What is the most common thread among some of the most famous CEOs, Economists, Bankers, Politicians, Writers, and others? Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet Inc., N.R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys, Chetan Bhagat, writer, Raghuram Rajan, ex-Governor of RBI, Arvind Kejriwal, CM of Delhi. Love them or hate them but they are all from IITs. Do you want to get into the hallowed corridors of IITs? Here’s a complete guide on how to get into IIT.

Ranked among the top 100 to 200 in the world, among the top 100 in Asia and among the top 10-20 Engineering institutions in India, IITs are among the most famous Indian brand names that people across the world are aware of. Making into an IIT is like a dream trip. How to get admission in IIT? What are the essentials for you to know?

How to get admission in IIT?

It’s perhaps the Everest among the engineering admission tests in the world. Too steep a competition. According to the National Testing Agency, in the 2019 JEE Mains examination, a total of 11,05,508 appeared for B.E./B.Tech./B.Arch. and Planning courses.

Out of them, only 1,61,319 made the cut to appear for JEE (Advanced). And then only 38,705 students qualified as per the Press Information Bureau, Government of India release. Total number of seats in the IITs? Only a few over 11,000. So, for every seat, approx. 100 students competed in the JEE Mains 2019 and 15 students competed in the JEE Advanced 2019. The IIT entrance examination is the toughest in the world.

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But there is a saying that when the going gets tough, the tough get going! So, hang on. You may be among the tough warriors who will win the toughest war in the world to get admission in IITs. This article will give all the essential details that you need to know about how to get into IIT.

IIT Admission Process

Step 1: Appear for the JEE (Main) examination

JEE (Main) examination is conducted by the NTA (National Testing Agency). It is conducted twice in a year – generally in the month of January and then in the month of April. You can attempt both the examinations but the best of your 2 scores will be considered for preparing the JEE (Main) merit or ranking list.

If you want admission to any Engineering stream, then you will have to appear for the paper for B.E./B.Tech. You will have to take this paper only through CBT (Computer Based Test) mode. This paper consists of objective type Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and questions for which the answer is a numerical value. This paper is set on 3 subjects – Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics with equal weightage to each subject. Total marks are 300.

If you want admission to Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) course, then you will have to appear for Part I (Mathematics) and Part II (Aptitude Test) through CBT (Computer Based Test) mode. Part I has objective type Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and questions for which the answer is a numerical value. Part II has Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) only. Total marks in Part I and II are 400.

For B.Arch., you will also have to appear for Part III through pen & paper based mode on drawing sheets. The Part III has questions to test drawing aptitude.

Understanding these steps well and referring to the JEE (Main) information booklet is an essential first step for you to know about how to get into IIT.

How to get into IIT
Figure 1: How to get into IIT.

Step 2: Appear for the JEE (Advanced) examination

You can appear for the JEE (Advanced) examination only if your score in the JEE (Main) examination is above the minimum cut-off score for different categories of students officially announced by the NTA. Minimum cut-off scores depend upon various criteria such as the number of students who appeared in the JEE Main examination, the number of seats available at the IITs, difficulty level of the examination, etc.

In 2019, the minimum cut-off score was 89.7548849 for general categories and 74.3166557 for other backward classes.

The JEE (Advanced) examination is conducted by the zonal coordinating IITs under the guidance of the Joint Admission Board (JAB). You can appear for the JEE (Advanced) examination only through CBT (Computer Based Test) mode. You will have only 2 chances to appear for the JEE (Advanced) examination.

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The JEE (Advanced) examination consists of two question papers generally. Both papers have questions on Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. The questions are designed to test a candidate’s comprehension, reasoning, and analytical ability. Each paper is of 3 hours duration.

For B.Arch. admission, you will have to appear for the Architecture Aptitude Test (AAT) in addition to the JEE (Advanced) examination. This is a paper & pencil based test and you will have to carry your own drawing and coloring aids. For more information, you must read the JEE (Advanced) information booklet in detail. This will also answer a lot of questions in your mind about how to get into IIT.

Step 3: Obtain All India Rank (AIR)

If you have appeared in both Paper I and II of the JEE (Advanced) and if you have scored a minimum 10% marks in each of Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics (on all questions on a subject in Paper I and II) and 35% marks in aggregate of the three subjects, then only you will be considered for the ranking. These marks criteria varied across various categories of students.

Step 4: Allocation of seats at the different IITs through a common process by the Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA)

If you find your name in the All India Rank list, then you will have to participate in the joint seat allocation process conducted by the JoSAA.

The main difference between JEE Mains and JEE Advanced

All students who want to know how to get into IIT must understand this in detail. Every student aspiring for admission to an IIT has to first appear for the JEE Main Examination. Once qualified, he/she has to appear for JEE Advanced Examination. Only if a student clears JEE Advanced and obtains an All India Rank (AIR), she/he can take admission into the IITs (subject to fulfillment of other eligibility criteria).

Those who clear JEE Mains only are eligible for admission to NITs, IIITs, CFTIs, SFIs, and State Engineering Colleges (for some States).

Hence, for admission into IITs, you will mandatorily have to clear both the JEE Main and JEE Advanced examinations This is the main difference between JEE Mains and JEE Advanced.

Eligibility for IIT

Eligibility for appearing in the JEE (Main) Examination

You will be eligible if you have either passed class 12th or equivalent examination in one of the previous two years of the year in which the JEE (Main) is being conducted or appeared in the class 12th or equivalent examination in the year in which the JEE (Main) is being conducted.

