Here’s the account of one young man, amongst the many students who take the various entrance examinations for professional colleges.
N Arun Kumar took his Common Entrance Test (CET) on the 27th and 28th of March. The registration for this examination was done in a systematic way through his college (Christ Junior College). The application was done about a month prior to the exam, and the hall tickets were received a few days ahead of the exam. Arun’s venue was the Oxford Pre university college in J P Nagar.
"Many of my college mates had to travel far to their venue," he says. However, once they reached their venues, the process went smoothly, and the examinations, though sometimes tough in terms of content, were well administered.
The experience with the All India Engineering and Electronics Examination (AIEEE) was very different. "Since i never got my hall ticket though the post, i had to get the provisional admit card printed, fron the AIEEE website," says Arun. He had chosen to take the online test, and he and several others (about 80 in all at this particular venue, Nitte Meenakshi I nstitute of Technology, off NH 7, near Yelahanka) had to get a lot of work done before they sat for their exam at 9.30 am.
"I reached at 7.30am, and we all had to get our names registered, photos taken from a webcam, and have our thumb prints taken," he says. All these formalities were finished, and the students sat at their respective computer terminals, when an official announced that the exams were being postponed because of a leak in Pune.
"Panic…surprise, and confusion" was, according to Arun, the reaction of the students in the hall. "a couple of students had to write their Armed Forces Medical (AFMC) Exam at 2 30 pm, and they were really agitated," he says. It was half an hour before the students were told that they could take the exam, and that half an hour was a tense one for the students. "The college staff told one student that she could go to write the AFMC exam and that she would get to write the AIEEE exam later; but, after she went it was announced that the AFMC exam will be postponed to 4 30 pm." Another student also had to leave as he had a train at 2.30pm. These two students probably missed their examinations, through no fault of theirs.
"We were told that we could leave the hall and come back at 11.30am, and the exam would start at 12," says Arun. "The students of Rashtriya Vidyalaya ( R.V ) college got lunch free of cost due to the delay!"
When the actual exam started, he found many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in the questions. "For example, it was ‘mars’ instead of ‘mass’," he remarks. "A couple of questions were also rather ambiguous, and I am worried that due to negative marking, I will lose a lot of marks." He says, however, that the main feeling was one of relief, when the exam ended at 3pm. The students who were taking the AFMC exam rushed off immediately, as their centres were quite a distance away.
Experiences such as Arun’s show the amount of tension and worry students, and their families, undergo as they try to decide their future educational options. They have to sometimes choose some exams over others, and sometimes, for no fault of their own, miss on them too. Who says higher education is easy? There’s a lot of hard work…even before sitting in the first undergraduate class!