– Paromita Sengupta (Bengaluru)
It’s raining encomiums for Pune-based whizkid Chirag Falor (18). In October 2019, he aced SAT (formerly the Scholastic Aptitude Test) with a score of 1,560 out of a maximum 1,600 to win annual admission-cum-financial aid valued at 82 percent of tuition and boarding fees from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA to study for a bachelor’s degree in physics.
Yet despite having commenced his undergrad freshman year online at MIT last September, he prepared for and wrote IIT-JEE (Joint Entrance Examination)-Mains 2020 followed by the IIT-JEE-Advanced 2020 in late September, and maxed it with a 100 percentile score and all-India #1 rank.
“Although I had already been accepted by MIT, I simultaneously continued to study for the IIT-JEE reputed to be the world’s toughest entrance exam for my personal satisfaction as I had been preparing for these exams for four years. Therefore, I’m delighted that I topped the IIT-JEE Advanced,” says Chirag who has also won several national and international science Olympiad medals and certificates.
This extraordinary achievement — admission into MIT and IIT of his choice — is the outcome of diligent preparation from age 15 when Chirag was a student at the CBSE-affiliated St. Arnold’s Central School, Pune. While in class IX, he signed up for supplementary coaching at Akash Institute, Pune to start preparing for IIT-JEE (Mains) four years later. To study in right earnest, in 2018 Chirag moved to Delhi to do his Plus Two and prepare for IIT-JEE at Akash Institute’s renowned Pusa Road centre.
“I followed a rigorous schedule of 6-12 hours simultaneously preparing for national/international Olympiads and IIT-JEE. Not being fussed over by my parents and resisting the temptation to own a smartphone, allowed me to focus entirely on IIT-JEE. My only extra-curricular activity for four years was stargazing, signing up for science and astronomy Olympiads and playing chess and table tennis,” says Chirag.
Having attained his lifelong ambition of topping IIT-JEE (Advanced), right now this young whizkid’s top priority is to proceed to the US in February for on-campus classes at MIT, Cambridge. “My focused and thorough preparation for IIT-JEE enabled me to do well in SAT and win a generous scholarship. Systematic study and hard work always pays off. Sometimes in unexpected ways,” says this promising space scientist in the making.