Study Aids for Students Taking the Joint Entrance Exam

Instructor writing on a light board

Ankur Gupta solves mathematics problems at the light board.

By Welina Farah, MIT Open Learning

This month, students across India are prepping for the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE), a two-part rigorous and thorough national-level standardized test for future engineers.

Twice a year, these test takers hope to do well enough to be accepted into top-tier undergraduate engineering programs at elite institutes across India. These institutes include the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), National Institutes of Technology (NIT), Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), and various other Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs) across the country.

The first round of exams (JEE Main) took place from April 7 to April 12, 2019. Students that passed the first round move on to the second round, (JEE Advanced) taking place on May 27, 2019.

At OpenCourseWare, we have two resources available for those studying for the JEE: a series of videos on the “Highlights for High School” website titled “IIT Joint Entrance Exam Preparation” and a quick blurb on the exams themselves.

These videos came to the OCW page in a great way, stemming from “somebody who knew somebody” and blooming into a much-used and vital resource.

The Senior Educational Technology Consultant at MITx Residential built a lightboard (also known as a learning board). At the time, the technology consultant was helping then-grad student Ankur Gupta to use the lightboard to make the videos, as you may have guessed, hosted on the OCW site.

Gupta decided to continue making these videos as a side project.

There are many more videos on their YouTube page, but putting them on OCW’s YouTube page helped amplify their efforts.

The 9 videos hosted by OCW and created by Gupta have been viewed over 66,000 times.

> Check out the “IIT Joint Entrance Exam Preparation” videos

Traveling 65mph on the world’s tallest water slide


View from the top of Verrückt, the world’s tallest waterslide. (Image courtesy of Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts. Used with permission.)

By Cheryl Siegel

You’ve climbed 246 stairs, and now you’re strapped to a raft 168 feet above the ground. You are about to begin your ride on the tallest, steepest, and fastest waterslide in the world. Verrückt—which means “insane” in German–opened to the public July 2014 at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City. The initial descent is essentially a free-fall—almost a straight drop from 15 stories, in which the raft then accelerates to 65 mph.

The course takes advantage of the relationship between gravity and friction to ensure the rafts remain on the slide. By conducting extensive tests with both sandbags and humans, the ride’s engineers were able to ensure that Verrückt would be safe for all, though they do impose a weight limit of 550 pounds per raft.

To learn more about gravity, friction, velocity and acceleration, please visit OCW’s introductory physics course, 8.01L Physics I: Classical Mechanics. The unit called “Kinematics: Describing 1D Motion, Relative Velocity,” explains the concepts of position, velocity, and acceleration.

When the Student Becomes the Teacher

Image courtesy of uoeducation on Flickr. License: CC: BY-NC

Image courtesy of uoeducation on Flickr. License: CC: BY-NC

By Cheryl Siegel

When you think of students at a university, you might imagine them taking classes, doing homework, participating in sports or maybe working at the school newspaper.  But did you know that at MIT, students can also teach their own classes?

Through the Educational Studies Program at MIT, students have the opportunity to teach courses to high schoolers and middle schoolers on a wide variety of topics – some serious, some not so much –  including the history of heavy metal, probability, and medical device design.

On Highlights for High School, we have captured a few of these student-run classes.


Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience

Humanities and Social Science

Gödel, Escher, Bach

Europe in Crisis

Leadership Training Institute


Combinatorics: The Fine Art of Counting

Probability: Random Isn’t So Random


The Big Questions

Excitatory Topics in Physics

The inspiring story of Ahaan Rungta

Photo of young man working at a table in MIT dining area with his laptop, writing in a notebook.

Ahaan Rungta, MIT Class of 2019 (Photo by M. Scott Brauer)

“Some people think I’m gifted, but I don’t think so. OCW was a gift to me. I was lucky to be born at the time MIT was opening up education to the world and extra lucky that OCW brought MIT and me together.”

By Laurie Everett | MIT OpenCourseWare

Ahaan Rungta and his family moved from Calcutta, India, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2001, the same year MIT announced OpenCourseWare (OCW), a bold plan to publish all of MIT’s course materials online and to share them with the world for free. Little did his parents realize at the time that their two-year-old son—already an avid reader—would eventually acquire his entire elementary and secondary education from OpenCourseWare and MITx, and would be admitted to the MIT class of 2019 at the age of 15.

“When I was five years old my mom told me ‘there’s this thing called OCW,’” says Ahaan, who was homeschooled. “I just couldn’t believe how much material was available. From that moment on I spent the next few years taking OCW courses.”

