IIT JEE Physics Essentials – Do this before you start ANY Physics preparation
IIT JEE Physics scares a lot of students. If you do Physics properly, in a methodical and step-by-step manner, it is one of the most scoring subjects in the JEE.
What’s covered in Physics for the JEE?
Physics in class XI and XII covers most of what is called “Classical Physics” (i.e. physics after Newton and before Einstein).
Although a few topics from modern physics (physics after 1905) are also covered in the JEE & class XI/ XII syllabus, it is only the basics of what was done by Einstein & his contemporaries like Bohr, Heisenberg etc.
Mathematics for IIT JEE Physics
Mathematics required to study classical physics (physics that you must study in order to crack the JEE) is much more evolved than the mathematics that a student in the Indian education system does till class X.
In-fact, once you understand this “new” Mathematics, most of Classical Physics is a breeze. It becomes very easy to understand and you can solve a lot of so called “tough” problems without even breaking sweat.
(The Mathematics required for modern physics, i.e. physics past 1905, is even more evolved and gets partly (only partly!) covered when you take up Mathematics courses during Engineering.)
Through class XI and XII, you cover the required “new” Mathematics for JEE physics, but it is done over the two years unfortunately – most of it being covered in class XII only, whereas in order to understand even the most basic topics in Classical Physics fully, you need to have a good grip on this “new” Mathematics before studying the topic.
Thus the first and foremost thing you must do before you even start reading a word of Physics (of class XI or of class XII) is to get a decent grip on this new Mathematics.
But didn’t we just say that most of this “new” Mathematics is part of class XII syllabus?
Yes, unfortunately it is, and if you avoid covering it till it is taught in your school/ coaching in class XII, you will delay developing a solid understanding of physics.
The simple reason that most students struggle with Physics throughout class XI and XII is that the mathematics required for it is being covered alongside and not before doing serious physics!
As a result students quickly develop a phobia for physics and never recover in their 2 years of preparation.
Let’s understand this “new” Mathematics and how to cover it quickly & efficiently for our physics preparation.
The “New” Mathematics
By class X a student covers mainly Arithmetic and number systems, Euclidean geometry (lines, triangles, circles, parallelograms etc.), basic algebra (Algebraic expressions, Equations – linear, quadratic) and some coordinate geometry.
All this mathematics, though good, falls way short of the Math required for understanding JEE level physics.
The main topics in Mathematics to know for IIT JEE level physics are
- Calculus: Functions, Limits & Continuity, Derivatives & Applications, Integration & Applications
Now in order to be able to do the topics in A (Calculus) above, one must understand a bit of advanced trigonometry (covered in class XI) & some coordinate geometry as well (Straight lines, covered in class XI).
Accordingly, before starting any serious physics (of JEE Level) one must cover Advanced Trigonometry, Coordinate Geometry, Calculus and Vectors.
The important point is that you do not need to cover these topics as thoroughly as you will cover them when preparing for JEE Mathematics. You just need to be reasonably familiar with these topics.
How do you cover JEE Physics level Mathematics topics quickly?
Our humble advice is to use the NCERT text books for these topics!!
We advise you to buy class XI and XII Maths textbooks of NCERT and do the corresponding chapters from these textbooks quickly – say within a month of reaching class XI.
Alternately, you can download individual chapters for free from NCERT’s website.
These texts cover the basics of these topics and are the best source to quickly get a basic familiarity.
The chapters to be done are (2014 edition NCERT books):
Relations & Functions (Ch 2), Trigonometric functions (Ch 3), Straight Lines (Ch 10), Limits & Derivatives (Ch 13)
Relations & Functions (Ch1), Inverse Trigonometric functions (Ch2), Continuity & Differentiability (Ch5), Application of Derivatives (Ch 6), Integrals (Ch 7), Applications of Integrals (Ch 8), Differential Equations (Ch 9), Vector Algebra (Ch 10).
Read the theory, do the practice/ exercise questions and learn the formulae.
Do not dwell too much on this phase of your preparation – make sure you do not take more than 1 month to cover these topics from NCERT quickly (you can always revisit them, if you have mathematical doubts during your study of physics).
Once you are done with these topics, you are ready to take up even the most challenging topic in class XI and XII physics – infact Physics will become a lot more easier to understand and comprehend.
Don’t believe us?
Even one of the best books in physics for JEE preparations (H. C. Verma) covers some of these Mathematical preliminaries at the very beginning in a separate chapter! (We feel that it does not cover it too deeply though, and that’s why we recommend NCERT).
There is just no running away from Mathematics if you want to have a solid base in Physics.
All the best in your preparations!
Note: You may be wondering why such important Mathematics topics are covered in class XII and not XI.
It is indeed puzzling why the education boards have decided to do so and have continued to do so over the years. In our view, a lot of students face problems in PCM due to this strange categorization of topics in Mathematics that Indian education boards tend to follow.