New Delhi, April 8: Students aspiring to get into the Indian Institutes of Technology were able to take home a copy of their answer papers for the first time in the 52-year history of the IIT-JEE.
The decision to allow aspirants to take home a copy of their answers was taken to boost transparency in the test process, said G.B. Reddy, the JEE chairman at IIT Delhi. Since 2006, JEE candidates have been allowed to take home question papers.
“For the first time, deserving students will be able to determine for themselves their chance for making it or not a lot earlier than before,” said Debdeep Banerjee, a senior manager at a JEE coaching centre in Calcutta.
The IITs introduced another change this time.
Unlike previous years, when candidates used black pencils to fill the optical mark recognition (OMR) sheets, this time they were told to use a black ball-point pen.
An aspirant said: “This is a good move. The answers cannot be tampered with.” But there’s a flip side too, he said. “Students have to be absolutely sure about the answer before filling the OMR sheets, as they now do not have the option of erasing the answer if they have a doubt.”
About 490,000 students are expected to have appeared for the IIT-JEE today, competing for 9,600 seats in engineering and science courses across 15 IITs and two other engineering institutions, said Reddy. The two other institutions are the IT-Banaras Hindu University and the Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad.
According to the IIT-JEE website, the exam authorities will upload the answer keys on the site on May 7, which will allow students to assess themselves. Aspirants will get to know their all-India ranks on May 18, either from the website or by SMS.
The JEE, which was first conducted in 1960, tests students in physics, mathematics and chemistry through objective-type questions, also called multiple-choice questions.
“There is enormous competition in JEE — a single point can make a dramatic difference (in outcome),” Banerjee said. “Now with copies of the answer sheets, students can check their own answers and know where they stand.”
The IITs’ decision comes amid controversy in recent years over alleged irregularities in the conduct of the test. A faculty member at IIT Kharagpur had filed a petition in the Supreme Court, alleging errors in setting questions and tampering of answer sheets.
The exam, like earlier years, was held in two parts today. The first paper began at 9am and went on till noon. The second leg began two hours later and continued till 5pm.
Kumar Abhishek, an IIT aspirant in Patna, said: “The mathematics paper was more application-based. It was tougher than other years.”
Experts and teachers put down the toughness to the higher number of questions on calculus in the math paper.
Anand Kumar, JEE mentor, said: “Around one-third of the math questions were from calculus. In the first paper, out of a total of 20 questions in the mathematics paper, around eight were of calculus.”