Tuesday, February 9, 2016

HOW TO STUDY PHYSICS FOR ENTRANCE EXAMS ?

The Entrance Exams to several professional courses like Engineering, Medicine, Architecture, Pharmacy, Pure Sciences etc. has Physics as one of the subjects. Physics is the foundation for learning almost all of Engineering and hence is an extremely important subject of Science. However, most aspirants of these Entrance exams struggle in studying Physics and find it tough. The least average marks in MHT-CET exam every year is in the subject of Physics. There are many reasons why Physics appears difficult to students and there are methods by which Physics can be made easy to learn. This article attempts to give an efficient approach to study Physics with ease.
 
1.  The first thing that must be appreciated about Physics is that it is a conceptual subject and solving problems in Physics means learning to apply the right concepts in an appropriate manner. Students struggle in Physics as they do not grasp the concepts in a systematic and rigorous manner.
 
2.  The other significant aspect of Physics problem solving is that it involves intelligent use of mathematical tools like Vectors, Graphs, Trigonometry, Theory of Equations, Co-ordinate Geometry and most importantly Calculus techniques of Differentiation, Maxima-Minima and Integration.
 
3.  The right sequence in which Physics must be studied is the following :
  • Units, Dimensions, Vectors & Working Knowledge of Calculus
  • Particle Mechanics
  • Rigid Body Mechanics
  • SHM, Gravitation and Elasticity
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Thermal Physics
  • Electromagnetism & Circuits
  • Wave Mechanics
  • Optics
  • Modern Physics
The text books prepared by the HSC Boards do not conform to the above sequence in Std.11 & 12. This is one of the major reasons for students not following this master sequence to understand the subject of Physics which lands them into troubles with the subject.
 
4.  Solving any Problem in Physics involves a 4-step algorithm :
  • Identify key concepts & principles needed to solve the problem.
  • Model the problem in the form of mathematical equations. Get as many equations as unknowns.
  • Solve the equations to get the unknowns.
  • Interpret the answers in the language of Physics.
Students usually struggle in the first 2 steps in Physics. The remaining 2 steps are usually easy.
 
5. It is important to understand that any topic in Physics involves very few key principles. For example, in entire Particle Mechanics, there are only 4 key principles which the student must master to solve any problems viz. Kinematics, Force Dynamics, Work-Energy Theorem and Impulse-Momentum Theorem. Any problem in Particle Mechanics will involve one or more of the above 4 principles only. There is no 5th principle needed.
 
6. Another challenging part in solving Physics problems to students is how to use Calculus in solving problems in Physics. An important thing to realise is that those problems which involve a non-linear variation of one parameter with respect to the other would need Calculus techniques to handle them. If a set of parameters are cyclically linked in a phenomenon, then the use of Differential equations becomes necessary to analyse the same.
 
7. To master the art of solving Physics problems, a student must learn to visualise the situation in the problem and think which of the key concepts involved must be used. This type of thinking helps the student to initiate the process of problem solving.
 
8.  The student must learn to distinguish between the Physics part of the problem and the Mathematical part of the problem. Often, the student gets the Physics part correctly but gets stuck in the mathematical part. The Physics part has to be handled by using key Physics concepts and the Maths part by using key Mathematical tools. Which part in a particular problem is more challenging has to be clearly distinguished and tackled.
 
9. Solving large variety of problems in Physics and solving the same problem by various methods is an effective way to gain mastery in Physics.
 
10. For understanding theory, students must use classic text books in Physics like books written by HC Verma or by Resnick-Halliday or by Sears-Zemansky.
 
If the above points are kept in mind, the student will gain mastery in this fascinating subject of Physics which is the core of all Sciences.

Monday, February 1, 2016

MEDICAL ENTRANCE EXAMS SCENARIO

One of the most critical and often neglected areas which hugely influence the Medical sector in any nation is the criterion for selection of candidates to pursue Medical education. In India, this criterion is in the form of Medical Entrance exams after Std.12 for admission to undergraduate courses towards MBBS / BHMS / BAMS / BDS degrees in about 381 Medical colleges which is the highest number of Medical colleges in the world. There are about 64000 Medical seats of which about 25000 seats are in Government Medical colleges. About 8 Lakh Medical aspirants vie for these 64000 seats every year and thus the average selection ratio is 1:13.

