When we look at undergraduate admission exams across the world from Gaokao to SAT, we see a ﬁerce competitive tests with high-end arrangements to avoid malpractice and cheating. But only in India do we see such important exams being taken so casually as if it was a school unit test.
Having given both JEE Mains attempt and CUET, I would like to highlight the existing loopholes and problems students face.
The great JEE Mains
A prestigious exam for entrance into NITs, IIITs and GFTIs, the JEE Mains examination is also a gateway to IITs. But with growing competition, the arrangements are becoming worse. During Attempt 1, a lot of students complained about problems like not visible or partially visible questions, server errors and instrument errors. As students, we are expected to not repeat our mistakes again, but what about the National Testing Agency (NTA)? Do they care? The second attempt was even more disastrous than before. A lot more server issues, in some centres the three-hour exam lasted for five, and again, partially visible questions. How is NTA going to make up for this?
Personally, apart from server issues, my mouse stopped working in between the exam. The invigilator tried to correct it, but couldn’t. Then he called someone and even they couldn’t fix the issue. Then the invigilator said, “Ab thoda time bacha hai, chhor do [There is not much time left, leave it]”.
I had to tuck down and change the port, losing precious time. The sitting arrangement was so claustrophobic – the cabin was made of packing boxes, an ideal stage setting for cheating.
The newbie CUET
The CUET was no different. The exam centres kept changing till the very last minutes, and there were server issues.
Many students are asking how the NTA will score the examinations with so many different combinations of subjects. How will the admission be granted? The admit cards were again released 2-3 days before the exam. My centre was 8 hours away from my place. Luckily, I could make reservations, but many couldn’t. Again, not to mention the examination fees of Rs 650.
The evergreen NEET
NEET is the premier exam for admission to the much-coveted medical colleges of India. It has seen several controversies, mainly due to the large number of candidates who give this exam. As I haven’t given this exam, whatever knowledge I have is from media reports. But the change in the question paper medium in a Rajasthan centre was a grave mistake.
There is an urgent need to create government-owned examination centres with adequate facilities (so as to avoid private institutions conducting these exams so casually) to conduct the online exams or the old paper and pen way. Though there is the constant fear of paper leaks, these centres will provide a level-playing ﬁeld. There is also the need to allot nodal oﬃcers to keep a proper check of how the exam is being conducted and solve problems that arise.
Although conducting such a large-scale exam is no joke, and NTA has tried well, there are a lot of issues still, which need to be resolved to create a level-playing ﬁeld for all students.
Priyanshu Kumar Jha is a student at Kendriya Vidyalaya No 3 AF2 AFS, Jamnagar. Views are personal.