What are the methods to increase problem solving speed and accuracy?

Based upon your reply in the comments, I have to preface this by saying I don’t know how difficult the IIT JEE is–I’ve only heard legendary stories.

The best I can offer at first glance is to do what you can to fully understand the math and the physics so that you can visualize the systems at work. The more thoroughly you intuit the underlying structures, the more fluent you will be when asked to apply that knowledge.

Do you have a visual picture of Newtonian mechanics? The calculus? Do you thoroughly understand the derivative and the integral? Can you rotate a curve in your head and see the volume created?

Can you picture electromagnetic forces at work? Quantum mechanics, at least at the level of electron shells? How are you with the concept of wave-particle theory?

Does the exam get into linear algebra? Vectors and matrices?

When I learned calculus, physics and chemistry, I was able to master American exams through deep internalization of the underlying math so that I could visualize what was happening. I doubt that our exams are nearly as rigorous as the IIT JEE,

I don’t know exactly how to describe how I went about it on my end, but my intuition tells me that there is no substitute for knowing everything so well that it becomes intuitive. Have you tried walking through the proofs of the concepts you are studying?

What are the methods to increase problem solving speed and accuracy?


Killing Procrastination.

Many people will suggest many evil things that they consider to be the major factors because of which their lives aren’t the way they want them to be but I’m pretty sure that the evilest of these factors is procrastination.
Because when we procrastinate, it isn’t just another factor to avoid the essential  but kind of a combination of many factors. And that is because it simply and brutally makes us do things that are less important towards filling life’s progress bar.
Among the many suggested ways to kill this horrible bastard I find one really interesting. That is the one by Steve Jobs where he says we should look into the mirror and ask ourselves, “if today were the last day of my life, would I still do what I’m going to do today?” On a larger scale this asks us to follow our passion, but applying it to everyday, after tweaking it a little, it totally advises us to avoid procrastination. The minutely tweaked question is, “I’ve got to choose between task A and task B, if today were the last day of my life, which of these would I RATHER do?” Give this a shot. You’ll be amazed by the results. But one condition applies, if task A is the boring but important task while task B is the fun but i-don’t-have-to-do-this-but-can-do-it-all-day kind of task, then you must at least be 10% willing to do A if you are 90% willing to do B. Task A is usually the type that are tough or require some amount of labor, but these kinds of tasks are the ones that pave way towards putting a dent in the universe and stuff. Tasks of type B are the ones that may not even feel like tasks. Task A is of the type that add meaning to life.

So here is a sample algorithm to murdering procrastination (there is an algorithm so it is more assassination than it is murder. Whatever.) Here is the algorithm:
Let initial willingness to do A be zero.Basically we have to get this willingness to a 51% or more.

First, think of all the really awesome things that will happen to you later on if you do A right away.That maybe it isn’t that much fun right now but will change your life and other people’s lives. This should increase willingness-A to 0.1 to 0.15.

Second, ask yourself the tweaked question.

Third, a little introspection and all that.

This should do the trick. Now you are ready to nail the world.

P.S-  If it is literally your last day then go on with B because there is no “longer run” for you.

Addition: Here is the awesome-est post about procrastination I’ve ever read.

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I’m damned!

The results of IIT JEE are out. I didn’t make it. Got 9862 (98.1 percentile, even then I won’t get in). I don’t blame anyone except myself.

But I’ll rise again. Dust myself and work harder. I have to keep this in my fucking mind:

Irrespective of me studying or not, today would always have come, everything would’ve been the same except that my environment would’ve been happier if I’d worked harder. Similarly if I study these 10 months, when they pass like they have to, good times will come. Then I can have as much “fun” as possible.

Just waiting for the 28th of May for the final decisions regarding ISEET. If the amount of changes is favorable, I’ll take a drop. And this time I swear I’ll work harder. The greatest thing that stopped me from getting a good rank is procrastination. I kept thinking about the future, underestimated myself while overestimating IIT JEE. This lead to me losing all hope and eventually failing. Truth be told IIT JEE needs nothing other than hard work done smartly to crack. That is why dumb fuck girls bang big ranks. This time I will work blindly round the clock, without trying to predict the future. Lets see where that gets me.

An acquaintance of mine has secured a crazy awesome rank. Does that mean he has won? Yeah, I guess, for now at least. But this is not the end of the story. I’ll get into an IIT next year and start chasing that billionaire dream ASAP.

I was starting to think that days of studying are coming to an end. They would have come to an end if I hadn’t fooled myself into thinking that I’ve been working hard enough while deep inside my heart, I knew I wasn’t. Not this time. For the coming 10 months I’ll have to delve into PCM and convince myself that doing PCM is interesting. That is somewhat true. I know that if I work sincerely for the coming 10 months, IIT is gonna open its fucking huge gates for me.

God, just this one time, do me a favor. Let IIT JEE 2013 happen and not ISEET. What am I saying? Fuck God. We’ll see what that committee decides on the 28th. Fingers crossed hard. Ouch. Almost painful.

