Two years ago, when Vaishakh. R, decided to shift from his matriculation school to Maharshi Vidya Mandir, he had a plan. So did A.V. Nannan, when he suggested to his mother that they shift to Chennai from Kalpakkam. “I wanted to be in a place that offered maximum exposure to JEE in terms of material and competition,” said Nannan, almost echoing what Vaishakh has to say.

With an All India Rank of 36, Vaishakh, who was thronged by friends who had congratulate him, had one thing to say –“It is electrical engineering at IIT – Madras.”

Getting into IIT was a childhood dream, but the primary thrill was about becoming a scientist for Vaishakh, who took computer science in class XII. “The shift from matriculation to CBSE was difficult but I managed. All my focus was on IIT,” he said.

The case of Ram Prakash K, a class XII student of P.S.B.B. (K.K. Nagar), and proud claimant of the All India 39th Rank was no different. “It has to be computer science in IIT-Madras because I love programming,” said the computer science student. A common trait among all these toppers was their love for mathematics. “I was not good at chemistry though. Last three weeks, I studied only Chemistry,” said Ram Prakash.

Coaching is extremely necessary because it gives you the direction and focus, say these students. “The rigour of FITJEE is what helped many of us discuss questions with each other and understand concepts better. And they make you practise hard, which is very important otherwise you will never know to manage time,” said Vaishakh.

The two-year-rigour, the planning and the strategy making - everything has helped. But did it ever take a toll them? “You cannot crack JEE to your satisfaction if you don't enjoy problem solving,” said Ram Prakash, narrating how even ‘low marks' in initial mock tests did not deter his efforts. “You have to be focussed. That is it.”

Nannan's story is interesting though. “We were four friends who came here for two years from Kalpakkam and all of us managed to get good ranks," said the student who secured the AIR 80.

“Initially, everything was difficult. Teachers would also tell me not to lose track of school syllabus and I would say, ‘okay,' and come back to my JEE sums,” he said. IIT -Bombay or Madras are his options as he too wants to be a scientist like his father who works at Indira Gandhi Atomic Centre. “I will first study properly and then decide,” he said. Roshan R., who secured AIR 55, is pursuing his training in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai, is also from Kalpakkam. “We expected him to be the first here. He said he made some mistakes with marking. It often happens with JEE,” said his friend.

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