JAM 2016 Topper Interview: Group study helps a lot in clearing doubts during preparation, says Shubham Seal, AIR 4-Biotechnology
Apratim Chatterjee, 29 Aug 2016, #JAM

Shubham Seal has qualified Joint Admission Test (JAM) 2016 by bagging AIR 4 in Biotechnology paper after scoring 44 out of 100 marks. In this interview with Careers360, the topper with equally appreciable academic track record shares that his interest in science and research led him appear for JAM 2016 examination. He also shares that beginning preparation at an early stage with regular revision for the IIT-joint admission tests helped him in fetching good scores.

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In this interview Shubham tells that he cracked the post graduate science admission test without any coaching guidance as his strategy of revising concepts and consulting with fellow students and teachers for doubt clearance helped him in achieving the position. Read on to know the success story of JAM 2016 topper.


Careers360: Congratulations! How did you celebrate your success?
Shubham Seal: Thank you. I celebrated my success by partying with my friends and family.

Careers360: Which paper did you appear in JAM 2016? What were your score and rank?
Shubham Seal: I appeared for two papers in JAM 2016 – Biological Sciences and Biotechnology. I scored 44 in Biotechnology securing AIR 4, and with a score of 71, I stood at 5th in Biological Sciences paper.

Careers360: What motivated you to appear JAM 2016? Where do you see yourself in next five years down the line?
Shubham Seal: I am aware of the repute of the IITs and IISc. Since I was interested in research and development field in science domain, I thought taking JAM would be a good option for me. In the next five years, I will be pursuing for Ph.D in Biotechnology.

Careers360: What was your phase-wise preparation strategy for JAM 2016?
Shubham Seal: I started preparing from the month of September, as I was aware that I had only five to six good months for JAM 2016 that was scheduled to be held in February. Since a few exams were preceding JAM, I started preparing beforehand for the IIT-joint admission test.

I followed a simple preparation strategy for JAM 2016. My preparations mostly involved re-reading the topics taught at +2 and +3 levels. For me, understanding the basic concepts mean half the work. Further, I would also solve previous years’ question papers and did group study for long hours which ultimately resulted in brushing up my revised topics.

In the course of preparations, I found that long hours of self-study didn’t help much. However, I would study some portions regularly and revised them the following day before proceeding for new topics.


Careers360: Did you take any coaching guidance?
Shubham Seal: No, I did not take any coaching guidance. However, I did not hesitate to consult with teachers or my fellow students for some of the tricky topics.

Careers360: Did you follow any routine schedule while preparing for JAM 2016?
Shubham Seal: I followed a regular study routine; however, it was not strict scheduled time table. I followed my heart, as whenever I felt like studying for some fewer hours, I did. I knew that long hours of non-zealous study will lead me to nowhere, but even an hour of attentive study is enough. Keeping up with timetables is hard; therefore I did not maintain any.

Careers360: How did you unwind yourself between hectic preparation schedule of JAM 2016?
Shubham Seal: Though, it was not so much hectic, but whenever I felt like doing something or in stress, I would play arcade game. They do not require much brainwork, and are a good way to release stress. I also played some outdoor games like cricket and basketball, which helped me in relieving stress.

Careers360: How was your experience with JAM 2016? Which section did you begin and end with?
Shubham Seal: JAM 2016 was an online examination and I think that the online (computer-based) tests are easier. It was pretty good for me while appearing for JAM 2016. The virtual calculator was the new feature introduced this year in JAM. Although it took a bit longer for me to calculate, however, using it was easy. I felt it quite similar to normal ones. It did not cause much difficulty. Moreover, I could correct my mistakes in JAM paper. This is a big advantage while appearing in online paper.

While attempting JAM 2016, I began with the first question and proceeded further. I did follow the basic formula of attempting questions– to answer all those whose answers for which I was confident about and leave the rest for next. Then revise the whole paper at least twice before attempting for the difficult questions. Revise again, at the end.

Careers360: Which section did you find difficult while attempting JAM 2016 question paper?
Shubham Seal: For me, answering the Numerical Answer Type (NAT) questions required some precise calculations which were tough for me. It was so because a deviation of even 0.1 from the range of answers caused my answer to be wrong and I had to re-calculate from the first step.

Careers360: How beneficial is solving previous years question papers and mock tests?
Shubham Seal: Solving previous year question papers and taking mock tests gave me an idea about the test pattern and technicalities of questions. Therefore, I think it is important to solve at least a few question papers before appearing for the exam. However, just solving these papers won’t be enough, till one can understand his mistakes and weak areas. I analysed my mistakes while appearing in the mock tests and tried not to repeat them again.

Careers360: Which books would you recommend for JAM preparation?
Shubham Seal: I would prepare for JAM exam with a few selective books and recommend the same-Lehninger for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bruce Alberts for Cell Biology, and, for Genetics Snustad and Simmons.

Careers360: What is your advice for future JAM aspirants?
Shubham Seal: I would advise them not to study excessive as it does not help at all. However, studying with lots of breaks in between the regular time table along with revision of concepts would certainly help. Also, do not hesitate in consulting others for any doubt clearance.

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JAM 2016 Topper Interview: It’s imperative to know the basics, if you wish to qualify exam, says Gargi Das, AIR 3-Biotechnology

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