Thursday 2 March 2017

How to choose a coaching class ?

How to choose a good coaching class for IIT JEE or Medical examination ? 

📺Click here for the video version of this blog.

This question is as important as IIT JEE preparation and can play a very crucial role in deciding your future. I have tried to answer this question from the point of view of engineering and medical exam preparation. But the same logic can be extrapolated for humanities and commerce as well.  

Before I get into the details, remember a thumb rule: SIMPLY IGNORE BIG ADVERTISEMENTS AND VIBRANT PUBLICITY. Here are the few generic points, which you must check before joining a coaching class.

 What do you think, what’s the most important criterion to choose a coaching class for IIT JEE?
 Is it Infrastructure ?      NO !

 Branding and Marketing?         NO !!

 Promises made by the reception desk person?         NO !!!

 or  The Faculty team?      Yeah...that sounds interesting :) 

A genuine institute will proudly provide you, with the list of the faculties, who will be taking your lectures. 

A good faculty team can transform the brain, even of an average student into a "genius" by imparting knowledge, positive attitude and sense of competition.
 Students get emotionally attached with the faculty team and follow their foot steps. Even if there are few minor administrative short coming in the institute, they are overlooked as studies are going fine. Faculties also work hard and try their best to get best out of these kids, who turn out to be their brand ambassadors after becoming big shots.

But what if the faculty is not competent enough ? Its plain and simple, such an academic institute is useless. Not only useless, they are devastating for students.

Unfortunately there are many such institutes, where faculty team is incompetent and sometimes there is no team only, they just manage with temporary, visiting faculty. Lets call them "Purely commercial institutes".

Such "Purely commercial institutes" mainly focus on heavy marketing and publicity and successfully lure many students. Front desk and marketing executive of these institutes are the real champions ! They are extremely convincing and spellbound anyone with their conviction and sugar coated talks very easily. With a big smile and lots of confidence, many students enroll themselves in such IIT JEE coaching institutes and later they get shock of their life when they discover that they have been sold mud at the place of gold. To their surprise they realize that actual faculty team is not even close to what they had been assured, but unfortunately this realization happens once they have already paid their first installment of fee.

Now its too late for them and there is an obvious pressure to stick with the same coaching class as these "Purely commercial institutes" don't believe in policy of refund. Owing to the immaturity and lack of experience, many students take atleast 3-4 months to realize that there is something wrong with that coaching institute. Many times actual picture get revealed after interacting with other students from another good IIT JEE coaching class as they get to understand the comparative analysis of their coaching class. If they come from a financially strong background, they join better coaching class in midsession, by paying the fee again. Or else they end up wasting their crucial years and their dream of "clearing IIT JEE"

Considering the importance, I am mentioning this point again. Expertise, experience and qualification of Faculty Team is the most important criterion to judge the credibility of any educational institute. Branding and advertising should not affect your decision. For engineering entrance exams, you must prefer an institute, where faculties themselves are graduates from IITs, for medical, they should have done their MBBS from AFMC, AIIMS etc.

Unfortunately a major chunk of commercial classes, may be around 80%, work on this logic of "Rigorous marketing and inferior faculty" Beware of such Purely commercial institutes.
You have to check the quality of faculty team directly by talking to students (existing as well as ex-students, who studied 1-2 years back) of that coaching class. Do you think that this research will be sufficient ?? Not really.... Classes have become very smart and there are many more traps!
Many times they will get an amazing and mind blowing faculty, who will take lectures only for publicity purpose (demo lectures or seminars) in regular batches, and once 1st installment is paid, very cunningly these "top faculties" will be shifted to very limited batches (for top 10% students). Rest 90% will be catered by random faculties. These 90% students will be deprived of good education, despite of joining a so called good institute they will end up wasting their crucial time.

So what to do to check the consistency of a faculty?
  1. Make sure that you take feedback of average students as well.
  2. Enquire about the presence of faculties in the batches which were taught 2-3 years back, that there will be an assurance of consistency of the team. At Prime Academy Pune, M.Prakash Academy Pune, Vidyamandir Delhi etc, the core IIT faculty team has not shuffled since last many many years and that’s a big advantage for students.
Other important points are as follows:

1.  Number of IIT rankers taught by existing faculty. There may be IIT coaching institutes that have had a long list of successful candidates in past which was due to a particular faculty, who may not be available with them now. It is basically the faculty team, which is responsible for the results achieved by any institute and not the institute’s brand name. If those faculties are not associated with the institute, then those results don't add any credibility.

