Can we prepare for IPMAT Indore exam in two months?
How much time does IPMAT preparation truly take?
Preparation for any important exam (including various exams of life) has two components: specific preparation, and lifelong preparation. For example, when a politician wants to be prime minister, he needs to spend a few months convincing his party members that he is the horse that the party should back, and then spend another few intensely hectic months flying to all corners of our country campaigning, convincing them at he is indeed the right choice for the nation as well.
Does that mean that preparation for his ‘exam’ – elections – took only 6-8 months?
Not at all.
For a job like that, the preparation probably began right from his childhood. All the general skills that are required to be successful in such a prime ministerial campaign – ability to understand people, acute power of observation and interpretation, ability to speak and move an audience, immense persistence – all of these were being honed right from his childhood, because it takes that much time to hone those skills to perfection to reach a very high position. In addition, the other intangibles – the track record, the reputation, the deep knowledge of the country – also take a lifetime to build.
Only on top of that lifetime of general skills acquisition can he add his specific effort of six months of campaigning to become successful.
Similarly, your ‘campaign’ for the IPMAT Indore exam – maybe it can begin only a few months or a year before the exam, but whether that effort is successful or not depends on how much general skills – reading, problem solving, logical thinking, speaking – you have built up over your lifetime.
Some exams intensely test specific knowledge – for example, your board exams, or IITJEE, or NEET. Without deep knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology, you cannot sink your teeth into a question of the NEET paper. The illusion of the possibility of a short IPMAT preparation time comes from the fact that IPMAT Indore tests mostly general skills: in fact, 50% of the paper, which is English, is all about the general skill of reading. Since everyone can read a bit, it creates the illusion that IPMAT Indore doesn’t require much preparation!
The math part of the IPMAT exam does test some specific knowledge, but even there the syllabus is not as vast as IITJEE. For example, there has never been a question from the vast areas of calculus, or vectors, or complex numbers. In fact, the questions typically come from a limited 10-12 areas of permutation combination, number theory, arithmetic, equations etc. That again creates the illusion that since a quick revision of those topics doesn’t take much time, we can possibly prepare for the IPMAT exam in a couple of months.
Just like our earlier example about the aspiring prime-minister’s campaign, nothing can be further from the truth.
Yes – there are possibly a few rare candidates in the country who have been ‘preparing’ for this exam throughout their childhood. They are voracious readers; they have natural interest in math; they love to solve new problems. For them, yes, those 10-12 math topics of IPMAT, which are the only specific knowledge component of the exam – might take only a couple of months of quick revision.
Because they already have what it takes the conquer this exam, built over a lifetime of invisible, ‘meta’ preparation, which will help them succeed in any exam.
However, for most of the candidates, just preparing those math topics over a few months is not enough. What’s required is to build general skills – reading, problem-solving, logical thinking. General skills, or ‘meta’ skills take longer to acquire compared to acquiring specific knowledge. For example, you can read up on your Electromagnetism chapter in physics in a matter of weeks, but you cannot build your communication skills so fast. And since IPMAT Indore is more about those general skills and less about specific knowledge – counter-intuitively, it takes more time to prepare, rather than less.
So get started honing your ‘meta’ skills right away (which will actually help you everywhere, beyond the IPMAT Indore exam). Only then, studying those limited areas of math – which will actually take less than six months – will make sense.
Because what will you do with the formulas of permutation combination if you don’t have the ability to solve new problems?