Enter, the entrance stars - Only one Class XII topper makes it to JEE merit list; teachers endorse focus shift from HS

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  • Published 13.06.08

All but one of the A-listers in the Class XII examinations conducted by the state and central boards vacated the stage on Thursday for a new set of achievers in the test that counts for those wanting to study engineering or medicine.

The lone ranger in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) top 10 among those who were in the ISC, CBSE Class XII and Higher Secondary merit lists was Debashis Mukherjee. The student of Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Salt Lake, had topped the CBSE Class XII examination among Calcutta students and he did just as well in the entrance test to make it a double top 10 entry.

Shovan Dutta, who had passed Higher Secondary from Howrah Zilla School, topped the engineering merit list and Kamirul Islam, from Burdwan CMS High School, led the honours list in the medical entrance test.

Neither Shovan nor Kamirul had rivalled the toppers in the Higher Secondary examination. “My entire focus was on the entrance examination… I am very happy that my performance peaked at the right time and I got what I wanted,” Shovan told Metro.

For Kamirul, who wants to serve the poor after becoming a doctor, cracking the entrance test with high marks was the “only dream” and he concentrated on achieving it.

The West Bengal JEE Board this year declared the results just 18 days after conducting the test, which could not be held on the original date because of a question paper leak.

Of the 67,655 who took the examination, as many as 45,000 qualified for engineering and 1,800 for medical seats. The engineering list will be pruned to 21,000 — that is the number of seats available in the 60-odd colleges across the state — after counselling.

There are much less medical seats available — only 1,105 — and 1,800 students in the queue. Of the 1,800 who cleared the entrance test, 615 are girls. “This is a welcome trend,” board chairman Siddhartha Dutta said.

Academics said the results reflected the propensity of “career-oriented students” to save their best for the entrance tests that determine whether an engineering aspirant gets into an IIT or a regional engineering college. “Board examinations are important because you have to perform well in them to be eligible for entry, but most bright students treat the entrance examinations more seriously. After all, it is these tests that put them on the right career path,” Krishna Damani of South Point School said.

Bishnu Ray, the headmaster of Shovan’s school, echoed her. “There is no doubt that more and more good students are becoming inclined to aim for high ranks in the entrance tests so that they can get into the best engineering or medical institutions.”

Citing Shovan as an example, he said the boy could have made it to the Higher Secondary top 10 had he not set his sights on something else. His Higher Secondary score of 443 out of 500 was far from mediocre, though,

“Shovan has a brilliant record. He managed a decent rank in IIT-JEE, too,” Ray said.

The JEE topper said he focused on science and mathematics because these were common to the Higher Secondary and entrance examinations. “That left me with little time for the language papers.”

Damani said the number of South Point students cracking the entrance test had increased over the years.

The same trend was visible in the results of students from Mahadevi Birla Girls’ Higher Secondary School.

“This year, 22 students of our school cleared the All India Engineering Entrance Examination, which is 15 more than last year’s tally. Also, for the first time, three of our students have passed the All-India Pre-Medical Test. It is clear that students are focused on the entrance tests,” said Malini Bhagat, the principal of Mahadevi Birla.

Counselling for seats in the engineering and medical colleges will be held from June 26 to July 14 in Science City.

How success was achieved

I was inspired by the stories about my grandfather, who was a doctor. I put in 12 to 14 hours every day to achieve my dream. I hope to become a surgeon.
— Kamirul Islam, Burdwan CMS High School, Burdwan


Routines did not work for me. I made sure I gave my full concentration whenever I studied. It has paid off but I am not yet sure whether to go for engineering or become a doctor.
— Subhrasis Guha Niyogi, BE College Model School, Shibpur


My father, who expired two years ago, had always wanted me to become a doctor. His death shook me but at the same time, strengthened my determination to fulfil his dream.
— Debashis Mukherjee, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Salt Lake


I studied eight to nine hours a day before HS with my full focus on the entrance examination. For me, understanding what I studied was very important. Just cramming never works.
— Shovan Dutta, Howrah Zilla School, Howrah


I did not study for very long, putting in around five to six hours daily. I did not depend solely on schoolteachers and tutors. I studied on my own as well.
— Deepan Basu, Hare School, Calcutta