in the paper. Whatever it is, remember that everyone is in the same boat.  There is no point in getting mentally worked up over it. e.g. the JEE 2015 paper may turn out to be entirely Subjective or may be a little tough or even be ridiculously easy for a change !

10.       Pray – Prayer is the Supreme Power and you must invoke it in a reverent manner. Prayer arises out of gratefulness and a sense of surrender to the Almighty ! Seek Blessings from your parents, teachers and seniors.


-          Durgesh C. Mangeshkar

 (Director, IITian’s Prashikshan Kendra Pvt. Ltd.)