THE single minded focus is the most palpable aspect in most toppers. But this topper presents to the extreme single-mindedness essential for cracking one of the toughest entrances in the country namely the IIT-JEE. In a freewheeling conversation with Nitin Jindal, Shuham Mehta, almost nonchalantly says that, he has played cricket, a game he enjoys most only twice in the last two years, once after the AIEEE exam and once after the JEE! He attended school, only for practicals and for giving his final examinations, studied about 13-14 hours on an average and used Sundays to appear for tests.
I was sincere about Indian Institute of Technology right from my earlier school days. I was also an NTSE scholar for whom there are three rounds: first round is conducted in Class 8 and the final round in Class 9. I was also awarded KVPY scholarship in Class 11. These successes boosted my confidence and gave me the required boost. But I started active preparation for IIT basically from 11th standard onwards.
Schooling in Kota
Nobody in Kota, goes to school on all days. We go there for the exams and for the practicals (to meet the attendance requirements). Basically we enrol for a two-year class room contact programme. The preparation strategy is guided by my teachers. I did not do anything extra.
I got 95.8% in class X and it is nothing so great as my English was poor. In Science and Maths I got 97. I never got full marks in Maths, in Class 12 also I got 99 in Maths. I’m not happy about that.
I had joined the two-year classroom contact programme of Resonance. We focus on Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Core subjects like English, we only study them in the end, around January, February, March. The length of preparation depends on you how much confidence you have in yourself. The coaching people arrange coaching for us in the end for these subjects. And my 5th subject was Physical Education. I studied daily for 5 to 6 hours, 6 days a week.
On his success
I attribute it mainly to my family, my elder sister and Resonance, especially RKV sir, MD of Resonance. I have two elder sisters, the eldest one is a doctor and in the third year of her Postgraduation at PGI Chandigarh (Radiology). My other sister is in her last year of engineering at NIT Raipur. My sister motivated me and guided me. Her motivation was more important for me. Though they are not in Kota, I used to talk daily on phone for 10 minutes with both my sisters. It is my biggest enjoyment to talk to my sisters.
On his dream
I want to own my own software company like Microsoft. First I’ll do BTech from IIT-Bombay, then MS from some US university and then PhD from a US university. Maybe my plan will change in 4 years.
On rest and recreation
I study for six days a week. Other than the 6-hour class, I used to study 7-8 hours on my own. The whole day I used to have a book in my hand, what else was there to do? And there used to be the test on Sunday! It is based on IIT pattern so it was a 6-hour test, 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the second half. On the Sundays that we did not have test at our coaching centre, we used to get other tests from other coaching and give at home.
And there was no free time for me even after clearing IIT-JEE. I have joined classes for preparing for International Physics Olympiad and also Computer classes. I am one of the five selected for representing India in the International Physics Olympiad to be held in Bangkok.
I like playing cricket. I played only once after IIT-JEE and once after AIEEE in the last two years!