IIT JAM Economics – An overview and tips and tricks

Starting from 2021, IITs have included holding the Economics entrance exam for entrance to MSc courses under the ambit of JAM. In this article we have a look at the 2021 paper and some useful last minute tips and tricks. You can find the complete written solutions for the paper here and also attempt it online for free on our portal. Click here to know more.

Firstly, the pattern. While all other major economics entrance exams have a single objective section of MCQs with single option correct, JAM has 5 different sections comprising of a total of 60 questions including MCQs with one correct option, MCQs with multiple correct options, and Numerical answer type questions. The duration of the exam is also 3 hours, which makes it the longest single paper. However ISI MSQE entrance has 2 parts of 2 hours each followed by an interview if selected, making that the most arduous economics entrance exam there is. Following is a breakup of the entire IIT JAM Economics paper pattern.

SectionTypeNo. of QuestionsMarksExpected Time
1MCQ (one option)101 each12 mins
2MCQ (one option)202 each48 mins
3MCQ (multiple options)102 each24 mins
4Numerical Answer Type101 each12 mins
5Numerical Answer Type202 each24 mins
Total60100 (total)2 hrs (120 mins)

So there is a total of 120 mins for 60 questions. But students must not do the mistake of spending an average of 2 minutes per question, as some questions offer 2 marks and some offer just 1 mark each. On the average though, the level os questions is easier as compared to DSE economics entrance which even with a lower question per hour ratio (50 questions in 2 hors), would be difficult as the level of questions is pretty tough. So keep that in mind during the exam! For best pre-exam practice, you can enroll with our Mock test series and get over 15 relevant mock tests and over 20 subject-wise tests for jsut Rs 5000. Click here to know more.

Let us now analyse the test from standpoint of different subjects:

  1. Microeconomics: The exam asked questions on expected lines. There were numericals from Consumer Theory, Producer Theory, Game Theory, Elasticity, Perfect Competition, Oligopolistic Market, Monopoly, Externalities, and Gen equilibrium. The level of questions was slightly below that of DSE and ISI, and there are no new type of questions in Micro. So expect the expected here. Your preparation of DSE and ISI will essentially be sufficient
  2. Macroeconomics: The exam does justice to Macroeconomics by asking 14 questions ranging from GDP and GNP, IS-LM model, AS-AD model, Phillips curve, Solow model, Intertemporal utility maximization, Mundell Fleming model and expectations. There is an even split between numericals and analytical questions, and quality of question of generally good. There were also numericals from HDI and Okun’s Law. I expect them to ask Gini coefficient based numerical in the future. The level is again lower than DSE and ISI for Solow model, but other than that it is at par. Again DSE and ISI Prep is sufficient here.
  3. Indian Economy: The questions come from myriad topics like Colonial period, post independence, post liberalization, and cotemporary economics. There are about 5 questions from these topics, with a greater impetus on post liberalization economic policies. There are only MCQs though, and no NATs from these topics. One can go through the NCERT for these topics, though it might not be complete coverage.
  4. Real Analysis (single variable): From this syllabus, there are about 6 questions from Set Theory, Continuity, differentiability, Sequences and Series, Integration, and Quadratic equations. The level is pretty easy and can be done easily.
  5. Real Analysis (multi variable): There are about 6 questions from multivariable optimization, differential equations and quasiconcavity and quasiconvexity. You can review our lecture on quasiconcavity and quasiconvexity here. The level of difficulty is slightly high. But the level is at par with DSE and ISI again except for Differential equations which are not asked in either of those exams.
  6. Linear Algebra and Linear Programming: The section on linear algebra is easy but has questions from norm, vector spaces and subspaces apart from the usual matrices and determinants. So there is a wide variety in problems. There are about 5 questions which are of easy level. From Linear programming, there are 2 numericals which are slightly on the difficult side. You can watch the Linear programming lecture here. This is where the exam differs as DSE never asks any problems from Linear programming, and ISI asks slightly easier ones.
  7. Probability and Stats: There are no problems from +2 level permutation and combination or probabilities. The exam asks problems from PDF, CDF and calculation of variance and covariance. The level if pretty high but there are only about 5 problems from these topics. You can find a complete coverage of these topics by joining the online course of DSE Super20.
  8. Hypothesis Testing and Estimators: The question paper has about 6 pretty good questions from Maximum Likelihood estimators, Unbiased estimators, type 1 and type 2 errors, sum of squares etc. The questions are basic but come from myriad topics which will  require a comprehensive coverage of the syllabus as done in our online course.

To summarize, the paper is pretty challenging and enjoyable provided you are prepared well. You can attempt mock tests as well as all past year papers as timed exams on our online portal. Click here to know more. When compared with DSE and ISI entrance exams for economics, this exam deviates only is 2 aspects: PnC is missing and Linear Programming and Differential Equations are present. Luckily we have included these topics in our course. So you will be completely prepared with out course. Click here to join the course and get 2 week free trial access now.

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