2. Sometimes few franchises and branches are opened in various cities and common results are published at all branches, though the faculty team of these branches have never even seen the faces of those successful rankers. For example 50 students who studied in Mumbai branch of some ABC institute cleared IIT JEE, similarly 40 from Pune branch and 10 from Delhi branch. Now all these branches will publish (50+40+10) 100 results !!! This is a big marketing gimmick.

3.  Always check percentage success rate. There are few giant institutes, who have intake of more than 5000 students and approximately 100 students clear IIT JEE. Its a big number but if you look at the percentage, its just 2%. Suddenly results appears to be bad now !

4.  Try to go with mid segment institute. If an institute has too many branches, then there is too much shuffling among faculties and hence they are not able to connect with students easily. Because of two main reasons they overlook fine aspects and believe in dictating their terms and conditions with brute force. Reason-1. They are established and they dont have any threat of survival and hence they don't entertain any modifications, as per case to case basis. Reason-2. Since they are large groups, its anyways very difficult for them to get in the fine details and requirements of various students and incorporate changes accordingly.

5.  Joining a newly established institute has its own merits and demerits. Such institute will be very much open and eager to go out of way to help students as they are yet ot prove themselves in market. But be careful about the risk of shutdown or no show as mortality rate of new institutes is very high. Every year in pune 4-5 new institutes are started, but almost 3-4 are forced to shut because of various reasons leaving students in lurch. Such institute usually transfer their students to some other coaching classes.

6.  Batch size should not exceed 35 students. There are many institutes, who take first installment and enroll more than 50 students for one batch. I am surprised to see this number touching even 100, in few cases. For MBA and postgraduation level, this large batch size doesnt create much of problems, as those students are matured and self motivated. But school kids need constant personal monitoring, which is next to impossible in large batch size.
In case a student is not happy, then such institutes are more than happy to see him discontinue, as they have already extorted the first installment, which ideally covers number of lectures, much more than what that student has already attended. Once a chunk of students discontinue, they are able to manage the smaller batch easily.

 7.  Always prefer those coaching classes, where all the subjects are catered. By joining different coaching for different subject students find themselves in lots of trouble because of absence of coordination between teachers of different subject who eventually belong to different IIT coaching institutes in Pune. But why do we require coordination between different subject teachers, if they are independently very good?

Well the reason is, a balance between various subjects is very important. for example, when Rotational Motion ( Physics) and Probability ( Mathematics) are simultaneously going on, then students already have lots of pressure, as these two topics are relatively very difficult and require lots of time at home for practice. At this point of time, relatively easy topic of chemistry should be taught so that students can balance their time. But in case Chemistry teacher doesnt coordinate with Maths and Physics, then it is impossible to plan the topic in the desired way. Yet another important reason for coordination is, the strong co-relation between two subjects. For example, if Calculus ( Mathematics ) is not taught before Thermodynamics (Physics), then students cant understand Thermodynamics.

There are many more advantages of coordination between faculties of all three subjects of IIT JEE. For eg, whenever a student needs some counseling, he can be given better guidance, if all three subjects teachers can interact with each other.

8.  In case any confusion, you may insist to attend few demo lectures without paying full first installment. If an institute is confident about its quality, then you will be allowed to attend first few weeks just by paying token amount. In case they trust their marketing team more than their teaching team then they will throw all type of tantrums of company-policy or try to threaten you by hinting about the chances of cancellation of admission because of unavailability of seats. "sir humare sare batches ful ho jaate hain and seats nahi bachti, aap jaldi fee bhar ke enrollment kar lo" etc etc.

9.  Since you have to make a crucial judgement of choosing an IIT JEE coaching class, you must have some idea about the modus of operandi as well. That will help you to analyze few crucial points. Syllabus of all boards and JEE mains and advanced is same, it is just the difference in depth and level. Sequence of topics also varies from board to board. Level of boards is usually lower as compared to JEE mains. JEE advanced level is further higher. Best way to prepare for JEE is, start a topic from very basic level, which will cover school/board requirements, subsequently raise the level to JEE mains. Practice lots of problems and get your doubts cleared from faculties. Dont jump on to the next topic unless the previous one has been understood at JEE level. Click here to understand the best way to prepare for IIT JEE.

