Lot of parents and students ask me this question – whether one should go to coaching classes or do the self preparation for exams like JEE/ISEET, NEET etc? This is very subjective question and there is no definitive answer to it. This puts me in the similar situation as Lord Krishna in Mahabharata – I can be your charioteer but I cannot fight with you. In other words, I can help you decide whether you go to coaching class or do self study but cannot give the answer as yes or no. Here I will list down few things that will help you in finding the right answer for yourself -
Are you ready for another classroom?
Classrooms have their own significance – you interact with you your teachers, discuss with your friends and participate in various activities. Most of our school time passes in a classroom. Now, if you decide to go to a coaching class, there is another classroom waiting for you. So depending on the time of your classes, you are spending extra 2-4 hours or your day in a classroom, leaving you lesser time to study on your own at your own pace. Exams like JEE test your problem solving abilities. So once you understand the concepts that you learn in schools, you are tested how you can apply them to solve difficult problems. That can only happen when you are on your own with external help if you get stuck. In short, you should go to coaching only if you will get sufficient time for self study after school and coaching classes.
Is the coaching class good enough?
Accept this fact, majority of the coaching classes are not good. Dont fall for the marketing tactics used by them to lure you into paying Lacs of rupees. There is also teacher factor involved, so the quality of coaching class can go up or down depending on good teachers coming or leaving it. So do consider this before joining any coaching. Since lot of these coaching classes take one time fee and do not refund it, your money (and time) will go waste if you do not find it good.
Are you traveling far to attend coaching?
Because of various reasons, the coaching centers for JEE, AIEEE etc have been centered around few cities like Kota, Indore, Delhi, Hyderabad etc. Lot of students flock to these cities with the hopes of getting good education. This comes at the expense of the school study and lot of money. Most of the times, students forget to consider the overheads involved with moving to another city. Finding a place to live, finding good food to eat, taking care of other daily chores. While these things do teach you a lot about life, unfortunately you waste lot of precious time that you should be utilizing for solving problems. And your cushy home is the best place to do that.
How much help do you need?
God has gifted each one of us in a different way. Some of us are good in Maths and some us may need extra help in Chemistry. So depending your learning needs, you might need varied degree of help. Assess yourself and check how much help you need. Also keep in mind that the coaching classes are not personalized according to your needs and they cater to the entire class consisting of students with varied strengths and weaknesses. So think about this before making your decision.
Are you self disciplined?
Self study needs lot of self discipline and self motivation. While we all have the power to improve on both these fronts but lets accept this, some of us give up too soon. Specially with the challenges faced in preparation for so tough and competitive exams. Joining a class covers up for that because you need to keep up with the pace of the classroom. Another point to consider before making your decision.
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