Preparing for any exam has a very simple mantra behind it. That is the focus.
This might seem like a given truth that everybody is aware of. But being aware of something is not the same as knowing and practising it in life. Although most of us begin with a set goal in mind, we divert our energies into myriad different avenues on our way to achieving it. This is usually done to avoid the risk of putting all our eggs in one basket and losing all of them at once. But most often, it has the counterproductive effect of dividing our attention and energy, making us lose sight of what we want.
Entrance exams in any situation usually test the basic knowledge in a subject and whether or not the student in question has a solid enough grasp of its nitty gritties. JEE for IIT is no different. Although exhaustive and extensive in its coverage, the exam borrows almost its entire syllabus from the XI and XII science curriculum. So the first and easiest hack to help prepare for IIT entrances is to be well versed in the basics of high school science and mathematics.
Now being well versed can have different interpretations. It might involve memorising every theorem and law verbatim to how they are mentioned in the book. But that is not what is meant here. Students have to understand the basics of the knowledge given in these texts rather than memorise the words through which it is conveyed. Once again, we return to focus and where and how to direct it.
Second, practising according to the format of the exam is a huge necessity. That is not to anticipate the types of questions that may appear in the exam. While practising enough helps with that, the primary reason for solving model test papers and previous years questions papers is to be acquainted with approaching the exam. Coming in repeated contact with the same format allows us to build strategies in approaching it within the limited time of the exam. Thus, if we get stuck on certain questions, we are not panicking and losing time, but instead moving ahead to things we know and circling back when the rest has been solved.
And third, we have to know the reason for the aims we have set. As renowned science coach Professor Devendra Kumar Saini says, "We need to be aware of the 'why' of our goals. It helps us focus our energies instead of looking for ways to mitigate risks."
Our reasons to choose paths in life are personal. Perhaps some of us want to go to IIT and study the subject of our choice to build a great career, while others are inspired by the thirst for knowledge and the curiosity to solve the mysteries of science. Neither of these is wrong in reasoning, as long as we know them to be true. May luck be with you all.