But, Mridul was eyeing JEE Advanced and he created history today by achieving the highest-ever percentile in the IIT entrance test. He scored 348 out of the total 366 marks (95 per cent). JEE Advanced 2020 topper, Chirag Falor had the feather in his cap for the highest marks till now with 352/396 marks (88 per cent).
Mridul told indianexpress.com, “After achieving cent per cent marks in March session, I did not appear for the April session but took the May session as a practice test for the Advanced exam. Since the sessions were delayed, it allowed me more time to prepare for JEE Advanced and worked well for me to test the waters right before the exam.”
His inspiration is Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “He is my idol not just because he is one of the most important persons in the tech world, but because he too walked the same path as me. He made a name for himself with lesser means and I aspire to achieve the same in my career,” Mridul said, who aspires to make noteworthy contributions in the field of tech development in India.
His father, Pradeep Agarwal works in the private sector and his mother Pooja Agarwal is a homemaker. He credits his success to his parents who “never pressurised him to choose a career path”.
On creating history with the highest-ever marks in JEE Advanced, Mridul said, “Consistency has helped me in achieving this. Self-motivation is the key. Teachers, parents and friends can motivate you but no one can do it 24X7. I focused on debugging the problems in my preparation strategy instead of beating myself up for every mistake.”
His next goal is to join BTech in Computer Science Engineering (CSE) at IIT Bombay, just like Sundar Pichai. This year, IIT Kharagpur is providing full scholarships for top-100 JEE Advanced rankers but that has not changed Mridul’s mind. “I have consulted my seniors about the crowd and environment. I feel fit for IIT Bombay,” he added.
Apart from the institute’s study materials and NCERT books that he used during his preparation for JEE Main he referred to books such as Physics Galaxy by Ashish Arora, Advanced Problems in Physical Chemistry by Neeraj Kumar, Elementary Problems in Organic Chemistry by M.S. Chouhan, Problems in Inorganic Chemistry for JEE (Main and Advance) by VK Jaiswal.
For his JEE Advanced preparation, he also added books by a few foreign authors such as Solomon and Fryhle, LG Wade, JD Lee, Atkins, IE Irodov and Kleppner books.
While he is sure of joining IIT Bombay for an undergraduate degree, he will choose to migrate to the US for further studies. “For master’s degree, I would try to get admission in MIT or Stanford. Since IITs are the best in the country, my goal is to get into the best university in the world for a master’s degree,” Mridul said.
Mridul’s life is not all about work and no play. He never misses the birthdays of any of his friends and is “always up for a party”. Whenever he felt demotivated during his preparation, he often went for long drives with his parents or called up his friends group to go bowling or play table tennis.