The state joint entrance board might conduct engineering and medical entrance tests over two days to spare candidates the pressure of writing four papers — physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology — on a single day.
It has been toying with the two-day idea for some time and would take a decision at a meeting on Friday.
The board, which had split physics and chemistry into separate papers since last year, is working on a plan to spare students the hassle of writing all four papers on April 20 and wants to hold the biology test on another day — preferably April 19, a Saturday.
“We will take a call on this at Friday’s meeting. We are exploring all options to decide when the biology test could be held,” said Bhaskar Gupta, the chairman of the JEE board.
The chairman also highlighted the possible constraints in holding the test over two days.
“April 20 is a Sunday and there won’t be any trouble in getting vacant classrooms to conduct the test at educational institutions. If we are to hold the test on April 19 as well, the availability of venues would be a hassle because most schools and colleges are open on Saturdays.”
The board had decided in June to hold the engineering test on April 20 next year and it was understood that the medical exam would also be conducted on the same day.
The Medical Council of India conducted the exam in May this year before the Supreme Court scrapped the national common MBBS entrance exam in August, putting the onus on the state board to hold the medical test next year.
A member of the board said if the tests were held on April 20, an examinee would have to write answers for an aggregate of 350 marks on a single day.
Giving the break-up, he said mathematics and biology would carry a weightage of 100 marks each. Physics and chemistry, on the other hand, would be 75 marks each with a combined weightage of 150 for the two subjects.
One of the options, according to a board member, would be reverting to the joint physics and chemistry exam so that the test could be completed on a single day.
Under the current system, an examinee will have to write an extra paper.
“We have decided to change the pattern of questions, introducing more questions with multiple correct answers in next year’s exam. This will help minimise the chance of examinees getting through by guesswork. We will also reduce the number of questions with single correct answers so that the candidates can spend more time on each question,” the board member said.
“Considering these changes, it would be strenuous for the examinees to write so many papers on a single day,” he added.
Another board member said reverting to the common test for physics-chemistry would challenge the “premise factoring in which the papers were separated”.
“We felt that one subject, such as maths, should not get priority. Marks in subjects like physics and chemistry were increased to ensure that a student good in maths did not hold a big edge over someone good in physics or chemistry when it came to securing ranks in engineering,” he added.