When most kids are entering kindergarten Ahaan was studying physics and chemistry through OpenCourseWare. For Ahaan’s mother, the biggest challenge to homeschooling her son was staying ahead of him, finding courses and materials to feed his insatiable mind.

“My parents always supported me and found the materials I needed to keep learning. My mother was a resource machine. As I got older, I studied math through OCW’s Highlights for High School program, and when I was ready for Linear Algebra, I watched all of Professor Gil Strang’s 18.06 video lectures. From the time I was five I learned exclusively from OCW. And I knew then I wanted to go to MIT.”

The Sweet Side of Chemistry

Image promoting National Chemistry Week, with lots of candy.

National Chemistry Week is October 19-25, 2014. (Image courtesy of American Chemical Society.)

It’s National Chemistry Week! This yearly event, organized by the American Chemical Society, encourages chemists and chemistry enthusiasts to promote the value of chemistry in everyday life. This year’s theme is “The Sweet Side of Chemistry — Candy.”

Indulge your sweet tooth while learning something new with these two highlights from the OCW collection.

In Kitchen Chemistry, ice cream is both a tasty recipe and a pathway for learning about temperature-driven phase transitions and the colloidal state.  Other foods from scones and coffee to 3-bean chili round out the menu.

And in this video from Chemistry Behind the Magic: Chemical Demonstrations for the Classroom (a resource in OCW’s Highlights for High School), a gummy bear donates its body to science.


These are just two of many great chemistry resources in OCW. Highlights for High School has a particularly rich collection of chemistry content geared toward high school students and teachers, with several engaging video series, highlights from introductory MIT courses, and exam prep resources.

Also, check out these lists of all OCW courses from MIT’s Chemistry department, and all OCW courses on chemistry topics from every MIT department.

edX announces new high school initiative

Banner image for the edX high school initiative.

Last week, edX announced their new high school initiative: 26 MOOCs specifically geared to the needs and interests of high school students around the world. As edX CEO Anant Agarwal wrote in the announcement:

Studies show that nearly 60 percent of first-year U.S. college students are unprepared for postsecondary studies. This readiness gap between college eligibility and preparedness is costly not only to students, but also to families and institutions.

Our new initiative will address this severe gap and help alleviate these costly disparities, while also meeting the needs of edX learners who have expressed interest in additional entry-level college course offerings – 90 percent of edX learners according to a 2013 survey.

As I’ve written about in the past, these courses could also provide a path to life-long continuous education, where students come into college after having taken their first-year subjects through MOOCs or other AP* courses, study on campus for two years, then enter the workforce to gain real-world skills, taking MOOCs, community college courses or other online courses as needed throughout their career.

Covering subject areas that range from mathematics to science, English and history, and even college advising and AP onramps, edX high school MOOCs will provide students within the U.S. and around the world the opportunity to pursue challenging, advanced coursework. Currently, 22 high school courses are open for registration, and all 26 will launch within a few months.

MITx is contributing several courses. For physics, 8.MechCx: Advanced Introductory Classical Mechanics begins on January 8, 2015.  A calculus sequence will be offered in three parts, beginning with 18.01.1x Calculus 1A: Differentiation in 3Q 2015.

Also, be sure to check out OCW’s Highlights for High School, our collection of open educational resources for high school students and teachers. With test prep for biology, chemistry, calculus and physics, and other great resources across a wide range of STEM and humanities topics, it’s got something for everyone.

Study: AP Chemistry Students in Flipped Classroom Outperform Students in a Traditional Classroom

We’ve written about flipped classrooms on the blog before: In a traditional classroom, the instructor lectures, presents information to the students, and then the students work through problems on their own as homework. In a flipped classroom, students watch video lessons at home, and then work through problems in class, with the help of the instructor. The idea is the “flipped” method might be a better use of class time, and allow for more valuable student-instructor interaction.

Instructors and researched in North Dakota studied an AP Chemistry class to try and answer these questions:

  1. Do students in the flipped classroom perform differently than students in the traditional classroom?
  2. What perceptions do students have about the flipped classroom?

The results of their findings are published in the Journal of Chemical Education as “part of a special issue on teaching introductory chemistry in the context of the advanced placement (AP) chemistry course redesign”. They found that indeed, the students in the flipped classroom performed higher, on average, than the control group in a traditional classroom. They also found that students preferred the flipped teaching method because it gave them the freedom to pause, rewind, and review the lectures, as well as interact more with the instructor. If you’d like to learn more, you can read their article on The American Chemical Society’s website.

And remember, OCW has chemistry exam prep materials on our sister site, Highlights for High School.