There are more than 50 undergraduate Medical Entrance exams conducted by various State Governments, groups of private colleges and various agencies to these 381 Medical colleges due to which students and parents get confused and harassed to write so many exams. It has been observed that due to clash of dates and geographical distances and costs involved, the maximum number of Medical Entrance exams that any medical aspirant gives is 9. Thus, there is an urgent and dire need to reinstate a Single National Entrance exam called NEET (just as it happened in 2013) across India. The NEET was conducted successfully in 2013 but was struck down by the Supreme Court in a split verdict (2:1) in June 2013 citing lack of powers of MCI to conduct the NEET. However, all the 3 judges had praised the intention of NEET in larger interests of society.

The Union Health Ministry and Medical Council of India has approved plans to reinstate NEET from 2017 or 2018. However, an amendment in the MCI act is necessary which has to be approved by the Parliament. If that happens soon, the NEET exam shall become a reality and a new era shall dawn in the murky sector of Medical admissions.

The NEET will establish uniformity and help select good quality students to Medical colleges in India and shall save the labour, costs and complexities for students for having to write multiple exams. The reinstatement of NEET shall also make the medical admissions process transparent and end the rampant malpractices in the form of huge capitation fees which are charged by Private Medical colleges across the nation.

We must note here that a student who incurs undue huge costs for his Medical education harbours a tendency to recover it as soon as he emerges as a doctor in society. The common man in society unfortunately bears the brunt of this tendency amongst such doctors for years. The reinstatement of NEET from 2017 or 2018 is thus absolutely necessary to end this vicious sequence and bring clarity and uniformity in the Medical admissions process.

However, for 2016 there is no NEET and there are a host of Medical Entrance exams which aspirants shall have to write. A list of prominent exams is mentioned below:
  1. MH-CET: This exam is conducted by Directorate of Medical Education of Maharashtra State for admission to almost 30 Medical colleges of Maharashtra. The MH-CET shall be conducted on May 5, 2016 and has only Std.12 HSC syllabi in the subjects of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. There is no negative marking and the total paper is for 3 hours and 200 marks. A score of atleast 175 marks is necessary to gain admission in some Medical college for MBBS courses. For more details visit www.dmer.org
  2. AIPMT: This exam is conducted by CBSE and gives admission via 15% All India quota to over 300 medical colleges in India. This exam is typically of 720 marks and the syllabi is Std.11 & 12 combined in the subjects of Physics, Chemistry & Biology as per CBSE curriculum. The AIPMT has negative marking and a score of 480 marks and above is usually needed to gain admission in some Medical college. For more details visit www.aipmt.nic.in
  3. AIIMS: This exam is conducted by AIIMS-Delhi and gives admission to the 7 AIIMS colleges in India. This exam considered one of the toughest Medical Entrance exams in the world. For more details visit www.aiimsexams.org
  4. JIPMER: This exam is conducted by admission to JIPMER-Pondicherry. For more details visit www.jipmer.edu.in
  5. CMC-Vellore: This exam is for admission to Christian Medical College – Vellore. For more details visit www.cmch-vellor.edu.in
  6. MANIPAL: This exam is for admission to Kasturba Medical College – Manipal. For more details visit www.manipal.edu.in
  7. WARDHA: This exam is for admission to the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences. For more details visit www.mgims.ac.in
  8. COMED-K: This exam is for admission to Consortium of medical and dental colleges in Karnataka.  For more details visit www.comedk.org
  9. ASSO-CET: This exam is for a cluster of Private Medical & Dental Colleges in Maharashtra. For more details visit www.amupmdc.org

It must be noted that there is no weightage accorded to XII Boards marks for admission into any Medical college and admission is strictly granted only on the basis of marks and ranks achieved in these Entrance exams mentioned above. The exam forms are available online from December onwards of Std.12 and students must keep a keen watch on the notifications and deadlines on the respective websites.

Since the exam patterns and difficulty level of these exams are all different, it is wise for Medical aspirants to prepare for Std.11 & 12 syllabi upto AIIMS level of difficulty for every chapter. Thereafter, practice Tests for individual exams must be given to acclimatise themselves to various patterns. For MH-CET Biology, it is essential that students are thorough with each and every line of the Government HSC text books to score well in MH-CET.

It is also essential to note that medical aspirants make the mistake of ignoring Mathematics altogether. Knowledge of certain topics in Maths is essential for understanding several chapters of Physics and Chemistry. The topics in Maths which Medical aspirants must study at a basic level are Logarithms, Quadratic equations, Trigonometry, Functions & Graphs, Differentiation, Maxima-Minima, Integration, Differential Equations, Straight Line and Circle.

A student who studies Biology systematically and focuses on conceptual understanding of Physics & Chemistry and practices large number of Tests shall surely gain success in Medical Entrance exams.