For example, if you want to appear in the JEE (Main) 2021, you must have passed Class 12th or equivalent examination either in 2019 or in 2020. You are also eligible if you are going to appear in the 12th or equivalent examination in 2021.

Eligibility for appearing in the JEE (Advanced) Examination

The minimum eligibility requirement is that you must have passed the final class 12th or equivalent examination from a recognized Board of education with at least 75% marks in aggregate (65% for SC/ST/PwD) or you must be in the top 20 percentile of candidates who have passed the Class 12th Board examination from the same Board from which you have passed.

You are also eligible to appear for the JEE (Advanced) examination if you are appearing for the class 12th or equivalent examination from a recognized Board of education in the same year in which the JEE (Advanced) is being conducted. In this case, you will be eligible only provisionally. Subsequently, before admission, you will have to fulfill the above criteria of 75% marks in aggregate or being among the top 20 percentile of successful candidates. This is the most important information for you if you want to know how to get into IIT.

Eligibility for admission to B.Arch. programs

Only those candidates who have qualified in JEE (Advanced) examination are eligible to appear in the Architecture Aptitude Test.

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Admission Criteria for IIT

You will have to satisfy at least one of the following two criteria (after your Board results are announced) for admission to IITs:

  1. At least 75% aggregate marks in Class XII (or equivalent) Board examination or equivalent grades.
  2. Be within the category-wise top 20 percentile of successful candidates in the respective Class 12th Board examination of a particular year. These category-wise top-20 percentile cut-off score lists are obviously announced every year after the JEE Advanced exam is over and all Board results are out.

The marks scored in the following 5 subjects will be considered for calculating both the Class 12th aggregate marks as well as the cut-off marks of top 20 percentile:

  1. Physics
  2. Chemistry
  3. Mathematics
  4. A language (if you have taken more than 1 language, then the language in which you have scored higher will be considered)
  5. Any subject besides the above 4 (the subject in which you have scored the highest marks will be considered)

Admission Criteria for admission to B.Arch. programs

  1. Only available at IIT (BHU) Varanasi, IIT Kharagpur, and IIT Roorkee
  2. You will have to pass in the Architecture Aptitude Test.
  3. There is no separate ranking in the AAT.
  4. Allotment of seats will be solely based on the category-wise All India Rank in the JEE (Advanced) 2020 and B. Arch. program will be offered only to those candidates declared PASS in the AAT.

How to get into IIT?

First thing first, how do you know it’s worth the effort?

Before you ask this question ‘how to get into IIT’, you should first ask this question to yourself. Are you really good in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics? Hey, the marks that you get in your examinations or the marks you have got in your class 10th Board examination is only one part of the story. But are you really into Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics? Do you love these subjects? Do you always feel at ease with these subjects? Are you really competent in these?

Do you think you have real interests and competencies in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics? Yes? But honestly, that is what you feel. Thank you. But you must get proper counseling – you must see what your school teachers feel and what a professional career counselor feels? Get unbiased and competent career counseling.

So, before you ask this question ‘how to get into IIT’, you should ask yourself – “Do I know what other career and study options I may have?” Perhaps you could be more suitable for a career in Medicine? Or a career in Astronomy and Astrophysics? Or maybe a career in Bioscience? What’s your best play? A competent and unbiased career counsellor can tell you that.

Secondly, can you really sacrifice the little pleasures in your life for the sake of getting into IIT?

Can you forget your mobile phones, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, PUBG, etc. etc. for 2 to 3 years? You may use a little but could you largely shut these off? Also,, shut off televisions. Shut off the internet unless there is something you are studying online.

Can you sacrifice going to movies, eating out, hanging around with friends? Small pleasures of life. Maybe once in a while, but largely shutting off all these activities?

Why? Because you will have to focus; you will have to concentrate. The truth is, you will need to work very hard for 6 to 8 hours a day other than the time spent at schools and coaching centres? The number of study hours may vary from person to person. But you need to work hard for long hours, no doubt. So, before you ask this question ‘how to get into IIT’, you should ask yourself these questions.

Thirdly, master the concepts of Science and Mathematics

Routine coaching books alone won’t do. You have to understand fundamental concepts. You can’t just memorize formulas and get into IITs. You have to develop excellent analytical and logical reasoning abilities – that is, analytical and logical reasoning in Science and Mathematics. Formulas are just a tool. But unless you are thorough in your concepts, you can’t crack IIT JEE.

Fourthly, practice, practice, and practice

You have to have a never-ending zeal to attempt and solve complex problems in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. You can’t just give up. You have to practice problem-solving every day. You can’t just let go. If you face difficulties, don’t just give up. Try again. And again. Read up, clear concepts, take help from your teachers, and then again jump into the pool to solve problems.

Conclusions

So, how to get into IIT? There is no magic formula. There were students who studied just for 3-4 hours a day and got into IITs. There were students who toiled for 8-10 hours a day but still couldn’t make it. An In-depth understanding of the fundamental concepts in Science and Mathematics is one of the keys. But that’s not all. The levels of your analytical and logical skills are supremely important.

And therefore, before you really begin the race by getting the answer to the question ‘how to get into IIT’, you need to know whether you should begin the race. Career counseling is a must before you start. Talk to your teachers who know you well. Talk to competent and unbiased career counselors. Take an informed and logical decision. Or else it will be like jumping into the sea without knowing how to swim.

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