Shafil Maheen N, a boy who loves playing computer games and who adulates German mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gauss has upped the ante by securing AIR- 4 in JEE Advanced 2017 from AIR- 8 in JEE Main 2017. The boy from Tirur has made everyone in his family and school proud of his achievements on June 11 after the results of JEE Advanced got declared. Shafil has added one more feather to his achievement cap by becoming the undisputed topper of KEAM 2017. The KEAM result 2017 got declared on June 20, 2017 through which he came to know that he has topped the exam in his State as well as his district, Kozhikode. His school, Rays Public School played a dual role of preparing him for the board exams and all other entrance exams including KEAM and JEE Advanced exam. Shafil's family too played a crucial role in his journey by relocating and staying with him throughout the preparation and not letting him take all the exam stress alone. He holds deep gratitude for his parents and school teachers who helped him reach this success.
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Shafil plans to ditch the conventional way of getting admission in IITs and become an engineer. He would rather follow his ideal and would love to study Mathematics in IISc, Bangalore. The family is rejoicing at present and Careers360 talked to the topper to share his experiences before and after JEE Advanced 2017 exam. Read the excerpts of the exclusive conversation below.
Careers360: Congratulations for your outstanding performance in JEE Advanced 2017! What was your reaction upon knowing your rank?
Shafil: Thank you. I was splendid to know my rank as it was completely unexpected. I felt that my marks were not good enough for a good rank but somehow it happened. My parents and teachers are also very happy.
Careers360: Tell us something about yourself. Which board have you studied under? Which school have you studied in?
Shafil: I was born in Kollam district in Kerala. I am from Tirur but currently I am staying in Kozikode for my studies. My father is a Lecturer in a polytechnic college and my mother is a Doctor. I have completed my Class XII from Rays Public School and it is affiliated to Kerala State Board.
Careers360: What is your score in JEE Advanced 2017? What is your All India Rank and Category Rank?
Shafil: My JEE Advanced score is 331 out of 366. I have scored equal marks in Mathematics and Chemistry that is 112 and in Physics it is 107. My All India Rank is 4 and OBC-NCL Rank is 1.
Careers360: Why do you want to study engineering? When did you decided to study engineering? Which branch would you be interested in? Any reason?
Shafil: Actually, I don't want to study engineering. I want to pursue B.S in Mathematics from Indian Institute of Science. I decided to study Mathematics when I was in class IX only because I like it and want to study more of it.
Careers360: When did you start your JEE Advanced preparation? Tell us something about your preparation strategy and daily routine for JEE Advanced?
Shafil: I started my preparation for JEE Advanced from class XI onwards. I had no strategy as such. I concentrated on my weak areas. I revised my weak areas again and again especially Chemistry. I used to read the text book a lot.
Careers360: How was the preparation for JEE Advanced different from JEE Main?
Shafil: JEE Advanced has a lot of multiple choice questions and my school conducted a lot of mock tests after the JEE Main. I attended all those tests regularly.
Careers360: Since there was just a month after the JEE Main, elaborate on your preparation strategy?
Shafil: I used to get up at 6 in the morning and soon after I used to start studying. While attending my school, I used to study for 6 -7 hours per day and on holidays I used to study 11-12 hours per day. I used to sleep at 11 in the night and used to play computer games for 1 hour at least to de-stress myself.
Careers360: Did you take coaching for JEE and if yes from where? What are the benefits of coaching according to you? What difference did you find in Paper-1 & Paper-2 of JEE Advanced 2017?
Shafil: My school itself is an entrance coaching centre so I didn't have to go elsewhere for coaching. It was a very big advantage for me that my school provided me with coaching because that helped me save my time and efforts to go outside my school and study. My school used to combine regular classes with the entrance exam classes.
I think Paper-2 of JEE Advanced 2017 was difficult as compared to Paper-1. Actually, Paper-2 was time consuming. I could not complete Paper-2.
Careers360: Mock tests and sample papers – how extensively did you practise with the help of these? Do you think practising from the previous year papers help and how?
Shafil: I practised all the mock tests provided by my school. They used to give two mock tests in a week and this happened regularly during two years of preparation for the exam. I think those mock tests only helped me crack the exam.
Careers360: Are there any special books that you feel have helped with your JEE Advanced preparation?
Shafil: I referred Pradeep's guide for JEE Main and JEE Advanced and Arihant's daily practice problems and magazines of MTG like for Mathematics and Chemistry daily problems.
Careers360: Did you face any problem during the JEE Advanced examination? Which subject was the easiest and which was the toughest in JEE Advanced? What do you think is a tough thing to manage during the JEE Advanced exam?
Shafil: I found a lot of questions in Chemistry difficult as in some books they do not give solutions, so I used to consult my teachers. During preparation, I found Chemistry the most difficult amongst the three subjects as it depends on memorising. In the exam also, I found Chemistry the most difficult of all but eventually I managed to score well in the subject.
I think this year JEE Advanced had enough time; it was much easier than last year's paper. I hold the idea that one should be careful while attempting the paper. One should not hurry while answering the questions, rather read the options carefully and then answer. I made some careless mistakes because I was hasty and lost my marks in some very easy questions in the Physics section.
Careers360: The answer keys revealed bonus marks for 5 questions. Did you answer those questions? What was your reaction while answering them and after the answer key announced the bonus marks?
Shafil: As I shared that Paper-2 was time confusing soI left one question in Mathematics in the exam but to my luck that question was deleted and marks were awarded to all for that, so in a way, I didn't leave any questions.
Careers360: What do you think are the key factors behind your stupendous success in JEE Advanced?
Shafil: I think it’s my parents who helped me get through the examination. We stay at Tirur but for my studies they came to stay with me in a flat at Kozikode. They did not put me in a hostel. They stayed with me during my preparation. My teachers were also very helpful, they conducted regular mock-tests and that helped me a lot.
Careers360: How did you de-stress yourself during the preparation? What are your hobbies? How often could you pursue them?
Shafil: I do not have any other entertainment hobbies apart from playing computer games. I was able to play games for 1 hour daily during regular days and 2 hours during holidays. My favourite game is Company of Heroes 2.
Careers360: Who is your ideal or biggest inspiration in life and why?
Shafil: I would want to be like Carl Friedrich Gauss. He was a German Mathematician who started making theorems at the age of 15 and he wrote a Mathematics book also when he was 21. I look up to him for all what he achieved at such a young age.
Careers360: You know you are an inspiration to thousands of students across the country. Do you have any message for future aspirants on tackling the JEE Advanced exam?
Shafil: I would like to tell them to work hard for whatever exam they are appearing for. I would also like to say that work to serve others not just for marks and ranks.
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