10.  There is a very cheap and dangerous malpractice by many coaching classes, where they insist on finishing entire syllabus of board and then move to JEE Mains and advance. If its such a bad approach, then it must be known to IIT JEE coaching Institute's managers also. Then why few of these managers adopt this method? Actually its a vey crook method of befooling parents where shrewd IIT JEE coaching classes cut short faculty cost, at the same time increase number of its enrolled students. Let me quickly get in the details of this catastrophic strategy, which turns out to be suicidal for students academic career. With due respect to all school/board faculties, usually they are available at relatively less salary in comparison with IIT JEE faculties. There are many coaching classes who dont have IIT JEE mains/advanced level faculties. But most of the engineering aspirants seek for JEE mains and advanced classes, as JEE is mandatory for most of the engineering college. And hence even non JEE level classes put the banner of IIT JEE mains coaching class. But how will they teach and answer the doubts of students of JEE mains and advanced standards ? Here they play this selfish move of suggesting parents that, we will first complete the syllabus of Board/school. Poor parents also get convinced after listening overhyped importance of board exams. Now stage is set for such self proclaimed IIT JEE coaching classes. For almost 1.5 years they successfully engage innocent students by sending board/school level students. There are few smart and aware students, who realize the inferior teaching standard and join other classes in mid session. Those who continue with such classes, anyways become conceptually weak and dont realize the importance of good IIT JEE level faculties. Such students underperform in exams and get a sense of cheating at the end of the course. Then how do these IIT JEE coaching classes gather students for next academic year ? As I said earlier, they are true campions in marketing and publicity. Their mesmerizing front desk counseling clubbed with heavy branding is sufficient for them to get students. But where do they so much of funds for marketing ? Since they dont employee expert IIT JEE faculties, who usually charge many lakhs for a month, such classes save lots of money there, which in turn help them to invest in marketing. Click here to know the correct way to prepare for IIT JEE.

11.  Many times few batches are started at a particular location as per the comfort of students, even if such locations don't suit the management. Once fee is paid and few lectures are over, suddenly that batch is terminated. Students are given an option of attending lectures at some other location, by merging their batches. Since students have already paid the fee, he cant do much. Over and above, since institute is big, you cant fight with the system. At Viman Nagar, Pune, a well known IIT JEE coaching institute is consistently enrolling students and after 2-3 months they are asked to join their Shivajinagar batch, creating hell lots of problems for students and parents.

12.  Try to track the best faculties available. There are few famous faculties in the city, senior students usually talk very good about them and these faculties can be the big asset for a student because of their huge teaching experience and indepth knowledge. For example HC Verma, DC Pandey, they are famous authors and amazing faculties. HC Verma sir is a faculty in IIT Kanpur, DC Pandey sir is HOD of Prime Academy Pune Physics Department.

13.  Try to avoid set of teachers, who keep on juggling between various institutes by chasing better salaries, there is absolutely no certainty of these people sticking with you throughout your preparation of IIT JEE coaching.

14.  If the owner(s) of the coaching institute, are also core faculty members, then they will be in direct touch with students and will be in much better situation to understand the academic as well as non academic problems faced by students. This is not possible in highly commercialized institutes where there is a big gap between the students and the chairman who is more of financial investor.

15.  If you are confused about two institutes, then choose one which is close to your house. Saving commutation time help you to devote more hours to studies.

Just take care of these  simple and very generic points.  This small research will hardly take 1-2 days of a parent. But it will surely make huge difference in defining the career of a student. Trust me its worth !

I will be conducting few Career Counseling Seminars to discuss about various other important and crucial aspects of Competitive Exams Preparation. 


 Date - 15 April, 2018 

10:00 AM - 12 PM Career Guidance Seminar by Lalit Sir.
   Venue  - Prime Academy,Off-121, East Wing, Aurora Towers,
 MG Road, Pune, Maharashtra 411001
Phone095950 40094

Tel: 7768933309

Click here to Register for the seminar
 Call on 89-2838-2838.

For further queries, you can drop me an email

Best of luck for the preparation.

Lalit Kumar
B.Tech Electrical, 
IIT Bombay


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