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How to understand the equation E=mc^2 in the easiest possible way?

This is undoubtedly the most popular physics equation ever. Its like even  fuckin’ junkies out there know about it, but few actually understand it. My understanding goes as follows (the bold part is the answer to your question, the remaining part is for better understanding) :



E represents energy

M represents mass

c represents the speed of light

We know that,

c = 3 X 10^8 m/s


c^2 = 9 X 10^{16}

Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed it can only be converted from one form to another. This is still true, but Einstein added that mass can also be converted into energy. And if you convert a mass M into energy, the energy obtained is equal to that mass M multiplied by the square of the speed of light. This energy is usually pretty huge even for little masses, do the math, you are multiplying mass with 9 X 10^{16}, this makes the resultant value i.e. the energy, really BIG. You can have a better understanding of it if you know how this equation is applied. Here are a few interesting instances:

  • It can be used to proof that nothing can travel at the speed of light as follows:                                                                                                                                  When a body moves it gains energy and due to the previously mentioned equivalence of mass and energy, after a point the extra gained energy is converted to mass as per E=mc^2, so when it reaches the speed of light, its mass must have reached a very high value so it can no more be accelerated and it slows down thus failing to reach the speed of light.
  • It accounts for the stability of  nucleus and as to why protons inside the nucleus despite being likely charged stick together and don’t fall apart:                                                                                                                                 After a radioactive decay if we see the initial and final values of the decaying isotope and the resulting nuclei, we find an unexpected difference, according to the law of conservation of energy the initial masses should be equal to the final masses thus it was concluded that the difference in the masses is because the “missing” mass was converted to energy. Thus energy was released and this is what stabilizes the whole process, makes it feasible and hence the nucleus is stable.

I know that was some real nerd-lish but, well, who are we taling about here? Einstein, right? The terra-nerd.
There are a real bunch of such uses out there just fiddle around the links in the below Google search and slowly your understanding will grow. You really can’t understand it at once.


If you are asking for a mathematical proof, I wrote one here:

Akhyansh Mohapatra’s answer to Why is [math]E=mc^2[/math] not [math]E = \frac{1}{2}mc^2[/math]?

P.S: I typed all this myself, i didn’t copy-paste it. So, vote me up :D

How to understand the equation E=mc^2 in the easiest possible way?

Being Zahir-ous

There are title songs in albums, there are title chapters in books, so, this entry is like the title entry for this blog (as you might already have guessed). I recently read The Zahir by Coelho. Truth be told I couldn’t read it from cover to cover and gave up in between as things were getting too damn philosophical about it. It seemed as if from about the 125th page or so every other page was conveying messages and teachings coming straight from the sacred lips of the Almighty. If sarcasm were water, then you can count the amount of it filled in the previous line as the 8th ocean. The book kept me really intrigued initially but then it got boring. Until and unless you have a failing marriage, don’t read the book for more than 50 pages. But I’m pretty sure that you will find some lasting inspiration to follow your dreams in these 50.

It was there that I came across the concept of the Zahir. If exaggeration be fucked, then the Zahir simply means obsession. But what is really awesome about the concept of Zahir is that it kinda gives you a way to personify your obsessions. Instead of saying, “I’m obsessed about Ramona”, you can simply say, “Ramona is my Zahir”. When you encounter your Zahir, which may be anything, at first you won’t know it but then it will grip you and it will start giving direction (right or wrong) to your thoughts, actions and what not.

And Zahir-ous is its adjective form. This, even though not really huge, is my creation.

Our life is driven by Zahirs, big and small. And these Zahirs are the ones who make us who we are. Finding the right one is important. Bill Gates found the right one while Saddam Hussein got it wrong.

Finding Zahirs is important because we will involuntarily  follow them with passion. And this can make or break us.

I don’t know if I read this somewhere or if this is popping out of my own brain, but it goes something like this “Zahirs are to life what a guiding circuit is to  an ICBM, set them right and it will get you exactly where you wanna be”.

I’ve always been Zahir-ous. Always following something, aiming for something. It is not like I’ve achieved great things (maybe I will), but one things for sure I feel great and I feel alive. All in all, being Zahir-ous is awesome. Pun unavoidable.

So start being Zahir-ous.

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Why is E=MC^2 not E=(0.5)*(MC^2)?

Ignore everything else, every other e=mc^2 proof out there. I found a way to prove this equation, I know lots of other people know about this, but i discovered this myself. Here it goes:
For a photon,

W = \frac{h}{mC}

where W represents the De-Broglie Wavelength and m and C represent mass and velocity of light respectively and h represents Planck’s constant.

Equation (2)
Energy of photon(E) is given by,

E= \frac{hC}{W}

Substituting value of W from equation 1 in 2, we get,

E = mc^2

Hence proved. The two equations used are probably the most basic equations in quantum physics.

