Thursday, August 27, 2009


Last year, I had written about my thoughts on "reforming" JEE and GATE. In that blog post, I had written that,

is to only allow candidates who have represented the country in the (Math/Physics) Olympiad OR secured an average plus two standard deviations in their respective board exam to write JEE. Because most of the board exams follow a normal distribution, only the top 2.5% will be allowed to write JEE.

Apparently, this may be implemented by 2011. Four years back, the committee recommended 85% in the board exam as the cutoff to write JEE. This was later reduced to 60% to account for the wide variation in the marks awarded by various boards. Considering there are 40 boards who conduct the XII exam and there is a need to normalize the marks and, therefore, something like the top 2.5 or 5 percentile is being thought of.

Similarly, some GATE reforms may also be introduced. For example, I had suggested that there should be a common section on mathematics, analytical ability (similar to the old analytical section of GRE) and English comprehension that would involve reading a technical paragraph and answering questions on that. This section would be of 50 marks and would be common to all technical papers in GATE. I do not know, however, whether it will be implemented in the near future.


Rainbow Scientist said...

This is ridiculous and completely against any democratic norms. All students irrespective of their board exam marks should be allowed to take JEE entrance exam if they wish to do so. Any kind of marks (whether it is board exams or JEE entrance exam) should be taken only as a guidance but not as a strict rules of judging student's ability to become a good engineer/scientist.

Vinay Kumar said...

I second Rainbow Scientist in this regard. Board exam performance is not an indicator of research/ engineering ability.

I have been an average performer in boards. Managed to clear only JEE screening. Then settled for VTU in Bangalore. Now I have 2 international papers during my Masters.

Ofcourse this is a ridiculously small sample size. But I know others of the same story as mine.

Rainbow Scientist said...

Just wanted to add one more thing, it is like punishing someone for one bad performance for the rest of their life and depriving of them equal opportunity. People continuously evolve and change throughout their life. Some good student might have a bad time for any reason and not perform well in the board exam, but this should not be the reason to punish him/her and deprive him of any future opportunities.

Anonymous said...

I have never believed in standardized tests, though I have done quite a few of them. The main problem is that there is no perfect formula to access students ability to perform research and to pursue a PhD degree. Though intellectual ability cannot be ignored, it does not make a 21-23 yrs-old a good graduate student or researcher.

I agree with Rainbow Scientist, all students should be allowed to take JEE entrance examination. Instead, what should be improved is to add other selection criteria that could bring more diversity into Indian graduate schools as US cleverly does. Diversity is a necessity in order to generate new ideas by bringing together people with different backgrounds, abilities, and thoughts.


Anonymous said...

JEE is for undergraduate education, not for Ph.D or research. What democratic norm is being not followed? Many exams require one to get I class or distinction. JEE may require 85% or 90 percentile to write the exam. What is wrong in that? Life is not lost if one does not pass JEE.

Further, to pass JEE, one requires several lakhs to be spent in coaching classes which many in society can not afford.

Ask Prof. Giri who has done extensive analysis on the correlation between board exam marks and CGPA in B.Tech and also on the average income of the family of B.Tech students.

Prof. Ananth's suggestion in this regard is well thought of based on several years of data and not based loosely.

Rainbow Scientist said...

I completely agree that if one does not pass JEE, life does not get lost. But if it is an entrance qualifying exam then every one who has cleared board examination with the subjects being examined should be allowed to take the test. It's their right. Also it is a decision of the student's family if they choose to spend money in coaching or not, no one else has right to decide on that, not even the most-most respected professor. Also, with internet and computers it is possible to create many practice test which students can take without spending money, so that they and their family know their chances of getting successful before spending money, time and efforts. A knowledge based decision is worth more than the mindless rat race.

What needs to be done is to improve the examination system to accommodate higher number of students. This needs flexibility and innovation.

Rainbow Scientist said...

Another easy to implement suggestion. If there is some data available on students performance on board exam vs JEE examination, that should be highly publicized. It can even be part of guidelines for JEE exams, so students know what are their chances of success. This can serve as a advise instead of strict rule, which might be as effective. This will leave options open for those students who want to take the examination against these odds.

Anonymous said...

Check the last date for jee form submission and date on which board results are out...atleast for class 12th student this discussion is useless..they dont have yet received there 12th marks...for droppers...carry on the discussion

Rainbow Scientist said...

Discussion is what bring soceity forward. It should be kept alive.

If I am class 10th, 11th, or 12th student, it will be even more important for me to know that I have all the opportunity to prepare and compete and get education in my dream institute, and will not be restricted in last minute on the basis of some imaginary line. Also, as a matter of fact, marks rarely go too high or low for any student beyond their normal distribution. If a student is scoring in 60% rage, it will remain around that for most school years. So in most cases, students have idea of what they can achieve and what are their limitations. And also in most cases, they don't have clear statistics to stop them from trying something which is unachievable. My objection is against one person or committee deciding for masses instead of creating knowledge for them to choose for themselves.

Anonymous said...


Shondha Tara said...


I am a student form Bangladesh and I am interested to take admission in India in MTech. I prefer NIT. Can you provide me some information regarding how to apply ?