By Partha Halder
The prestigious Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) – a national program of fellowship in Basic Sciences, initiated and funded by Department of Science & Technology, Government of India. It aims at identifying students with talent and aptitude for research and encourages them to take up research careers in Basic Science. Students studying in Class XI, XII and first year of graduation (pursuing basic science programs) are eligible to appear.
KVPY is an excellent opportunity for students having inclination towards research and development in the field of Science. Thousands of students aspire to become a research scholar and/or intend to become a scientist as a career choice. But, often they are clueless as to how to go about it. For such students KVPY opens up the door as early as Class XI.
KVPY comprises of a 2 stage assessment process. The 1st stage is a written multiple choice (with single answer option correct) test and 2nd stage is an interview. Stage 1 is an online exam conducted in the month of November (ideally first Sunday) every year whereas Stage 2, (interview) is conducted from the second week of January in the succeeding year.
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc) is tasked to screen applications; administer aptitude test across India and shortlist students based on their performance in aptitude test. Shortlisted students are then called for the 2nd round i.e. the interview. Based on the cumulative performance of Stage 1 & Stage 2 the KVPY committee releases an All India Rank List. Separate rank lists are generated for Class XI, XII & First year graduation students.
KVPY, essentially assesses a student on Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology in the Class XI category whereas in the Class XII category it assesses a student on Physics, Chemistry & Mathematics/Biology (a student can make a choice between Mathematics and Biology). It is not mandatory for a student to have Biology as a subject in their school in Class XI for having selected PCM.
However students interested to pursue a research career in Biology or related subject need to have Biology as a subject. Students who have secured 80% marks in class X in Maths and Science are only eligible to appear in KVPY. It also mandates that students must secure a minimum of 60% marks in aggregate in Class XII (Science) & Maths to avail fellowship incase they decide to pursue an undergraduate program in basic science. The fellowship under KVPY can be availed if and only if a student decides to pursue graduation in basic science like Bachelor in Science, Bachelor in Statistics, Bachelor in Maths, Integrated M.S & Master of Science.
Fellowship under KVPY is tabled below which starts after Class XII provided a student pursues an undergraduate program in Basic Sciences ie Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Cell Biology, Ecology, Molecular Biology, Botany, Zoology, Physiology, Biotechnology, Neurosciences, Bioinformatics, Marine Biology, Geology, Human Biology, Genetics, Biomedical Sciences, Applied Physics, Materials Science, Environmental Science or Geophysics. Students are required to follow consistent academic track order (60% marks in aggregate in science subjects) so as to be entitled to get the fellowship. The fellowship is available till pre-PhD level.
|Basic Sciences||Monthly Fellowship||Annual Contingency Grant|
|SA/SX/SB – during 1st to 3rd years of–B.Sc. / B.S. / B.Stat. / B.Math. / Integrated M.Sc. /M.S.||
|SA/SX/SB – during M. Sc. / 4th to 5th years of Integrated M.Sc. /M.S./M.Math./M.Stat.||
Apart from this students are also entitled to the following :
- Summer Camps : Camps are organised at IISc & IISER. In these camps KVPY Scholars develop an interest in scientific research and learn methods of such research. During these camps students get to interact with scientist, clear doubts, solve problems, and perform experiments.
- Access to National Laboratories & Universities : KVPY scholars get to access library, laboratory and other help.
- Peer-to-Peer Interaction : KVPY scholars get exposed to an enriching interaction with other KVPY scholars.
Why is it important for a student to appear and clear KVPY?
- Appearing in KVPY serves as an excellent practice & gives a perfect exposure to students aspiring to appear in JEE (Advanced & Main).
- It is a national level competitive examination, hence students gets to compete with the best talents PAN India. It’s an important milestone for a serious aspirant planning to pursue a career in science domain.
- It is big recognition that a student gets, having cleared both the stages of KVPY.
- Students are entitled for fellowship. Though it may not be a substantial; however it is extremely prestigious as it is sponsored by the Government of India and also the entire exercise is a huge confidence booster for a student.
- An opportunity to study at excellent institutions like IISc, Bangalore & IISER (Berhampur, Bhopal, Kolkata, Mohali, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram, Tirupati) immediately after Class XII. Students will stand a chance to pursue Bachelor of Science/Master of Science (Dual Degree) programs.
- As an eligibility criteria a student must have cleared KVPY so as to appear in a selection test & interview to pursue B.Tech in Computer Science & MS in Research in Computational Natural Sciences at IIIT, Hyderabad.
- Earn credit points based on KVPY performance to join IIIT, Delhi for a B.Tech program.
- Lot of times a student doing exceeding well in class/school fail to perform at the competitive exam level. Hence for such students KVPY is a kind of “Reality Check”. They can learn from their weakness and take corrective steps so that they emerge as winners in competitive exams after class XII.
- If a child wants to go aboard (esp US or UK) for higher education being a KVPY scholar adds to the overall credential of a student, immensely.
- KVPY exam structure is such that it enables a student to develop Intelligent Quotient (IQ) & Logical & Analytical thinking Ability. Students develop the habit of solving questions by application of concepts.
Prepping for KVPY should be systematic and well planned in Advance. Here are few tips :
What to study?
- SA Category (For students studying in class XI)
- Focus on the entire syllabus of class XI. Topics studied in Class X/XI its advanced concepts will be there in class XII; hence a student must cover the initial part of Class XII. In Maths one needs to focus only on class XI syllabus and in biology one needs to cover the entire class X syllabus
It has been observed that the students who have been able to cover the syllabus really well before the exam (ie by November) have overall performed very well in KVPY.
- SX Category (For students studying in class XII)
- For a serious aspirant of engineering and medicine – syllabus coverage is not a challenge at all. They usually complete their syllabus by October (the year in which they are expected to appear in KVPY).
Considering the level and difficulty level of questions asked in KVPY one must few basic things during preparation :
- Student of class XI and targeting KVPY – If a student has not appeared in competitive exams like JSTSE in class IX or NTSE in class X, then they must subscribe to All India Level Mock Tests (offline & Online) – so as to get a real time feel ahead of the exam. Along with that students should also opt for post test analysis as it is extremely important which enables a student to figure out their strengths and weaknesses, discover improvement areas, modify self study plan accordingly.
- Student of class XII and targeting KVPY – If a student is a serious aspirant of engineering or medical then chances are high that they get exposed to sufficient number of All India Level tests by the time they approach KVPY in November even if they have not appeared in competitive exams in class IX & X. Nevertheless sticking to the process as mentioned in point 3 would definitely help.
- Seek experts help wherever one feels that there is a need.
(The author of this article is Partha Halder, Centre Head of FIITJEE Punjabi Bagh Centre, a chemical engineer by qualification and a senior faculty of chemistry.)