Thus you can see \frac{1}{2} didn’t appear anywhere.

Also kinetic energy for a particle is found out using KE = \frac{1}{2}mv^2 but for photons, energy is found out using equation (2).

Thanks for asking the question as I could learn how to write mathematical equations in Quora answers as a result.

Why is [math]E=mc^2[/math] not [math]E = \frac{1}{2}mc^2[/math]?

Social Engineering, Deathly Hallows….

Had some fun after so many days. I scored 167 in iit-jee (the fun part is yet to come.167 is sad, I know). 167 is not good not bad kinda marks. The cutoff this time was pre-decided(or so they say). This cutoff was defined as 35% the total marks. the total marks this time was 408 (on the day of the examination) but it magically changed to 400(it was a fucking spell casted by wrong questions disguised as Harry-fucking-Potter). The use of the f-word so many times surely indicates my anger. This results from the unexplained happiness that I would have experienced had I cleared 170, this would have happened if instead of reducing the 8 marks worth of wrong questions from the total, the shitbirds at IIT had added the 8 marks to everybody’s total. Yeah mathematically both the things are pretty much the same (until and unless some IIT grad uses Riemannian geometry to prove otherwise(even if he does prove it I’m not gonna be convinced)) but the would-have-come happiness is really abstract and as I have already said, “unexplained”. Anyways, all that doesn’t matter. Whether I get 167/400 or 175/408 (167+8=175, you see?) it doesn’t truly matter. Facing the real truth, I’m never ever getting into an IIT. That is really S-fucking-AD. Damn.

I’ll give the JEE another shot next year. Just hope that asshole Sibal delays the ISEET-thingy one more year. We’ll see what happens. Let’s hope I just barely manage to get into one of the new IITs. Whatever happens, I’m sure it won’t be the end of the world. I’ll write a whole big entry about all this in a few days. But right now I’m gonna write about the fun thing that I mentioned at the beginning.

So the IIT websites are displaying the IIT-JEE scores on their websites. You have to enter your application number, your registration number and your DOB in order to display the results. After having seen my own results I played Dragon Age for sometime. Then I started feeling kinda curious about how much the other guys had scored. I had A’s application number. And IIT had an app for finding out registration number using application number. Used it. Now I had 2/3 of the required fields. The 3rd one was DOB. How on Earth do I find that out? Then I remembered (God knows how) that his birthday was exactly a month ahead of my brother’s thus i had all 3 fields. His marks were 82. Too bad. He could have done better with a little bit more support from his over-considerate semi-moron parents. Then I felt the baddest urge to see that asshole P’s marks. But I didn’t know shit about his credentials. So I just started searching randomly. I kept inputting random app numbers in the app number-reg number application. Came across a few random candidates. Couldn’t find P. Gave up after pretty painful hour-long keyboard tapping. I know this isn’t a good thing to do, using your energy to find out someone else’s marks. I know it isn’t gonna do me anything good. I deep inside my heart I know that I’m simply not interested but I was doing all this simply because i had nothing better to do. So I gave up. Then the social engineering idea came to me.

I thought about giving his dad a call and asking him for that application number. So I gave him a call, he said he was in office and that he was not in a position to help me. I hung up. 5 minutes later I called him again, told him it was urgent. And that was it. he gave me all of it. app number, reg number and DOB. The three keys. The Deathly Hallows :). filled in the text field at the speed of light. And the results came up. He had scored 136. Sad. Missed the bloody-fucking cut-off by 4 fucking marks. And that was it I had cracked the thing by using social engineering. I was really proud of myself. I was feeling that purest form of happiness that comes from the littlest of things. I love social engineering. that is the best form of cracking. You don’t need tons of computing power or anything to crack a computer password if you can engineer a social situation properly. That is why it is Kevin Mitnick’s way of getting passwords. Social engineering was used by Bill Gates against the IBM guys. Social engineering isn’t some way of cracking passwords or something. That is just one application. Basically it is proper manipulation of people to achieve something sorta important. Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field is the extremes of social engineering. Now I was feeling as if the social engineer in me was in its fullest form so why not get another set of Deathly Hallows?

Next target was SR. My “best friend forever”. Hahahaha. Between him and me things are complex. Will deal with it in another entry. Called his dad, said I was calling from his kid’s school. He is such a good person. He is the epitome of modesty. Really. I’m not being sarcastic at all. Loved talking to him. Even more so as he gave me the app number. He did ask me a few questions. Fumbled a little bit. But didn’t get caught. After a few minutes of me hanging up he called me again, I didn’t take the call. Who knows what he might have asked me, could have led to me getting caught. I’ve got to get better at this beautiful art called social engineering. Then came SN’s turn. Called his mum. She was really adamant. Never gave the application number. Stuck to it as if I was asking some bank account password or something. She said “somehow I’m not convinced”. Ouch. So I succeeded twice and failed once. Total Victory :)