Monday , 25 March 2019

Excelling at an advanced pace

In the recently declared IIT JEE Advanced 2018 results, Sahas Kamat, Amay Varma and Nidhish Sawant are among the top five students who qualified for IIT seats from the Dempo Higher Secondary School of Science (PACE), Miramar. NT KURIOCITY spoke to the trio to know about their preparation, success mantra, sacrifices made, future plans and more


Every year, students who answer any competitive exams await their results with bated breath. Once the results are out, some are on cloud nine while others may not be so happy with their performance. As the results of one such competitive exam – the IIT JEE Advanced 2018 – are out wherein Sahas Kamat with an all-India rank (AIR) of 282 (the best known rank from Goa so far), Amay Varma with AIR 1,188 (placed second in Goa) and Nidhish Sawant at 7,376 (placed fourth in Goa) from the Dempo Higher Secondary School of Science (PACE) are among the top five students to be qualified for IIT seats.

NT KURIOCITY shares the success stories of these students

Sahas Kamat (JEE Advanced AIR 282)

Sahas Kamat who completed his SSC and HSSC in Goa Board through Deepvihar High School and Dempo HSS of Science (PACE) respectively was very elated at having met the expectations of his teachers, parents and colleagues. His score in IIT JEE Advanced was 249/360 and he has broken into the sub 300 level in the general category; his JEE Mains rank was 999.

Preparations for the exams began the day his teachers at PACE made him believe that he could clear the mains at the beginning of the eleventh standard. The preparation strategy was learning science as though there was no exam, and going into the intricacies of every concept. “I never prepared for JEE Advance in itself until the last six months. It was just learning because I liked it. I would attend classes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, sleep for two hours, and then study up to 2 a.m.,” adds Sahas.

Apart from practicing the previous years’ papers and along with PACE’s all-India test series he was able to understand his mistakes and the areas which needed improvement. Academic challenges were also solved under expert guidance of his teachers – ex-IITians themselves.

Talking about coaching, Sahas who took a foundation course in class 9 through Dempo HSS of Science –PACE says that it helps give a structure to learning and prepares you to face competitive exams. He adds: “I found coaching at Dempo PACE to be at par with the best institutes in the country. The earlier you start, the better it is. The faculty is selected at the national level, from universities across India. So the training imparted is of the best possible quality.”

Vasco-based Sahas’ hobbies include quizzing, photography, reading but they definitely had to take a back seat for last three years. He did not indulge in a smartphone; minimised watching movies and attending social functions. “Most importantly, my mother sacrificed her career to keep me in good shape mentally and physically,” he adds.

Sahas further says that it is a misconception that everyone who drops biology will pursue engineering. “I wish to pursue research in basic sciences, especially physics and learn more and more about science, and someday contribute to humanity in a meaningful way,” he concludes.


Amay Varma (JEE Advanced AIR 1,188)

Amay Varma was in Sharada Mandir School till class 10 (ICSE), after which he joined Dempo HSS of Science (PACE) which fulfilled a dual purpose (HSSC and JEE Preparation). He knew he had performed relatively well in the JEE Advanced exam, but that he was close to the top thousand among eleven lakh students was something he considered impossible. Scoring 208 marks out of 360 in JEE Advanced 2018, his JEE Main rank was 5290.

Amay has always loved logical problems and using theories as tools to solve them and this helped in the exams. “There was no rote mugging in JEE preparations, I simply had to use tools that were taught in solving challenging problems. The satisfaction of cracking a problem after an hour’s effort is the best feeling in the world,” he says. And since JEE Advanced demands expertise in all three subjects (Physics, Chemistry and Maths) he found it quite challenging to take time out from mathematics to study physics and chemistry.

Porvorim-based Amay sacrificed quite a bit for his results – sleep, social life, hobbies like basketball, theatre, speed solving the Rubik’s cube (his best is 11 seconds) – and studied hard for two years, going out five times a year on an average. Sharing his success mantra, he says that books, lectures, mock papers is secondary, “The only way you will reach the top is if you find what you love – for me it was Mathematics – and it will give you the daily drive you need to succeed.”

Amay feels that Goa’s coaching standards are good and the faculty is fantastic. He says: “The only edge that the metros have is the greater drive and ambitions in the students. If we can have motivational talks and good education at the school level, I am confident Goa will have a great conversion rate of students going to IITs.”

With dreams of pursuing a degree in Mathematics and Computing at IIT Kharagpur, he says he wants to work hard to have sound knowledge in the subjects and “depending on my interests in the next few years, I will decide my future prospects.”


Nidhish Sawant (JEE Advanced AIR 7,376)

A resident of Mapusa, Nidhish Sawant cleared class 12 under Goa Board studying in Dempo HSS of Science (PACE). Scoring 143 marks out of 360 in JEE Advanced 2018, he has a JEE Main rank of 34,609.

He could not believe his results initially: “In nervousness I read the word ‘qualified’ as ‘not qualified’ and I thought everything was over but then my father shouted ‘Nidhish you are qualified’ and started dancing, with that I felt a wave of relief.”

Nidhish began JEE Advanced preparation early in class 11. After reaching home at about 6:45 p.m. he would start studying at 7:15 p.m. initially for 3 to 4 hours, and later for 5 to 6 hours on school days and minimum 10 to 11 hours during holidays. It was indeed very difficult to sit continuously to study, but motivation from his parents and teachers helped him to fight his health issues.

He says apart from studying, practicing previous years’ papers helped him build his confidence: “We can gauge the trend of the question paper and can roughly estimate the topics focused on the following year.”

While preparing for the exam, he had to let go of his social life, friends, family functions/trips, social media and hobbies as he believes only hard and smart work can help one to get success.

Nidhish feels that coaching standards in Goa is good and the teachers teach with full potential; the students in other cities may be at an advantage owing to the studious environment around them. “The number of selections through Goa is significant considering the population of students,” he says.

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